On This Day, December 7th

1. 1941: Attack on Pearl Harbor

Photo: britannica

Photo: britannica

It was on this date in 1941 that the Japanese struck a critical blow against the United States with a surprise attack on the naval base at Pearl Harbor. Just before 8 a.m., a Japanese dive-bomber appeared in the clouds above the Hawaiian Island of O’ahu. There were at least 360 Japanese warplanes following him and they descended upon Pearl Harbor with a ferocious attack that would cripple the U.S. Pacific Fleet by taking out more than 15 ships. Luckily, the three aircraft carriers, the largest ships in the Pacific fleet, were out on training missions so they were safe. Had they been taken out that would’ve been significantly more devastating. However, the carriers would get their revenge later on at the Battle of Midway. The Japanese assault also focused on aircraft and anything else of importance, destroying more than 200 and leaving more than 2,400 American casualties and at least half that injured. This devastating blow to the United States left them no choice but to enter into World War II.

2. 1993: Long Island Railroad Shooting

It was on this date in 1993 that Colin Ferguson boarded the Long Island commuter train from Penn Station in New York City just after 5:30 p.m. headed home. He had bad intentions though because he was carrying an automatic pistol and as the train pulled into Garden City, Ferguson started running up and down the aisle shooting people at random. A total of 6 people received fatal wounds and more than 19 were left injured due to the shooting spree. Luckily other passengers onboard the train stopped him from continuing by tackling him and holding him down until law enforcement could arrive. When asked why he did it, Ferguson claimed that it was due to his incredible hatred of white people. He later went to trial where he had famous defense attourney, William Kunstler, who’s strategy was to play the “black rage” defense. However, that infuriated Ferguson even more and he actually fired Kunstler and decided to represent himself in the trial. He made a mockery of the whole court system by first claiming it wasn’t him, then he changed his story to say that it was a white man that had committed the heinous crimes and then framed him for it. Then he went and changed his story again saying that it was a man that shared his same facial features and even his name that was the one who pulled the trigger. Needless to say, the jury quickly came back with the verdict of guilty and Ferguson was sentenced to six life terms with no eligibility of parole.

3. 1787: Delaware becomes the first state

It was on this date in 1878 that all 30 delegates to the Deleware Constitutional Convention unanimously ratified the U.S. Constitution making Deleware the first state in the United States. Deleware was the first of the former 13 colonies to become a state and once nine of the thirteen ratified the document, the Constitution would become binding. By June the following year, New Hampshire become the ninth state and thus making democracy the new law of the land. However, it wasn’t until March of 1799 that the Government under the United States Constitution took effect.