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Consumerism run amok

Our consumer-driven culture reached a new low yesterday. You’d think with the economic downturn that consumers would pull in their horns and stop rushing the stores, but no… What kind of a country do we live in when stuff like this happens: (CNN) — Three violent deaths in two st…
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes
Our consumer-driven culture reached a new low yesterday. You’d think with the economic downturn that consumers would pull in their horns and stop rushing the stores, but no… What kind of a country do we live in when stuff like this happens:

(CNN) — Three violent deaths in two stores marred the opening of the Christmas shopping season Friday.

A Wal-Mart employee at this Long Island location was killed in a rush early Friday morning.

A Wal-Mart employee at this Long Island location was killed in a rush early Friday morning.

In the first, a temporary Wal-Mart employee was trampled to death in a rush of thousands of early morning shoppers as he and other employees attempted to unlock the doors of a Long Island, New York, store at 5 a.m., police said.


In the second, unrelated incident, two men were shot dead in a Toys “R” Us in Palm Desert, California, after they argued in the store, police said.

The toy company and authorities said the California shootings had nothing to do with shopping on Black Friday, which is historically one of the year’s busiest shopping days.

The Wal-Mart worker, whom authorities did not identify, was 34 and lived in Queens, said Nassau County police Detective Lt. Michael Fleming.

“This was utter chaos as these men tried to open the door this morning,” Fleming said. Video Watch police describe the ‘utter chaos

Video showed as many as a dozen people knocked to the floor in the stampede of people trying to get into the Wal-Mart store, Fleming said.

The employee was “stepped on by hundreds of people” as other workers attempted to fight their way through the crowd, Fleming said.

“Several minutes” passed before others were able to clear space around the man and attempt to render aid. Police arrived, and “as they were giving first aid, those police officers were also jostled and pushed,” he said.

“Shoppers … were on a full-out run into the store,” he said.

The crowd had begun forming outside the store by 9 p.m. Thursday, Fleming said. By 5 a.m. Friday, when the doors were unlocked, there were 2,000 or so shoppers, many of whom “surged forward,” breaking the doors, he said.

The man was taken by ambulance to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Others in the crowd sustained minor injuries such as sprained ankles, Fleming said.

Comments (8)

  • I JUST read this same article on cnn.com this morning and commented on my facebook status about it.

    Lord have mercy on our nation…

  • Anna – Sadly, our young missionaries have been assaulted in Kenya, Jamaica, South Africa, and in places all over the world.

    I’m afraid the human condition is the same everywhere you go. It’s just a little more surprising in a country like ours where we like to view ourselves as sophisticated – a long way removed from the stampeding behavior of the animal kingdom.

  • for several years now i’ve mulled over the notion of taking the money i would have spent on Christmas gifts and give that money to ministries in the name of the person i would have bought the gift for. this year i may just go beyond mulling. we long ago ceased to honor God when Christmas became the time when retailers either made it or didn’t for the year. if that’s what it’s boiled down to, i think the jehovah’s witnesses may have gotten this one right… they don’t celebrate Christmas because the bible doesn’t say to… may be more accurate to say that the BIBLE got this one right…

  • Yeah this is sickening. What is worse is reading the article and people were upset that they wanted to close the store and they were moaning about being up all night. It is sick.

  • Interesting thoughts here. Dean, I can understand why you say what you do about not celebrating Christmas, but this incident was not primarily about Christmas. It was about the natural state of the human heart. Greed, selfishness, rage, malice. Check out Colossians 3. These things count as idolatry, as expressions of the old man, the flesh and they are who you and I were before Christ. But for the grace of God in our lives, we still would be.

    There is something about this kind of extremity of behaviour that makes us reel back, gasping for air and saying we could never be like that. Probably many of those stampeders would have said the same at some point. They’ve heard so much about their rights, they struggle to realise when something is wrong.

    But all we are seeing is the flowering of the seeds of the weeds of destruction in hearts that have never been redeemed. These are the people who need your Jesus because these are the ones, like you, that Jesus prayed over on the cross: “Father, forgive them They don’t know what they are doing.”

  • carol… i hear what you’re saying, and i agree that there is always that carnal nature at work in the hearts of men. but i also understand that the stage was set for such a catastrophe because somewhere along the way some marketing genius thought it would be a great way to boost sales by ratcheting the anticipation to fever pitch. there’s no denying that businesses are using the celebration of the birth of our Lord in much the same way that the money changers were using the temple and the passover celebration… to turn a profit (the analogy breaks down however, because passover was a God-prescribed “holiday”, whereas Christmas is not). but i guess it’s also true that they’re just meeting a demand created by us consumers 🙂

  • Unfathomable!! Greed begun on the eve of Thanksgiving no less and run amuck – yes utter “chaos” by daybreak! How horrific! I doubt that this type of behavior would occur in other countries on our planet – even with the horrors of tribal killing in Africa, I doubt you’d see this occur in a Wal-Mart type store there. What are your thoughts on that Seth?
    I for one, didn’t venture out anywhere yesterday, other than down our rainy north Texas sidewalk to a neighbor’s who offered the use of her girls’ outgrown snowsuits for my 1st grade twingles so we can hopefully have fun in the snow in MN for Christmas with relatives – God is so good to provide in ways I hadn’t even thought of. I for one, am grateful for sooo much. Particularly this Thanksgiving, I made purposeful effort to engage my 3 elementary kids in developing thankful hearts. I’d love to see the church and Christian families make more of an effort in making Thanksgiving a more significant celebration rather than getting cowded out so easily with our culture’s “all about me” Christmas or rather “Happy Holiday” attitudes. Yes, I did grow up in a different culture as a child of missionary parents 40-some odd years ago and I’m grateful for the perspective I’ve learned from those experiences.

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Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.



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