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Black Friday 2008 A Tragic Day in America

For years, the light side of media has shown over-exuberant shoppers camping out days before the biggest shopping day of the year in hopes of getting first divs on the best-priced merchandise usually sold at some wee-hour of the morning like 4 a.m. I'm always astonished at the lines wrapped around toy-store buildings and big box stores selling electronics at deep-discounted prices. I admit I have gone into stores to catch a sale from 7 - 9 a.m; but, learned early on that what was advertised had such limited quantities that the sale would often end five minutes after it started; as ambitious shoppers got their hands on the advertised items. I learned that a complete day of rest is far more precious than any sale. But this year, Black Friday had an ominous twist to it that had nothing to do with the color of the economy. I stood in astonishment at learning on the news that a Wal-mart employee had been trampled to death as the doors opened, by determined shoppers on a mission. I was even more dismayed on learning that an altercation, possibly over a toy in a Toys 'R Us, left two people dead after a shooting. I could only shake my head as I asked myself 'What in the world is this world coming to?' Most people were still appreciating their leftover turkey; only to learn that a day that is most often looked at as one where people get to walk off the heavy meal of the day before; was marred by such a futile tragedy. No doubt, lawsuits will cost these companies a lot more money than the pennies they possibly lost offering these mega sales. All of a sudden, Black Friday took on a whole different look. Obviously several families' lives have been permanently altered by events that seem so frivolous in the big scheme of things. I have to admit that the crisis in India that began the day before Thanksgiving only served to make the incidents of Black Friday even gloomier. After all, Americans were among the ones targeted in this terrorist attack on foreign soil. I'm sure in the days and weeks ahead the spirit of the season will grow on me. But for now, it's a time to reflect. It's a time to question how a price-tagged toy is worth the cost of a priceless life? America, get a grip. It's really not about the things. It's about making sure you don't take down another while trying to lift yourself up. It's about trusting that what is yours will be there for you; if it's really yours. Black Friday isn't really about you. It's about retailers and big business staying afloat. You're just a mere by-product. I have to admit. If I had a family member in that group that trampled the Wal-mart employee; I really wouldn't have peace about receiving their gift. I'd have to give it to charity. The sad thought is that most of what was bought during this rush will be returned the day after Christmas, or sooner. I'll get past this grim news in time. But, it's sad to think that an upcoming holiday so built around love and peace is tarnished by such verocious greed and violence.