Saturday, November 29, 2008

The Blackest of Fridays

Yesterday was Black Friday, the day when the Christmas shopping season officially begins. Traditionally, the television news is filled with images of mobbed stores, long lines and the occasional brawl.

Yesterday in Valley Stream, New York, just outside the city, Black Friday became a completely tragic disgrace as a Wal-Mart employee was trampled to death by a mob of shoppers. Jdimytai Damour was a 34-year-old temporary worker who lost his life after being stepped on by dozens of what a witness accurately described as “savages.”

When asked to leave the store, people kept shopping. The store closed, but only temporarily. That someone was callously killed didn’t matter enough to the powers that be. Shopping needs to be done. Commerce is more important than human life.

If past and current economic crises have taught us anything, it’s that there are things that matter more than the almighty dollar. Capitalism, like society in general, only works when it’s tempered by morality and a sense of decency. If we lose that, we lose it all.

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