1. Boston Bombings
Back in April, some assholes put a couple pressure cooker bombs near the finish line of the Boston Marathon and set them off, killing three people and injuring more than 250 others. Everyone thought at first that al-Qaeda was to blame, but within a couple days the FBI released photos of two suspects who turned out to be brothers who were Chechens, although motivated by extremist Islamic beliefs. They didn’t do a good job of keeping a low profile, as they carjacked a guy and got into a big-assed gunfight with police resulting in one of them being killed. Shortly thereafter, the entire city of Boston shut down for a day as cops and FBI agents searched the City, eventually finding the other one hiding in some dudes boat.
2. Syrian Government Uses Chemical Weapons on Civilians, US Responds
The Syrian Civil War itself has actually been ongoing since 2011, but 2013 was notable due to the fact that the Syrian government used chemical weapons on numerous occasions against the rebels. This, of course, got everyone’s attention and made what was an ugly, violent war even worse. The whole situation is a huge clusterfuck with no clear path to resolution, and countries like the United States are hesitant to support either side as it would mean providing assistance to a horribly oppressive government, or providing resources to terrorists. Long story short: shit’s all fucked up, as it has been for as long as anyone can remember.
3. Nelson Mandela Dies
In early December 2012, Nelson Mandela succombed to a lung disease and passed away at the age of 95. Mandela, of course, was imprisoned for 27 years after helping to form a militant organization to overthrow South Africa’s apartheid government. Upon his release in 1990, he worked to abolish apartheid and establish free elections, and he became South Africa’s first black president in 1994. Over the years, Mandela became something of a living legend, although there has been some debate over whether or not it was deserved due to his communist and/or terrorist connections.
4. US Government Shuts Down for a Couple Weeks and Brings World to the Brink of Economic Disaster (again)
Proving once again that compromise is essentially unAmerican, the Republicans and the Democrats played a huge game of chicken with the budget, and no one blinked. The result was a government shutdown that last a few weeks. Doomsayers predicted all manner of problems, from terrorist attacks to loads of nasty stuff in our food. The result was mostly just weeks and weeks on end of bellyaching, unnecessary layoffs, and far too many pundits acting like asshole on cable news networks.
5. Edward Snowden Reveals that the NSA has been secretly logging phone calls, emails of Americans
Edward Snowden validated the fears of thousands of paranoid Americans by revealing that the NSA was indeed spying on them. Now most of us assumed that the NSA was all up in our Kool Aid to some extent, but what was surprising about the information provided by Snowden was the extent to which the NSA was snooping. They tackled everything from email and Facebook on up to ridiculous things like World of Warcraft. That’s right, the NSA knows whether you support the orcs or humans (or whatever the fuck happens in that damn game). The real question is, what are they doing with this information?
6. Trayvon Martin Murder Trial and Acquittal of George Zimmerman
There’s nothing Americans love more than using their guns for a little bit of self-defence and/or vigilante justice, but what happens when that act of self-defence costs the life of a teenage? Well, that’s when things turn into a world-class shitstorm. Much like the Civil War, the Trayvon Martin case turned into a brother against brother conflict. On the one side, you had your gun rights people posting all sorts of racially inflammatory arguments all over social media. On the other, the hippies were bemoaning the availability of firearms in this country, and blaming all of society’s woes on guns. Everyone was an asshole, but the biggest asshole of all was the man at the center of the whole thing: George Zimmerman. Once you strip away all the political arguments, this case boiled down to Zimmerman essentially wanting to be Batman. He patrolled the streets of his Florida subdivision, looking for crime to stop by any means necessary.
7. Pope Benedict Resigns, Pope Francis is Elected
In 2013, Pope Benedict became the second pope to ever resign, rather than dying in office like a man. People were pretty confused by this, with some even suggesting that the Pope shouldn’t be allowed to quit. Ultimately, he stepped down anyway, and the College of Cardinals elected the first-ever Latin-American Pope, which a lot of people were excited about. Good for them, I guess.
8. Shooting at Washington Navy Yard
In September, a guy named Aaron Alexis armed with a shotgun opened fire in at the headquarters of the Naval Sea Systems Command, killing 12. Alexis was shot and killed by police about an hour after the shooting began. While motives for the shooting were unclear, Alexis and a bit of a history of being a pain in the ass and may have also suffered from mental problems. Somewhat ironically, the shooting led to some discussion over security at military facilities. Predictably, it also led to (another) dumb debate about gun control that really didn’t go anywhere, as usual.
9. Record Flooding in Colorado (Sept), Midwest (April)
2013 was a hell of a year for rain. In April, a number of large “rain events” as the meteorologists say occurred across the midwest leading to record floods. One of those floods happened to occur in my house, which took some two months to get repaired and straightened out and boy was it a monumental pain in the ass. Later in the summer, the normally desert-like eastern slope of the rockies in Coloardo received an absurd about of rain, leading to more flooding, evacuations, and general chaos, misery and I think even a few deaths. So while hurricanes and tornadoes are certainly notable events, all it really takes is a lot of plain old rain for mother nature to remind us all that we’re her bitch.
10. NFL Player Aaron Hernandez Kills a Guy, Maybe Others
Proving that NFL really might stand for “National Felon League”, New England Patriot starter Aaron Hernandez was arrested and charged with the murder of Odin Lloyd. After the arrest, media outlets started looking into Hernandez and began finding out that he was really a world-class asshole who associated with some pretty unsavory people. Minutes after being arrested, he was cut by the Patriots, who are now looking to recoup some of the millions of dollars they already paid him. He is also being investigated for a double-murder in Boston that occured in 2012, and is also being sued for allegedly shooting a guy in 2013 in Miami. At this point it seems nearly certain that he will spend most of his life in prison, instead of in a big house with fame and fortune. Nice job, cheese dick.
11. Health Care Marketplace Clusterfuck
You know what’s great about the government? Anytime anything needs to get done, it’s either done by some crony thanks to a sweet, sweet backroom deals, or by whoever happens to be the lowest bidder. And you know that means quality. And the Obamacare website was no exception. Of course, this site was the primary way people were expected to enroll in the various healthcare options – all of which had deadlines. So do you think those people were able to get online and enroll? Fuck no they weren’t! The site was a complete and total failure. Good job, government.
12. Kate Middleton, Prince Henry Spawn
Way back in 1776, our forefathers fought and died to free this nation from the stranglehold of the British Empire. The limeys tried, and almost succeeded, to take us back in 1812, but otherwise we’ve been pretty happy with our independence from the crown. That is, of course, unless there happens to be some photogenic people in the Royal family for us to obsess over. And obsess we did when Prince Henry and Princess Kate spawned baby Whatever (Felix, perhaps?), the future heir to the British throne. I heard more about this damn baby than I did when the US government completely shut down, because, you know, Americans have their priorities straight.
13. Lance Armstrong Admits to Being a Complete Asshat
Finally confirming what everyone pretty much already knew, Lance Armstrong finally admitted to using performance-enhancing drugs in a softcore interview with Oprah. While this had a number of consequences, the only thing I really care about is now I’m seeing less people wearing those stupid yellow bracelets all the goddamn time. I’m calling this a victory.