People everywhere have been talking about what a bad year 2016 was. Definitely a lot of bad things happened, but also a lot of good things. Here are the highlights and deal breakers of 2016. While not everyone will agree with these lists, and some people may have personal things to add to either, here are 10 of the best things and 10 of the worst things that happened in 2016.
10: Zika virus
Over the summer, many tropical parts of the Americas had cases of the Zika virus, which is spread mainly through mosquito bites. Fortunately, there were relatively few positive cases of the disease, and in my research I couldn’t find anything about anyone dying of the disease this year.
9: Natural disasters
There were many natural disasters in 2016, most notably the earthquake in Indonesia and Hurricane Matthew. Unfortunately, natural disasters are set to get worse along with global warming.
This is arguable not that bad, but who knows what will happen to the EU in terms of both policies and economics.
7: Continual unrest in the Middle East – especially in Syria
It was just a couple days ago that the Syrian government recaptured Aleppo, and this is seen by many as a turning point in the ongoing Syrian Civil War. Still, for several years now, Syria has been in the middle of an immensely destructive civil war that has figuratively had the country on its knees.
6: Many amazing celebrities died
Alan Rickman, Gene Wilder, Muhammad Ali, Prince, Harper Lee, David Bowie, just to name a few. They died throughout the year of various causes.
5: Terrorism around the world
Terrorism has always been a major concern of many Americans since 9/11. Still, the only terrorist attacks reported in the US were relatively small ones with minimal casualties. There were, however, many terrorist attacks in the Middle East, and a few in France. Regardless, it’s sad that we lost so many people in these attacks, regardless in which country.
4: More innocent lives taken by police officers
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It seems to be increasingly often that we hear of unarmed black teenagers killed by police officers. While some officers probably truly felt that their lives were in danger, the amount of shootings proves that this isn’t always the case. And, it’s worth noting that officers are generally able to subdue white criminals – even serial killers – with minimal violence. So yes, officers should be doing their best to keep themselves out of harm’s way, and people claiming to be affiliated with #BlackLivesMatter shouldn’t be trying to hurt officers. But officers shouldn’t be killing unarmed black teenagers either, especially if they’re capable of subduing white serial killers without deadly violence. In this instance, both #BlackLivesMatter and #BlueLivesMatter are relevant and should be able to coexist peacefully.
3: Rapist given an easy sentence because a longer one would ruin his swimming career
We’ve probably all heard about Brock Turner, who, after raping a girl (also a student at his school), was given a three-month sentence so his swimming and academic careers wouldn’t be ruined. The girl, however, will probably be scarred for life by the experience.
2: Racist, misogynist bigot elected as president
While different people have different opinions of Donald Trump, it’s virtually indisputable that he’s racist, misogynistic, and a bigot. The amount of his support, more than anything else, proves the amount of people who share his unfounded beliefs, and may encourage other racists and misogynists to be more blatant in their dislike of those different from themselves.
1: 49 people died in Orlando shooting
This is proof, again, of some people’s dislike of those different from them. It is likely that this will encourage homophobic people to be more homophobic in the future, and those who identify as LGBT should be extra careful going forward.
10: Spacecraft Juno reached Jupiter
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In July, Juno reached Jupiter, and took many new pictures sent back to earth to study our solar system’s largest planet.
9: Pokémon Go encouraged people to exercise instead of sitting inside
Pokémon Go was insanely popular over the summer. And while it’s been steadily losing steam as the weather has been getting colder, over the summer it got many people outside and moving. Exercise is one of the best treatments for a lot of the most common ailments among first-world countries. It helps obesity, heart disease, and helps to prevent many problems such as stroke and heart attacks. It also seems to help with mental illnesses such as depression, as the entire premise of the game gets people out of bed, out of the house, and a sense of purpose that isn’t all too pressing. Many people have also said they made friends while out playing the game.
8: Summer Olympics
The Olympics, both summer and winter, are wonderful events, as they bring nearly the entire world together in friendly competition. Of course, there are always rivalries, but in the Olympics, conflicts are often reconciled by trying extra hard to beat a country’s rivals. This may not always happen the way it should, but it’s much better than starting a war. Plus the Olympics has all my favorite sports.
7: Hamilton the musical
Hamilton evidently first came out in April, although all the songs have been available for listening on YouTube and Spotify for much longer. Although not being much of a rap and hip-hop fan myself, I loved listening to all the songs, and many of my friends felt the same. The entire musical was well-written, in both the sense of the play and in the sense of all the songs. Every person cast on Broadway was an amazing singer, and from what I’ve heard, also an amazing actor. The only downside to Hamilton, it seems, is the virtually inaccessible price of tickets.
6: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
It’s been five years since the last Harry Potter movie (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 came out in 2011), and nine since the last Harry Potter book came out (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows came out in July 2007, and The Tales of Beedle the Bard came out in December of the same year). I’m not going to count The Cursed Child as a Harry Potter book, since JK Rowling didn’t write it, but she did write the script of Fantastic Beasts, which you can read about in one of my previous articles.
5: The ice bucket challenge from 2015 funded research for ALS
During the summer of 2015, people everywhere were challenging their friends to do the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. While at the time, this seemed like a pointless meme traveling around the internet, the omnipresence of the videos brought needed publicity to the disease, raising money for researchers to study the disease in 2016.
4: The giant panda is no longer endangered
For years, the giant panda has been on the endangered species list. In 2016, there were enough pandas that species is now categorized as “threatened” instead.
3: Harriet Tubman will be on the front of the new $20 bill
President Andrew Jackson, who is currently on the front of the $20 bill is, in my opinion, the worst president of the US ever. He is responsible for the Trail of Tears, when he forced the Cherokee Native American tribe off their lands east of the Mississippi and to present-day Oklahoma. It appears that no one really knows why Jackson was on the $20, but in 2016 it was announced that Harriet Tubman, who helped countless slaves escape along the Underground Railroad during the American Civil War, would replace Jackson on the front of the bill. Unfortunately, Jackson will still be on the back.
2: Donations to Planned Parenthood were made in Mike Pence’s name
Mike Pence is, along with Donald Trump, one of the most hated politicians in the US, even among those in his own party. As governor of Indiana, he’s taken every stance he can against LGBT rights, and has taken positions against all forms of birth control as well. And this isn’t just abortions. Since Mike Pence even opposes the use of condoms, people have been making donations to Planned Parenthood in his name.
1: People are speaking out about all the bad things
For every person who likes Donald Trump, there seems to be someone else who opposes everything he says and does. Even more plainly, when the Westboro Baptist Church tried to protest against people mourning after the Orlando shooting, volunteers dressed up as angels to protect mourners.
Whether or not 2016 was good or bad is up for interpretation, and while some of these good things may outweigh the bad, the bad may also outweigh the good. It’s a matter of perspective.