2012's legacy: The Monitor's Top 11 US stories

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.

Trayvon Martin shooting

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    The family of Trayvon Martin watches a news conference regarding George Zimmerman.
    Evan Vucci/AP/File
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"Neighborhood vigilante goes free after shooting unarmed teenager."

That news sparked rallies and endless debate across America after George Zimmerman, a volunteer neighborhood watchman in Sanford, Fla., shot Trayvon Martin, an unarmed black teenager, after deeming him "suspicious" and following him Feb. 26.

Mixing gun rights politics with suggestions of racial injustice, it's little wonder that the story caught America's attention. While a black boy wearing a hoodie with a bag of Skittles in his pocket lay dead, a half-white, half-Hispanic man was released by local police, who cited a landmark 2005 law that allows citizens to stand their ground and use deadly force in public.

Before the state eventually arrested and charged Mr. Zimmerman with murder, the nation's concern about the shooting was punctuated by President Obama, who summed up the thought of many parents by saying that Trayvon could just as easily have been his son.

– Patrik Jonsson

Reporter's takeaway“I talked to young black men after Trayvon Martin’s death who acknowledged that many hoodie wearers know that it can be menacing to hide your face. But fear, they argued, still is in the heart of the beholder. Chances are someone’s just trying to stay warm in his favorite sweat shirt.”

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