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Corporatism Kills - Consumerism Kills - One Person, One Ecosystem At A Time
The almost amazing story of a Wal-Mart employee trampled to death on the day after Thanksgiving shopping frenzy in the USA. No, I didn't make this up. It is real. Sadly, large corporations more invisibly [to most] kill many persons and destroy the planet every day...but here is a very concrete example. Very.

I’ve been involved in countless demonstrations and protests that have been deemed “violent” by both the police forces assigned to control the crowds and the mainstream media who tend to use them as the primary source for their stories.

But never in the years that I was involved in massive demonstrations against the corporate control over globalization, did I witness anyone getting trampled or ignored when they had been hurt. Even when the heavily armed riot police would charge a crowd packed in so tight you could barely move, people would find a way to escape and help others in the process. If someone fell to the ground because they had been peppered sprayed or tear gassed, someone would stop and help them, often at their own peril.

Yet, the bar of whether or not a protest was worthy of people having bothered to demonstrate at all was whether or not it was “violent.” And if a window or piece of property was damaged, it absolutely overshadowed any chance of the remote possibility that the press may actually talk about the issues that got people into the streets in the first place. Crowds are scary, you see, and protest seems to come with the predetermination that you are automatically violent for stepping out of line in such a visible and audible way. The burden of proof is yours. It is possible to overcome the perilous label, but even then it will likely still carry the name and the notion – you were “non-violent.”

But, it wasn’t a political or social protest that became violent yesterday in New York and it was no window or piece of property that was damaged. As the stores opened their doors to surging crowds of people in search of Black Friday bargains, 34 year old Jdimytai Damour was trampled to death as he opened a Wal-Mart store twenty minutes outside of Manhattan to a crowd of over 2000.

Some of the bargains people were trying to get to? A 50-inch Plasma HDTV for $798, a Bissel Compact Upright Vacuum for $28, a Samsung 10.2 megapixel digital camera for $69 and DVDs such as "The Incredible Hulk" for $9.

After the man was knocked down, people stepped on and over him uninterrupted in their relentless and deadly search for these and other bargains. When other employees tried to help him, they were being trampled too. Thousands of people had lined up the night before in anticipation of a low price shopping extravaganza and were actually angry when the store closed because of what had happened to Mr. Damour, who was pronounced dead at the hospital. The store remained closed for the rest of the day.

These people crumpled part of the metal door frame like an accordion. The police spokesman declared that the crowd was “out of control” and described the scene as “utter chaos.” So far, the response has been pretty mild in terms of reactions to this tragedy. In other words, no one is being encouraged to calm down a bit with the sociopathic shopping behavior. No one is being warned to watch out for violent Black Friday shopper mobs next year. The police are, however, reviewing the surveillance video to see if they may press criminal charges, though they say that it’s difficult to identify anyone in the video in terms of culpability.

Perhaps they should invite someone from a police force that has done well with identifying and singling out people from video tapes of large crowds who have gathered to bring attention to some issue, though admittedly it sounds like those “violent” crowds are probably a little less rowdy than the holiday shoppers.

In all seriousness, however, this is a breathtaking display of which national values are nurtured and what can happen when taken to an extreme. After all, our very first post-911 instruction was to go shopping. With talk of the recession only getting worse, the media hyped up these Black Friday bargains with a passion, fanning the flames of an already determined holiday shopping crowd.

Maybe if the values of some of the other “out-of-control” crowdsters, the people marching against war, racism, Wall Street bailouts and economic policies that depend on gross inequalities, were instead supported and embraced, Jdimytai Damour would be alive to celebrate the holidays with his family who, instead, will be planning for his funeral.

What a tragedy. And what an important opportunity to talk about our consumption habits and values in this holiday season and beyond. The timing is right – even though we’re still being encouraged to spend, we know that the economy is only going to get worse. The vast majority of people, when asked directly, would see the absolute absurdity in valuing a bargain priced TV more than a human life.

So, when you’re gathered around the table or the tree this year with friends and family, take a moment to remember and say a few words for Jdimytai Damour and his family. In doing so, you will remind everyone around you, in a very candid way, what really matters at this time of year and always.

related - see video here

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