Black Friday – Humans Behaving Badly

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We are the most compassionate country on the face of this planet. There are those who would think that a bold statement; however, when you consider worldwide contributions in the form of relief efforts and international aid, obviously there is not a more giving country anywhere on Earth. With that said, we also own the distinction of being the most materialistic society on the globe.It seems that we are also incapable of learning from the mistakes of past behaviors because we see this lunacy every holiday season. A Walmart employee in New York was crushed to death early Friday morning when crazed shoppers were so eager to get inside the store that they ripped the doors off the hinges, stampeding the employee and other employees coming to his aid, in the process.In a separate incident at a Toys-R-Us in Southern California, two men shot each other to death after the women they were accompanied by began to fight near the checkout lanes. According to Toys-R-Us officials, as well as the Associated Press, the incident in Southern California was not related to Black Friday, but the tragic result of a personal dispute between the parties involved. This is pure conjecture on my part, but I have to wonder if that dispute originated over a particular toy. Stranger things have happened.Apparently, we have become so de-sensitized to violence and equally indifferent to human behavior that the underlying issues have largely been ignored. On the surface, these were two unrelated and completely unnecessary human tragedies. While the deaths of these three individuals are disturbing enough, there are some profoundly disturbing issues at the root of both incidents.In published reports that I have seen involving the Walmart incident, it was reported that when the store announced that it was closed as a result of the employee’s death, the reaction of some shoppers in the store was stunning. Some customers angrily proclaimed “I’ve been in line since yesterday,” and continued their search for holiday bargains, seemingly undeterred by the senseless tragedy that many of them had a hand in.Have we lost our collective minds? Who in hell carries a gun into a Toys-R-Us? Obviously, some folks do; and now, two men (presumably with families) are dead. Christmas is less than a month away and there are three more families that will spend theirs grieving instead of celebrating as the result of a mindless act of violence and a bizarre accident.Walmart may not be found liable in this instance; although, there were certainly some measures that could have been taken prior to opening the store. Some sort of crowd assessment could have been helpful in avoiding this horrible tragedy.From a legal standpoint (I’m not an attorney), I’m not sure if Walmart is liable or not. They run a very aggressive marketing campaign prior to Black Friday, as do many other major retailers, in anticipation of the busiest shopping day of the year. It is incredibly unfortunate that they underestimated shopper turnout. There is still the issue of humans behaving badly. Have we become so animalistic in our material pursuits that human life is of no consequence?If that’s the case, we are in serious trouble people.

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