THE BLOG
12/31/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Stampedes, Shootings and Bargains

This morning the news features stories of a stressed economy, but that takes second place to the smashing in of a Wal-Mart door by gluttonous Americans seeking deals on X-Box toys. The result was a dead store employee, Jdimytai Damour. Shoppers stampeded and he was trampled for $8.00 an hour. He wasn't even full time.

"This crowd was out of control," said Nassau Police Detective Michael Fleming.

"Nobody was trying to help him," said shopper Nakea Augustine, who was there. "They were rushing in the store. Rushing, rushing, rushing."

Another witness, Kimberly Cribbs, said: "They kept shopping."

The AP confirms these statements. Stressed economy, indeed.

That happened in Valley Stream, New York, a big east coast city on the edge of Queens. It begs the question as to whether this is the result of too much humanity into too little space. The answer is no. Welcome to Palm Desert California, population 41,000.

Two women in a Toys R Us store began swapping slurs, slaps and slugs. The men who accompanied them decided to settle the matter and, as men sometimes do, they pulled out guns. (Just exactly what kind of men go to a toy store armed?) They killed each other in the check-out aisle. It is not known if the kiddies the women brought along witnessed the awfulness but one can guess they did. Family fracas, family fright, family fatalities! Cut to jumpy video of one of the ladies after the violence. She is noisy about her innocence as her breasts splay amply across the trunk of a police cruiser. She is being handcuffed while shoppers continue to loiter.

Between Fox News stories about an anchor in Thailand being shot at live on the air and an insipid behind the scenes piece about Holiday window displays at Saks Fifth Avenue, slick commercials tout auto deals and "never before seen savings" on furniture. You can get the car for zero down and you don't have to pony up for the sofa for a whole year. Both are interest free! The anchors return after the ad with grateful voices that inform us the terrors in Mumbai are finally over -- whew! Just when we were growing numb to the repeatedly looped video of the Taj Hotel turrets ablaze and a gleaming red smear on its formerly grand dining room floor...

On the computer The Drudge Report headlines detail shopping, shootings and mall-madness. Local TV news reports grand bargains for this Black Friday. "It's a great time for buying!" a gleeful store manager tells the camera.

A less than polished commercial follows him, and in it an Aussie pitchman emphatically states that the "Swivel Sweeper" is the best way to clean up any mess. This, for only two payments of $19.99!

Click back to Fox News Channel where all on the air are still relieved, but now spearheading nervousness for our future.

The anchor woman says: "I don't want to alarm our viewers, but what can be done to prevent terror from happening here?" She's talking about the horror in India and her question is to a security-type fellow whose credentials sound somewhat fuzzy. "Are we safe here in America?"
The expert says that we've not suffered terror since 9/11. One could easily differ with him. It is Christmas time in the homeland and terror conspicuously surrounds us. I doubt the Swivel Sweeper can clean up this mess at any price.

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