2016: A Series of Unfortunate Events


Menna Ibrahim, staff writer

With less than 24 hours left in 2016, Northwest students seemed to hope for nothing more than its end. With dying fan favorites, ridiculous celebrity feuds, international turmoil brewing, questionable fads circling the internet and a presidential election unlike anything before, many claim that 2016 has set the bar so low that it can only go up from here.

“I have so many high hopes for 2017 that, [looking back on it], prove how awful 2016 really was,” sophomore Brooke Toffel said.

In a matter of 366 days, things can only escalate so far, but 2016 has time and time again proven that every day consists of 24 hours and every minute counts. And for once, this overused Tumblr quote has taken a definition in the majority’s disadvantage.

“It seems to progressively get worse. All I can say is what the heck 2016? This was supposed to be [my] year, but guess not,” junior Shantia Cruz said.

With the year finally coming to a close and a list of soon-to-be-forgotten goals in the process of being written, what better way of celebrating surviving the supposedly doomed leap year that is 2016 than reminiscing on the world’s misfortune?

January claimed 2016’s first wave of cruelty by taking beloved legends such as David Bowie, Alan Rickman and Glenn Frey, leaving fans to globally mourn in their absence. The month came to a close soon enough, but not before the World Health Organization had a chance to announce a deadly Zika virus outbreak on Jan 28.

February followed in January’s divisive footsteps by making a victim out of American novelist Harper Lee, enemies out of  Kanye West and Taylor Swift and reiterating the fact that North Korea care very little about the rest of the world as it launched a long-range missile that violated many UN treaties. Not to mention that going a day without hearing the phrase “Damn Daniel” was a rarity at best and an envy by all.

By March, it was evident that 2016 was the hottest year in history, beating the staggering record set by former champion: 2015. Yet the events that followed were anything but “hot”. Bombings in Brussels, Belgium were reported to take 32 lives and injure more than 250 civilians. This tragic event was directly followed by a suicide bombing in Lahore, Pakistan that killed 75 and injured more than 340. ISIS claimed responsibility for both and the world was left in shambles once again.

“I thought April had been going alright. It was quiet which was kind of scary with how [2016] had been going so far so I just expected something really bad to happen,” junior Sierra Dixon said.

On April 21, American singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, Prince was found dead in his studio. Purple Rain parades and commemorations of his work fled the rest of the month.

Getting excited over watching another person flip a water bottle was looked down upon before May. Becoming such a disturbance that it soon went on to be banned from some restaurants and many schools, the Water Bottle Flip Challenge has yet to meet its end. But May’s trend of fun and games may have just been the world’s way of coping. The Challenge followed the crash of EgyptAir Flight 808 that killed 66 passengers and crew members on its way from Paris to Cairo and the killing of Harambe, a 17-year-old gorilla that lived in the Cincinnati Zoo.

June was dismal for a summer month. The month marked the death of, boxing legend, Muhammad Ali as well as the largest mass shooting on American soil. Pulse, an Orlando nightclub, was the site of a massacre on June 12, killing 49 civilians and wounding another 53. On the June 23, Britain voted to leave the European Union. On June 28, ISIS claimed responsibility for an attack in the Ataturk Airport in Istanbul, Turkey, killing 45 people and injuring around 230.

“I was team Mystic. [Pokémon Go] was really fun while it lasted, but it died out a lot slower than I thought it would,” sophomore Kiana Dolam said.

Niantic released Pokémon Go on July 6 for both Android and iOS; in turn, the entire summer had the looks of hunting Poké Balls and nothing more. That is until a cargo truck was driven into crowds celebrating Bastille Day in Nice, France, killing 86 people and injuring more than 430. ISIS claimed responsibility for this attack as well.

In August, the world lost Gene Wilder, actor most known for his role as Willy Wonka. Despite the tragedy, August also kicked off the Summer Olympics hosted in Rio. Although many competitors decided against competing due to the Zika outbreak, the Olympics brought the world closer in a shared interest, other than war.

“My family and I cheered on the United States and Vietnam because that’s where my parents are from. We don’t always get along, but we usually did when we watched [the Olympics] together,” Dolam said.

Hurricane Matthew first struck in late September. Feeding all the way into early October, Hurricane Matthew was reported to be the first Category 5 Atlantic hurricane since 2007. Destruction followed in its footsteps.

By October it seemed as though nothing more could take a toll on this already deteriorating year, but alas, exploding Samsung Galaxies and clown sightings all over the states proved everyone wrong once again. But with the Mannequin Challenge developing and the 2016 Presidential Election finally down to two, Ken Bone became the United States’ glimpse of temporary hope.

November was made up of wildfires spontaneously starting around the United States that ultimately lead to Donald Trump winning the election on November 8.

“At that point in the election, I was just glad it was over. All we can do is let [the presidency] boil over and hope for the best,” Cruz said.

December was a series of misfortunate events and a slow crawl to the finish line. Much like what happened in Nice, a truck was deliberately driven into a Christmas Market in Berlin, Germany. This terrorist attack, also claimed by ISIS, left 12 dead and 56 others injured. Final moments from teenagers, children, men and women in Aleppo, Syria were captured on social media in late December. These pledges brought attention to the Civil War in Syria that has been growing since 2011.

Then came the death of the iconic movie star Carrie Fisher. Fisher was soon followed by her mother of equal merit, Debbie Reynolds.

“I think Carrie Fisher’s death affected me most,” Tofflel said. “It was late and unexpected and I admired her and her roles quite a bit.”

Despite the darkness each of the twelve months harboured in the world, some events could not be filtered into just one. These include the Civil War still being fought in Libya, Syria and Somalia; the Refugee Crisis; and the Opioid Epidemic raging in the United States.

“Maybe I just have the worst luck, but I think it’s been the worst year I’ve lived to see so far,” Dixon said. “2017 is mine, though. It’s been good to me these past few days and I pray it’s better to us.”