2016 has been, well, interesting. The world lost some of the biggest names in music, acting, literature and politics; Britain reached its breaking point – and apparently so did America; dozens were killed in terror attacks across the globe; the Cubs got their miracle; and then there were those creepy clowns.
Here’s a look at some of the most memorable things that happened in 2016.
Nancy Reagan passed away on March 6 at the age of 94. She served as first lady from 1981 until 1989 while her husband, former President Ronald Reagan, was in office. The two were married for over 50 years. Ronald Reagan passed away in 2004.
Others Who Passed Away in 2016
David Bowie, died January 10 at the age of 69
Harper Lee, died February 9 at the age of 89
Antonin Scalia, died February 13 at the age of 79
Prince, died April 21 at the age of 57
Muhammad Ali, died June 3 at the age of 74
Elie Wiesel, died July 2 at the age of 87
Gene Wilder, died August 29 at the age of 83
Shimon Peres, died September 28 at the of 93
Leonard Cohen, died November 7 at the age of 82
Florence Henderson, died November 24 at the age of 82
Fidel Castro, died November 25 at the age of 90
John Glenn, died December 8 at the age of 95
Alan Thicke, died December 13 at the age of 69
Carrie Fisher, died December 27 at the age of 60
Debbie Reynolds, died December 28 at the age of 84
On March 22, two suicide bombers set themselves off – about 37 seconds apart – inside a Brussels airport. Around an hour later, a third suicide bomb detonated on the Brussels subway at a downtown station. Thirty-two people were killed and more than 300 were injured. The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attacks.
At approximately 2 a.m. on June 12, Omar Mateen – who pledged his allegiance to ISIS – gunned down 49 people and wounded 53 others at Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida. The shooting has been labeled the deadliest mass shooting in the United States.
The United Kingdom—made up of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland— held a historic vote on whether or not to leave the European Union on June 23, and a majority said ‘we’re out.’ England voted to leave 53.4 to 46.6; Wales, 52.5 to 47.5; and Scotland, 62 to 38; while in Northern Ireland 55.8 percent voted to remain while 44.2 percent voted to leave. In December, the Brexit vote passed Parliament, allowing Britain to formally begin the process of withdrawing from the EU.
Over the summer, Olympic gold medalist Ryan Lochte was caught fabricating a story to cover up some bad drunken behavior at a gas station in Rio. The swimmer was charged by the Brazilian police for filing a false robbery report. Rather than coming home a hero for winning his sixth gold medal, Lochte returned to the U.S. under heat and scrutiny.
Creepy clowns were a strange phenomenon this year. The craze seemed to have originated in Green Bay, Wisconsin, with “Gags, The Green Bay Clown.” Gags wandered around the city at night holding exactly four black balloons. He never spoke or interacted with anyone – he simply strolled along the streets. Others, inspired by Gags, donned their own clown costumes and began terrorizing other cities across the country. Luckily, the clown sightings dwindled after Halloween.
October was a revealing month for the 2016 presidential election. Donald Trump’s tax returns were finally released—and not by him; thousands of emails were leaked from Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman John Podesta publicizing some pretty damning information about the Democratic candidate; and who could forget the Trump tape which prompted a handful of woman to come forward and accuse Trump of sexual assault.
Health insurance premiums under Obamacare are going way up. Premiums are said to rise an average of 22 percent in 2017. The Affordable Care Act simply isn’t affordable anymore; a family’s average premium cost has already risen nearly $5,000 since the act was passed six years ago.
The Chicago Cubs earned a chance to go to the World Series for the first time since 1945, after they beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 5-0. The following week, the Cubs beat the Cleveland Indians and won their first title since 1908.
Donald J. Trump unexpectedly won the election after breaking through Hillary Clinton’s blue wall. Trump’s victory proved most pollsters and the media wrong, who predicted Clinton would dominate the electoral vote and win by a landslide.
Gun and ammo sales skyrocketed in 2016. As of November, over 24.7 million gun-related background checks have been processed, breaking last year’s record of 23 million checks. Unsurprisingly, ammo sales spiked too. In November, ammunition imports went up more than 200 percent. Not to mention, over 17,850 tons of ammunition have been sold over the last 18 months.
On June 17, 2015, Dylann Roof, a self-proclaimed white supremacist, shot and killed nine people at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina. In November 2016, Roof was deemed competent to stand trial, and the following month he was found guilty on all 33 counts of federal hate crimes. He now faces the death penalty or life in prison for his crimes.
Since taking office eight years ago, President Obama has commuted 1,176 sentences, including 396 life sentences – that’s more than his eleven predecessors combined. While most of those who received clemency are non-violent drug offenders, some – 49 to be exact – were also guilty of firearms violations.
A week before Christmas, a man drove a truck into a crowd of people at a Berlin market, killing 12 and injuring dozens more. That same day, Russian ambassador Andrey Karlov was shot and killed by a Turkish policeman while visiting Ankara; and three people were wounded in Zurich, Switzerland after a man opened fire on a mosque.