Readers write thousands of comments a day on The Washington Post’s website, typing their unique perspective on reporting from the newsroom.

There have been countless discussions on the biggest stories of the year, including school shootings, how to keep students safe, the midterm elections and political polarization across America.

All the comments below were featured this year in a weekly newsletter that highlights the best conversations sparked by the Post’s reporting. Sign up here to get the newsletter straight to your inbox in the new year.

Note: The comments below have been lightly edited for clarity and grammar.

January

Traveling while black: Why some Americans are afraid to explore their own country

“In the 1960s, when my father was in the Army and my mother had to drive across the country by herself when he deployed, there were only certain motels where she could stop. She could not just stop driving when she was sleepy. She had to drive hundreds of miles until she could get to that one place that would rent a room to a young black woman and her two small children. Driving on Route 1 in Maryland before the interstate, my parents had to either purchase gas before they got to Maryland or have enough gas to get through Maryland because there was no place on Route 1 in Maryland that would sell gas to blacks.”

— Kaspar Hauser

Hawaii’s false missile alert sent by troubled worker who thought an attack was imminent, officials say

“You truly become an adult when you finally realize that nobody knows what they're doing. As a kid, you assume that adults have everything on lockdown. In reality, most people do sort of the best they can, and screw up all the time. This is true in personal lives, business, government and the military. Enjoy!”

— Fishy Bulb

Trump calls for unity, pushes GOP agenda in State of the Union speech

“This country has never been so divided. At least not seen in my 58 years. I am so tired of the lies. I am so tired of the division. The lack of earnest desire to work together to serve the American people. All Americans. The lip service.”

— GrittyGrits

February

‘A horrific, horrific day’: At least 17 killed in Florida school shooting

“I had a disturbing conversation with my 5-year-old. In school, she has to practice active shooter drills, where the kids hide in the closet. Her questions: Why would anyone shoot her classroom? Why do we have to be very quiet? Why is the teacher not hiding in the closet with us? These drills are due to our culture of apathy of such shootings. Can anyone honestly say they are disturbed by these shootings anymore?”

— Children are still Detained by Trump

Billy Graham, evangelist with worldwide following, dies at 99

“I was a 19-year-old college student on a plane going home for the funeral of a friend who had committed suicide. Rev. Graham was sitting next to me on the plane while my tears flowed. I wasn't sure what I believed about God at that time of my life, but Rev. Graham prayed with me and listened while I cried. I will never forget it, and I am so grateful he was there. God bless, and rest in peace.”

— toooldforthisnonsense

‘I’m never going to be the same’: Students set to return to shattered Florida school

“My daughter and her friends talked at length with me last Friday night. They've been having difficulty sleeping because they create shooting scenarios in their heads and wonder how they would react in the same situation as what happened in Parkland. Would they fight back or be so terrified they couldn't react or move at all? Throughout their day, as they enter each classroom, they identify items in the room they would use as weapons: desks, chairs, a fire extinguisher, their Chromebooks, the saxophone case from a student colleague, the lacrosse stick from another. I woke my husband up with a nightmare I had about a mass shooting. I [find] myself waking up a lot during the night thinking about this. My daughter’s school was on lockdown a few days after the massacre in Parkland and now I find I take my phone everywhere with me while I'm at work, even the bathroom! After 50 minutes of being on lockdown, everyone is expected to go about their normal routine. Certainly this cannot be our new normal.”

— Patti Maxwell

Cindy McCain sounds off on Trump: ‘We don’t need more bullying, and I’m tired of it’

“Sadly, a member of a different generation and of a much different Republican Party. We're witnessing a changing of the guard, and our country is worse for it. While I didn't agree with Mr. McCain politically, he had the decency to respect his political foes. I'll never forget him defending former President Obama when someone in the audience showed then-candidate Obama disrespect that was beyond the pale at a McCain campaign stop. Could you for a moment ever envision President Trump displaying that sort of dignity and respect for any opponent? President Trump has cheapened and coarsened us so. I hope we have the resilience to recover.”

— SleddogRunner

March

Trump says American workers are hurt by immigration. But after ICE raided this Texas town, they never showed up.

“I worked at the John Morrell plant in Sioux Falls, S.D., back when I was in college in the early 90s. It was a summer job that paid in the $7-$8 range. The union had been busted a few years before, and the workforce had shifted to a largely immigrant mix. You'd hear a half-dozen different languages on the way into and out of work.

The part of the plant I worked in was disassembling hogs. The few other American workers who were there were no great shakes. In the short time I was there, I was moved into three different jobs, deboning shoulders (a premium job they removed me from once they found out I was a summer hire), packing ribs and finally flipping pork bellies after they came down a chute. I had to get the bellies situated to go under a heavy roller so the guys on the other side could pull the ribs off. After a few weeks of working in that cold environment and using a meat hook to flip 1,400 pork bellies an hour, my hook hand was largely useless for at least an hour after my shift ended and after that it ached all the time. And I was a farm kid, all-state football player, wrestler and used to hard work. When a construction job I'd inquired about came open, I dropped that meat-packing plant job and hoped I'd never see the inside of it again. Anyone working in that environment has my respect.”

— coalition to abolish cat juggling

Stephen Hawking, physicist who came to symbolize the power of the human mind, dies at 76

“Everyone is probably going to share their stories and sentiments here, so mine is this. Stephen Hawking has been so good for the disabled community. Not in an inspirational ‘you can be anything you want to be!’ manner, but in real, actionable ways. When he taught at Cambridge he fought to have a ramp installed, leading to a full blown movement to make Cambridge more accessible. I've walked those roads and visited some of the college’s grounds, and old schools don't become disability-friendly easily but you can see how Cambridge has worked to be functional. ... Just in general, a figure as public as him having visible accommodations and helpers and always still being valued despite it was so important. It could get twisted in a lot of ableist ways, admittedly, but it also did a lot of good. I'll miss more about Professor Hawking, from his brilliant work on black holes, to his outspoken support for denuclearization and better wealth distribution. He made everyone feel a little smarter and that was so important. But for people with severe disabilities, he also made reaching great heights and accessing the care needed to do so feel more possible because he fought to keep every resource he accessed available to everyone else. There's a parallel universe out there where he didn't die, and I wish I was in it.”

— leighey

Student gunman dies after Maryland school shooting; two other students injured

“Call me old-fashioned but I miss the good ol' days when kids’ worst fear was getting a bad grade. Maybe getting rejected for the dance. Or getting your lunch money stolen. I feel for this generation. Poor kids are going to have PTSD before leaving high school.”

— DreBeast

Plastic within the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is ‘increasing exponentially,’ scientists find

“This is our world. Instead of spearheading and funding an emergency mission to clean up our beautiful Pacific Ocean, we're planning for war with North Korea, with Iran, trade wars with China, denying climate change, fighting environmental regulation, carving up protected national parks and selling them off to coal, copper and oil mining companies, drilling for oil off our seashores.

In all of my 63 years, I've never seen my country so misguided and inept in its overall concerns, messaging and actions. What kind of planet are we leaving to our grandchildren?”

— cbl55

Fifty years ago some called D.C. ‘the colored man’s paradise.’ Then paradise erupted.

“I was a 23-year-old white guy who on the night of the King assassination was shooting pool at the old Brunswick Billiards in the 1400 block of Irving Street, which was all black after the older white guys went back to the suburbs in late afternoon. I'd just dropped off one of the players at his girlfriend's house and heard the news of the shooting on the radio.

When I got back to the pool room, true story: Half the players were crying, and the other half were laughing at them. A friend of mine was so enraged at the ones laughing that I had to get him out of there before he killed someone. We then walked around the corner to a bar on Mt. Pleasant Street, where we were watching the news on TV when an old white dude started telling everyone within earshot that King had gotten what he deserved.”

— andym108

April

Speaker Ryan will not seek reelection, further complicating GOP House prospects

“At 48, Paul Ryan has a lot of good working years ahead of him. With his connections, he'd be a very desirable addition to any lobbying firm. ‘Retired as Speaker of the House’ will demand a better fee than 'Lost to an ironworker in a reliably red Congressional district,' so he's smart to be getting out now.

There's also the Trump factor. The GOP is becoming less about policy, more about loyalty to Trump. But he's become increasingly toxic to independent and swing voters. If Trump goes down hard, as seems very likely, his loyalists will take a big hit, so it's wise not to be too closely associated with him. On the other paw, to distance themselves from him risks losing the ‘base’ and encouraging primary challengers. Nearly every GOP incumbent this year is going through agony trying to figure out how to be pro-Trump enough to get the nomination, but not so much that they can't distance themselves from him in the general election. That's why so many are quitting.”

— GigsMN

John Boehner was a longtime opponent of marijuana reform. Here’s what changed his mind.

“I served 20 years in the U.S. Navy, which took a considerable toll on my body. Ten surgeries (bilateral knee replacements, plantar fasciitis and a total shoulder reconstruction) later, along with severe osteoarthritis in several vertebrae I am in constant, chronic pain. With the recent changes in opioid prescription restrictions (which I agree with), it is difficult to get more than a few days of Vicodin from my PCM, as she is afraid of being flagged by the DEA for over-prescribing. But I need pain relief to be able to go to work and function. It seems like there is no happy medium these days.

If medical marijuana was allowed to be prescribed by the VA and other health professionals it would go along way to helping those with chronic pain. I know several people, many of whom are veterans, who self-prescribe pot to help manage pain. But with my security clearance and random urinalysis, I am not willing to use it myself. I really hope that Congress will move forward on this issue and change these antiquated laws ... but I am not holding my breath.”

— Dennis A

A lesson learned in Barbara Bush’s bathing suit

“One Christmas, my husband, who worked for the RNC, and I were invited to the Bush's Christmas party. We arrived at their beautiful home; it was packed with other invitees. My husband and his best friend (an important person), whom we rode up with, proceeded to get drunk and were making loud fools of themselves. I left them and wandered around, looking at Barbara Bush's exotic plants. A tap on my shoulder — it was her. I started to apologize for my husband, but she knew my name and said, 'I heard you love cats. Come on upstairs.' She took me up to one of the guest bedrooms; under the bed were a couple of beautiful kitties. She got one out from under the bed. We sat on the bed and talked while petting the cat. It was a nice memory. She was a lovely woman.”

— yellowjournalism

May

Oculus Go is the first VR gadget you might actually buy

“I grew up in the 1950s and ‘60s riding bikes and searching farm roads and railroad tracks for ever more remote ponds and creeks, frogs and crawdads, dragonflies and sunfish, living life as a tomboy if there ever was one. And it makes me so sad that I can and have cried for some of the young ones coming up in this digital world so far distant from mine. ... Am I among only a few who sees those two poor souls pictured above sitting together, yet so alone, ‘sharing,’ with pity? I suppose there could be a digital farm pond and sunfishing app someday, but what modern kid would be even remotely interested? Not any of those reared with these digital marketing trojan horses strapped to their faces I'll bet. Good job everybody, your brave new world is upon you. You've eagerly sought it. Now enjoy it.”

— The Rose

Trump pulls United States out of Iran nuclear deal, calling the pact ‘an embarrassment’

“If I am Britain, France or Germany, I am planning for a future where I don't rely on the United States for anything. I don't make agreements with them which I depend on. I assume that the United States cannot be counted on to keep their word. It does not mean that I hate them, they just cease to be a serious partner. My future is with Europe. Even if the inanity and insanity of Trump passes within the next three years, America has become a volatile place, where the next Trump is likely to emerge without much warning. President's Trump's action today, at any level makes no sense, except with respect to an all-out assault on Obama's legacy.”

— country gentleman

Israelis kill more than 50 Palestinians in Gaza protests, health officials say

“The issues in the Middle East are like a thin layer of ice covering a big pond. The ice is barely able to sustain a lot weight because it is thinner in some areas than others and very delicate. Donald Trump is trying to use a jackhammer to break the ice. There can be no other explanation for his actions, i.e., moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, backing out of the Iran contract, alienating our allies, etc. This will not end well, and no one will be responsible for it other than Donald Trump and, by extension, the American people, of whom the majority of do not support these ill-advised and dangerous actions. It is going to take many years and a lot of apologizing to clean up the messes Trump is creating both at home and abroad. Voters had better be prepared to get out in November and send a clear signal to Trump that he is a destructor; not a unifier.”

— CountryStrong

‘Overwhelming grief’: 8 students, 2 teachers killed in Texas high school shooting

“A while back, my daughter saw the flags around town go to half-staff, back up a week later and then back to down to half-staff shortly after. She asked what it meant when the flag went to half-staff, and I explained the school shootings to her. Then she looked at me and said 'There's probably going to be another one in two weeks, so why don't they just keep it down.' She's 9.”

— 7godeohs

June

Robert F. Kennedy’s final flight: The storied journey of the ride from California to New York

“I was a child and still vividly recall both the funerals and aftermath of the murders of Dr. King and Sen. Kennedy. My first childhood memory is the day President Kennedy was assassinated. I remember sitting at our kitchen table. My mother was washing dishes, and the radio was on. Suddenly, she let out a scream and ran to our living room to turn on the TV. A little while later, my sisters came home early from school. Everyone around me was crying, angry and scared. I remember watching his funeral. ... It was such a horrible time. I cried so often that year.”

— lincoel

“I was 11 years old in 1968. Dr. King was shot April 4. His funeral was on the 8th, my birthday. I remember my mom wanted to watch the funeral on TV. In June, on the morning of the 6th, my Dad woke me up at 5 a.m. My mom was in labor, and they were heading to the hospital. I was to watch my 9-year-old sister and wait for my dad to call. Instead of going back to bed, I turned on the TV to learn that Robert Kennedy had died. When my dad called me at 10 a.m. to tell me I had a baby sister, my first words to him were that Bobby Kennedy had died.”

— Cindy V

‘Brilliant, fearless spirit’: Fans and friends mourn Anthony Bourdain, who died at 61

“He took us to places that most will never get to and introduced us to people most will never meet, in the most basic setting of human existence; sharing a meal. I am terribly saddened by his death. My heart goes out to those close to him.”

— citizen of the planet

Trump defiant as crisis grows over family separation at the border

“When I was an avid hiker, I use to do long-distance hiking. 4-6 months. One thing I remember so well is that 99 percent of people you meet would give you the shirt off their back if they noticed you needed one. Many people along the Appalachian trail put food and drinks out on the path for hikers. Restaurants give either a free meal or a hugely discounted one to hikers. People will even open their homes on cold days and let you warm up with some hot cocoa by the fire.

Are these the same people who cry 'Get a Job' and 'Bravo for punishing the children?' This is so far removed from the America I know. It's surreal.”

— lawrance beasley

July

Young Thai soccer players trapped in flooded cave are in good shape, but getting them out will be a challenge

“Cave diving is just about the most dangerous sport in the world. I am a trained diver with 30 years experience. I have penetrated wrecks and gone into overhead environments underwater where I can still see the exit. But I will not cave dive. The number of things that can go wrong is mind boggling. Silting up the cave thru careless contact with the surfaces, getting lost, getting stuck in tight spaces, gear hung up on edges, running out of air while trying to get free, even having the valve on your air tank turned off by rolling along the roof of the cave. Gives me the willies just thinking about it. I admire anyone brave enough to go after those boys.”

— dbr1957

‘Very much counter to the plan’: Trump defies advisers in embrace of Putin

“Nearly 40 years ago, Ronald Reagan referred to the Soviet Union as the 'evil empire.' I always thought that the stance was belligerent and overly provocative. We needed to be wary of the Soviet Union, but we also needed to reduce the chances of an armed conflict with them.

Nearly 40 years later, here comes Trump, who has gone to the opposite end of the spectrum. He has rolled over and became Putin's lapdog. Putin is trying to revitalize the old Soviet Union through his annexations of old Russian republics, his support of other bad actor countries and his attacks on the integrity of the government of the United States. I am actually horrified to hear myself say it, but in the face of Trump, we need a much harder line on Russia — maybe not along the lines of Reagan ... But we need someone who is going to stand up to Putin and Russia — not sell the United States down the river.”

— LiberalnLovinit

As Russians describe ‘verbal agreements’ at summit, U.S. officials scramble for clarity

“I think Trump views the investigation as a 'witch hunt' because the Russian's attempted meddling was well-established even before the election, leaving many to conclude that the only other purpose of the investigation is to undermine and delegitimize Trump's presidency. From that perspective, it would be hard for him to acknowledge that Russia had any involvement in the election as that could be seen as bolstering his critics' position, despite the fact that nobody has yet demonstrated that whatever the Russians attempted to do had any impact on the result of the election.

Unfortunately, his ego has put him in the position of denying broadly accepted facts of the case. His actions have handed the Democrats some excellent fodder for the fall election, and they will use it to smear any and all Republicans, none of whom had any role in his summit with Putin. It will be interesting to see if the Democrats can turn disparagement of the GOP into support for their opposing views and positions.”

— westernfan

‘We didn’t let girls do it in the old days,’ a judge said. ‘Inappropriate,’ a higher court ruled.

“This (and much worse) went on all the time back in the day when I practiced law. I was routinely called a lawyerette. Judges would say various versions of 'why would a nice girl like you want to practice law.' When I interviewed for a job with a prestigious law firm (all male at the time) I was asked : 'How does your husband feel about you traveling around with a bunch of men to take depositions and try cases? Do you have children? Do you have a babysitter? Do you plan on having more children, etc. etc. etc.' At that time, if you complained, the almost all- male legal community in town would call you a troublemaker and your chance of getting a job dwindled. Call me naive, but I really am surprised to hear it's still going on. It's better, I'm sure, but still going on.”

— persontoperson

August

Democratic Party’s liberal insurgency hits a wall in Midwest primaries

“These elections are local. The progressive candidates have great ideas, but no numbers (from what I can see) to support some of their ideas. Also, as a liberal, I worry about an extreme swing to the left that will then lead to another extreme swing to the right and so on until we are even more divided than we are now.

I voted for Bernie in the primaries, but when he didn't win, I didn't take my vote and go home, I still voted for whom I thought would be the better president: Hillary. Since then, I have become annoyed with Bernie because I feel like he waited too long to pull out of the race and spawned this group of people who voted for Trump out of spite. Now we are left with a president who supports rampant crony capitalism, the dismantling of the social safety net, and has appointed not one, but possibly two SCOTUS judges who will rule to strip Americans of basic rights. I hope that the ultra-left can see that some shift left is better than allowing our country to lose its democracy. I hope they can still motivate their people to support whatever democratic candidate has won the primary rather than sitting the election out.”

— gr8danedoc

Pope Francis: ‘No effort must be spared’ to prevent Catholic Church abuses

“As a practicing Catholic, this has been a rough week. I spoke to the pastor of my church after mass on Saturday, and he said he had been 'cut off at the knees' by the news. He said people in stores give him dirty looks, back away from him and send hateful emails. He's a good man, a straight-shooter and we've been blessed to have him as our pastor. ...

While I love Pope Francis, apologies are not enough — it's time for actions, not words. The culture of the church has to change and allowing priests to marry must be part of it. I know firsthand that Catholic communities do an immense amount of good work helping others in need, either with donations of money, food, clothing or time. It pains me to see the good priests, along with their communities who do make a positive difference, suffer because of the sins of the church's leaders. May there be enough millstones for every one of them.”

— Ansantan

Michael Cohen says he worked to silence two women ‘in coordination’ with Trump to influence 2016 election

“The most important thing that came out of yesterday is that our system of justice works if allowed to run its course. Yesterday's results show, once again, just how destructively wrong Trump is for his attempts to discredit our justice system and the dedicated lawyers that carry out that system.

Manafort's case was tried in a court of law where strict rules of evidence apply. He was tried by a jury of his peers. Where that jury found the government proved its case beyond a reasonable doubt, it returned a verdict, and where that jury could not agree on whether the government had done so, they did not return a verdict. Our system is so much larger than one individual like Donald Trump. The very big bottom line from yesterday is that if we give our system of justice the time and space to run its course, we as a nation will get to where we need to be. This is something Putin and Trump don't understand. Or maybe they do, and that's what upsets them most.”

— MoralProtagonist

John McCain, ‘maverick’ of the Senate and former POW, dies at 81

“In the summer of 2017, I was at Dulles Airport waiting outside of customs for the arrival of my wife and daughter from their trip to Europe. As I waited, a small man with a mere escort of an airline steward comes walking out of the customs exit. Sen. McCain was behind the ropes that block non-passengers from passengers. I shouted, ‘Keep up the good work, senator.’ John McCain stopped and walked up to me. Shook my hand and thanked me. Asked me who I was and where I was from. He looked a bit jet-lagged after I am sure a long flight from overseas, but he took the opportunity to stop and chat for a few seconds.

About a month later, Sen. McCain gave the now famous 'thumbs down' on the Senate floor against the defeat of taking away health care from every U.S. citizen. It was just made public at that time the senator had a brain tumor that would almost a year later take his life. I wondered if he knew at the time when he stopped and shook my hand that he was ill, yet he took the time to stop and chat. Rest in peace, senator. The country needs more leaders like you — a person of character, bravery, integrity, civility, honesty and true love for all of America.”

— Age of Discovery

The perils of being a woman who’s just asking to be left alone

“I had hoped the harassment would stop as I got older and the ‘ravages of time’ began showing. I am now 60.

Alas, it doesn't matter. Yesterday after I left the post office, an older man seated with some friends at a nearby sidewalk table I had to pass to get to my car, decided he had to harass me about my ‘beautiful shirt,’ and my ‘beautiful hat,’ that were ‘almost as beautiful as [I].’ He wanted my attention. After the initial thank-you regarding his comment about my shirt, I ignored him and kept walking, though I felt the urge to tell him to go pleasure himself with a sheet of coarse sandpaper. There were children around anyway. My reason for being at the post office that day? I'd been returning some items sent to my husband, who died a week ago.”

— BeemanRS

“My husband went out running alone before daybreak. I would never consider doing the same even in our safe suburban neighborhood. Too many bad experiences to even consider doing such a thing ever again.

My 11-year-old daughter was home sick from school in the spring. We went to Panera after the doctor's office. I went to get her a drink and in less than 60 seconds, she had a man with a long white ponytail standing over her while she tried to disappear into her book, sliding under the table to get away from him. 'What do I have to do to get a date with you?' was what I heard before I barked, 'What the hell are you doing talking to my daughter? She's 11 years old.' Her body language was not enough to deter him. Mine most assuredly was. He turned tail and ran. We never know what's going to happen to us when we're alone and we reject a man's advances, no matter how politely.”

— misnagid

“I was on vacation with my parents about 25 years ago. There was a guy about my age at the same hotel who asked me out. I wasn't interested, so I turned him down. The next day, there was a huge footprint kicked into my car door. My family and I assumed it was him. My parents told me it wouldn't have killed me to just have dinner with him, and that my car was damaged because I was a snob.”

— Milligans Island

September

Tennis umpires reportedly considering boycott of Serena Williams matches

“It's fascinating how standards of accepted behavior vary from sport to sport. How long does one imagine a baseball player would last if he accused the umpire of being a "thief" for a called third strike? What does one think would happen to a basketball player who yelled abuse at a referee for minutes on end? In both of those situations, the player would be ejected. Yet Ms. Williams feels hard done for being penalized when she lengthily and quite personally berated the chair umpire.

Professional sports is a high-pressure business, and athletes in individual sports like tennis are under the microscope far more than team players. Even so: Manners matter in life, and the rules are set up so that no athlete should expect to be allowed to rant and vent unchecked without consequence. Ms. Williams’s position seems to be that she wants the right to be just as abusive as the worst of the male offenders in her sport. That's a poor standard to aspire to. Better she should look to the example of Rafael Nadal, who has had his own issues with the same chair umpire, but never descended into name calling.”

— scwartz paul

Ted Cruz and wife are shouted out of D.C. restaurant over his support for Kavanaugh

“I'm a grass-roots Democrat who is spending every weekend volunteering for Jennifer Wexton (who is a Democratic challenger against Republican Congresswoman Barbara Comstock) and this makes me sick. … This behavior completely negates so much of my volunteering and the work that so many candidates are doing to get out these voters. Miss Manners in The Post used to have a saying: ‘Rudeness is always impolite.’”

— FairfaxVoter

Kavanaugh hearing: Supreme Court nominee insists on his innocence, calls process ‘national disgrace’

“The Ford/Kavanaugh hearings have just ended. Here is what I feel after watching the accusations being tossed about.

First, and foremost, someone is lying. Secondly, there will probably be an FBI investigation, although I believe that it will come to a non-committal result, casting no aspersions on either party. That said, I feel disgusted with the way these hearings are held by obviously very biased people from both parties. That is not conducive to arrive at the truth. In fact, those politicians have created only more doubt for both Kavanaugh and Ford. ... I feel sorry for Judge Kavanaugh and Dr. Ford and their families and remain thoroughly disgusted with the way Washington handles these sorts of inquiries. What an embarrassment for the way our government works. Color me green for the nauseous feeling I have after watching this biased circus.”

— rohrod

October

Dear dads: Your daughters told me about their assaults. This is why they never told you.

“I was assaulted as a child by our pharmacist. I told my mother, but she did not say anything to anybody and told me to avoid the pharmacy. Why? Because he was the family and neighborhood pharmacist, he could refuse to fill our family’s prescriptions if he was brought up on charges of molestation. I never went back. Then we moved away from the neighborhood. He's dead now, but it is still in my memory. Assaults never go away, even after 55 years.”

— tcgrimes

Jamal Khashoggi: What the Arab world needs most is free expression

“In savagely seeking to silence this journalist's voice, the Saudi crown prince has only magnified his message. May his words of wisdom inspire the world and may justice come to those who perpetrated this heinous crime.”

— scribeusa

DJ Durkin, Maryland part ways following outcry over coach’s reinstatement

“Until the NCAA truly punishes coaches and programs for harm to either players or other members of the campus community, this is going to continue to happen. Penn State got but a slap on the wrist for prioritizing football over the well-being of kids. (And many of the penalties they did receive the NCAA quickly rolled back.) Nothing happened to Baylor after numerous women came forward after allegedly being sexually assaulted by players ... And now Maryland tries to get their football coach back after he basically killed a kid and had countless reports of bullying others.

I love sports, but it's long past time we care about the lives of players and others on college campuses over wins that in essence mean nothing in the scheme of life.”

— littleletterman

November

A split America reasserts its divisions in the midterm elections

“We Americans like to think of ourselves as a classless society, but Trump has changed that. Class is now clear, and it's not based on money but on education. And what does it say about a nation when the educated class votes one way and the uneducated class votes another way?

When President Kennedy was killed, I happened to be taking a university course in U.S. history. Right after the assassination, everything closed down for a few days so there was a slight delay, making drama somewhat build before the class met again. When it did, the professor stood to speak and at first he choked up and could not find his voice as we all waited to see what in the world he would say. Then he cleared his throat and said 'Maybe we should have been two nations. Maybe the Civil War was right.' I have never forgotten that.”

— Cubby2

‘We’re making entry:’ Sergeant killed in Thousand Oaks pursued gunman inside club

“My niece goes to Borderline about twice a month and was there the previous Wednesday on college night. My sister was thinking of going last night to learn dances but decided to go to a running clinic instead. They are shaken up. And this got me thinking ...

After a mass shooting, we tally how many people died and that number is what we record and repeat and remember. But we do not also remember how many people were injured or otherwise terrorized at the scene. We do not remember how many family and friends of victims are affected, how many lives are altered, how our society is altered by anxiety and anger each time this happens. We need to quantify the real consequences of gun violence. On any matter of constitutional rights, there needs to be a balance between ‘freedom to’ and ‘freedom from.’”

— Whenyoudream

Stan Lee, creator of superheroes, dies at 95

“I learned a lot about morals and the complexity of life through comic books as a boy and young man. The heroes struggling with their self doubts, moral dilemmas, their shortcomings, their emotions, their victories, their failures, temptation, power, pain, isolation, loneliness, and last, but not least truth, justice and the American way.

How many of us have been shaped by these stories I wonder. They exposed us to situations and ideals that we, as children, could relate to, in many ways that ‘adults’ could not explain to us. For many adults are flawed, too. RIP, Mr. Lee, and thanks for exciting the imagination of children everywhere and for some of life's lessons.”

— Dr.Who3

Camp Fire’s destruction in Northern California leaves rescue teams sifting through debris for human remains

“I was surrounded by a wildfire for four days in San Diego in 2003, up until recently that was the most destructive fire on record, the Cedar Fire. I can't even describe how terrifying it was to wake up to my blue bedroom glowing orange, and seeing a wall of flames and smoke about a half mile from my house. Just as scary was how quickly all services break down in the midst of a fire that is so unpredictable. No one knew where it was spreading, or how the fire fight was going. We hunkered down and listened to news all day that rarely had useful updates.

A cop came to block our street, and I asked him if we had to evacuate. He looked like a ghost, and just kept repeating ‘I don't know, all I know is I'm supposed to close this road.’ 300 homes burned to the foundation in my neighborhood. I still get very nervous whenever I smell smoke in the air.”

— MizAnthrope

NASA’s InSight Mars explorer lands safely on the Red Planet

“It can be hard to imagine the joy of success the people who worked on this mission are experiencing. It is the polar opposite of the emotions felt when a mission fails, and you realize years of hard effort ended in seconds. I know, as a (now retired) engineer who worked on several missions and been on both sides of that equation. I raise a glass to those who dared greatly to achieve greatness and push the envelope of knowledge to where it has never been before.”

— moallen

December

‘Honorable, gracious and decent’: In death, Bush becomes a yardstick for President Trump

“Most people remember George Bush as president. I remember him as something else — a passenger. I had the rare fortune of being able to fly him around while a Special Air Missions pilot during my Air Force career.

Unfortunately, many of our elected officials are very different people in front of the public. I have too many Jekyll and Hyde stories of their personalities once the airplane door closed and the cameras clicked off. President Bush was the rare exception. Everything you have read about him in the press is true. His warmth, kindness, generosity, integrity — all of those were genuine, intrinsic traits. His love of country and family was palpable. One incident is a treasured memory. He had a couple minutes to kill after we landed for an event so he came in the cockpit, plopped down in the jumpseat and started shooting the breeze with us. Just one old pilot to another. Yes, he was the leader of the free world, but underneath it all he was just a regular guy. You got the feeling if you invited him over for burgers on a Saturday afternoon he might actually show up! Nothing about him was phony. His public and private personas were identical. Today's leaders could learn a lesson or two from him. Godspeed on your final flight into the sunset, Mr. President. It was a true honor and privilege to serve you.”

— smstrack

Theresa May survives no confidence vote, but her Brexit deal remains in doubt

“May was put in an impossible position trying to deliver Brexit in a way that satisfies all parties, including the extremists in her own party. It’s not possible to satisfy everyone. The reality is Brexit automatically means there will be winners and losers. Farage and more recently Johnson were well aware of this because they both ran away when it started to get too hard. The Eurocrats know this too, and because they hold all the cards, they are determined to get their pound of flesh and make an example of Britain. Why wouldn’t they?

Those urging a hard Brexit with no compromise of any sort should be careful what they wish for. Crashing out of the European Union overnight with no agreements in place and just shutting the borders means a prolonged and deep recession is highly likely for Britain. What a mess.”

— Tiliqua

Mattis resigns after clash with Trump over troop withdrawal from Syria and Afghanistan

“I'm nervous for our country, for world order, for overall stability and security. I greatly admire Sec. Mattis, though, for telling it like it is and for having the decency to adhere to his own moral code and patriotism. Now what?”

— kat1813

“I haven't agreed with a single thing that Trump has done — until now. America cannot sustain these ‘forever wars’ forever. Eisenhower warned decades ago about the ‘military/industrial complex’ and the bottomless pit of power and greed posed by military obsession with more/better/useless weapons of destruction coupled with the greed of industrial giants like Boeing and Lockheed and private contractors who submit bids for contracts with the government and then overrun budgets and/or provide useless reconstruction fiascos in countries we've decimated.

Enough with these wars and unnecessary deaths of soldiers and civilians. We need to do a lot of rebuilding of our own country — reconstruction of roads, bridges, tunnels, sewers, and waterways. ... We need less war and more investment in our own country. Stop with the fear tactics. The Taliban are not going to level America. Wake up, everybody. Forever wars all lead to the demise of empires.”

— booradley11

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About this story

Comments above are lightly edited for clarity. Design and development by Virginia Singarayar and Jake Crump. Illustration by Allie Pak for The Washington Post. Animation by Osman Malik.

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