The Many, Many Reasons to Be Glad 2016 Is Over
Life + Money

The Many, Many Reasons to Be Glad 2016 Is Over

© Mario Anzuoni / Reuters

Typically, as the clock winds down toward a new year, we reflect on the 12 months that have passed with bittersweet nostalgia. But for 2016, there is only one appropriate way to bid adieu—by flipping the bird. Even the impossibly elegant (and eloquent) Helen Mirren described the year as “a big pile of sh-t.” It wasn’t just the hideous presidential election that gave people nightmares. We lost some of our best and brightest, as if in protest to the darkening clouds around us. So, knock back some shots for the more than 50 reasons you can tell 2016 to shag itself.


This year kicked our butt only 10 days in, delivering a tone-setting blow with the death of music icon David Bowie. From there, things only got worse. British actor Alan Rickman—known as Professor Snape in the Harry Potter movies—dies on Jan. 14. On Jan. 16, the first case of brain damage from the Zika virus is reported in the U.S. More cases would emerge, especially in the Miami area, in the weeks and months to follow. On Jan. 17, President Obama declared a state of emergency in Flint, Michigan, after high levels of lead had been found in the drinking water. A day later on Jan. 18, Glenn Frey, of the Eagles, passes away.


Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia dies Feb. 13, pitting President Obama against the Republican-held Senate, which refuses to allow the vacant seat to be filled by Merrick Garland, a left-leaning centrist. On Feb. 19, novelist Harper Lee, who wrote To Kill a Mockingbird, dies on Feb. 19.


Former First Lady Nancy Reagan passes away on March 6. On March 22, terrorists set off two bombs at the Brussels Airport in Belgium and one in a metro station in the central city, killing 32 civilians. The next day, North Carolina’s governor signs the controversial Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act—or better known as the bathroom bill that requires people to use restrooms that align with their biological sex. On March 24, comedian Garry Shandling dies. On March 27, terrorists bomb a crowded park in Lahore, Pakistan, killing mostly women and children celebrating Easter. Patty Duke’s death on March 29 caps the month. (Photo: Belgium Airport attack – Wikipedia)


Professional wrestler Chyna dies on April 20. The very next day, the world lost yet another music legend and genius, Prince, who collapsed and died of an accidental opioid overdose.


On June 2, Brock Turner who was convicted of felony sexual assault is sentenced to prison for only six months. He was subsequently released early in August for good behavior. On June 3, boxing legend Muhammad Ali passes away. Canadian hockey great Gordie Howe dies on June 10. On June 12, a gunman opened fire in Pulse, an Orlando nightclub, killing 49 people in the country’s worst mass shooting. On June 19, actor Anton Yelchin dies in a bizarre accident when his SUV rolls backward and pins him against a wall. On June 23, the last police officer is acquitted in the death of Freddie Gray. On the other side of the pond, the U.K. votes to leave the European Union, shocking the world. Basketball’s winningest coach Pat Summitt passes away on June 27. On June 28, terrorists attack the airport in Istanbul, killing 42 people. On June 30, Rodrigo Duterte is elected president of the Philippines and continues his war or drugs with an escalation of extrajudicial killings.

Illustration: John Stango


Nobel Laureate and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel passes away on July 2. Two police officers shoot and kill Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, on July 5. A day later, a police officer shoots and kills Philando Castille in Minnesota during a traffic stop. His girlfriend who was on the passenger side of the car filmed the aftermath and posted it on Facebook. Pokémon Go, released on July 6, leads to idiotic decisions by Pokémon players. One teenager was mugged and stabbed, but kept playing, while two other men fell off a cliff. In Dallas, a gunman kills five police officers and wounds nine as tensions between police and protesters escalate. On Bastille Day in France, a man drives a cargo truck into the crowds celebrating on the promenade, killing 86 men, women, and children. Former attorney general under    President Bill Clinton, Janet Reno, dies on July 21. In Munich, a gunman kills nine people in a mall on July 22.  

ESPN sportscaster John Saunders passes away on Aug 10. Media website Gawker shuts down on Aug. 22 after going bankrupt following a judgment against the company relating to the Hulk Hogan sex tape lawsuit. On Aug. 29., actor Gene Wilder—known as the first Willy Wonka—dies.


Samsung issues recall on Sept. 2 for its Samsung Note 7 phones because of reports their batteries would explode and catch fire. By October, the company would suspend all sales of the phone, resulting in an estimated $17 billion in lost revenue. On Sept. 8, Wells Fargo is fined $185 million by the federal government for a widespread practice of opening bank and credit card accounts without consumers’ permission. Acclaimed playwright Edward Albee dies on Sept. 16. The next day, a man stabs ten people in a Minnesota mall before being fatally shot by an off-duty cop. The same day, a bomb explodes at the start of a Marine Corps charity race in Seaside Park, New Jersey, and then later in the Chelsea neighborhood of New York City. The next two days, two more bombs were found, undetonated, one in New York and one in New Jersey. On Sept. 20, Angelina Jolie files for divorce from Brad Pitt, ending one of Hollywood’s most storied romances, Brangelina. On Sept. 25, the sports world experiences a double whammy when golf great Arnold Palmer passes away, and Miami Marlins’ star pitcher Jose Fernandez dies in freak boating accident.


On Nov. 7, singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen dies. The next day, Donald Trump is elected to be the 45th U.S. president — in an electoral college vote victory — following a divisive campaign marked by racism, xenophobia and misogyny. PBS journalist and newscaster Gwen Ifill passes away on Nov. 14. The Brady Bunch mother hen, Florence Henderson, dies on Nov. 24.


A warehouse fire in Oakland on Dec. 2 kills 36 people who were there for a concert. On Dec. 8, American hero and astronaut John Glenn dies. 1980s TV dad Alan Thicke passes away on Dec. 13. Twelve people die after a terrorist drove a truck through a crowded Christmas market in Berlin on Dec. 19. The Syrian Army fully retakes Aleppo from rebel forces on Dec. 22, concluding years-long bombing in the city that suffered unimaginable civilian deaths. On Dec. 25, the music world loses yet another icon after George Michael dies in his sleep on Christmas Day. And on December 27, Carrie Fisher, best known as Princess Leia in Star Wars, dies after a heart attack. The following day, her mother Debbie Reynolds, most remembered for her role in the classic "Singing in the Rain" and her long running Vegas act, also passes away.