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Dying in the name of low prices

That’s what one of the headlines I found on Yahoo read. I’m sure you’ve already heard the story – the one about the Long Island Wal-Mart stampede. Most of the other headlines read that way, but they all (for the most part) shared that same word: trampled. A man was trampled. Not by elephants, not by buffalo, but by other human beings.

A man was trampled by other people. Shoppers at the Wal-Mart whose front door the man was working at – and he wasn’t even a greeter.

Police say the crowd was 2,000 people strong.

2,000 people waited outside and I’d bet my bottom dollar that if any one of them was asked, “would you kill to get that price on that flat-screen?” they’d scoff at and disdain the idea of taking human life for the opportunity to get the lowest price.

They were only looking to get the best deal — hey, that dude was standing in their way! They’d burn holes in their own Nikes racing to those appliances if they needed to, and they had just put a lot of gas money into their pre-dawn journey, they’d be damned if some Wal-Mart greeter got in their way now.

And look, it’s a first-come-first-serve world, and they’d been waiting since before 4 a.m. and they were not about to be slowed down.

They waited for those doors to open, and when they did – well, this poor man didn’t have a chance. He wasn’t an old man, he wasn’t disabled, he wasn’t a great orator with an uncanny ability to change a mob’s mentality from crazed to sane. He was just a big guy, thrown at the front door because of his stature, not because he was a kindly gentleman, with a customer-pleasing smile. He was put at that door for a reason – if anyone was going to be trampled it wouldn’t have been him. But, size be damned, he was trampled.

Straight up Mufasa style – those bastard wildebeests got him.

They showed the rest of the world our true colors. Yes, I said our true colors. We did it to that man, not just those 2,000 people. Sure, we didn’t pull an all-nighter to grapple for pole-position at the Rutland Wal-Mart’s doors to grab the cheapest foreman grill (well, maybe some of us did), but we’ve all shopped at the store that is the world’s biggest retailer. It’s an entity born from our society, from the country we’re proud to say we’re citizens of. There’s nothing to say to defend what happened a few weeks ago, and there’s not much funny about it. We’re animals. Beasts. It’s going to happen again, and there’s not much we can do to stop it.

2,000 people waited outside that Wal-Mart and now a man is dead.

Much more than 2,000 people really don’t seem to care.