The 2016 Election
It’s not often you get to observe a moment which will undoubtedly go down in history. The night of the 2016 presidential election—and the moment Donald Trump’s victory was secured—is one of those rare historical events we’ll get to witness. Our kids will get to read about it in their history books and they’ll ask us how we felt on the night. Did it feel like things changed? Were things different? It did and they were, but what exactly the pages on their history book will read is still yet to be determined, the writing changing day-by-day as the decade ends.
What we witnessed, almost assuredly, is some sort of a shift in conventional politics and American society. The polls were mostly wrong, or at least the polls did not know how to accurately model the system anymore. Conventional wisdom was mostly wrong, perhaps because convention changed without people noticing. Suddenly, a nation lacking introspection was forced to reflect on everything bubbling underneath the ground of America, factors arrogantly ignored by many. Rising populism, nationalism, xenophobia, forgotten rust-belters and everything else that helped Trump win seemed so obvious in hindsight, how did we miss it?
Something was awoken that night, an unclosable box was opened and it’s still not clear what came out. It was an election which signalled something bigger than just one candidate, and no matter what happens going into the next one, it is clear something changed. What exactly changed is something I don’t think can be evaluated yet, nor can the extent of its impacts be measured yet. Yet for better or worse, we got to witness history in the making.
A decade of mass shootings
Within the past 10 years there have been a total 2,316 mass shootings in the United States. So far in 2019 there have been 391 mass shootings, killing 439 people and injuring 1585, according to the Gun Violence Archive.
The mass shootings highlighted in the media have been:
2014: Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut: 20 children and six adults killed
2016: Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Fla. 2016: 50 killed
2017: Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas, Nev. (deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S history): 59 killed
2018: Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla.,17 killed
According to the United Nations Development Programme, amongst developed countries the U.S. is the biggest outlier for gun violence. The statistics sadly show in the past decade the country has been marred by mass shootings.
The life, arrest and death of Jeffrey Epstein
Jeffrey Epstein was a United States financier who owned Jeffrey Epstein & Company. He had strong connections with Donald Trump, Bill Clinton, Prince Andrew and Prince Harry. In 2006, he was charged with multiple counts of rape and unlawful sexual acts. He was sentenced to 18 months in jail. In July of this year, Epstein was arrested and indicted for sex trafficking in Florida and New York between the years of 2002 and 2005. Over a dozen women came forward accusing Epstein. He was put in jail again and later on 24 hour suicide watch.
Then he committed suicide on Saturday, Aug. 10—a month after the accusations. Surveillance cameras cut out for hours the night of his death. Later, Dr. Michael Baden said that the indicators of cause of death were more in line with homicide by strangulation than by hanging.
The murder of Jeffrey Epstein is more than a conspiracy in the eyes of people across the country. With Fox News’ Jesse Watters calling for investigation and even the pathologist suggesting more than suicide, the death of Epstein will go down in history as another exposure of corruption in our country’s wealth-holders and a moment of undelivered justice.
The death of Osama Bin Laden
The death of Osama bin Laden on May 1, 2011, after he was killed by SEAL Team Six/DEVGRU at a secret compound in Pakistan, resulted in a massive spike in patriotic fervor. However, Bin Laden’s death quickly faded from memory, and nowadays it is rarely even brought up in regards to defining moments of the decade. It seems that one of America’s most infamous terrorists has become rather obscure compared to similarly reviled historical figures. And that’s probably for the best. People like Bin Laden don’t deserve to be remembered, even if their actions cannot be forgotten.
The Nevada Sagebrush end of the decade lists are made from staff contributions. Any of the writers can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @VinceSagebrush.