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Peace On Earth?

The CNN headline pretty much says it all: Wal-Mart worker dies in rush; two killed at toy store

A guy trying to pick up some extra money at Wal-Mart is stomped to death by people trying to be the first to enter the store, and two guys decide to have a gun fight in a California Toys “R” Us. That is the spirit of the season. That is what the US has become. That is what Christmas has become.

I keep hearing the tired refrain that “The children wouldn’t understand if we don’t spend the money.” Sorry, but I was once a child and I understood what I was told. Jehovah Witness children don’t expect it. Hindu children don’t expect it. The only reason children expect it is because their parents tell them to. It isn’t the kids who need an attitude adjustment, it’s adults.


1 Tom { 11.28.08 at 9:08 pm }

Everyone that ran over this man, and I mean every single one of them should be tried for manslaughter! Rotting in prison would be too good for these psychopathic, disgusting low-lifes!

2 Bryan { 11.28.08 at 9:51 pm }

When I worked in New York law enforcement the store could be held liable in the death and it would be a criminal, not a civil prosecution. The store created a situation likely to cause injury and didn’t make an adequate effort to mitigate the problem. They should have hired security to control the crowd, and they didn’t. The law was used against venues that hosted rock concerts and other events that failed to make a reasonable effort to control the situation.

Yes, the people who stormed in are guilty, but so is Wal-Mart.

3 Sharon { 11.28.08 at 10:05 pm }

It makes me sick to think that Walmart didn’t have the decency to shut the store down. You can still see people walking out with their “bargains” – only cost a life and a buck ninety nine.

4 cookie jill { 11.28.08 at 10:26 pm }

Our society values cheaply made c*** from China more than a human life.

I hope the Wal-Mart CEO/President donates some of his earnings to the victims’ families. I’m sure he can freakin’ afford it.

I myself practice Buy Nothing Day every year after Turkey Day.

5 Jack Wheaton { 11.28.08 at 10:34 pm }

What a pathetic world this is! First of all, what caliber of people would spend an entire night outside to buy something? Is this the spirit of Christmas? Couldn’t those worthless animals see there was a helpless human being lying on the floor struggling? People are dying in Bombay, millions are starving in Africa and elsewhere, and here they are, scum who are foaming at the mouth to save a few lousy dollars. 🙁 All for what? This is an example of the lowest moral values one could imagine. Sad, sad imbeciles. Identify the murderers and execute them!

6 Bryan { 11.28.08 at 11:12 pm }

Before holding another of these events they need to hire some a equipment from a stockyard and offer Valium-laced coffee outside.

If people weren’t so uptight about it, a few burn barrels featuring marijuana about an hour before the doors opened would mellow things out.

There are ways to control a crowd and prevent a stampede. Disney has it down to a science.

This isn’t the first time it has happened, but it damn sure should be the last.

7 Steve Bates { 11.29.08 at 12:00 am }

There’s plenty of blame to go around here, but the store and the individuals who mobbed the door… that is probably not everyone in the crowd; many were probably trapped in the mob themselves… are at the top of the list. Was this a criminal act? Yes, I think it was; at the very least it was negligence.

But what can be said about a nation whose “leader,” in response to the worst terrorist act in history, tells everyone to go shopping? We’ve been cajoled and browbeaten by everyone we hear and everything we see to buy, buy, buy, and until something dispels that mentality in America, we’re going to have incidents like this.

I did my part today: I not only bought nothing; I stayed home all day. Perhaps that’s because this incident was the first news I encountered this morning. I was so disgusted that I wanted to be no part of the mass shopping hysteria.

8 Mary FairWeather { 11.29.08 at 12:37 am }

This is such a sad incident. My heart goes out to the family, and I just cannot imagine that decent people could trample a life, and just keep going.

*** HOWEVER, many families shopped today without getting wrapped up in the pathetic ‘mob’ mentality.

Avoiding the stores today is a personal choice, but does not make me a ‘better’ person because of it. It just means that I would rather pay more $$ than to deal with the crowds. I have never understood the excitement that many people experience with this shopping day, but have dear friends that go yearly and have never had problems. We need to keep in mind that these sales went on all over the US in thousands of cities and stores without incident, without a fight or tragedy, and simply engaged many people in having a good time. These shoppers are enjoying the same type of experience as those who choose to deal with a crowd at Disneyland, a concert, or Time square on New Years Eve.

So Walmart, and all other stores need to learn from this and provide ‘more than adequate’ security to keep their employees safe, BUT lets not pretend that those of us that stayed home in bed, and those of us who WILL shop next weekend, are any better than the majority of the shoppers across the US that did ‘behave’ themselves at these sales this morning, and the shoppers that had a good time without inflicting pain on others… That way of thinking is just arrogant and useless.

My sincere condolences to the family and friends of the victims….

9 LadyMin { 11.29.08 at 1:16 am }

I will never ever understand the desire to go stand in line in the middle of the night with a group of loonies. And in this part of the country, freezing cold! My time and my sanity is worth more than the few dollars saved.

In fact, little secret the loonies will probably never figure out … you save even more if you shop online. Bargain prices, the no sales tax loophole and free shipping. Plus all the amenities of home. Priceless. 🙂

10 Kryten42 { 11.29.08 at 1:46 am }

This was just on our evening news. I saw some cam fottage (security cam by the looks), and the crowd rushed the main doors and broke them down! I do not understand this mindless mob mentality to save a few bucks! If they were starving and hadn’t had food in days, I could understand. I have a current (valid until 2010) armed security/crowd control/control room operations/Griffin Coordinator (riot/terrorist control) license. If I was security manager for that store and new what was coming, I would have called the police before it happened and resigned in disgust.

Wal-Mart are definitely responsible, and so is their head of security and the idiots that caused the stampede. None of the established (even common sense) security measures were in place.

People really are stupid.

11 Kryten42 { 11.29.08 at 1:48 am }

Excuse the typo’s, I was really annoyed and didn’t bother checking.

12 Bryan { 11.29.08 at 12:57 pm }

As the Senior State Trooper who conducted riot response training at the police academy said – you are not dealing with people, you are dealing with a mob. People would never do what mobs do.

They could have played Christmas carols and handed out warm drinks. They definitely should have had a lot of extra security on hand. A fire hose standing by wouldn’t have been out of place, nor would a few portable toilets. Caffeine and portable johns can go a long way towards keeping a crowd from compressing into a mob.

Of course the simplest plan, and the plan that Nassau County may enact before next year, is to ban these events altogether.

As I mentioned above, when I was in law enforcement in New York, WalMart could be criminally charged in this event. There were criminal prosecutions of people who created mobs for commercial purposes that resulted in injury and death when reasonable precautions weren’t taken, and it is fairly obvious that precautions weren’t taken in this incident. There are reports that the police are scanning the videos for people to prosecute, and that includes anyone who interfered in any way with those attempting to assist the victim. Bumping into an EMT trying to render assistance is worth a year in jail in New York State.

Out of curiosity I checked the WalMart flier for their Black Friday sale, and I didn’t see any great deals. The ad featured a lot of flat screen TVs that I have seen advertised for less [my Mother is in the market for a new TV]. I have no idea what the draw was. If you have $500 for a new television you don’t need to wait in line overnight to buy it. This was just outside The City, you could get a slightly used model of the same TV for half that price any day of the week. With the hard times, you could get a better deal just looking at the want ads or going to a thrift shop.

There are enough stores, like Circuit City, going down the tubes because of stupid management tricks, that there is no need to rush, and the closer things get to the end of the year, the more desperate the sales will become.

This was stupid and criminal. There isn’t a lot you can do about stupid, but we do have courts that function in some fashion.

13 Moi { 11.29.08 at 8:03 pm }

This is so believable. Not unbelievable, believable. I totally believe that Walmart didn’t close the store, the whores. I totally believe that no one stopped – but more because people are just SO unaware of anything outside their own spheres any more….and of course, those are the people who shop at Walmart.

Shop Online
Boycott Walmart
Boycott Chinese products if at all possible

14 Bryan { 11.29.08 at 10:02 pm }

Big Box stores and malls create the anonymity that makes mobs possible. The people who shop at these stores don’t live in the area because no one lives in the area. You have to drive to get there. No one knows your name or wants to know you.

When I worked my last assignment in Rochester I would frequent a restaurant and they would start my order, based on the day of the week as soon as I pulled into the parking lot. It was called service.

That’s what you get when you shop locally. That’s what we have lost with malls and box stores. The communities are dissolving.

15 Steve Bates { 11.30.08 at 11:54 pm }

In fairness, not all big box stores are alike. Costco, by all reports, pays and treats its employees well. Wal-Mart universally does not. Target is reportedly better than Wal-Mart. When the Costco being built near me finally opens, I will trade there, and I already deal with Target, mostly their pharmacy. Wal-Mart can wait until Texas freezes over in mid-July for my custom; it just ain’t gonna happen.

(Activist/songwriter Dave Lippman wrote a song and titled a CD “I Hate Wal-Mart.” I have the distinction of having contributed material to him from which he wrote a new verse for the song, about “dead janitor” insurance policies. It seems Wal-Mart takes out life insurance, not just on its high-level executives, but its janitors… payable not to the janitors, but to Wal-Mart. When one’s employer has financial incentive for one to die, … well, don’t get me started.)

16 Bryan { 12.01.08 at 12:22 am }

I agree that Costco treats its employees better, but all of them make it harder for small local businesses to survive, and when they go, so does service. I like the community provided by local stores with long time employees. It makes the drudgery of shopping more human. It also cuts down on driving.

17 Steve Bates { 12.01.08 at 11:05 am }

Oh, don’t get me wrong; I certainly prefer small local stores whenever possible. You are right about the difference in service; I really appreciate that attitude. But in many towns… Livingson, TX for one… most of the mom-and-pop stores have been driven out of business by Wal-Mart.

The closest thing accessible to me (literally closest… just around the corner) is Sellers Bros. grocery, a chain of small supermarkets unique to Houston, founded here in 1921. “Sellers” is actually the family name. The chain is about a half dozen stores. They’re not the greatest supermarkets, but I really like their attitude. And being in business only in Houston, they have an excellent stock of Texas-style Mexican food.

18 Bryan { 12.01.08 at 12:24 pm }

That’s what I mean, Steve, they homogenize the country. I have to buy books sight unseen over the ‘Net, because the really good local store is gone. There are a dozen products that my Mother loved, that are no longer available because the stores that stocked them are gone. Don’t get me started on the loss of bakery products that used cane sugar and other natural ingredients, or the local milk products, including the one of the best eggnogs I’ve ever tasted, or the local hush puppy mix, or any of dozens of other products that are gone because of Wal-Mart.

The worst part for the locals is that after all of these stores left, the prices have risen, because there is no competition. That is the consistent pattern. The stores that survived the Wal-Mart invasion raise prices when Wal-Mart does, and Wal-Mart always does, and they go to a part-time work force to eliminate people who have fringe benefits.