National News Explained

Brownback refuses to admit Syrian refugees 

After the attacks in Paris on Nov. 13, many U.S. officials and citizens feared a similar plot was imminent here. The influx of Syrian refugees into European cities was part of the reason the ISIS terrorists were able to carry out their deadly plan since one had posed as a refugee seeking asylum. With this new information on the subject, several governors — including Sam Brownback — signed motions to withdraw assistance in the relocation of Syrian refugees.

Why is this a big deal? The attacks on Paris were instigated by several members of the Islamic State, only one of whom posed as a refugee. The open European borders make it extremely difficult to maintain the whereabouts of all the refugees — especially those who did not declare themselves. That would not be a problem in the U.S. since any refugee admitted must undergo rigorous screening, and the majority of them are women and small children — not the ideal ISIS fighter.

Mass shooting kills 14 

Dec. 2 marked the deadliest shooting since Sandy Hook, killing 14 people and leaving 17 injured. It took place at the employee banquet for the Department of Public Health in San Bernardino, California. Witnesses report the two shooters — Syed Farook, 28, and Tashfeen Malik, 27 — were calm throughout the attack, as if they were carrying out a mission. The couple escaped from the scene, only to be later killed in a shootout with the police. Farook worked for the Department of Public Health and was in attendance at the banquet until he quietly left his table and started shooting minutes later.

Why is this a big deal? As of Dec. 3, there had been 355 mass shootings in 2015. Gun violence in America is at an all-time high and is not normal for developed countries. President Barack Obama issued a statement that shifted from sadness to anger since this continues to happen. The guns used in the shooting were purchased legally, highlighting the flaws in the background check system. While Obama pushes for more comprehensive background checks, it is likely nothing will get done since over half of congress is funded by the National Rifle Association.

Countries discuss climate change 

Nov. 30 marked the start of international climate discussion in Paris. Leaders from 150 countries were present to decide how much money is needed to solve the several crises stemming from climate change. These mostly pertain to third-world countries with an increased need for drinkable water and crop diversification. To alleviate these issues in the many impoverished countries, they concluded $100 billion is the minimum amount needed.

Why is this a big deal? Climate problems facing the world mean melting ice caps and carbon emissions. Increasing temperatures and water shortages have caused failing crops, straining the global economy. The money would be used to help adapt to droughts and floods, clean water supplies and improve crops. Without these measures, mass migrations from famine would affect all countries and cause an even greater global catastrophe.