At five a.m. today, a 34-year-old Wal-Mart employee was trampled to death by bargain-hunting shoppers in Long Island, New York.
An AP report said:
"'He was bum-rushed by 200 people,' co-worker Jimmy Overby, 43, told the Daily News. "They took the doors off the hinges. He was trampled and killed in front of me. They took me down too. . . . I literally had to fight people off my back.
". . . A police statement said . . . shoppers 'physically broke down the doors, knocking [the worker] to the ground.' A metal portion of the door was crumpled like an accordion. "
. . . [Before police temporarily shut down the store], eager shoppers streamed past emergency crews as they worked furiously to save the worker's life."
Several other people were injured, including a 28-year-old pregnant woman who was knocked to the floor. She was taken to the hospital for observation.
The NY Daily News reported:
"'They were working on him, but you could see he was dead,' said Halcyon Alexander, 29. 'People were still coming through.'
"Only a few stopped."
An updated AP report added:
"'This crowd was out of control,' said Nassau police spokesman Lt. Michael Fleming. He described the scene as 'utter chaos.'
"Dozens of store employees trying to fight their way out to help the man were also getting trampled by the crowd, Fleming said. Witnesses said that even as the worker lay on the ground, shoppers streamed into the store, stepping over him.
"Kimberly Cribbs, who witnessed the stampede, said shoppers were acting like 'savages.'"
These were not people in a country ravaged by war or natural disaster, desperately trying to get food or water to keep themselves and their families alive; these people were clawing their way into a mega-store to get cheap prices on stuff. Savages, indeed.
Police are reviewing the store security videos and it is possible that there may be criminal charges brought against some shoppers.
But when does our society get indicted for making a $400 TV more valuable than a human life?
© 2008 Cynthia Friedlob
Continued . . .
At 4:30 this afternoon, the LA Times online reported that two people were shot to death at a Toys 'R' Us in Palm Desert, California. According to the Times, it was apparently "a personal dispute between two groups of shoppers."