Week that Was: A terrible, trying week for America (with video)

4:14 PM, Apr. 19, 2013  |  Comments
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We are not the first to observe that this has been an intense, trying and in some ways awful week for America.

The bombing that killed three and injured nearly 200 in Boston has rightly dominated the nation's thoughts. But the massive explosion Wednesday at a fertilizer plant in West, Texas, also killed perhaps more than a dozen people and injured more than 160. Rescuers were still searching through the plant's remains on Friday. The two explosions were very different, and there was no evidence that the Texas blast was the result of terrorism. But both events contributed to a sense of general unease and instability across the nation.

Then, after an overnight manhunt that left one of the Boston bombing suspects dead, Boston on Friday was on lockdown - and all of America was glued to news updates - as thousands of police officers converged on the remaining suspect, a young man named Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev.

It was almost too much to take.


Amid so many important developments, there were several other stories this week worth a second look:

Thumbs down

? In Wausau, Marathon County Jail Administrator Bob Dickman resigned in the wake of the attack by a jail inmate that left a corrections officer in the hospital's intensive care unit. Dickman, who had been in the job for 25 years, resigned after county officials determined that they would go in a "different direction," according to County Administrator Brad Karger.

There are questions that remain in the wake of Dickman's resignation, not least because Daily Herald Media received conflicting information from elected officials about whether he received annual evaluations and what they showed. This would seem to be key information in determining how to fix the jail's problems.

Thumbs up

? The River District Theatre's mission is to take on issues of social justice, and its production of "Death of Innocents" by Sister Helen Prejean is a stirring look at the misuse of the death penalty in the United States. It's also the Wausau premiere onstage for Megale Taylor, 43, a former drug addict and petty criminal who is working hard to turn his life around. Taylor, who was released from prison in 2010, told his story to Daily Herald Media this week. In prison, he got involved in a program that produced plays by Shakespeare, and he said the experience helped him to change his own way of thinking.

Today, Taylor has a job, a church family and is a student at Northcentral Technical College. His personal story is powerful, and River District Theatre's production promises to be powerful, too. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. tonight and 3 p.m. Sunday at Mt. Sinai Congregation, 910 W. Randolph St. in Wausau. Tickets cost $15 at the door.

Thumbs down

? The U.S. Senate on Wednesday voted down a very modest bill that would have amounted to a minor, exception-riddled expansion of background checks for gun purchases. In fact, it's not even correct to say that the Senate "voted down" the bill - in fact, a filibuster prevented it from even reaching the point of a vote.

In substantive terms, the bill would not have had much impact. But that's also why it was depressing that even so modest a bill, advanced by two senators with "A" ratings from the National Rifle Association, could not be brought to a vote. It was a study in Washington dysfunction.

What's your take on the Packers Family Night change?

Retrieving results.
Watching practice is fine.(Your vote)
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I'd rather watch a scrimmage.(Your vote)
862 votes
I don't want to pay to watch practice.(Your vote)
1025 votes
It doesn't matter to me.(Your vote)
1278 votes

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Football fans

If you've ever answered "Who has the ball?" with "It's halftime," you might recognize The Airhead. Check out the characters in our cartoon gallery of oddball fans.

Special Reports