From storms to politics, the year was a wild ride. What are the most meaningful US stories of 2012? Here's the Monitor's list, in roughly chronological order.
Many school shootings, such as last week's at Sparks Middle School in Nevada, involve a child taking a gun from home to school. A concerted effort must be made to improve gun safety at home, to research why kids kill with guns, and to pass parental-liability laws.
Mass shootings by mentally unstable people have focused attention on the inadequacies of the US mental health care system, in which less than half of the seriously ill can get treatment.
John Zawahri, the alleged attacker in the Santa Monica shootings, had a semiautomatic rifle, more than 1,000 bullets, and a history of mental troubles, law enforcement sources say.