View Poll Results: Most shocking event of the last 100 years of American history?

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  • JFT Assassination

    8 9.64%
  • Pearl Harbour

    8 9.64%
  • 9/11

    55 66.27%
  • 1995 Oklahoma City Bombing

    1 1.20%
  • Attempted Assassination of Ronald Reagan

    0 0%
  • Watergate & Nixon Resignation

    0 0%
  • 1929 Wall Street Crash/Great Depression

    10 12.05%
  • 2008/09 economic meltdown

    0 0%
  • Hurricane Katrina

    1 1.20%
  • Other

    0 0%
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  1. #1

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    Most shocking event in the last 100 years of American history?

    Just been watching JFK: The Lost Bullet. Very interesting. The assassination has to be one of the most shocking events of the last 100 years in American history. But, which was the most shocking?

    Apologies for the typo in the poll. 'JFT' should read 'JFK'
    Last edited by Maofan7; 03-26-2012 at 09:37 PM.

  2. #2
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    Ignoring that this will obviously wind up biased to events that occurred in posters' lifetimes, and going for the one that not only was shocking but affected the most people in the strongest and most extensive way, the Great Depression (not just within the US but the worldwide economic collapse.)

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    I voted 9/11, just shocking that there could be so much hate.
    Last edited by DickButtonFan; 03-26-2012 at 10:35 PM.

  4. #4

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    I'd definitely say 9/11, and not just because I was living six blocks from the WTC at the time. Minus the Pentagon portion, it was largely an attack on civilians, and the fact that airplanes were the weapons really adds to the shock factor for me, since most terrorist attacks seem to be carried out via bombs.

    Pearl Harbor was shocking but hardly the first attack on US military. JFK assassination wasn't as shocking to me because several presidents had already been assassinated; it's a risk of assuming the presidency, unfortunately.
    Last edited by Cheylana; 03-26-2012 at 11:47 PM.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by danceronice View Post
    Ignoring that this will obviously wind up biased to events that occurred in posters' lifetimes, and going for the one that not only was shocking but affected the most people in the strongest and most extensive way, the Great Depression (not just within the US but the worldwide economic collapse.)
    I'd have to agree with this, with Pearl Harbor a close second for its far-ranging and long-lasting effects.

    Of events during my lifetime, I'd have a hard time choosing between JFK and 9/11.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Grannyfan View Post
    Of events during my lifetime, I'd have a hard time choosing between JFK and 9/11.
    I couldn't choose between those two -- I still have vivid memories of learning of Kennedy's assassination during a school assembly -- I can't believe in 20 months it will have been 50 years. Watching in horror as the WTC towers fell during a live TV broadcast was equally surreal and completely gut-wrenching. Coming up behind those two events were the Oklahoma City bombing and the Columbine and Virginia Tech school massacres.
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    I can't decide between 9/11 and JFK assassination. I think I'll go with 9/11, because while JFK's assassination was shocking, it isn't unheard of for presidents to be assassinated.

    I think Pearl Harbor was incredibly shocking, but the world was at war, and I think most of the US knew they'd be drawn in, even if they hoped they would remain isolated and out of it.

    I remember the OKC bombing, and while it was shocking at the time, I don't think the events are as long lasting.

    I don't think Katrina counts- because while devastating, there was tons of warning so it wasn't shocking. I don't think anyone expected the handling of it to be bungled so badly, but I think there were predictions it could have been much much worse if there was a direct hit on New Orleans.

  8. #8

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    I agree about the Great Depression. There had been economic booms and busts before but nothing like that. It was also likely the catalyst for WWII. That whole period WWI into the Great Depression into WWII is something I can't comprehend. Talk about an uncertain world!

    9/11 didn't shock me as much as it appears to have the younger posters. I can remember the riots and church bombings during the 1960's, and the assasinations in short succession (Kennedy-King-Kennedy). Not only that but President Kennedy's assasin was gunned down in the middle of the police station a few days later. I also remember the draft for the Viet Nam war and the violent protests that went with it.

  9. #9

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    I'd say the Challenger explosion should be on the list. Not that I'd vote for it as most shocking, but I'd have it in the top ten at least.
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  10. #10
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    The Great Depression was an incredibly tragic event worldwide- and it started with a shocking blow and went on for years and years.
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  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wyliefan View Post
    I'd say the Challenger explosion should be on the list. Not that I'd vote for it as most shocking, but I'd have it in the top ten at least.
    So true. Shocking and sad.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wyliefan View Post
    I'd say the Challenger explosion should be on the list. Not that I'd vote for it as most shocking, but I'd have it in the top ten at least.
    I almost made the same comment, but then I wondered if then we'd have to consider Columbia as well. I'd say Challenger was more shocking (the timing, it hadn't happened before, teacher onboard, etc) but there are lots of space disasters. What about the Apollo fire? Wasn't that shocking? Apollo 13 was shocking in a captivating, but ended positively kind of way.

    What about the Vietnam war? Is it 'shocking' that the US "lost"? The US has a history of success in its military engagements.

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by aliceanne View Post
    I agree about the Great Depression. There had been economic booms and busts before but nothing like that. It was also likely the catalyst for WWII. That whole period WWI into the Great Depression into WWII is something I can't comprehend. Talk about an uncertain world!

    9/11 didn't shock me as much as it appears to have the younger posters. I can remember the riots and church bombings during the 1960's, and the assasinations in short succession (Kennedy-King-Kennedy). Not only that but President Kennedy's assasin was gunned down in the middle of the police station a few days later. I also remember the draft for the Viet Nam war and the violent protests that went with it.
    I also lived through the Civil Rights Movement and all the awful assasinations, and they certainly affected me. However, I have to say 9/11 because it wasn't targeted at one person or group, but a larger group of victims. Generally, those assasinations, although terrible, were focused on one person although that one person represented groups or ideas hated by the assasin(s.) Yes, there were some instances where several were killed together such as the Birmingham church bombing. But 9/11 killed over 3,000 totally innocent civilians, without a real warning. We all knew it was terrorists when that second plane hit, but that was one large plot that took many, many civilian lives. You can say it was against NYC or Jewish people, but so many people from so many groups and ethnicities were killed, it goes beyond anything I've ever witnessed. I can conceive that some people can target an attack on their enemy (even if they haven't declared war yet) such as Pearl Harbor. Or on a president they hate. Or the representative of an idea or group. But that many people killed in so shocking a manner....beyond horrible!

  14. #14
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    I picked JFK's assassination. I think the public assassination of the world's superpower has to be the most shocking American event of the last 100 years--much more so considering the continuing doubts of the lone-assassin theory, as well as the shocking murder of Oswald before tv cameras.

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by Skittl1321 View Post
    (the timing, it hadn't happened before, teacher onboard, etc)
    These factors were what I was thinking of. The fact that the teacher was onboard, in particular, meant it was something that tons of people were really paying attention to, especially schoolkids. I was in fifth grade at the time, and I remember how we heard about Christa McAuliffe for weeks and weeks and weeks before the shuttle went up -- every aspect of her life and job and what she would do in space. It was like The Biggest Educational Opportunity Of All Time, or at least of our time. To have it happen in those circumstances seemed to give it extra impact.
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  16. #16
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    Think of the traditional American family of some time ago. Mom, Dad and children. Often the grandparents are near or live with you. Dad earns the paycheck. Now think of one of every three Dad's out of work and nothing coming in for all of those women, children, elderly. Also no social security checks, medicare anything. Charitable institutions are overwhelmed. Bloated bellies, malnutrition, starvation, homelessness follow.

    Now if that isn't a shock to the system I don't know what is...

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wyliefan View Post
    I'd say the Challenger explosion should be on the list. Not that I'd vote for it as most shocking, but I'd have it in the top ten at least.
    I was thinking of this, and the Columbia, though at the time with Columbia I wasn't really shocked, just pissed off as I was old enough to understand WHY it happened. (Neither one was especially unpredictable, which is the real tragedy.)

    JFK I wasn't born for, and while I wouldn't say no one in my family cared at ALL, no one was really TRAUMATIZED by it. (Mom was studying for a college Latin exam, and kept studying because like she said, there was still going to be a test. Dad's kind of vague but he thinks he was going to work. It was more a work deal for him and in a sad way it was good, since JFK dying gave a big kick to the space program and Dad was an aerospace engineer at the time.)

    9/11 I can't really view fairly as I was VERY near the Pentagon (I lived right across the freeway on the south side so I heard the whole thing and could see the burning wall from the end of my street) and with the whole second-plane question I wasn't really focused on the big picture for a while. The fact someone would DO it didn't really surprise me, more like no one thought of it before? (Except Tom Clancy.)

  18. #18
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    My vote went to the Great Depression as well. A lot of events stemmed from that one short period in time. Would have liked to see prohibition make that list as well. LOL

  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by danceronice View Post
    9/11 I can't really view fairly as I was VERY near the Pentagon (I lived right across the freeway on the south side so I heard the whole thing and could see the burning wall from the end of my street) and with the whole second-plane question I wasn't really focused on the big picture for a while. The fact someone would DO it didn't really surprise me, more like no one thought of it before? (Except Tom Clancy.)
    Sadly, this was my reaction too, not surprised that it happened but that it hadn't happened before, and I was nearby as well.

    The events of the 60's probably affected me more because I was a child/teen and it was my first time living through tragic events or being directly affected by them.

    I wonder what my parents and grandparents would have chosen?

  20. #20
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    The definition of "shock" is specifically a "sudden" or "unexpected" event. Prohibition had been campaigned for for decades and the passage of a constitutional amendment is not in any way a "sudden" occurrence. Likewise, the Depression was not particularly "sudden". Primarily agricultural areas had been in a severe economic recession for the better part of the 1920s. Unemployment did not reach high levels overnight after the crash. The average for 1929 was under 4% and for 1930 was 8.67%. It doubled in again in 1931 (over 15%). The high for the 1930s was just under 25% in 1933. As you can see, those numbers indicate gradual increases in unemployment (albeit at ridiculously high numbers) not overnight unemployment commencing on October 30, 1929. The October crash was devastating and shocking to some who were severely and immediately impacted, but also not necessarily unexpected as the market had been volatile for some time leading up to it.

    I don't think the period can be designated as a "shock".

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