When I got home (to the states) a few days before Christmas my mom asked if I had heard about the man who was trampled to death as he opened Walmart's doors early morning on what has become affectionately known as "black friday." I had not heard and was instantly sickened by the news. What was our world coming to?
That sickness only grew as I looked up the story online. There were pictures and a full story of how the 34 year old man was stampeded as he attempted to open the doors. The discount crazed customers ripped the doors from their hinges and literally ran over top of the man standing in front of them. Not one of them stopped to help him up. On top of the death 4 others were injured ...including a women who was 8 months pregnant who lost her baby. Yet the story gets worse. When an announcement was made saying that the customers needed to leave the store, that an employee got killed, and they were closing the store no one listened. They started shouting about how they had been waiting in line all night and morning. Others completely ignored the announcement and just continued shopping. Are we really that materialistic that the life of another comes second to our "needs" of the "needs" of our children? At best those people saved a couple hundred dollars on a new t.v. or child's toy. They went in intending to shop for a holiday (Christmas) that they obviously know so little about. What has happened to the real meaning of Christmas?
Then in true American "its not my fault" mentality we tried to blame everyone but ourselves. Articles popped up of people pointing fingers back at Walmart. Suddenly it was their own fault that WE literally used a man for a floor mat. People (we) claimed that Walmart should have anticipated such action and had better security in place. People blamed the consumer world for "creating" us to be this way. While others said that Walmart was obviously to blame for having things discounted so much for such a limited amount of time. People are quoted saying they "hope that this story doesn't make international news because it would paint a terrible picture of Americans." Still others claimed that they "would never have acted in such a way. They "would never be that materialistic" and would obviously have "helped the man up."
As saddened as I was about the lose of a life I was even more so frustrated by the HORRIBLE display of humanity by my fellow Americans. Personally I hoped they would run the story on the front page of every paper in the world for a year straight. I hoped that this mans death would cause us to stand back and reevaluate life, values, and right from wrong. I prayed that we would finally take ownership for our mistakes and faults and turn from the path of destruction we were rapidly moving down. Instead of feeling anger and blame towards Walmart and the consumer world we should have felt shame. To those who claim to be above and better than those few hundred people that ran over the man...how can you be certain? Have you ever snatched the last item off a shelf before the person beside you has a chance to get it? Have you ever walked out of a store and realized you forgot to pay for something....did you go back in and do the honest thing? Have you ever gotten mad because an item wasn't the price you thought it should be or because a store didn't carry something that you "needed?" We can justify it in our minds or claim we are being frugal by fighting to get the best price...but the truth is we have bought into this quicker, better, cheaper mentality. We want more and more. Worse yet we think we are ENTITLED to more.
I'm not just talking about those people in the store that day ...and I'm not talking just to you all. I'm repeating these questions over and over again to myself. I had to stand back and really think about my own mindset. How often do I "cheat the system?" Would I really have helped that man up that day or would I have rushed in and not noticed him like all the others? How do I view Christmas? What do I do to celebrate the TRUE meaning of Christmas? What do I do that forces others to stop and look at Christmas as something more than a day of gift giving/getting? How many people have I "trampled" on in my attempt to fill my wants and desires...my "needs" I know that this blog is months after the event actually happened but I can't get that poor man and his family off my mind. Weekly something reminds me of him. It doesn't matter that I don't know him...he sticks with me as a reminder of how far our nation has truly fallen. He serves as a reminder of how far we will go to secure the "American Dream" ....and how wrong our values have become. So I challenge you to not just let the death of this man pass us by. Stop and think of him. Let his life, and even his death, be a lesson to us. Try hard to remember the important things in life.