21 thoughts on “When It Was Not the Best of Times

  1. I had the JFK hit at the top of my list for years … then 59 million people voted to re-elect George W. Bush in 2004.

    You have also overlooked the precise dates the Twins choked to the Yankees … year … after … year.

  2. Newt says:

    John Lennon?

    I thought the Wellstone crash would have made your list.

    Or even the death of the beloved John-John.

    Or the conviction of Dan Rostenkowski.

  3. John Reinan says:

    Although the events of 9/11 are the most vivid single news event in my lifetime, I would put the two assassinations of 1968 at the top for most impact. I’d have the JFK assassination at the top, but I was only 5 at the time, so though I was aware of some major shit going down, I didn’t process the event until later in life, through the lens of history.

    But in 1968 I was 10, and fully aware of the upheaval that gripped American society. When MLK was killed, and then RFK just two months later, I had the sense that the world was just coming unhinged.

    Then later that year there was the Democratic convention in Chicago, resulting in the election of Nixon, which fixed everything.

    1. Gary Hill says:

      …world was just coming unhinged. I’d share that sense. The murder of Oswald, the assassination of Malcolm X, the shootiing of George Wallace all helped amplify those feelings even if all of those figures were not as sympathetic as some of the others.

      I’d have to add in the bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma and the collapse of the I35W bridge as other gut wrenching bad news events.

  4. Mike Kennedy says:

    Well, I’d have to go with you on 9/11 topping my list. I was 3 when Kennedy died……but I remember my mom crying and watching the funeral on TV. Now, later in life, I would include it because it symbolizes to me the beginning of the death throes of a once great party.

    Obiously, I wouldn’t have Bush v. Gore as being on my worst list (I would if it had been the other way around).

    I think I would add the taking of the American hostages in Iran on my list.

  5. Joe Loveland says:

    Would it be shallow of me to nominate Gary Anderson’s missed field goal in the 1998 NFC Championship game?

  6. Adam Best says:

    9/11 definitely tops my list. But as a child, I remember the Challenger explosion most vividly. I was a Star Wars/GI Joe nerd; I worshipped technology and science. I wanted to be an astronaut like almost every other boy. It was devastating to me to realize how fallible our grandest dreams are.

    1. Interesting take…and for sure an unforgettably dark news day. It’s worth noting, however, that space travel carries with it a presumed element of risk. While shocking, the Challenger explosion was not something nobody ever imagined could happen.

  7. Robb Mitchell says:

    1. Assassination of John F. Kennedy
    2. Assassination of Martin Luther King
    3. Assassination Bobby Kennedy
    4. Assassination of John Lennon
    5. Plane crash of Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens
    and the Big Bopper
    6. Death of Otis Redding
    7. Death of Jimi Hendrix in Maida Vale, London
    8. Assassination of Marvin Gaye
    9. Murder of Sam Cooke
    10, Rumble in the Jungle

    Can I have ten more?

  8. Off the top of my head:

    1. September 11, 2001
    2. 35W bridge collapse
    3. Oklahoma City bombing
    4. Virginia Tech shootings
    5. Hurricane Katrina
    6. Balloon boy incident

    Why is the balloon boy incident on my list? Because on that day, I truly began to grasp how fucking pitiful and pathetic some people — and some of the media outlets that cover that — can be.

    1. Mike Kennedy says:


      Stop bullshitting me. Brian wrote this leftie screed, didn’t he? You just did a cut and paste and put this under some other dude’s name to throw us off, right?

      Run for the bunker. The Robber Barrons are coming. At least there is some humor amid the 50 mph winds and the slush I found on my windshield this morning.

      Thank you.

  9. Tom Schierholz says:

    I wasn’t around for either of the Kennedy assassinations or MLK, but I can imagine the heartbreak.

    Somewhere after 9/11, I’d have to put the day Ford pardoned Nixon. Somehow after that, “speaking truth to power” didn’t resonate quite as loud.

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