By Thomas Sellers Jr.
I missed the days of a chicken sandwich being one of the most important news stories of the year.
Back in a simpler time like 2019, Popeye’s vs Chick-Fil-A dominated the news cycle. Then came the infamous 2020.
This year will go down as one of the worst for mankind. There wasn’t much good to remember about the past 366 days. God must have a sense of humor because all this horror took place during a leap year.
Normally a leap year means the Olympics for the Summer Games. But nothing about 2020 was traditional or typical. The top news stories of the year were serious in tone, life-altering and will impact history for decades to come.
Not wasting anymore time, let’s breakdown my top 10 news stories of 2020.
- Black Lives Matter
It’s a presidential election year. I guess that means the organization Black Lives Matter will get louder. There seems to be police-involved shootings every year with people of all races and both genders dying. But during an important political race, the spotlight is super bright and the heat is more intense on situations like the killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor. Those tragic deaths that crossed the racial lines led to protest across the country lasting for several weeks.
- Murder hornets came to the U.S.
The year 2020 was so bad that even insects tried to kill us. A deadly species of hornets commonly found in Japan came to the United States. The Asian giant hornets, or otherwise known as “murder hornets,” were first found in Washington state.
- “Firenado” warning issued in California
The National Weather Service issued a warning for a fire-induced tornado, or “firenado,” for some California residents in August. NWS officials called it a “once-in-a-lifetime” weather occurrence, stating the storm — made up of smoke, fire, and a thunderstorm — was capable of producing a “firenado” with outflow winds that could exceed more than 60 miles per hour.
The firenado was just part of the West Coast Wildfires in 2020. From July 24 to December 12, almost $3 billion worth of damage was down to California, Oregon, Colorado and Washington.
On the other side of the world, flames dominated the landscape. As 2019 wrapped up and 2020 began, the country of Australia was under fire. The country faced one of its most deadly wildfire seasons as the blazes continued from December 2019 into the new year and burned a record 47 million acres, displaced thousands of people and killed at least 34 people.
- Trump Impeachment
President Donald Trump faced an impeachment trial in January on charges that he asked Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter. Trump joined Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton as a part of infamous presidential history. He was ultimately acquitted by the Senate on Feb. 5.
- 2020 Presidential Election
The 59th quadrennial presidential election was held Nov. 3, 2020. The Democratic ticket featured former vice president Joe Biden and incumbent U.S. senator from California Kamala Harris as his VP. The duo eventually defeated the Republican ticket of incumbent president Donald Trump and vice president Mike Pence.
Trump became the first U.S. president since George H. W. Bush in 1992 and the eleventh incumbent in the country’s history to lose a bid for a second term, and Biden won the largest share of the popular vote against an incumbent since 1932. The election saw the highest voter turnout since 1900. Trump received more than 74 million votes. Meanwhile Biden earned 306 electoral votes with more than 81 million casting a ballot for him.
- Stock Market Crash
The coronavirus pandemic triggered a global recession as numerous countries went into lockdown. The Dow Jones industrial average suffered its worst single-day point drop ever on March 9. Before the calendar year was over, the government issued out two stimulus checks to the public of $1,200 and $600 respectively.
In many phases, the economy bounced back. But with the pandemic still lingering around, more possible shutdowns and economic hardships are possible.
- Kobe Bryant’s Death
On the level of John Lennon, President John Kennedy and Tupac, you remember where you where when the news came that NBA legend Kobe Bryant died. On Sunday, January 26, a Sikorsky S-76B helicopter crashed in the city of Calabasas, Cali. The helicopter went down around 30 miles northwest of Los Angeles. Nine people were on board with the headliner being Bryant. But the world also lost his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, baseball coach John Altobelli and five other passengers, and the pilot.
Before the pandemic, we started to learn about Altobelli’s wife, Keri, and their daughter Alyssa. The name of Christina Mauser, who helped Bryant coach his daughter’s basketball team, became a part of the narrative. Sarah Chester and her daughter Payton were also on that helicopter. Alyssa and Payton were Gianna’s teammates. Young lives gone far too soon.
But the day will be remembered for us losing the “Black Mamba.” At the tender age of 41, Kobe was gone. Kobe’s life should be a lesson to all of us that tomorrow is not guaranteed. So make the most out of your time and talent.
The first Americans were vaccinated against the coronavirus Dec. 14 after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the emergency use of Pfizer’s COVID-19 shot on Dec. 11. The country’s second inoculation, developed by Moderna, was then given FDA approval a week later on Dec. 18. The arrival of the two vaccines, which were developed in less than a year, was touted as one of the greatest scientific accomplishments in U.S. History.
Not since the Spanish Flu in 1918 has the United States been on a major lockdown like this. Since March 11 and the positive test of the NBA’s Rudy Gobert, our world has not been the same. The cases started popping up from state to state.
Then the death toll started to rise daily. To adjust and try to save lives, we had to make some major changes to our daily routine. Limit our interactions, wear a mask, keep social distance, lockdown from our businesses and wash our hands frequently.
There wasn’t one part of everyday life that wasn’t effected by the coronavirus before Dec. 31. And 2021 will begin under the same dark umbrella of uncertainty.
But there is hope out there. In the Bible, 2 Chronicles 7:14 is the verse that gives us the starting point to turn all of this around.
“If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”
Look back at this top 10. It features killer insects, burning land and sickness taking over the land. Verse 13 in 2 Chronicles 7 warned us. “When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people.”
So the Eyes watching over us are patiently waiting for us to be sincere. If we do better, things around us will be better.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.