2013, not-so-memorable year | Kids Count

Gun violence in America seemed to play out almost daily on the evening news as yet another tragic story of a shooting was revealed.

Newtown crushed us with a story so sad that it is difficult to really allow the depth of the tragedy to enter our conscious minds. This year, nearly twelve thousand Americans were fatally shot and two hundred of the victims were children. These numbers do not include suicide or gun deaths due to an accident such as an accidental discharge of a firearm. I am not suggesting that guns be removed from our culture but rather a rational conversation about the issue of gun violence must be undertaken and a common agreement struck about how we might better manage this frightening issue.

The Voting Rights Act of 1965 was voted down by the U.S. Supreme Court. States are now free to decide how voting will occur in their respective states. Keep in mind that in 2001, Mississippi tried to cancel certain County elections because too many black people were registered to vote. In 2004, an Alabama town tried to disallow Asian American voters because they did not speak English well enough. I guess time will tell what these changes may mean and hopefully there will not be a regression back to the dark days of the 1950’s and 60’s.

Edward Snowden claimed that America, more specially, the NSA was spying on just about everyone including American citizens. It has stirred a debate about privacy versus national security. While one Federal Judge did proclaim that spying is unconstitutional, no restrictions or changes have been made in the way that the NSA operates. On the surface, this appears to be an area where oversight and preset limits must be in place.

This year congress voted to remove about 80 percent of the annual funding allotted in the Farm Bill which provides for the food stamp program in America. It could be argued that this was simply an act of fiscal stewardship, maybe, but it seems to me that there would be many bigger opportunities to trim political pork than the food stamp program.

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