Exactly one thing was simple about my childhood: naming the decades. If you say “the ’70s” or “the ’80s,” everybody knows which years you’re talking about. With a new millennium, life got complicated: mortgages, kids and how to properly name 10-year timespans.
We still haven’t figured out the last decade’s weird-ass handle – is it the “aughts” or the “Os”? – and now this one’s done?
Before life gets simple again with “the ’20s,” let’s glance back at our “Troubled Teens” and review the top story in Arizona for each of the last 10 years.
2010: After hemming and hawing, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer signs SB 1070, Arizona’s anti-illegal immigration law. Even though it mirrors federal law, and despite the fact neither had actually read it, President Barack Obama and Homeland Secretary Janet Napolitano (Brewer’s predecessor) both oppose the bill.
2011: 9-year-old Christina-Taylor Green, a kid who loved dancing, gymnastics and playing second base, is murdered outside a Tucson-area Safeway, along with five other people. Don’t remember her? Maybe you remember the woman she was there to see that day: Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.
2012: Arizona turns 100 years old. Unlike the Grand Canyon “centennial” everybody celebrated in 2019 (It was born around 5,000,000 BC!), our little political subdivision really did hit 100 in 2012.
2013: 19 souls, known as the Granite Mountain Hotshots, are lost fighting the Yarnell Fire. Six years later, I can still barely talk about it. So I won’t.
2014: A nationwide scandal over medical care for veterans starts right here at Phoenix’s Carl T. Hayden Medical Center. Some veterans reportedly waited for their promised VA care up until their last breath. We still haven’t completely fixed the problem. Shame on us.
2015: Super Bowl XLIX is played in Glendale. Still the most-watched program in U.S. television history, the game is notable because my wife’s New England Patriots win 28-24, but the highlight is indisputably Katy Perry’s shark-infested halftime show. Runner-up: Llamas escape in Sun City! News at 10!
2016: Sheriff Joe Arpaio rides off into the sunset after Maricopa County voters euphemistically slap his rear end to send him galloping into the sunset.
2017: A Donald Trump rally-cum-riot plays out in Downtown Phoenix, barely six months into his term. Tear gas and pepper balls fly, and at least one anti-Trumper crumples to the ground, grabbing his groin. Not euphemistically.
2018: U.S. Senator John McCain passes away at his ranch near Cornville, Arizona. And Donald Trump’s hate for the man lives on.
2019: Not picking one. At the time of this printing, there are still a couple weeks left in the year. What if you pick up this magazine sometime in the “middle ’20s” and laugh because I missed 2019’s defining story? I mean, you never know when a llama or two might get loose again.
Jim Sharpe is the host of Arizona’s Morning News on KTAR-FM 92.3 (weekdays 5-9 a.m.). Visit ktar.com to find more information about his on-air work.