By Jon Keller

BOSTON (CBS) – This will be my last chance this year to talk with you as I take a little break, and I want to use the time to address the palpable sense among so many of us that 2016 was somehow the year from h-e-double-hockey sticks.

Admittedly, this was a tough one.

Any year that includes the slaughter of innocents in a nightclub and a campaign season where both major-party candidates were less popular than a red wine spill on your white shag carpet is one that begs to be quickly forgotten.

But a little perspective is in order here.

There are a long list of years that arguably make 2016 seem like a festive picnic.

My vote goes to 1968, a year that began with the Tet offensive, a deadly escalation of the Vietnam War, and ended with the first victims of the Zodiac Killer being found in northern California.

In between those terrifying stories, there was often-violent campus unrest over the war and continuing, sometimes-fatal clashes involving civil-rights protests. And then, in April, perhaps the worst setback American civil rights have ever experienced, the murder of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. by a vicious racist.

Riots broke out in several cities after that atrocity, and 1968 was just getting started.

In June, Bobby Kennedy was murdered by a Palestinian terrorist. In August, the Democratic Convention was disrupted by a police riot in the streets of Chicago.

Commercial airplane hijackings, a mine disaster that killed 78 men, the bad news just kept on coming.

And it’s believed that 1968 was the year HIV first arrived in America.

2016? A walk in the park compared with 1968.

Here’s hoping 2017 is nothing like it.

Listen to Jon’s commentary:

Comments (3)
  1. Joseph Wrinn says:

    I remember a lot of bad years. 1962 was the Cuban missile crisis and I thought the world would end. 1963 was the JFK assassination. But I must agree with you that 1968 took the cake! One difference is the way 1968 ended. Remember Apollo 8? We got our first view of the small, fragile, blue planet we all share. Remember the astronauts reading from the book of Genesis from lunar orbit as they beamed those pictures back to us on Christmas Eve? 1968 was indeed a horrible year, but it ended with a sense of wonder and hope. It ended with a sense of being united on this small planet. I can’t say the same for 2016.

    1. bees_knees_6 says:

      Excellent comment!!

  2. David Keith says:

    “And it’s believed that 1968 was the year HIV first arrived in America.”

    Well by that standard, I’d nominate 1946. In that year an equally pernicious disease first appeared in America.

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