A couple of years ago, millions of people around the globe witnessed the death rock ‘n’ roll. Not the metaphorical death knell or last gasp that Lester Gropes would suggest. Rock ‘n’ roll was literally passing on.
It began with Ian Anderson laying down his flute at the age of 67. From there it turned into a chronology of immortals who proved to be mortal. We lost Mick Jones, Mike Porcaro, Kim Fowley, Percy Sledge, Ben E. King, B.B. King, James Horner, Chris Squire, Vic Firth, Allan Toussaint, Scott Weiland, and Lemmy Kilmister.
Take a deep breath…
Or maybe not.
January 10, 2016. Beloved rocker David Bowie loses his battle with cancer. Eight days later, Glenn Frey passes. Then Maurice White in February, George Martin a few weeks later, Keith Emerson two days later, then Jimmy Van Zant. And who among us wasn’t shocked at Prince’s untimely death while concurrently mourning the loss of Merle Haggard? And what about Matt Roberts, Pete Burns, Leonard Cohen, Leon Russell, and now Greg Lake?
And then on 28 December we hear about Carrie Fisher. The next her mother, Debbie Reynolds. What??
“What the Hell Happened?”
We seemed to be asking that a lot all year long. One shocking event after another made us scratch our heads and ask, “Is this really happening?”
None of us could have imagined a 29-year old security guard, shooting up a nightclub. But that is exactly what occurred in Orlando, Florida on June 12th when Omar Mateen raided the Pule nightclub and killed 49 people while injuring 53 more. He claims this violent act was a result of the American-led interventions in Iraq and Syria, and that the United States should stop bombing ISIL. The victims were primarily members of the LGBT community – a group that Mateen hated. It was the deadliest attack by a single shooter in U.S. History.
Just five days later, terror strikes again in Charleston, South Carolina.
It was hard to fathom 21-years old white supremacist Dylan Roof walking into a prayer service at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church on June 17th and gunning down nine innocent victims including the senior pastor, state Senator Clementa C. Pinckney because he had ‘hopes of igniting a race war.’ Roof turned the gun on himself. When he pulled the trigger, however, the chamber was empty, so he ran out. He was captured the following morning and will stand trial in January of 2017.
Cops & violence
On July 7th Micah Xavier Johnson opened fire on a group of police officers in Dallas, Texas. Five officers were killed, and 11 were injured including two civilians. Johnson, a former Army Reserve Afghan War veteran, shot the police because he was angered over the shootings of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and Philando Castile in Falcon Heights, Minnesota by police officers. He claimed that he wanted to kill white people because the police shootings were not justified.
2016 indeed sucks.
The Battle for North Dakota
From time to time certain enigmas arise in the U.S. that baffle the mind. Take for instance the Dakota Access Pipeline, a 1,172-mile-long underground oil pipeline project that spans North Dakota, Iowa, and Illinois. Proponents of the pipeline claim that it will improve overall safety to the public would help the US gain energy independence and that the pipeline would be a more dependable method of transporting oil.
The decision was met with resistance from two prominent Indian tribes, farm-owners, environmental groups such as Green Peace and scientists around the globe. As opposition to the pipeline grew, so did the intensity of the conflict between the protesters and Dakota Access Pipeline. In August 30 demonstrators were arrested. Millions of dollars of equipment were destroyed due to arson. Historic Indian monuments and land preservation areas were destroyed. Armed soldiers and police were called in to clear out Indian camps while holding back protesters. Law enforcement used heavy water spray, rubber bullets, and dogs to keep crowds from interfering with the construction. The results were devastating. The world watched while America imploded over the use of oil.
2016 truly sucks.
The Election: A Political Nightmare
At 9 pm EST on November 8th, the night of the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election, hard numbers started rolling in from Florida and Ohio. Only they weren’t turning blue – Quite the opposite. It appeared that Republican presidential candidate Donald J. Trump was winning these states over Democratic nominee Hillary Rodham Clinton. While Clinton had secured critical states such as New York and California, Trump seemed to be landing huge victories everywhere else. He miraculously took states such as Pennsylvania and Michigan that were once considered a home court advantage for the DNC.
The next morning, America woke up stunned, and once again asked, “What Happened?” Although neither candidate was seen as a strong choice in the eyes of the American public, no one could have predicted that Trump would actually become the next president. For months we were convinced that that Clinton campaign had paved an easy road to the Oval Office. At least that’s what the media wanted us to believe. It’s obvious that we didn’t know as much as we thought we did, and that Trump’s election woke all of us up to the saddening reality of this country.
The aftermath of the election was even worse. Cries for recounts rang across the land. Riots and large-group protests sprang up in almost every major city. Racial tension was boiling. Organizations, companies, and celebrities were threatening boycotts and a mass exodus of the country. And, of course, the media was paralyzed. Trump’s verbal attacks have not been assuaged, and Hillary Clinton looked like a fool by calling for a vote recount after previously calling it a ‘threat to democracy’.
Both the media and the U.S. government had embarrassed itself, and the American people were there to watch the drama play out. How could things get any worse? Well consider these nuggets of doom:
- We’re confused about which organization is responsible for which bombing.
- We’re still wondering what was in Hillary’s emails. And now there’s rumors of the Russians influencing the outcome of the election.
- We still don’t know exactly what the Zika virus is.
- September 2016 was the hottest September in recorded history.
- We’ve lost count of all the forest fires, hurricanes, tornadoes, tsunamis, earthquakes, and sinkholes.
- Two of Van Gogh’s paintings were stolen.
- Brad & Angelina broke up.
- Kanye is still recording albums.
Anyone who thinks that 2016 was a great year either won the lottery or moved to Denmark. This past year has brought on more misery than any of us could possibly handle. It seemed like every time we stepped outside our homes, we were faced with a national disaster or global catastrophe. It would make one wonder if anything good happened this year.
Well, the answer is yes: The Chicago Cubs won the World Series. It’s about damn time.