2014 Year in Review: Society’s Giant Step Backwards

Imagine that the Mayan Calendar somehow ended up being correct, and the world actually did end back in 2012. In that alternate dimension, the past 12 months would have never occurred.

Looking back, maybe that wouldn’t have been such a bad thing.

If history books were written in a linear, year-by-year timeline, the 2014 year in review would feature some of the biggest online data breaches ever, Ebola-related hysteria in the US, the exposure of “see no evil” regulations by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, the deaths of Robin Williams & Philip Seymour Hoffman due to mental illness,  and two mysterious airplane disappearances with another shot down in the Ukraine/Russia conflict.  

And those aren’t even the worst of it.

While the beginning of 2014 was dominated by Russia’s invasion of Crimea & the aforementioned Malaysian Airlines plane being shot-down over Ukraine (with some calling this the quote/unquote precipice to a second Cold War), some of the biggest stories of the latter half of this year took place right here in America — starting in Ferguson, Missouri, where (as we all know by now) an unarmed black teenager was shot & killed by a white police officer.

History won’t soon forget the “riots”, as they were called by the media — though, besides for a few relatively isolated incidents, there wasn’t much that could be construed as such — that followed Michael Brown’s murder or the later denial of a Grand Jury to indict the officer involved. And just weeks later, when the chokehold-fueled death of Eric Garner by the NYPD (which, was captured on video, btw), the protests (justifiably) continued. So, unfortunately, did the ignorant Facebook posts denouncing both men because of their race. So, unfortunately, did the unproved shooting death of two NYPD patrolmen who had zero involvement in the Garner situation.

Internationally, 2014 brought the escalation of violence by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and the April kidnapping of 200 Nigerian schoolgirls by the Boko Haram terrorist group, never to be seen again. Israel and Palestine still can’t get along, and this summer, thousands lost their lives because of it.

Collectively, after reading all of that (and realizing it all happened this year), the unprecedented hacking of Sony Pictures and “Heartbleed” and the FCC’s planned execution of Net Neutrality seem like nothing but afterthoughts — backpage throwaways in a newspaper absolutely chock-full of more important shit. Only, none of them are; as they all individually have far-reaching implications for all of us living in a modern, technological age.

2014 wasn’t all bad, though: the World Cup and the Winter Olympics in Sochi united nations under common interests (if only for a brief time), social activism reached new peaks with #BringBackOurGirls and during the Ferguson protests, America renewed talks with Cuba for the first time in 50 years, etc. etc. etc.

On paper, though, the negative outweighs the positive in 2014 (sorry — there’s no way to sugarcoat that one). There is one bright point, though…

…at least it’s finally over.

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