There’s less than 36 hours left of 2016, and for many this year can’t end soon enough. The thought of a fresh start in 2017 – and an anything is better than this year attitude – is impatiently watching the minutes tick off the clock hoping another tragedy or incident does not happen in the waning hours. Below is a look at the top 10 things that sucked this past year, making it one to remember – and not for the good it brought.
- The Dumpster Fire That Was the Presidential Election
A nightmarish Republican primary that included far too many candidates that most believed to be unqualified. Nonstop babble about Clinton’s emails and her husband’s past marital indiscretions. And, now, the topic of Russia surrounded by rhetoric that harkens back to the Cold War-era. The 2016 presidential election – and countless state and local elections across the country – caused unprecedented anxiety, and even violence.
- Far Too Many Celebrity Deaths
David Bowie, Prince, Alan Rickman, George Michael, Gene Wilder, John Glenn, Carrie Fisher. Just a handful of the many legendary artists, musicians, actors and heroes the world was forced to say goodbye to during 2016. Many of those we lost this year were fierce champions of love – whether it be LGBTQ rights, mental health or just the simple idea that we should celebrate each others’ differences and independence.
- Violence Toward Peaceful Water Protectors at Standing Rock
While the #NODAPL camps have been increasingly documented by mainstream media, the violence peaceful water protectors have endured at the hands of local law enforcement has been largely ignored. Dog attacks, pepper spray, rubber bullets and use of water cannons in sub-freezing temperatures have all been reported, and even live-streamed, by protectors on the ground. This, coupled with conflicting reports from local police departments alleging water protectors have acted violently toward law enforcement, has convoluted mainstream coverage.
The unspeakable horrors of the war in Syria have been communicated largely through photography and personal Twitter accounts such as @AlabedBana since 2011. In early December, during enhanced attempts by pro-Assad forces to fully take eastern Aleppo, the United Nations described the situation as a “complete meltdown of humanity.” The horrifying accounts coming out of Syria have left much of the world’s population alarmed and disgusted.
- The Fact That Flint Is Still Having to Use Bottled Water
The decades-long timeline of contaminated water in Flint, Michigan, continue to embarrass both local and federal officials as stories of water contamination continue to surface. Reports of residents cooking Thanksgiving dinner using hundreds of bottles of water have been published as felony charges slowly roll in for Flint officials.
- The Orlando Nightclub Shooting
One of the largest mass shootings in U.S. history, second only to the Wounded Knee Massacre of December 29, 1890, occurred at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, on June 12, 2016. After a nearly three-hour standoff, 50 people, including the gunman, died. Many of the victims were Hispanic members of the LGBTQ community. The shooting not only renewed the conversation on gun control, but also catapulted awareness of discrimination against the LGBTQ community.
- North Carolina’s Bathroom Bill
HB2, passed by North Carolina’s state legislature in March of 2016, overwhelmingly reversed provisions allowing transgender individuals to use public restrooms of their choice. The legislation also prohibited local governments from passing their own laws regarding individuals who have not “taken surgical and legal steps to change the gender noted on their birth certificates,” according to the Charlotte Observer. The bill has been viewed as a huge step backward for LGBTQ rights, despite 2015’s Supreme Court decision legalizing gay marriage.
- Brock Turner
Brock Turner, infamously known as “the Stanford rapist,” caused widespread outrage across the nation when he was sentenced to a meager six-month jail stint after gruesome details surfaced about his assault of a 23-year-old woman on Stanford University’s campus in California. The woman wrote a scathing letter addressed to Turner, which was published far and wide, detailing the aftermath of the attack. Turner’s father went on to publicly complain that his son’s six-month sentence was a “steep price to pay for 20 minutes of action.” Turner proceeded to serve only three months in jail before being released.
- Racially-Charged Police Shootings…. Still
In 2015, The Guardian debuted a database tracking fatal police shootings in the United States. The statistics show an overwhelming lead by Native Americans being the most likely to be killed by police, at 8.02 per million, while Blacks come in at 6.21 per million, distantly followed by Hispanic/Latino at 2.95 per million. While many have known for decades that fatal violence at the hands of law enforcement is disproportionately directed at ethnic minorities, The Guardian’s detailed tracking system is a harsh reminder of an even harsher reality.
- The Fact That 2016 Will Literally Last One Second Longer Than Expected
And finally, if points one through nine weren’t enough to make bidding 2016 goodbye seem increasingly favorable, the International Earth Rotation and Reference Systems Service reported earlier this year that 2016 will actually last one second longer than originally anticipated. Seriously, someone go check on Betty White.