25 Awful Things That Happened In 2016

Posted by , Updated on September 19, 2022

2016 was a particularly hard year for our little blue-green rock, it seems. This list is in no way exhaustive, there are many things we simply didn’t have room for – Standing rock, for example. As we look back over the last year, let’s take a moment to dedicate ourselves to doing better in 2017, wherever we may be, in whatever ways we can. Here are 25 of the awful things that happened in 2016.



Millions of Bees died due to gross human incompetence.

besticidesandbeesSource: https://www.washingtonpost.com Image Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pesticide_toxicity_to_bees

Dorchester County, S.C., decided in late August to spray for insects, specifically mosquito, due to Zika outbreaks (though all reported cases in S.C were related to travel in South America). Instead of spraying at night (when mosquitos are out and bees, people, and most pets are in), and giving plenty of notice (so organic crops or hives could be covered), they ran a notice on their Facebook page, and then promptly sprayed the deadly insecticide Naled the next day, causing the death of millions of bees. Naled, by the way, should not come into contact with humans according to the EPA. It’s also worth noting that the government sprayed Naled from the air via plane, over private property and damaged private property, as several beekeepers lost their main source of income.


Brangelina is no more.

brangelinaSource: http://www.refinery29.com/ Image Source: http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?image=6526&

Not only did Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie announce the end of America’s Sweethearts on September 20th, it got ugly really fast, with Brad being accused of abuse of their children (He was cleared in November), and having to fight to get joint custody of their children.


On July 8th Five Dallas Police Officers were murdered by a sniper at a Black Lives Matter event.

officers-who-were-killedSource & Image : http://www.nytimes.com/

The event was a peaceful protest against fatal police shootings of black men earlier in the month. The Dallas shooter was connected with the New Black Panther Party, which has promoted violence against whites. The Dallas Police Chief did say it was “payback”. It should be noted that the officer who shot Philando Castile was charged once the investigation was completed.


A 20 year old college student was shot and killed while playing Pokemon Go at a park in San Francisco.

pokemongoSource: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ Image Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/edowoo/27541296473

No confrontation, no known motive, no leads, just some poor dude shot in the chest while hunting for Pokemon.


Prince died of an accidental opioid fentanyl overdose on April 21st.

prince_at_coachellaSource: http://www.cnn.com/ Image Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Prince_at_Coachella.jpg

Known as one of the greatest musicians of our time, he was only 57.


The United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union via special referendum vote, and much like the US election in 2016, this vote sharply divided the country.

BrexitSource: http://www.bbc.com/ Image Source: Shutterstock

People who voted to leave the EU were called racists (one of the reasons some voted to leave had to do with the amount of migrants allowed in the country being set by the larger EU, as opposed to Great Britain itself), and when it was discovered that the Elderly largely voted leave, those who wished to remain wasted no time stating that perhaps the elderly shouldn’t get to vote about the lives of the young. Even view from across the pond, the lead up to the vote was stressful, and the Remain supporters utterly failed to lose with any sort of grace or dignity. It wasn’t just the US that was a hot political mess in the Western world in 2016.


France suffered even more devastating terror attacks from ISIS / radicalized Islamic Jihadists.

Pere Jacques Hamel readingSource: https://en.wikipedia.org & www.cnn.com Image Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jacques_Hamel#/media/File:P%C3%A8re_Jacques_Hamel.jpg

85 people were killed on Bastille day in Nice when Trucks ran over crowds, an 86-year-old priest named Jacques Hamel was taken hostage in his own church and then had his throat slit in front of his congregants, who begged the men to stop. There are a handful of smaller Radical Islamic Jihad terrorist attacks in France as well – such as the man who attacked a family of four at a resort in July, as he was offended by their immodest clothing, in August a Rabbi was stabbed by a man shouting Allahu Akbar, and in June a police officer and his wife were stabbed to death by a Jihadist in their home, for which ISIS claimed responsibility. While violence happens all the time in every country, from many different sources, it seems that for the last few years ISIS has focused on France.


Wildfires raged through Tennessee in the United States in November, killing 14 and injuring over 130 people, as well as burning hundreds of homes.

wilfireSource: http://www.cnn.com/ Image Source: Shutterstock

One man – Micheal Reed – lost his wife and two daughters. He got a phone call from her saying there were flames across the street and never spoke to her again.


Alan Rickman dies.

alanrickmanSource: https://www.wikipedia.org/ & www.imdb.com Image Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/icaroferracini/24359420556

Alan Rickman, known to many as Professor Severus Snape, Hans Gruber, Absolem and Marvin the depressed robot, died in January after a battle with cancer.


New Apple products don't have silly things like headphone jacks, because why would they?

donglesSource: http://www.bbc.com/ Image Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/rexblog/5575298582

Their new laptops don’t have an SD card port, a standard USB port or an HDMI port, either. Instead, you can buy dongles to connect your device to the most regularly used accessories for your device. Apple now makes and sells 17 different types of dongles. How well organized do you have to be to know where your case of assorted dongles to go with your phone and or laptop are at all times? Did MacBook Zealots get stockings full of Dongles for Christmas in 2016? There are questions.


Gene Wilder dies.

gene_wilder_in_amsterdamSource: http://www.imdb.com/ Image Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Gene_Wilder_in_Amsterdam.jpg

Gene Wilder, known to many as Willy Wonka, Leo Bloom or Dr. Frederick Frankenstein, died on August 29th


Riots happened all over the US after Donald J Trump won the Election for President of the United States.

riotSource: https://www.washingtonpost.com Image Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Protesters_throwing_pieces_of_paving_during_and_metal_tubes_at_riot_police_during_clashes_at_Bankova_str,_Kiev,_Ukraine._December_1,_2013.jpg (Riot shown is for illustration purposes only and is not the actual riot that took place after the election of Trump).

Ironically, many Riots happened in states who’s electoral votes went for Hillary – like Illinois, New York, California and Washington State. Millions in property damage were done, random white people were beaten, and Donald J Trump won the Election. Some rioters were bused in for the riots – like in Chicago- and many just messed stuff up in places that largely voted for Hillary. They accomplished absolutely nothing other than to widen the deep division already present in the United States. I guess their parents never made them shake hands and say “Good Game” with the other team when they lost at little league.


Alligators grabbed a two year old little boy named Lane Graves who was playing in the water at a Walt Disney World resort and pulled him under, drowning him.

walking_gator_2Source: http://www.cnn.com/ Image Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Walking_Gator_2.jpg

There were “No Swimming” signs posted, but many have claimed signs that did not specify alligators were insufficient. Disney is currently changing their signs. Either way, it was horrific and sad.


The death of Harambe

harambe_with_boySource & Image: https://en.wikipedia.org

In May, a little boy got away from his mother, climbed a fence and through some bushes, fell into the moat of the gorilla enclosure at the Cincinnati Zoo. Harambe, a 17-year-old male silverback gorilla, dragged the boy through the water, ignoring zookeepers signals to return inside. After about ten minutes, with dozens of onlookers screaming at him Harambe started to appear disoriented and irritated, Harambe started showing dominant and aggressive postures, so zookeepers made the heartbreaking choice to shoot and kill Harambe, rather than possibly endanger the boy’s life. A tranquilizer could not have been used as they take time to become effective and the 440-pound gorilla could have easily killed the boy in that time. Naughty child gets Gorilla killed. Thanks 2016. Can we bring back those child backpack leash things now?


Prolonged rainfall during August caused massive flooding in Louisiana, resulting in 13 deaths.

flooded_baton_rouge_20160815-oc-dod-0009Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2016_Louisiana_floods Image Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2016_Louisiana_floods#/media/File:Flooded_Baton_Rouge_20160815-OC-DOD-0009.jpg

Most of the homes and businesses that were damaged or destroyed were considered to be in high flood risk areas, and therefore did not carry the costly insurance, so there was no coverage for the damage. Due to the heavy coverage of the 2016 Summer Olympics and the US 2016 Presidential Election, the situation received little media coverage, even within the US. The only presidential candidate to visit the flood victims was Donald Trump. Obama was on vacation at Martha’s Vineyard and visited a week after Trump and Hillary stated she didn’t want to draw attention away from the situation by visiting.


Muhammad Ali died on June 3rd.

muhammad_ali_1966Source: http://www.nbcnews.com/ Image Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Muhammad_Ali_1966.jpg

Perhaps the best-known boxer in the world as well as a civil rights activist (he refused to fight when he was drafted for the Vietnam war), he was known as “The Greatest Of All Time”. Float like a Butterfly…


Carrie Fisher, best known as Princess and then General Leia in the Star Wars movies, dies at age 60 just two days after Christmas.

carrie_fisher_2013Source: http://people.com/ Image Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Carrie_Fisher_2013.jpg

Fisher had suffered a heart attack on the way home to LA from London a few days before Christmas. According to Lucasfilm, she had already completed her work on the upcoming Star Wars film set for release in late 2017. Fisher was not only known for her role in Star Wars, but also for her openness about her struggles with drug use and mental illness, and the amazing sense of humor with which she approached life.


Turkey has also been the victim of much terrorist violence carried out by ISIS/ISIL.

flag_of_turkeySource: https://en.wikipedia.org Image Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turkey

In August, 57 people were killed at a Kurdish Wedding in Gaziantep, Turkey when a suicide bomber targeted the party of around 200 people. The majority of the causalities were children. The attack was reported to be carried out by ISIL, but they have not claimed responsibility. Istanbul, Turkey, also experienced Bombings and/or shootings at the airport in January resulting in 48 deaths, In March a suicide bomber in the Beyoğlu district killed five people, in June a bus carrying police officers was targeted resulting in the deaths of 13 people, and in early December a car bomb and a suicide bomber in Istanbul’s Beşiktaş municipality killed 47 people.


Harper Lee dies.

Harper LeeSource: http://www.nytimes.com/ Image Source: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/76/Harper_Lee_Nov07.JPG

Harper Lee, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of “To Kill A Mockingbird” & “Go Set A Watchman” died in February.


In what was a stunning upset to our political process, The Democratic National Convention which was held in Philadelphia in July, treated Bernie Sanders (who was running for the Democratic Party's nomination against Hillary Clinton) and his supporters in a pretty shameful fashion.

DNCSource: https://www.democracynow.org/2016/7/29/the_dnc_protests_you_didnt_see Image Source: Shutterstock

Not only did Clinton use Super-delegates to secure the nomination (a shady process we don’t have time to go into at length) AT the convention, protesters were literally put in fenced cages outside, there was a media blackout of the protests of angry Bernie supporters (save on Periscope), supporters inside had lights turned off over them so that the cameras wouldn’t pick them up, and noise machines turned on over their sections so their Bernie chants couldn’t be heard. Roll call was taken before votes were cast to make sure there were more of Hillary’s people present than Bernie’s (a huge ethical no-no), and finally, when thousands of Bernie supporters staged a massive walkout of the main convention floor, the lights were dimmed and seat fillers were literally paid to come in within hours and make it seem as if the entire DNC was supporting Hillary. Even if you didn’t like Bernie, he and his supporters were treated abominably, and they deserved better. None of this was televised, because as we learned later via leaked emails, many major news outlets – such as the New York Times and CNN – ran their stories by Hillary’s campaign before they published them. Had Sanders been allowed to run, it’s possible the US would’ve seen a different outcome in the November election.


On June 12th, 2016, Omar Mateen killed 49 people inside of Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, FL during a three hour standoff with police, resulting in the deadliest mass shooting by a single shooter in United States history, and the largest act of violence against the LGBTQ community in US history.

secretary_johnson_pays_respect_at_pulse_nightclubSource: http://www.cbsnews.com/ Image Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Secretary_Johnson_pays_Respect_at_Pulse_Nightclub_(29619443211).jpg

Mateen had previously been investigated by the FBI after making comments to co workers about being a member of Hezbollah and having family connections in al-Qaeda, but lacking evidence all investigations were dropped, and he passed all background checks. Being that Mateen was a Muslim and a child of Immigrants from the Middle East, and that his firearms were purchased legalls with background checks, this sparked at lot of anger in the US during an already tenuous time. Some called for more gun control despite Mateen passing all background checks, false reports that an AR-15 style weapon was used (it wasn’t), and many called for Muslims in the US to be put on a registry, despite that fact that overwhelming majority of US Muslims are not violent and don’t hold to Sharia law. It was a tragedy that brought out ugliness in many people.


Aleppo, Syria, has possibly had the worst 2016 of any region of the world.

bombed_out_vehicles_aleppoSource: https://www.washingtonpost.com Image Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Bombed_out_vehicles_Aleppo.jpg

The Syrian war has been being fought in this region since 2011, and during the summer of 2016 it was besieged by a massive military campaign launched by the Syrian Army to overthrow the Syrian Rebels holding the city. Conflicts have continued through December, and again, it’s more than we can go into here, but let’s just say the everyday citizens of this city are being put through hell. Depending on the part of the city they’re in, there could be shortages of food and medicine, and between mid-November and late December, over 300 civilians were killed, the numbers for the entire year disturbingly higher. Since the Syrian war began, over 50,000 Syrian children have been killed.


George Michael dies on Christmas Day.

george_michaelSource: https://en.wikipedia.org Image Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:George_Michael_Symphonica_(10).jpg

The English singer/songwriter who was best known for the song “Faith” was 53. As of the time of writing of this list, no cause of death had been released. Christmas Day. Really 2016, really?


The 2016 Election happened, and regardless of if you're Pro Trump, Pro Hillary, a Libertarian or a Green Party voter, it was awful.

donald_trump_and_hillary_clinton_during_united_states_presidential_election_2016Source: http://www.nytimes.com/ Image Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Donald_Trump_and_Hillary_Clinton_during_United_States_presidential_election_2016.jpg

By and large, it was okay to call all Trump supporters racist (which is probably why the polls were SO WRONG), and that became our political discourse – calling the other side names until everyone was angry and un-friended. The vocal minority of both major parties did shameful things that the majority of that party’s members do not and would not condone. Stephan Colbert ran an election night special, and summed up the US 2016 presidential election pretty soundly “I think we overdosed this year. “


In January 10th, David Bowie died, just two days after the release of his 25th album, Blackstar and his 69th birthday.

david_bowie_Source: https://en.wikipedia.org Image Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:David_Bowie_-_TopPop_1974_10.png

As tumblr so eloquently put it ‘We’re not saying David Bowie was holding everything together, but….*gestures broadly at everything*”

Photo: 19. By Diocese of Rouen - <a rel="nofollow" class="external text" href="http://rouen.catholique.fr/wp-content/uploads/sites/12/2014/11/jacques-hamel-620x347.jpg">Rouen diocese website</a>, France, Fair use, Link