Thoughts on Black Friday 2013

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Saaaaaaaaales….

The smoke-filled carnage has settled across the barren December landscape. Half-dazed consumers continue to shuffle in their semi-state of shock as they quest for their next prey, and conquered or consumed bits and pieces are scattered throughout. Is this a scene adaptation from Marc Foster’s zombie thriller World War Z? Some post-apocalyptic setting following a Chemical Biological Radioactive or Nuclear event? No…It’s the aftermath of Black Friday 2013.

I purposely waited for several days so I could read and evaluate all the not-too surprising antics of people as they clamor, fight, and claw for some minimal discounts on Chinese-produced goods that are really meaningless in their lives aside from instantaneous gratification. And again this year’s Black Friday did not fail to disappoint; and more to the topic at hand, and enlightened what should be a sleeping and unwary sheep as to just what their ‘perception” of humanity really are. (Herbert 2013) But more on that later…

This year, by all reported outlets, 22 million citizens participated in the late November sales and accounted for the following Black Friday incidents; (BBC News 2013)

  • According to the AP and other sources, responding officers at Kohl’s in Romeoville, IL were forced to shoot a shoplifter in the shoulder. Police received a 911 dispatch of two shoplifters at the retailer, and upon arrival one of the police officers pursued one of the suspects outside to a waiting vehicle. Police Chief Mark Turvey said in a statement, “The officer was struggling with the subject as he got into the car and then the car started to move as the officer was partially inside the car. The officer was dragged quite some distance. He couldn’t get out”. The backup officer also on the scene fired three shots into the vehicle in an attempt to immobilize it, striking the driver once in the shoulder. (Associated Press 2013)
  • At a local Target store in Las Vegas, NV a man loading a newly purchased big-screen television was robbed and shot in the leg while he was trying to unload the TV from his car at a nearby apartment complex. A man approached and confronted the owner and demanded the TV, there was a struggle, and (depending on the reporting) the would-be thief used his firearm to intimidate the victim, accidently striking him in the leg, or the gun accidentally discharged also striking the victim. “The gentleman let off about two rounds shooting the guy in his leg and he just hopped in the car and took off and he didn’t even get the TV if you can see it’s still sitting over there on the ground,” witness Samson Barnum said. (Murphy 2013)
  • For a number of people hording at the local mall in Philadelphia, PA they were treated to two women exchanging blows that only ended when one produced a stun gun and electrified the other as they were exchanging blows on the floor. What started as an argument between two couples quickly escalated and was captured on armature video wherein you see (and hear) the stun gun being utilized (some reports argued if it was a taser, clearly demonstrating the media’s ignorance between the two).  (Murdock 2013)
  • In Claypool Hill, VA 61-year-old Ronnie Sharp stabbed 35-year-old Christopher Jackson over a parking space at the local Wal-Mart. According to multiple reports, as Jackson was waiting for a parking space to open up Sharp, who was waiting behind Jackson, began sounding his car horn. Jackson exited his vehicle and punched Sharp through the open window following a verbal exchange. Sharp responded by using a knife to first slash Jackson’s arm to the bone and then produced a handgun (in some reports this was a rifle – which in itself is unlikely) to threaten Jackson. Both men have been charged on a variety of offenses. (Conner 2013)
  • In Carlsbad, CA 18-year-old, Javier Covarrubias, stabbed another man in the stomach outside the mall’s entrance during a Black Friday event. Covarrubias and an accomplice fled the scene after which Covarrubias was later apprehended; however, his accomplice remained at large. (Young 2013)
  • In Passaic, NJ Richard Ramos, 23, was pepper-sprayed by police attempting to subdue the man after he assaulted a Wall-mart manager following an altercation over a television in the pre-Black Friday opening. Ramos was charged with aggravated assault, resisting arrest and disorderly conduct. (Queally 2013)
  • At a Wall-Mart/Rialto retail store in Los Angeles, CA two men were arrested after a brawl erupted in the parking lot following an argument over “line cutting”. Police say there were three fights total at the store, two of which were inside over merchandise and the third outside that injured an officer with a broken wrist. (Tata and Fain 2013)

Elsewhere, reports described “Shoppers also filmed some of the melees and stampedes, and posted the clips online, where commentators had a field day. One Tweet compared Black Friday to Spain’s Running of the Bulls — “but replaced with badly dressed people.” (Piccoli 2013) (Biers 2013)

article-2515024-19BA0D7A00000578-4_634x494-620x483So really, what is it we can take from all these incidents aside from our personal reflections on the sheep at large? How about this, people act this way on proposed savings with items they hardly need – but what do you think these people would be like if it were genuinely things they needed. Like say, food, clean water, medicine, or just the necessities for daily life? Moreover, consider the fact that in just the setting for Black Friday citizens were quick to fight given perceived competition, or were also apt to carry/brandish weapons into a situation they knew was illegal – but did so anyway. The point here is if people act this way in a “civil” society where no pressures exist on the fundamental resources we require for daily living, what would we be like were those resources made unavailable or untenable for large sectors of society? How long would it take for a “polite” society to put aside its morals and ethics before becoming one based entirely on “take what I want”? You may think well enough that you’ve never descend to that level, but do you have the necessary resources to ensure you don’t and thereby worry about your family starving, falling to illness, or violence? These things need to be considered not only in your daily life, but also when you are merely venturing out into large public venues, and determine if you need to participate in these situations or not.

Works Cited

Associated Press. Suburban Chicago police shoot suspected shoplifter on Thanksgiving as he flees in car, dragging officer. Syracuse.com. November 29, 2013. http://www.syracuse.com/news/index.ssf/2013/11/suburban_chicago_police_shoot_suspected_shoplifter_on_thanksgiving_as_he_flees_i.html (accessed November 28, 2013).

BBC News. Black Friday shopping in US marred by violence . November 29, 2013. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-25151956 (accessed November 29, 2013).

Biers, John. Violence in US holiday shopping ‘Black Friday’ frenzy. November 29, 2013. http://news.yahoo.com/shopping-traffic-ebbs-flows-black-friday-183456204.html (accessed November 29, 2013).

Conner, Kristen. UPDATE: Two men arrested over Walmart parking space stabbing. November 28, 2013. http://www.wvva.com/story/24093773/2013/11/28/stabbing-at-walmart-in-claypool-hill (accessed November 29, 2013).

Herbert, Geoff. Black Friday 2013 frenzy sparks stabbing, shootings and more fights across country. November 29, 2013. http://www.syracuse.com/news/index.ssf/2013/11/black_friday_2013_fights_shootings_walmart_target.html (accessed November 29, 2013).

Murdock, Sebastian. Woman Tasered In Black Friday Melee (VIDEO). November 30, 2013. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/11/30/woman-tasered-black-frida_n_4363767.html (accessed November 30, 2013).

Murphy, Vanessa. Black Friday Shopper Shot in Las Vegas. November 29, 2013. http://www.8newsnow.com/story/24094344/breaking-news-black-friday-shopper-shot (accessed November 29, 2013).

Piccoli, Sean. Black Friday violence erupts across country . November 29, 2013. http://nypost.com/2013/11/29/cop-shoots-shoplifter-near-chicago-amid-black-friday-chaos-others-hurt-around-country/ (accessed November 29, 2013).

Queally, James. Man pepper sprayed, arrested after Thanksgiving shopping dispute at Garfield Wal-Mart. November 29, 2013. http://www.nj.com/bergen/index.ssf/2013/11/man_pepper_sprayed_arrested_after_thanksgiving_night_shopping_dispute_at_garfield_wal-mart.html (accessed November 29, 2013).

Tata, Samantha, and Marla Fain. Shoppers Cutting in Line Sparks Early Black Friday Brawl at Rialto Walmart: Police. November 29, 2013. http://www.nbclosangeles.com/news/local/Black-Friday-Shopping-Thanksgiving-Day-Walmart-Rialto-Fight-Parking-Lot-233797991.html (accessed November 29, 2013).

Young, Joe. Man Stabbed During Black Friday Event at Carlsbad Mall Source: http://www.nbcsandiego.com/news/local/Man-Stabbed-During-Black-Friday-Event-Plaza-Camino-Real-Mall-Javier-Covarrubias-233839091.html#ixzz2mHq7Z9aF. November 29, 2013. http://www.nbcsandiego.com/news/local/Man-Stabbed-During-Black-Friday-Event-Plaza-Camino-Real-Mall-Javier-Covarrubias-233839091.html (accessed November 29, 2013).

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