Every year at about this time, I have blogged a "Top 10" list of the major news stories of the past year.
I am not this year, for a couple of reasons.
One is that, as you may have noticed, I haven't been on the air lately. I have had the flu during the past week and have had my mind on other things besides the state of the world.
The other is that, in my opinion, two stories trumped all the others in being the biggest of the year.
The year, of course, was dominated by the elections, both nationally and locally. While President Obama, Mitt Romney and their surrogates made stops in or near our area, they were all in the Buckeye State. If Obama hadn't written off West Virginia prior to May, he certainly did after learning a federal inmate from Texas got 40% of the the Mountain State's Democratic vote in the state's primary.
I have already blogged about the local elections, in which Parkersburg's mayor and a Wood County Commissioner both kept their offices after defeating seemingly strong challengers, while the Sheriff was held to one term by his predecessor.
With the seemingly endless election cycle in West Virginia which followed the 2010 death of Robert Byrd now apparently over, things hopefully will be quieter on the political front this year, with just some municipal races in Ohio on the horizon. But if that turns out to be true, it will be the lull before the 2014 storm.
Speaking of storms, the other thing 2012 will be remembered for is that we all first heard the word "derecho". June 29 was the day we received our payback for the mild winter. The storm of that early evening knocked out power for some residents into mid-July, and left behind tons of damage. The best news is that, in spite of the widespread blackout and relentless heat, no deaths resulted directly from it.
With what looks right now to be a "normal" winter, we may not have that kind of summer this year, but I really don't know. Mother Nature, while she doesn't like to be "fooled" (as in an old TV commercial) loves to surprise us.
One other thing: while they didn't happen in our area (and we hope something like that never does), our area hasn't avoided the debate over what to do about the mass shooting cases in recent months.
So far, all that has been proposed to deal with the situation are 1.: More gun laws, and 2. Arm more people. Both are simple answers to a complex problem. Neither address the main issue: what drives a person to do something like this? What causes him to randomly shoot people, most of whom he doesn't even know, and then turn the gun on himself?
Until we can answer that question, a solution to the problem may be as elusive as a cure for cancer.
I leave with this thought for the new year, based on Colonel Sherman Potter's words from a classic episode of M*A*S*H: may it be a tall sight better than the last one.