January 19, 1989 – On the eve of the Inaugural of George H.W. Bush as 41st President of the U.S., Washington was in full Party mode, with pre-Inaugural galas getting a jump on the big day. President-elect Bush and his wife Barbara dropped in on three pre-Inaugural dinners the previous night, complete with fireworks and music filling the air. Presidential inaugurations were now a three-day celebration – a far cry from the days of George Washington, where a simple ceremony and swearing in took place on April 30th in New York. That was 200 years ago. Later on this day more parties and dinners, culminating with the Grand pre-inaugural event featuring entertainment from Frank Sinatra, Loretta Lynn and The Mormon Tabernacle Choir.
And there was other news. A day after Soviet leader Gorbachev announced a 14% reduction in defense spending, his Foreign Minister went before the closing session of the European Security Conference with another surprise; that Soviet troops withdrawing from Europe will take their nuclear weapons with them. The decision to withdraw 50,000 troops from Warsaw Pact countries was announced by Gorbachev during his United Nations address the previous December, but at the time made no mention of Nuclear Weapons. NATO had resisted separate talks on tactical nuclear weapons, preferring to discuss the whole issue of troop strength and conventional war in Europe. The Soviet announcement on this day was expected to win high marks with America’s European allies. This days proposal was seen as an attempt at forcing the hand of the Bush Administration into making a quick decision, even before it got its feet on the ground.
But with all the parties and peace overtures, there was still the stain of mass shootings. This time in Stockton California. The gunman, Patrick Purdy hated Vietnamese and anyone of Asian heritage. So he decided to take his hate to an elementary school playground, where children were out on recess. Killing five and wounding 32, he took his own life in the process, leaving yet another community to deal with the cleanup and aftermath. Police discovered Purdy had booby-trapped his car, which was parked nearby -soaking a pipe bomb filled with shrapnel in gasoline, with the intention of killing many more than he did. And yet another hate crime and another automatic weapon and another community plunged into grief.
And, aside from another earthquake in L.A., centered around Malibu which injured one and trashed a supermarket, there was a lot of other news as presented by The CBS World News Roundup for January 19, 1989