We are ushering in a new year, as we celebrate the end of 2015 we take a look back at some of the headlines that that had us talking. 2015 will not only be remembered for the record setting heat but the extreme weather that wrecked havoc on nearly every corner of the country.
From extreme heat to record breaking precipitation, this year will definitely go down as the year of the craziest weather patterns on record. The question of whether climate change is a real thing can be answered in the above average temperatures. It’s been one of the warmest winter’s in recent memory something definitely isn’t right. November and December saw above average temperatures across most of the country.
The weather phenomenon called El Nino is the official blame for the extreme temperatures and storm outbreaks. Even as 2015’s final hours countdown; extreme weather is affecting many parts of the country. Record flooding is dampening celebrations in St. Louis as flooding caused officials to close a couple of major highways. That flooding is expected to flow to the south causing dangerous conditions in southern Missouri and impacting states as far as Tennessee. It has been reported that at least 20 are dead with four still missing.
In Georgia, Governor Deal has declared a state of emergency for several counties because of flooding and much of the Atlanta metropolitan area remains under a flood warning.
Crime also became an all too common topic to appear in the daiy new in 2015. From home invasions, carjackings to cyber-crimes affecting millions of consumers; 2015 may be remembered as the most unruly than any other year in recent memory. Crime in Atlanta overall has been down in major categories accept for murders, car break-ins, burglaries and robberies. It seems that nearly every other night there are reports of robberies in Midtown Atlanta and Buckhead. Midtown has been struck hard by crime, primarily street robberies targeting pedestrians; mostly Georgia Tech students. A mother and her daughter were carjacked a few months back prompting a neighborhood meeting in which Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed made an appearance. The Mayor promised to crack down on crime in the area and work with the courts to prevent repeat criminals from getting out of jails so quickly.
Just a few days ago a lifestyle author who recently moved into a home under renovation in Buckhead had a close encounter with home invaders. Had it not been for the security guard she hired after a previous burglary, her family could have been in extreme danger. The guard ran off the criminals however they dropped a bag that contained supplies that suggested their intent was more than just to steal.
Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed has been catch been catching heat on multiple fronts. So when he’s not promising to increase patrols in the affluent areas of Atlanta, or failing to get the landlords of a senior high rise building who received a multi-million dollar payment for land used for the development of the new Falcons Stadium to fix the air condition and other issues plaguing elderly residents, the Mayor was leading the charge to push some of the poorest residents of southwest Atlanta out of their homes on the pretense of flood control.
Residents just a stone’s throw from the new Falcons’ Stadium are being forced out of their homes to make way for a city project to get a handle on flooding in the area near Vine City called Peoplestown. However residents who do not wish to leave their homes says that there are other alternatives than to raze their homes. Residents had united to try to convince the Mayor to change his mind, however only one resident was able to convince him to spare her home. 93 year old Mattie Jackson was able to convince Reed to let her stay in her home. Jackson was one of several Peoplestown residents to protest the plans the Atlanta Watershed Management had to build a retention pond to control flooding.
It is a bit suspicious that this community; in the shadow of the Falcon’s new stadium is being uprooted. These residents would have potentially wanted a seat at the planning table when the Stadium is completed much like communities near the old Fulton County Stadium and Turner Field demanded that their voices be heard. Was this move in teh best interest of the community with no hidden motive or was it calculating and deliberate? Only time will tell; however this is a mayor who is in an ongoing dispute with Atlanta Public Schools over property and millions of dollars owed to the school system and the same mayor who said he wasn’t giving raises to police and firefighters while they are suing the city; as if the issue in dispute had anything to do with their raises.
A ridiculous number of police shootings and misconduct were electronically witnessed and shared for the world to see. The epidemic of unarmed police shootings dominated the news in 2015, including incidents in the Atlanta metro area. In this digital age where everyone is equipped with a recording device, police wrong doing has been captured shared through social media and gone viral. With police departments across the country under a virtual microscope; you would think the number of incidents would be going down not up.
The city of Chicago was recently rocked with protests and some rioting after it was revealed In November that police had shot and killed Laquan McDonald. The video contradicts what an officer involved in the shooting sayswhat happened that caused him to shoot at McDonald 16 times in 14 to 15 seconds. What was also troubling is the fact that authorities withheld the video and details of the incident for more than a year. The incident led to the firing of the Chicago Police Superintendent as well as calls for the resignation of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
Right in our own backyard, DeKalb County Police shot and killed a naked unarmed man in the parking lot of his apartment complex. Air Force veteran Anthony Hill was suffering from a mental illness when DeKalb Police officer Robert Olsen shot and killed Hill who was naked and unarmed. Hill’s shooting is just one of many police involved shootings that are being investigated. To date I am unaware of any unarmed shooting investigation in Georgia recently that has resulted in charges being filed after being investigated by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.
In a clear incident of the police in the wrong, DeKalb County Police responding to a burglary call entered the wrong house and shot the unarmed homeowner and killed his dog. In this case the officers only had a description of the house and just the street name. So they were acting on a good faith that they were responding to a trouble call. However they shot an unarmed man, It was only after the fact that they realize that the man was indeed the homeowner and not the person who placed the call for help. Also one of the officers responding to the scene was shot by friendly fire.
Nearly four months after the incident, no charges have been filed in the case, Police admitted early on that the homeowner was unarmed and was not a threat. Will this be yet another case where the GBI rubber stamps an investigation? Far too many shootings and police mishaps have been cleared leaving some wondering if these investigations are biased. Going forward perhaps the Feds should step in and investigate suspected police wrongdoing.
Terrorism has been a hot button issues taking center stage in the race for the White House, but also affecting how Americans go about their daily lives. ISIS or ISIL, no matter what you want to call them are proving to be a bigger threat than anyone ever imagined just a couple years ago. Their influence seems to be spreading through social media. Dozens of incidents and thwarted attacks have been attributed to their propaganda. Just today a man was arrested in upstate New York on suspicion of planning an ISIS inspired attack.
Authorities are treating the mass shooting in San Bernardino, CA as an act of terrorism inspired by ISIS. The terror group which controls territory in both Iraq and Syria is believed to be responsible for the downing of a passenger jet heading to Russia as well as a coordinated on the French capital, Paris that left 130 people dead and more than 350 wounded.
France, Russia and the United States have stepped up airstrikes on ISIS targets, however President Obama has ruled out a massive ground force instead sending special operatives to assist Kurdish ground forces and other Muslim led troops.
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