March 2009 Current Events: U.S. News
Here are the key events in United States news for the month of March 2009.
- Three of Four Still Missing After Boat Capsizes (Mar. 2): One boater is found alive after a boat, owned by NFL player Marquis Cooper, capsized during a fishing trip. The others on the boat included NFL player Corey Smith and former college football player, William Bleakley and Nick Schuyler. Schuyler was found alive and still in the water, wearing a life vest and holding onto the overturned boat. The four men reportedly went fishing on calm waters Saturday but encountered high winds and waves later in the day. (Mar. 3): The U.S. Coast Guard calls off the search for the remaining boaters, missing since February 28. The families of the missing men vow to continue their own search.
- CIA Destroys 92 Interrogation Tapes (Mar. 2): In a letter submitted by federal prosecutors, the Central Intelligence Agency is accused of destroying 92 tapes recording harsh interrogation proceedings with suspected members of the al Qaeda terrorist organization. Jose A. Rodriguez Jr., former head of the agency's clandestine service, ordered the tapes destroyed.
- Mass Transit Use in 2008 Highest Since 1956 (Mar. 9): More people used mass transportation, such as buses, subways, and trains, in 2008 than in any other year since 1956, according to a report by the American Public Transportation Association. High gas prices contributed to the increase in usage, though ridership remained steady as the average price of gas dropped from $4 per gallon to less than $2.
- Gunman in Alabama Kills 10, Himself (Mar. 10): An Alabama man on a shooting spree kills at least 10 people, including several members of his own family, before shooting himself. The man, identified by witnesses as Michael McLendon, reportedly burned down his mother's house, with her inside, before driving to the residence of his grandparents, aunt, and uncle and shooting them all, then turning on neighbors and other bystanders in the area. McLendon, chased by the police, then drove to a former place of employment before shooting himself. All the deaths occurred in the towns of Samson and Geneva, Alabama.
- New Mexico Abolishes Death Penalty (Mar. 18): New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson signs legislation to repeal the death penalty in his state. Lethal injection will be replaced with life in prison without parole. New Mexico is the second state to ban the death penalty since 1976, when the United States Supreme Court reinstated it.
- Obama Reveals Plan for Afghanistan, Pakistan (Mar. 20): President Obama reveals his plans for fighting al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan. He will be sending additional troops to Afghanistan, increasing the amount of aid to Pakistan, and setting benchmarks for progress in the fight against the two terrorist organizations. Both Democrats and Republicans in Congress are reacting favorably to the plan.
- Plane Crash Kills 14 in Montana (Mar. 22): A small private plane carrying three families with small children crashed in Montana. The group was from California. The cause of the crash is undetermined.
- Fargo Residents Forced to Evacuate as Flood Waters Rise (Mar. 27): Residents of a Fargo, North Dakota neighborhood are evacuating due to rising flood waters from the Red River. The water levels are at their highest levels in history. Thousands of National Guard members and local volunteers have spent the last few days building dikes of sandbags to prevent the river from destroying homes. Bitterly cold temperatures have increased officials' concerns for the stability of the dikes.
- Gunman Kills 8 at N.C. Nursing Home (Mar. 29): A man opened fire at a nursing home in Carthage, North Carolina, killing 7 patients and a nurse. Several others were injured. The gunman, identified as Robert Stewart, was detained at the scene after being wounded during the shooting. (Mar. 30): The ex-wife of gunman Robert Stewart has been identified as an employee of the nursing home in which her husband killed 8 people. The relationship may be the motive of the attack, although police are unable to reveal any more details at this time. Stewart faces 8 counts of first-degree murder.