By Paige Ochoa & Auden Marsh-Armstrong,
As the 11,875 pound Waterford Crystal triangle glass ball dropped in New York City on New Year’s Eve, Americans celebrated and welcomed the new year upon them and the opportunities it brings.
They also reminisced on their experiences during 2018 – both the good and the bad. However, looking at 2018 as a whole, events that benefited the world outweighed the negatives.
“I think one thing people really forget about 2018 is the Winter Olympics that took place early in the year,” senior Gabby Lester said.
2,922 athletes from 92 different countries competed in PyeongChang, South Korea from Feb. 9, 2018 until Feb. 25, 2018.
The location of these games caused much controversy around the world because of its proximity to North Korea’s nuclear and missile threats.
However, after much debate, security was straightened out and during the opening ceremony, North and South Korea marched under a Korean Unification Flag.
“It was a step in the right direction…relations between North Korea and the rest of the world have been so bad because of their nuclear tests,” Lester said. “Unifying with South Korea, even for just a short period of time, was definitely relieving.”
June 12, 2018 marked another important day for the world as North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong Un, and President Trump met in Singapore for a summit. They conversed over North Korea’s nuclear threats and the idea of surrendering their nuclear weapons.
Historically, this became the first ever meeting between the leaders of North Korea and the United States.
According to CNBC, “…it came after years of bluster and threats from Pyongyang — and from Trump — that have raised fears of war…[the] meeting is seen as a diplomatic breakthrough.”
However, 2018 was not all about international affairs. In fact, it was also a year of triumphing over defeat.
One of the most influential parts of the year was the increase of awareness for the women’s empowerment campaign – the #metoo movement.
Founded in 2006, the ‘Me Too’ movement’s original purpose was to assist mainly female minority survivors of sexual assault in their healing.
However, the movement sparked popularity in October 2017 through a tweet from actress Alyssa Milano and strengthed through 2018. The #metoo hashtag rapidly circulated social media and influenced women who had been sexually assaulted all over the country and the world.
According to metoomvmt.org, “[#metoo] has expanded to reach a global community of survivors from all walks of life and helped to de-stigmatize the act of surviving by highlighting the breadth and impact of a sexual violence worldwide.”
The movement has given women the strength to feel safe to talk about the problem of sexual assault, and show that “sexual assault really exists.”
In addition to sexual assault, another pressing issue is the increase of mass shootings around the world, but specifically the U.S.
On a chart from BBC News titled the “Worst mass shootings in the U.S. since 1991”, the past four years have accounted for half of these ten worst shootings.
Also according to BBC News, only in 2018 there were 113 people injured or killed in school shootings in the United States. This one year covers the same amount of people killed or injured in school shootings from September 2015 to December 2017.
Beginning in 2018, Education Week, a journal focusing on education in the U.S., started tracking school shootings. From this time, it has recorded deaths or injuries in 23 of these incidents.
One of the most recent and publicized of these shootings was the 17 people killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
Survivors of this shooting persisted and took a stand for their fellow students and administrators by marching for an increase on gun control following the 17 deaths at their school.
March for Our Lives is what they called it.
Initiating from the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, students all over the country and the world marched for their lives on March 24, 2018.
Persevering through the pain of their fallen classmates and teachers, students learned the importance of standing up for one’s beliefs and demanding change when necessary.
Voices were heard, differing countries and ideas were united and positive change began in 2018.
As people move on to a new year, many people in a optimistic and self centered haze tend to primarily focus on setting goals for themselves, focusing on the future and what they can do in the next year to improve themselves. The best things of 2018
When they do look back on the last year, they usually choose to be sentimental and only acknowledge the good things that happened in the year, forgetting all about the tragic events of the year.
The New Year is about progress and the most important step of progress is first acknowledging the faults in the past to prevent them from occurring again. Yet, it is a step often overlooked.
2018 was full of tragic events, such as the natural disasters, deaths, epidemics, and gun violence.
“One of the worst thing of 2018 was definitely the (California) Paradise Fires because so many people lost their houses and had their lives destroyed, ” Junior Hudson Garland said.
The fire resulted in 86 civilian fatalities, covered an area of 153,336 acres, destroyed 18,804 structures and had a total damage of $16.5 billion, making it the deadliest and most destructive wildfire ever in California. Additionally, it was the deadliest wildfire fire in the United States since 1918.
“I remember following the Paradise fires on the news and it felt like it lasted forever, it was awful,” Garland said.
The Paradise Fires were started in Butte county on Nov. 8th by PG&E and were only at 100% containment after seventeen days on Nov. 25th. There have been many lawsuits against PG&E for starting the fires with its ‘unsafe equipment.’
Another notable natural disaster tragedy in 2018 was the Indonesian earthquake and tsunami. The World Vision reports that it was “a 7.5 magnitude earthquake that resulted in a 20 foot tsunami lead to the deaths of 2,256 people and 330,000 people without homes. It was the deadliest earthquake worldwide in 2018.”
Also, there were many important deaths that occured in 2018 that should be remembered.
“2018 was a horrible year for deaths: George Bush Died, Barbara Bush died, X (XXXtentacion) died, Stephen Hawking, John McCain, and Aretha Franklin,” Garland said.
2018 was a particularly bad year for epidemics. In 2018, influenza was especially deadly. The Center For Disease Control (CDC) reported that, the flu virus claimed the lives of approximately 80,000 people last year.
There was also a Measles outbreak in 2018. The CDC reported that, “in 2018, 349 individual cases of measles were confirmed in 26 states and the District of Columbia. This is the second-greatest number of annual cases reported since measles was eliminated in the U.S. in 2000.”
Some people argue that there was a lot of good that came out of the bad things that happened in 2018 and we should rather focus on that, like the increasing amounts of gun violence which helped awaken people’s awareness of gun violence and mental illness issues.
Despite some positive public awareness coming from the stootings, everyone can agree school shootings remain a big problem that is getting worse.
According to the Center for Homeland Defense and Security (CHDS), 82 school shootings occured in the U.S. in 2018, the highest there have ever been since 1970. 2018 was also the highest year for the number of victims killed, including the shooter, with 51 people killed.
One horrific shooting of 2018 was the Florida Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, otherwise known was the deadliest U.S. high school shooting ever, in which 17 students and staff were killed.
There were a lot of tragic things that happened in 2018 that we must acknowledge both to pay respect to those who suffered as a result of these tragedies, and to progress, making sure history does not repeat itself in the new year .