National News Explained: May 2014

Sheila Gregory, Co-Editor

Secretary of Health and Human Services native Kansan Kathleen Sebelius resigned from her position in the Obama administration. She played a key role in implementing the Affordable Care Act as a functioning law. Many blame her for the incompetent website debut as well as the glitches and sluggishness of the program. She received torrents of criticism in Nov. when the Affordable Care Act came into effect, and many called for her to be fired or for her to resign. Now that all the roadblocks of the law have been smoothed out, Sebelius still had to take the fault for the trouble it caused.
Why is this a big deal? Even though more than seven million people are now insured with the Affordable Care Act, responsibility for the fiasco fell to Sebelius. It was her job to make sure everything worked out with the website, and seeing as that didn’t happen — she had to stay and attempt to fix the problem. This is a triumph for conservatives who despised the law to begin with.

In recent weeks, several Kansas City highways and interstates have been plagued by seemingly random shootings. Police have recorded a total of 18 shots fired with three inflicting injury on commuters. The gunman targeted exits or places where the road split. After getting a partial license plate number from a driver who was shot at, police located suspect Mohammad Whitaker, and after obtaining a warrant for his arrest, police and SWAT teams took him into custody. He was charged with 18 felony counts including assault with a deadly weapon. Whitaker’s bail was set at one million dollars.
Why is this a big deal? After being terrorized for weeks by Whitaker, Kansas City highway commuters can feel safe traveling once again.

While attempting a high-speed turn Sunday April 20, a South Korean passenger ferry capsized due to the negligence of the crew. When the original blunder was made, all passengers were told to stay in their cabins when they should have been evacuated into lifeboats. Of the 476 on board, only 174 were rescued with over 150 declared dead. Crew members have been charged with a charge similar to criminally negligent homicide.
Why is this a big deal? Those already wary of sea travel will see this tragedy as the be all end all of maritime transportation. While charges against the captain and crew members are warranted, there may not be grounds to file them on. Evidence shows that while tides were at a stronger point, it was a clear night with no fog or wind. They were also in a larger canal with room to turn — showing the sharpness of the deadly maneuver.

Monday, April 21, a teenage boy snuck into the wheel well of a plane traveling from San Jose, California, to Hawaii — a five-and-a-half hour journey. According to authorities, he scaled a fence leading to the tarmac and managed to not be seen by any patrolling security or sniffed out by German shepherds. It was dark when he got into the wheel cavity, allowing this cover to aid his escape. Due to the low air pressure, he was unconscious for the majority of the flight. When he was safely on the ground, authorities immediately spotted the boy and attempted to rejoin him with his family. He will not be charged with anything.
Why is this a big deal? He seemed to have no problem slipping past all security measures when airports are supposed to be heavily guarded. It will have several airports reevaluating their cameras and police presence. Along with this, he would have needed extensive knowledge of where to sit in the wheel space without being crushed. Many view this as not simply a runaway but maybe a test of security — gauging the ease of bypassing restrictive measures. Hopefully, this is an isolated event, and we should be grateful he survived the grueling journey.