How many human lives is a flat panel TV worth?

by Andrea Karim on 30 November 2008 48 comments

I think that the iPhone is a neato gadget. I couldn't believe that people stood in line for them. The final Star Wars movie was decent - I waited for the DVD. Some people camped outside the damn theater.

There are very few things that are important enough, to me, to stand in line to purchase. This is partly because I don't like people, and thus try to avoid milling among them for any amount of time. This is also because there's just no purchasable item that I find worth my time. It's also, partly, a product of my upbringing. My mother is simply not much of a bargain shopper, and certainly never waited outside of a store for more than a few minutes (nevermind hours) in order to get inside and snatch up the first discounted television set that she saw.

This is why I am so completely baffled that a 270 pound man was trampled to death by rabid shopopers at a Wal-mart in Long Island this past Friday.

Now, stampedes happen. Whenever people desperately flee to a new area and arrive at a bottleneck of somekind, someone is going to get hurt. You hear about it occasionally on the news: pligrims trampled in Ramadan pilgrimage. Nigerians tramped in riot. These are stampedes that make a tiny bit more sense in m brain: religious pilgrimages are emotional events, involving lots of activity and numerous people. While I am not religious, I can see why this might happen in, say, Mecca. Or in a poor country where people are scrounging for food.

But this happened in Long Island. In the USA. Over Walmart merchandise.

Let me repeat this: a man was trampled to death. A temporary employee of Wal-mart, Jdimytai Damour, was crushed under the feet of shoppers eager to get their hands on cheap. Chinese-made goods. Shopper literally broke down the glass doors to the Wal-mart where Damour was working, and he remained under the door as hundreds of people clambored over the top of him. Imagine stepping over a man lying prone beneath a sheet of glass. Can you fathom that? Could you? For what? What could possibly allow human beings to behave like homicidal lemmings.

I don't doubt that many people shop at Wal-mart in order to save money, but I seriously doubt that this insane mob of people consisted mostly of suburban mothers looking for jumbo-sized diaper packs. No, these were people looking for slashed prices on electronics, outdoor gear, and clothing. These were bargain shoppers, for sure, but no one who stepped on Damour's chest was there because they had run out of bread and heating oil.

What have we come to? Is 20% off of a LCD television really worth the life of a man like Damour? Is it worth anything? How can anyone stand in line for this stuff? Wal-mart, really? Listen, I know I can be an elitist sometimes, but I occasionally shop at Walmart. But regardless of how good the deals are, how could any, or all, of the merchadise inside a Wal-mart be worth the life of a single person?

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Guest's picture
Brandon

I'm with you on this one. When I saw this story, it stirred up all kinds of emotions in me, including anger and a little bit of fear. It's baffling. Why do people in crowds do things they wouldn't normally do? And why do we create situations like this to begin with - makes me want to shop online this year.

Guest's picture
rox

I was sick to my stomach when I heard this news - sick but not surprised. For years, I've said I'd rather pay full price than deal with the Black Friday madness. My heart goes out to Mr. Damour's family.

Guest's picture
Emily

It seems like, every year, there's at least one story lke this. Not always a fatality, but certainly instincts relating to pack behavior. I can't imagine ever stepping over someone in an effort to get somewhere! Can't we blame at least a little of this on the Black Friday media hype? Or the economy? Should we expect this to get worse in years to come?

Guest's picture
Beth

You captured, perfectly, the thoughts I've been mulling over and the sick feelings I've been pushing down about this horrible killing.

It's sinful, just plain old greed. And there, but for the grace of God and my introverted dislike of crowds, go I.

Guest's picture
martha in mobile

Of course I agree with all you said, and I would rather slit my wrists the long way than go out on Black Friday.

And -- I feel confident that no one in that crowd made a conscious decision to choose a man's life over a TV. People in the front were no doubt being pushed by people in the back. It only takes a little for a crowd to become physcially very dangerous, not because any one person decides to do something harmful, but because the sheer mass and weight.

There is also a weird mentality in a crowd. I have been to enough Mardi Gras parades where people are competing for crappy trinkets; you are trying to catch junk, everyone else is trying to catch junk and you get caught up in the moment. It's only later that you look at the junk and say "WTF? I wanted this crap?"

I don't say any of this to excuse the behavior of this (literally) murderous mob; my heart goes out to the family for this horrible death. I just think it is good to understand what goes on in a crowd to try to prevent this type of death again. Maybe a lottery for numbers, with an assigned entry time into the store?

Guest's picture
A

There is so much blame to go around. First, to the people who physically caused the death. (Security tapes are being reviewed, and criminal charges may be brought.) Second, to Walmart and the individual managers who did not have adequate security or crowd control to prevent this from happening. Third, to the media for playing up the frenzy of Black Friday shopping and encouraging stores to try to get publicity by having crazed crowds videotaped for the news. Fourth, to the immoral people who caused the current financial crisis--driving low-income people to desperation to not disappoint their kids this holiday season.

The shoppers at this particular mall are mainly very low income people. Think about the struggles that middle class people are going through at this time, and it's easy to see how those with the least resources are being pushed to the brink of desperation.

Additionally, it is hard to correctly identify exactly who caused the death, because the people in front (who may have actually stepped on the man) were probably being shoved by the people in back of them and may have had little to no control over their physical actions at that time. The NY Times article is very good--it has reference to studies of what happens in a crowd stampede.

Personally, I believe that Walmart and the managers are mainly responsible for allowing this situation to evolve. Before the incident happened, it would have been obvious from the number of people waiting (about 2,000) and the atmosphere, that things were about to go out of control. I haven't heard any comments from Walmart saying they are going to change anything to prevent further incidents, so I am hoping that some lawsuit will make them take this seriously--and not allow a human death to be just another business cost.

Guest's picture
Guest

I think what happened pretty much sums up the US mentality of the early 21st century.

From the low income shoppers stampeding for crap to the Wall ST executives stampeding for returns to the lobbyists stampeding for their interests - the US is full of the "I don't give a **** about anyone and anything except myself" attitude.

Yes, people in the front were probably pushed from the back BUT there's no mention of the two most disgusting parts of this story - how the shoppers were incensed that Wal-Mart had to close because of the employee's murder and the fact that the stampede occurred because the crowd grew impatient with waiting for the store to open.

Guest's picture
cavale

Just another consumer casualty. It's to be expected when capitalism reaches such heights.

Myscha Theriault's picture

Just when I thought it was safe to turn off the news. This is terrible news, Andrea. I can't even wrap my brain around it. You are right about the religious pilgrimages, though. We were in Jerusalem for holy week, and  . . . holy cow! I nearly got trampled a few times. People really do go crazy. And the folks who were mentioning the mass and weight behind the front folks . . . I can attest to that. It's pretty hard to avoid. On our around the world boondoggle we went to several sacred  places. I noticed similar behavior at each of them, including the major places in Peru.

You're right, though. This story didn't happen because people were out of bread. They just wanted a deal on a flat screen TV. It's sickening, really.

 

Guest's picture
Katybeth

Who is Damour--did he have a family, kids, are his parents alive, how old is he? American consumer rage, stampede a man to death it really does not get much lower than this...I am writing Walmart a letter, this was not an accident...they got what they promoted, its not their fault but it is certainly there responsibility. The people in Long Island should be ashamed but so should all of America. Ashamed enough, to take a long hard look at our values, and who we have become and more important what we are passing on to our countries children.

Guest's picture
Guest

I actually put a large part of the blame on the retailers. They spend the weeks following up to this sale season whipping up the typical buyers into such a frenzy that there WILL be crowds, there WILL be people lined up for blocks outside the shop.. and there likely WILL be some death or serious injury in the process.

Retailers don't really care what happens so long as they get their customer quota.

Guest's picture

I blame the people in the crowd and Wal Mart specifically. There are other retailers (Best Buy, for example) that have a very orderly system of setting up lines, security, and letting people into the stores. Please help me understand why after all these years, the world's largest retailer hasn't figured that out?

Guest's picture
Andrew

I know, it's sickening. There's nothing else I can say.

I would be interested to hear from my fellow humans who actually did the trampling. Maybe we could gain a glimpse into their mentality and have some hope of rationalizing their behavior. Oh wait- no.

Guest's picture
Lynnie

just thinking about that poor man and what his final thoughts must have been. His family, his friends, his life's dreams and ambitions. For what? Cheap Chinese goods sold even cheaper that will someday most likely be recalled. What is the price? Not one I'll feed any longer. From this moment on, the only time I'll step foot in Wal-Mart will be for my 2 prescriptions until I find a comparable place to get them. Wal-Mart, the corporate world, and all their ilk has lost a very good customer.

This has really changed my thinking about things. Prioritize your life while you can, treasure your family and friends. Remember the reason for the season.

Guest's picture
Guest

Too bad wisebread has not evolved its commentary system to the likes of larger sites/blogs so that I can downvote the very racist comment #12, or at least flag it for being inappropriate.

I can't believe that on top of this horrible tragedy someone has the audacity to claim that 'normal suburban environments' are above this type of thing.

I hope the 'Post new comment' disclaimer is upheld here... I, for one, am very offended...

Myscha Theriault's picture

Hi Guest. I was offended as well. And since I happened to be on the site and have moderator status, I removed the comment you just mentioned. Not everyone is on the site today since it's the weekend.

For future reference however, you can always use the "report this page" feature and someone should get to it asap. I'll give Andrea a heads up in the bloggers' forum, so she's aware. Thank you for your concern, and for stopping by.

Guest's picture
Guest

Thanks, Myscha. :-)

Andrea Karim's picture

We don't have the capacity to approve every comment for publishing, so we catch inappropriate remarks and flag them as we have time. As you can imagine, Sunday morning isn't always the most hardcore day for blog monitoring. The obnoxious comment has been removed.

-----

It's true that crowds don't always make the concious decision to trample someone to death, and mob mentality is a terrifying thing indeed. I do place a good deal of blame on Walmart for this incident. I think retailers do go out of their way to get everyone excited about what are, let's face it, mediocre discounts (doesn't everyone else think that better discounts are to be had on Boxing Day? That has always been my experience), but I do blame the American consumerist culture more than the stores.

Guest's picture

but I do wonder if there are any mitigating circumstances. I've never been in a stampede myself, but I have been in large, tightly packed crowds. I've gotten the impression that tramplings happen because people are so tightly packed that they lose a few very important things that people in more loosely spaced crowds have.

First, they very often can't see the ground in front of them, so they don't really understand when someone has fallen. If they understand that someone has fallen, they may not realize where that person is. Secondly, when movement begins, they often are being pushed from behind, so they can't stop even if they want to.

If those two conditions are present, it's not hard to see how this can happen, and perhaps without the immediate control of those who do the trampling. Sure, they're responsible for being there in the first place under such ridiculous circumstances. And someone's responsible for breaking down a door. But once someone fell and the crowd started moving, there may have been individuals with little direct choice over where their feet fell.

But I wasn't there, and this is speculation, so I could be totally wrong.

Guest's picture
Canadian Girl

Okay, I have to admit up here we have a little Black Friday envy ;)

Then I read about this Walmart incident.

Then I read about the shooting in the Toys R Us store in Palm Desert, California. (Which had nothing to do with crowds).

I just don't understand any of it. I agree with Andrea -- it's just not worth it.

Guest's picture

I have lined up in the past at these sales and the last time was three or four years ago was too much for me.

Too many people competing in a physical match to be one of the first to get something for cheap... I was shoved and pushed and almost knocked down.

I avoid these scrums now. I particpate in Cyber Monday now. So unless people start to randomly snatch my computer from me then I don't have to worry about injury.

This story says several things. 1. Larger crowds will lead to a mob mentality. 2. It is not safe to go to these sales anymore. 3. Whether it was for food or goods or whatever this man should not have suffered for this type of mass consumerism.

Guest's picture
Guest

I've been in riots that were safer than Black Friday at Walmart.

I'm totally serious here.

If they don't stop this nonsense, it won't be long before we start seeing xmas shopping hooligans looking to bash some heads.

Guest's picture
Guest

1. It doesn't matter where the products were built - the people who did this were American.

2. This happened on Long Island, not in "the hood".

3. If you're having more than a few hundred people in a small space, there are fire codes and crowd ordinances that the store and local police are responsible to enforce.

4. People need some education about peace, nonviolence, conflict resolution, and all that stuff that people mock.

Guest's picture
Wilson

The in-instore prices weren't even good enough to maim someone over. Anyway, its 2008 and most people can get OK internet service to shop online. Much more civilized, and only servers get hurt.

Guest's picture
Amy

I just don't understand how it could have happened. I'm pretty sure I would have been compelled to yell for help if I saw someone getting trampled on. My heart goes out to Mr. Damour's family whose pain won't be eased by any amount of holiday savings.

There has never been a deal I wanted so much that I could justify standing in line waiting for a store to open. I happily avoided all stores on Black Friday.

Guest's picture
TopCat

I find it ironic that on a website that promotes saving money that we have comments like these:

"I actually put a large part of the blame on the retailers"

"I blame the people in the crowd and Wal Mart specifically."

"Personally, I believe that Walmart and the managers are mainly responsible for allowing this situation to evolve. Before the incident happened, it would have been obvious from the number of people waiting (about 2,000) and the atmosphere, that things were about to go out of control."

Well, Wal-Mart has 2499 OTHER stores that had similar crowds and this didn't happen. I can see that the "mob mentality" is alive and well here, as unanimous suggestions of blaming the company for the actions of the customers seems to be the status quo. What nonsense.

Then Target should be responsible for the two guys who shot each other.

And McDonalds should pay you $1.M if you spill coffee on your crotch.

The reason WHY the crowds turn out is because items are less than half of their normal price. I don't know where the original poster notes 20% off - those televisions were more than half off. Apparently, nobody here has worked retail, so let me explain how this works.

1. The stores create a buzz to excite customers and entice them to flock to the stores. That is part of what drives our economy. (And I'm offended by the capitalist-bashing remark, tho I know better than to ask it be removed). This allows the store to finally go into the "BLACK" on the financial sheets.

2. Customers line up. Just like they do at sports events. Some are rowdy, some are loud and rude, most are there for the bargains. Some are on medications, some are on drugs, and some have been drinking. This is not a FUN activity.

3. Stores will lose money on those items. They hope to make up the loss (and then some) in other regularly priced merchandise purchases.

4. People choose to brave the cold weather. The long hours. Many are hungry. ALL OF THEM CHOOSE TO DO THIS. Is it greed? Yes. But the result is that tempers are shorter, frustrations surface and the lack of sleep manifests itself in a "I just want this over with".

But yeah, let's crucify the retailer because people choose to stand in an endurance match against their own greed. Let's shun capitalism because people really believe that the reason for the season is the latest electronic gadget. The REAL cause of the death was low prices!

You think ANY amount of security is going to contain a 2000 person frenzy? That a riot will be quashed by guys wearing "Security" coats "if only Wal-Mart had thought ahead and anticipated the death of their people"? Please.

Wal-Mart did the decent thing by closing the store, refusing purchases and punishing the jerks who vandalized the doors and murdered an employee.

Wal-mart didn't murder anyone. Those people did.

For the sake of blame and lawsuits, of course, Wal-Mart will end up taking the responsibility and paying the price of what will probably be a million dollar lawsuit. Personally, I think that should come out of the pockets of anyone - ANYONE - in that crowd who can be identified.

As a nation, we're buying more than we can afford, spending up our debt beyond what we can pay, and then we don't have the self-control to say, "gee, I can't afford that". So the only way to get it is to stand in the freezing weather like an idiot when it comes in our price range.

Sorry to step on toes and stop the party.

Back to suing Marlboro for lunch cancer and Budweiser for drunk driving. And Wal-mart for .. well.. successful marketing? Lowering prices? Being competitive?

Personal responsibility is dead. Thank goodness there's a retailer who has lots of money so SOMEONE ELSE can finally take responsibility for our messes we cause!

Happy Holidays, and peace to your fellow man.

Except you, Long Island. You're exempt.

TopCat

Guest's picture
Guest

I think the answer to the head question is about 9

Guest's picture
Guest

I have been watching this "black Friday" craziness for a few years and was really surprised that nobody had died in it yet.
I almost got a heart attack when my 7 months pregnant friend told me she was going.

Really, didn't anyone see this one coming?

Linsey Knerl's picture

...that my family has participated in Black Friday for several years now.  Maybe it's different for each community, but I've never seen more than a few instances of rudeness in all that time.  I've shopped at Walmart, Target, Best Buy, KMart, you name it.  The people standing in line have always been friendly, chatting with one another and being very sincere.

When the doors have opened, there is a bit of a "dash" for the store, but most people are well-aware of pregnant people, older patrons, and kids that may be having a hard time getting through the doors.  (I have even seen others offer to hold doors, and a few times where a disabled individual was allowed to go through the doors first.)

The type of behavior that caused this tragedy is not typical to what I've experienced.  I did not go this year, but my sister did.  She had a great time.  The closest anyone got to nasty was reaching for the same item as someone else (it was the last one.)  Everyone played fair.

This may just be the community where I live, but the type of behavior that occurred in this sad instance is not typical, at all.  My heart goes out to that man and the employees at Walmart.  Compassionate people have been practicing reponsible shopping for years, only to have this incident cast a shadow over most people's good will and  kindness.

Linsey Knerl

Guest's picture
lucille

The holidays is the period of time from about Halloween until January where a good portion of the population loses their minds. It they are not turning into Martha Stewart trying to create the perfect holiday they are turning into anti-social lunatics at the stores.

Most of our malls and big box stores are concentrated on one are of town. Just trying to drive through there this time of year is like taking your life in your hands. People drive totally aggressive and others panic because they are not used to driving in crowded traffic. It is a nightmare. That same bad aggressive behavior happens in the stores, not just on black Friday. So the incidents on Friday came as no surprise though they still are disturbing and extremely sad.

The deals these people stood in line for really were not that great. The TV Walmart ran was only about $100-$200 off of the lower end of the price range for that kind of TV. The vacuum was only a savings of $20-$40. There are many people who just don't understand marketing or how to analyze a sale. So they fall for the black Friday hype and behave this was something major. It is the same group of people that thought the Linens & Things liquidation was the bargain of the century and stood in lines that snaked across the store to buy something for more than it would have cost before the liquidation.

Guest's picture
DivaJean

I am a routine Black Friday shopper. And I have always gone to Walmart first- as their loss leaders beat the competition far and away.

This year's Black Friday was very different from years past. People who had never considered joining the ranks of us diehards were out there- hoping to snag the big deals. They had no clue that the big deals- the $200 laptop and the big screen tv on sale- are always very limited-- usually only a few per store. Our Walmart has a family that routinely gets in line on WEDNESDAY nite-- camping out for two nights and missing Thanksgiving at home. It's their tradition- its their choice. I usually end up somewhere in the middle of the line- since I leave my house only about a half hour before the store opens (as in 4:30 am). This year, there were so many newbies I was about 50 or 60 people further back than usual.

However, when the store opened at 5, people got mad because only 10 were let in at a time. The local police and store security work together- as always- and let 10 people into the area between the two front doors, like a holding area. Once the first 10 were in, the next 10 were let into the holding area. After the first 250 people were let in like this, the line was let to go at its own pace. Everyone knew the big ticket items would be gone already- so no need to push. When security was letting only 10 in at a time, newbies got frustrated and left. We were pretty much at our usual pecking order when all was said and done. The Long Island Store didn't seem to have any order as to how they were going to let people in- or security to make it stay that way.

What did I go for this year? Toys for my kidlets. The deals really were "can't miss it" for the early bird shoppers. I am basically done Christmas shopping now and can just finish up my sewing project gifts and baking.

Guest's picture

I avoid Black Friday like the plague. I won't participate or support this behavior, and I'm very disappointed with people and stores that encourage it.

Guest's picture
Guest

The poster seems to think that all of Long Island is homogeneous. Why don't they take a drive around Rosedale (next to the mall) and tell me about it.

Guest's picture
Kari

I just wanted to note that a photograph is not required for *every* blog post. Maybe we could have skipped it for this particular article?

Guest's picture
Laura G

I can't help imagining if I had been there. What if I had to choose between walking past, or even over, this man, and risking getting trampled and killed myself? Would I have had two inches of space to move away from him so I didnt make it worse? I roll my eyes at people who got in line Thursday morning instead of actually, you know, having Thanksgiving with their families, but even so. At certain points in the crowd, it was almost certainly kill or be killed. I don't excuse it, but I do have some compassion for the people with that dilemma.

Guest's picture
Guest

#22 is right. I think the motives behind people's mentions of "Chinese-made products" are questionable at best. This is a horrible tragedy and the discussion should be free of uneducated and misinformed stereotypical BS.

Although I do share the shock and disgust felt by the author, I also find the tone of the article somewhat condescending and borderline insulting. It's funny how a self-acknowledged "elitist" would be writing for a blog like Wise Bread.

Guest's picture
DivaJean

They are now saying in the news that the worker who was trampled had not received any training on safety in crowd situations. Of course Walmart's response is that they are looking into their security camera findings of the incident and are trying to find "the people responsible" for the trampling but realize it will likely be dificult to press any charges.

Andrea Karim's picture

Eh, even elitists like to save money.

Guest's picture
Linda

This story made the news here in the UK and I too was astonished by the scene.

It's very sad that someone should lose their life. Horrible things always seem to happen close to Christmas. Goodness knows how this man's family must be feeling.

Another thing that surprised me was that some of the shoppers had young children and babies with them.

Why would you take a child to such a free for all?

The poor things must have been terrified.

Guest's picture
Myackie

I thought it was from "The Onion". I couldn't believe it was real. What a world.

Guest's picture
Michele

First, as horrible as this story is, its nothing new. This is the same walmart mentality that refused to release surveillance tapes from their parking lot to track a woman kidnapped from their premisis. But its not really exclusive to Walmart. I remember a few years ago reading about someone getting killed in the UK at an IKEA grand opening.

This kind of stuff has been happening at walmart for a long time. I worked there in 93 and was witness to a similar stampede and just general creepiness by customers I Black Friday. I have boycotted it ever since.

Just a comment.. why must the McDonald's coffee incident be invoked every time someone starts talking about a stores responsibilities to their clientele? Check the facts. That poor woman got third degree burns, had to have skin grafts, when the coffee was so hot it burned THROUGH her clothes, requiring considerable medical attention and expense. McDonald's totally shined her on. A bad management decision that could have been settled by a few thousand in medical expenses, cost them millions, for lack of some foresight and common sense.

There is no excuse for what happened at this store. Walmart's general business practices encourages this sort of behavior.

Guest's picture
Guest

I do not support Wal-Mart,to me they are not a good business, but this could have happened anywhere. What the hell has gotten into people? do we need "things" so badly we are willing to risk sleep, life and limb for it? I am ashamed at how un-human we have all become and I dare say it is time we get ourselves in order and knock off the selfish, materialistic crap. Learn to say to no, to yourself, to your kids and get a grip.

Guest's picture
Jenn

I refused to leave the house on Black Friday...until I remembered I had to pick up a family friend at the airport. By then it was 1 pm and most of the hysteria had vanished.

The previous week, I was in Chicago at the "Lighting of the Lights" ceremony on the Magnificent Mile (Michigan Ave). I will no longer fear my local small-town mall after seeing the Michigan Ave shopping madness! People were lined 4 to 5 deep to see the paradae, and at this "Family Friendly" event people started shoving and shouting and swearing. It was scary for a couple minutes as we worked our way to the back of the crowd and off the main street.

In an ultimate form of irony, we went to the Jason Mraz concert later that evening, and everyone was polite and well-behaved. Granted, the crowd was smaller and there were beers all around, but it was funny that no one was pushing or getting angry. Then again, we Jason Mraz fans are a rather relaxed bunch.

My heart aches for this man and his family. Yet another reason to shop locally!

Guest's picture
AnnJo

by the "immoral people who caused this financial crisis?" Desperation for a flat panel TV or some throw-away trinket or trendy worthless gadget for their children? Puh-leeze! Then why blame the people who were driven to desperation to get their kids into Harvard or to get a new BMW or keep their yacht in convenient moorage?

I'm with Top Cat on whether Wal-mart's to blame. In theory, maybe Wal-Mart could have prevented this if it had installed dozens of security guards at each of its thousands of stores, but then they'd be out of business, and the incident would simply happen at some other store that didn't take such expensive precautions against a low-risk event.

Where I disagree with Top Cat and many other posters is that the whole crowd was responsible for this. With perfect hindsight, this incident might seem preventable through crowd control measures. With wilfull blindness, it might seem the fault of the crowd as a whole.

But in the real world, I'm placing my bets that this was not a problem in shopppers' crowd control, it was a looter-instigated riot. It would only take a determined dozen or less criminals to create an event like this, a perfect opportunity for looting. The rest of the crowd were likely as helpless as the poor man who was killed.

Whether it will ever be reported as such in this day of political correctness, that out of fear of being called racist averts its eyes from the hard-core street-criminality of a small part of the black population even when the far larger law-abiding black community is the primary victim, is anybody's guess.

I hope they do identify the hoodlums who started this, and charge them with voluntary manslaughter at least.

As can be seen from these comments, though, it is far easier to blame the "desperation" of low-income people, or the "greed" of Wal-mart executives or of shoppers or of anonymous people "who caused this financial crisis" or "American consumerist culture" than to accept the likelihood of a handful of true criminals being responsible.

Let's not lose sight of something: Although the whole idea of standing around for hours being jostled appalls me, what Wal-mart did and what the shoppers did SHOULD BE SAFE and almost always is.

The fact that in this instance it wasn't should send us looking, first, at that old adage, "cui bono," or "who benefits?" Who benefits from a store at which the employees are overrun and distracted? Obviously, thieves. The fact that law enforcement is studying video of the incident tells me they are well aware of the likely reason for this incident.

What is with this relentless need to blame our whole society or huge segments of it every time something bad happens? Look around you, folks. Are most of your friends, family, neighbors, co-workers really that bad? As foolish or unfrugal as may be your neighbor's desire for a new truck or your kid's desire for $150 sneakers or even some bank executive's desire for a nice boat, is it evil? Or does it make you feel superior to be able to look down on everyone else?

Some small percent of the population and of every sub-group in it, whether it's bankers or a crowd outside a Wal-mart, are criminals. Catch them and let the rest of us go on our merry ways, as normally self-interested and basically harmless as those ways are likely to be.

Guest's picture
Kin

Andrea, thank you for writing the post. You wrote down my thoughts exactly. This is not even about Walmart, or Target, or Capitalism anymore. It's about the people. What human beings have become habitually and what's on their mind. Certainly it is not compassion.

The biggest question I have is - of all those people who ran over or around the guy, did anyone, ANYONE (and it seemed no one) think, "Wait a minute, I am running over a guy here, maybe I should check on him?" Criminal justice, moral issue, mob mentality, and judgement aside. This news speaks more loudly about people than what happened, and no one wants to admit it.

Guest's picture
Guest

seems the doors/hinges broke and the door came down on him...

that's all the stronger those doors are??? I'm surprized, that the folk in the front at the doors were not squashed, by those behind them....before the doors came down...

and the doors are glass...how could anyone walk on a glass door and not lose their footing??? cause the door isn't exactly laying flat on the floor

anyone that would of stopped to help him, would of met the same fate I beleive...

no, I try to make a point to stay home on black Friday...I simply don't care for crowds.

I feel very sorry for this young man and his family...

how they can examine tapes/video etc and place blame??? people were being pushed from the back, they had no choice but to go forward...or else...

and I was quite upset when I read that when the police, said the store was closed and all must leave, one woman spoke up and said "I have been waiting in line since (whatever time) this morning" totally uncalled for...

Yes, I think Wallmart is to blame...and I think they need to have one very long talk with the manager of that store....because I would think he is he one that would make the decision on security type of thing...

just my 2 cents worth

Guest's picture
Guest

What would suck is.. that if the person you trampled over was your brother, or dad, or son.. Or mother, grandpa, grandma, sister, daughter, niece, nephew, cousins, etc. etc... Wouldn't that kill your heart?

I would die right there....

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Cafegurl

I agree with you totally, I can't believe something like that could happen, and what's really low is that i didn't see this anywhere online except for your article! How can that be? It's terrible when something like this isn't reported....