2012 – Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting in Newtown, CT
Dec 14 all-day

On Friday, December 14th, 2012 at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT, a 20-year-old armed man shot and killed 20 6- and 7-year-old children and 6 adults at the school, in addition to his mother at her home and himself. This event heightened growing concerns about school security.

For resources related to school violence and school security, see the following Featured Topic page from the HSDL:

HSDL Featured Topic: School Violence
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2015 – Charlie Hebdo Shooting
Jan 7 all-day

On January 7th, 2015, two Islamist brothers killed eleven and wounded several people in the Paris office of Charlie Hebdo (a satirical magazine). During this time, other coordinated attacks were happening around Paris. The two gunmen escaped, and were later killed in a siege. This incident has caused an increased search for related terrorists in France, Belgium and other neighboring countries.

The following report Blasphemy, Charlie Hebdo, and the Freedom of Belief and Expression: The Paris Attacks and the Reactions can be found on HSDL by clicking here.

After Charlie Hebdo, Balancing Press Freedom and Respect for Religion: Majority Says Publishing Cartoons was ‘Okay,’ byt about Half of non-whites say ‘not okay’ was published. Document can also be found here.

Please Note that viewing documents may require an HSDL login.

2011 – Shooting attack at Gabrielle Giffords’ Congress on Your Corner Event in Tucson, AZ
Jan 8 all-day

On January 8, 2011, U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords was a victim of shooting attack at a public “Congress on your Corner” event hosted by Giffords in Tucson, Arizona. Giffords was critically wounded by a gunshot wound to the head. An additional thirteen people were injured, and six, including Federal Judge, John McCarthy Roll, were killed in the shooting.

For more information see the text of H. Res. 32: Expressing the Sense of the House of Representatives with Respect to the Tragic Shooting in Tucson, Arizona, on January 8, 2011 or watch the C-SPAN video feed here.

1993 – World Trade Center Bombing
Feb 26 all-day

On February 26, 1993, a small group of terrorists perpetrated an attack on the World Trade Center (WTC) in New York City. Headed by Pakistani Islamist Ramzi Yousef, the group successfully placed a bomb in the parking garage located below the WTC. The bomb went off shortly past noon, creating a nearly 100-foot crater beneath the building. Six people were killed instantly and more than a thousand were injured. This attack was one of the first conducted by Islamist extremists on US soil.

For more information on terrorism in the United States, check out the following HSDL Feature Topic page:

HSDL Featured Topic: Domestic Terrorism: Jihadist/Islamist

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2004 – Madrid Train Bombing
Mar 11 – Mar 12 all-day

On March 11, 2004 an al-Qaeda-inspired terrorist cell coordinated bombings in the Madrid commuter train system. The bombs were detonated in the morning of March 11, killing 191 people and wounding 1,800. While no direct link between the group and al-Qaeda was found, the attack heightened fear and anxiety surrounding al-Qaeda activity.

To learn how these attacks affected US policy, check out this CRS (Congressional Research Service) report from the HSDL collection: March 11 Terrorist Attacks in Madrid and Spain’s Elections: Implications for U.S. Policy [October 5, 2004]

2011 – Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Disaster
Mar 11 – Mar 12 all-day

March 11, 2011 is the anniversary of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant disaster that occurred in northeast Japan following a magnitude-9 earthquake. The earthquake generated a large tsunami that struck the coastal power plant and destroyed the generators responsible for cooling 3 of its 6 nuclear reactors. This resulted in a meltdown of the reactors and a release of radioactive material into both the atmosphere and surrounding water.

This disaster prompted a review of nuclear power plant safety and security around the world, including a review of American coastal power plants in California. The following document from the HSDL collection outlines one aspect of U.S. response to the disaster: Fukushima Fallout: Regulatory Loopholes at U.S. Nuclear Plants

1995 – Sarin Gas Attack on Tokyo Subway
Mar 20 all-day

On March 20, 1995, members of the Japan-based terrorist organization, Aum Shinrikyo, released a deadly nerve agent, sarin, onto a Tokyo commuter subway train. The attack killed thirteen people and injured nearly a thousand others. This event is a prominent example of the potentially disastrous consequences that can occur when a non-state terrorist organization obtains and operationalizes a weapon of mass destruction.

The following are a few resources from the HSDL collection on the Aum Shinrikyo attack:

2014 – Oso Mudslide
Mar 22 all-day

On March 22, 2014, four miles east of Oso, Washington, a major landslide a massive landslide claimed 43 lives, and destroying 49 homes (and other structures) in the “unincorporated neighborhood known as ‘Steelhead Haven.'”  This landslide has been referenced as the “deadliest single landslide event in United States history.” President Obama declared this event a major disaster. In April, a declaration was requested by Governor Inslee, proposed a plan to help approximately 30 families who were in need of assistance to which the Snohomish County Emergency Management Director John Pennington advised these families to register with FEMA. Around April 5th, Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) mentioned that the Green Mountain Lookout Heritage Protection Act would “provide a glimmer of hope for the long-term recovery of this area.”

Information and quotes taken from: 

Related publications:

SR 530 Landslide Commission: Final Report

LLIS Innovative Practice: SR 530 Mudslide and Flooding: Using Social Media to Communicate Information During a Disaster

Please note that reviewing sources may require HSDL login

1996 – Arrest of Unabomber, Theodore Kaczynski
Apr 3 all-day

On April 3, 1996, Theodore Kaczynksi, the man responsible for sending bombs in the mail over an 18-year period and known largely as the “Unabomber”, was arrested. Kaczynski sent a total of 16 bombs to various recipients, such as universities, professors, and large corporations, which ultimately resulted in the death of 3 people and the injury of 23 others. Kaczynski, who was identified as a social recluse and radical environmentalist, is one of the prime examples of lone wolf terrorism in US history.

For more information on lone wolf terrorism, check out the HSDL Featured Topic:

HSDL Featured Topic: Lone Wolf Terrorism

Please note: An HSDL login is required to access some of the resources on this list

2013 – Boston Marathon Bombings
Apr 15 all-day

At the annual Boston Marathon on April 15, 2013, 282 people were injured and four were killed, including an MIT police officer when two pressure-cooker bombs exploded near the crowded finish line. President Barack Obama remarked after the capture of suspect Dzokhar Tsarnaev on April 19, 2013 that “After the attacks on Monday, I [President Obama] directed the full resources of the Federal Government to be made available to help State and local authorities in the investigation and to increase security as needed. And over the past week, close coordination among Federal, State, and local officials—sharing information, moving swiftly to track down leads—has been critical to this effort.”

President Obama’s entire remarks may be viewed here.