Sunday, November 30, 2008

State of the Union ... not so good

I am continually haunted by the image invoked in my mind whenever I read about Jdimytai Damour of Queens NY who was trampled to death by a crowd at a Wal Mart store on Long Island NY. Mr. Damour was a temp worker who made the mistake of being in the wrong place at the wrong time: being among a bunch of brutal savages who were determined to beat the person behind them to items that was being marked down for Black Friday’s special sale. “Brutal savages” may seem harsh until one reads further to find that whenever store management was preparing to close the store at the request of the police and had announced over the PA that the store would close because an employee had been killed, shoppers only expressed anger that they had been waiting in line for so long. Absolutely no remorse over the knowledge that some of these angry, “inconvenienced” shoppers might have actually and directly contributed to this innocent man’s death.

There were others who were hurt in the stampede as well, including those who tried to go to the aid of Mr. Damour. One can only imagine the mayhem that must have been so apparent … over a few lousy dollars. If anything, and in light of the sorry state of our economy, one might have been better off just holding on to the money instead of being in such a rush to spend it, in such a rush that the well-being of a fellow human being was not even incidental except that perhaps others could have tripped over him and shared his fate. Or being slowed down so as to miss that special, marked-down item. Pitiful is not adequate to express my feelings toward these “humans” who were reduced to nothing more than animals without emotion.

Those who actually felt the man beneath their feet are absolutely and unequivocally accountable to the law and to this man’s family for their part in his death, and it is extremely unsettling to know that these mindless animals would do the very same thing to your loved ones or mine. These people actually knocked the doors off the hinges once the store opened, so large and unruly and unmanageable was the crowd. Surely stores have to take their part in all this and consider what will be required to make absolutely certain such a thing never happens again.

Still, it is not the first time such things have happened – at Christmas time, no less – and what happened on Long Island will not likely be the last. Each year produces that one special “must have” toy or item that has actually seen adults come to blows over the last item on the shelf. Think of the anarchy of such a situation: it is not matter of who got there first; rather, it becomes a battle over who is stronger and more willing to harm another human being … over a friggin’ toy.

Rest in peace, Mr. Damour. I wish I could say with confidence that your untimely death will not have been in vain, but I am afraid your name will soon enough be forgotten and the only thing those responsible will be sorry about is whether or not the law catches up with them.

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