THE BEST SELLERS’ LIST- 202…1 and Done: Biggest news events of the past year will have a lasting impact into the future

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By Thomas Sellers Jr.

The weird year of 2021 is almost over.

There is still time for something crazy to happen and change this entire list. But as of December 23 this list coming up is my top 10 news events of the calendar year.

Last week I featured all the Memphis area events that rocked our portion of the United States. Some of those headlines made national news.

And I didn’t want to broaden my scope around the world because that would make this Best Sellers’ List a top 20 countdown.

Going back to January 1, 2021, I am going to focus on the biggest news items that impacted the United States and will have a lasting effect on U.S. Americans.

10. Travis Scott Concert

Back on Nov. 5, 10 people were killed at a music concert in Texas. While the circumstances of the Travis Scott concert are being debated. But what we do know is that a multitude of concert-goers died at NRG Park. The venue provided the perfect setting for a surge that hospitalized 25 people and took eight lives that night.

A ninth victim died on November 10 after previously being declared brain-dead. The 10th victim was a 9-year-old who had been in a medically-induced coma on November 14. I guess when 50,000 people show up to a concert on a lawn anything can happen.

10. Vaccination of Children

On Oct. 29 the Food and Drug Administration approved vaccines for U.S. Americans under 18. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized the emergency use of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine for the prevention of COVID-19 to include children 5-11.

The authorization was based on the FDA’s thorough and transparent evaluation of the data that included input from independent advisory committee experts who overwhelmingly voted in favor of making the vaccine available to children in this age group.

This came a few weeks after most schools reopened fully across the nation. With some school systems having mask mandates and others giving parents the options, the vaccine came in time to assist in controlling the coronavirus.

9. Job Market

About 10 months into the year, the United States economy was at a crossroads. There were 10 million job openings, but more than 8.4 million unemployed people were “looking for a job.”

With “Now Hiring” signs popping up in various industries and benefit packages being offered, business owners complained they can’t find enough workers.

Consumers had to endure longer waits, lack of products and staff shortages. From restaurants to auto repair shops, bring your patience.

There are still 5 million fewer jobs compared to before the pandemic.

8. Supply shortage

The previous entry on this list has led to No. 7 of the United States supply shortage. Back in 2020, we ran out and bought all types of cleaning supplies, toilet paper and bottles of water to face the unknown of the global pandemic.

Fast forward to 2021, we have a new elements that are the driving force behind our crisis. We now have supply-side shortages because reduced manufacturing output, decreased labor, and shipping delays.What will happen when the calendar turns to 2022? Will we have enough food? Will we have those crucial supplies to save and clean as new variants keep coming out?

7. Derek Chauvin Verdict

Memorial Day 2020 the lives of Officer Derek Chauvin and George Floyd collided. The death of Floyd that day involving Chauvin’s knee on the back of his neck for nearly 9 minutes led to an impactful trial in 2021. State of Minnesota vs. Chauvin was a criminal case in the District Court of Minnesota. Now the former Minneapolis police officer  Chauvin was tried and convicted of the murder of Floyd during an arrest on May 25, 2020. Chauvin was found guilty of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

On June 25, 2021, Chauvin was sentenced to 22 and half years in prison for the second-degree murder.

The trial was held at the Hennepin County Government Center in Minneapolis, and it ran from March 8, 2021, through April 20. It was the first criminal trial in Minnesota to be entirely televised and the first in state court to be broadcast live. The trial received extensive media coverage, with more than 23 million people watching the verdict being announced on live television.

6. Kyle Rittenhouse Verdict

Kenosha, Wis., was put on the map in 2020 when 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse shot three people during demonstrations in response to the Jacob Blake police incident. Rittenhouse wounded one man and killed the other two men.

All the participants in the tragic ordeal were white. But the Rittenhouse case  became a racial division in our country. The defense argued it was simple self defense. Meanwhile the persecution claimed Rittenhouse was a murderous vigilante.

In November the jury found Rittenhouse not guilty on all charges and now the young man must face a life of trying to clear his name, erase some false narratives floating out there and deal with taking two lives.

5. School Shootings

They’re bacccckkkkkkkk. In 2021 we had a revival of school shootings. Even here in Memphis we had the Cumming School incident. Thank God the victim didn’t die. But in the numerous mass shootings throughout the country this past year, two that stand out happened in Oxford, Mich., and Arlington, Texas.

The Texas shooting took place in October. Police accused Timothy George Simpkins of opening fire in a classroom Oct. 6 at Timberview High School. Two people were shot and two others suffered unspecified injuries. He was jailed on three counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

Then on Nov. 30, a mass shooting occurred at Oxford High School just outside of Detroit. Four students were killed and seven people were injured.

Guns are tools that kill people. The people using the guns need help before they get to the point of taking lives. We need mental health care, limitations on social media and the family unit strengthened.

4. January 6

Now January 20 should have been on this countdown because every 4 years we have an inauguration for the U.S. President in Washington D.C. But two weeks prior to the swearing in of Joe Biden as our nation’s 46th Commander and Chief, a few citizens rushed the Capital and the Capitol Building to make a point. On January a mob/group of supporters of the sitting President Donald Trump attacked/arrived at the United States Capitol. They sought to overturn his defeat in the 2020 presidential election by disrupting the joint session of Congress assembled to count electoral votes. The Capitol Complex was locked down and lawmakers and staff were evacuated, while rioters/protestors encountered law enforcement officers, vandalized property and occupied the building for several hours. It was reported five people died related to the events of that day.

3. Roe vs. Wade 

overturned?

The U.S. Supreme Court started oral arguments this past fall in the case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, involving a Mississippi. The case came to be because in the Magnolia State there is a ban on most abortions after 15 weeks. The discussions being held over this case could reverse the decisions of Roe v. Wade 1973.

2. Quad-State Tornado

Mayfield, Ky. is known across the United States now. After the Dec. 10 deadly outbreak of severe weather, the city in Kentucky was blown into pieces. 

Weather experts say one tornado traveled 227 miles across four states. Dozens of people died that Friday night into the morning of Saturday. 

The nursing home in Arkansas was devastated. Tennessee say its share of damage and demise. Some of the unforgettable images from the storm were the Amazon factory in Illinois and the candle factory losing so many lives. 

I pray that one of the top news stories of 2022 will be the recovery and the amazing outpour of support to get all these communities back on track. 

1. To Vax, Or Not

With Omicron and Delta still infecting the world, it is clear COVID-19 is here to stay. And as time goes along our bodies and immune systems will build up tolerance. But in the current global climate, the debate that has been raging on since December 2020 — “Do I get vaccinated? Or should I avoid the jab?” 

This debate has ruined family, friendships and working relationships. Those against the vaccination think it is a government conspiracy and cite many doubts about the effectiveness of the medicine. 

Those who preach the need to get vaccination reference the success rate and increased survival statistics. Whether it is a booster shot or getting the Pfizer or Moderna brands, one thing we know for sure in this whole issue is that the laughing stock of vaccination is Johnson & Johnson. 

THOMAS SELLERS JR. is the editor of The Millington Star and both the sports editor and a weekly personal columnist for West 10 Media/Magic Valley Publishing. Contact him by phone at (901) 433-9138, by fax to (901) 529-7687 and by email to thomas@magicvalleypublishing.com.