I couldn’t believe this when I saw it but it’s true.
It’s bad enough to be working in Wal-Mart aka Walmut at four am on Purple Friday. I really feel for this guy and his family. I have been having some better thoughts about humanity lately but this could test all of that. Watching all those lean and mean runners at the Richmond Marathon made my heart glad.
But this is the other side of the coin. A young man died in the rush to save a few coins.
Of course this sort of thing has happened several times before in soccer stadiums around the world. And it happens in night clubs when there is a fire. Panic sets in and people in the back push to get out in some cases. The push is amplified like a wave to the front of the crowd who are squashed by tons of pressure into whatever immovable object prevents the free flow of people.
But this horrible event probably was not started by panic. People started pushing because they were in a festive mood perhaps. Or they were mad. Or drunk. Maybe they stayed up until 4 am and were drinking to pass the time. Friends sometimes wonder why I have such a difficult time dealing with crowds. This is why. I see everybody. And often I don’t like what I see.
In the front you probably have the earliest arrivals. These were probably people who planned out this adventure and were willing to wait awhile. They may have been more patient and among them could have been mothers and grandmothers and other shoppers ready to save some money.
So it’s a mixed bag. I wouldn’t blame them all. Some of them were probably fearing for their lives too when things got going.
If I was a worker at Walmut and a mob came through a plate glass window I would have headed for the back of the store. No questions asked. I am almost sixty years old and have seen enough violence in my life to know when it’s time to retreat. I might have picked up a kid or two and plopped them in a shopping basket on the way. But that’s it.
And shame on Walmut for letting this happen. If you go to an amusement park like Disney and stand in line you will see the customers in lines that weave back and forth and separate everybody. That’s really much more pleasant than being all smashed together. And it stops people from trying to worm their way forward in line. Walmut needs to set up lines around the parking lots in situations like this AND hire lots of police to keep people from crashing the line. It’s not that difficult and they can afford to do it.
I am afraid that the store manager in this case will probably lose his job. Maybe he didn’t follow safety guidelines. But maybe there aren’t any guidelines for crowded parking lots! If that’s the case Walmut can look forward to having some for next year.
And if there were injuries to many in the crowd who are shown to be victims of the mad rush they can look forward to much more than a few holiday bargains. They have just been through a life changing event as their lawyers will be quick to tell them.
So after doing some writing and thinking about it I will resist the impulse to downgrade my estimation of humanity in general. There are bad actors here. But a crowd is made up of many parts. My lovely mother could have been in this crowd if she was still on earth.
Fortunately she is in a better place. And probably welcoming 34-year-old Jdimytai Damour there as well.