Black Friday casualties and wrap up:
SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- "A man collapsed while doing some Black Friday shopping in a crowded store, and people nearby continued to shop . . . Witnesses tell WSAZ.com some shoppers walked around and even over the man's body."
“Black Friday is no longer simply an exercise in selfishness, greed, and bad taste. It has become a human-rights issue. The spectacle of human beings transformed into baying hounds by the false promise of things is almost on a par with the grotesque social engineering of Stalin and Mao. Rather than the brutality of the Khmer Rouge, it seems that all it takes to enslave American minds is the promise of 50 percent off two lipsticks from Moulin Rouge.”
NEW YORK—“Pepper-sprayed customers, smash-and-grab looters and bloody scenes in the shopping aisles. How did Black Friday devolve into this?
“As reports of shopping-related violence rolled in this week from Los Angeles to New York, experts say a volatile mix of desperate retailers and cutthroat marketing has hyped the traditional post-Thanksgiving sales to increasingly frenzied levels. With stores opening earlier, bargain-obsessed shoppers often are sleep-deprived and short-tempered. Arriving in darkness, they also find themselves vulnerable to savvy parking-lot muggers.”
Here's a wrap-up of bad behavior this Black Friday (not including the several attempted robberies of shoppers who had already left stores)
Everyone has by now heard about the Wal-Mart shopper -- still unidentified -- who used pepper spray to shoo others away as a crate of Xbox 360 consoles was being unwrapped late Thursday. Twenty people were treated at the scene for eye irritation or bruising. The woman apparently paid for her stuff and left the store, in the wealthy Los Angeles suburb of Porter Ranch.
A police officer reportedly used pepper spray to disperse an unruly crowd at a Wal-Mart in Kinston, N.C., although one witness said a man had simply fallen into a display and that people were on good behavior.
Police twice used a stun gun on an allegedly drunk guy in a Wal-Mart in Florence, Ala.
Police tasered a man who allegedly punched another shopper in a Wal-Mart in Milford, Conn., after a third man's child was pushed to the floor near the video games, CBS News reports. (Hint: Leave the kids at home when venturing into such mayhem.)
The Columbus Dispatch in Ohio reported: "In the Toledo suburb of Oregon, police responded to three separate reports of fighting at a Wal-Mart on Thursday night, in one case, over towels selling for $1.88."
In Buckeye, Ariz., police reportedly slammed a man face down on Wal-Mart's concrete floor when they suspected he was shoplifting. Family members said he merely stuck a video game in his waistband so he could snatch his grandson out of the midst of a frenzied crowd, My Fox Phoenix reports.
Apparently disappointed that it wasn't open, looters broke into Hollister's flagship store in New York City about 1:15 a.m.
A fistfight was reported in the electronics section of an Escondido, Calif., Wal-Mart store.
Another fight involved several of the 1,000 shoppers outside a Best Buy store in Culver City, Calif.
Two men fought at a Wal-Mart jewelry counter in Kissimmee, Fla. One man was arrested.
Friday was only minutes old when two people suffered minor injuries in a brawl at the Wal-Mart electronics section in Rome, N.Y.
Thanks Wal-Mart. At least retailers are reporting record sales, probably more of an indication of how American families are struggling to make ends meet, not the smiling faces and customer service of those who opened their doors in the middle of the night. If you missed it, here's a sample of what you missed:
Here's an interesting take on OWS, a comparison of the Occupation Movement to the Arab Spring, the emphasis on the last sentence:
“When the youth in Tunisia rose up demanding change, Ben Ali scoffed. When they occupied Tahrir Square, Mubarak resorted to paternalism and mob violence. In Syria, Assad’s troops fire daily into the crowds. This kind of military mind-set and violent response to nonviolent protesters makes no sense. It did not work in the Middle East, and it’s not going to work in America, either. This is the bottom line. . . you cannot attack your young and get away with it.”
At Occupy Los Angeles, evicted campers are split over how to respond to the Mayor's edict. Some have apparently left the premises already. Some are waiting to see if there is a reprieve. And still others are planning to confront the police if and when they move in to disperse them.
The Occupation Movement which includes 1400 cities and locations according to estimates, won't be derailed if the Los Angeles encampment disappears by Monday morning. In fact, many of us have tried to stay focused on the upside to horizontal expansion which no doubt will be the result, intended or otherwise, of the Mayor's eviction notice.
It has become apparent, supported by the Mayor's own statement, that the General Assembly will continue on the West steps until another statement becomes official. The support for daytime meetings is widespread, nearly unanimous in fact, amongst those polled on the subject. No doubt the Mayor and others who are sympathetic in theory with the message of the occupiers will have an opportunity to continue the political dialog in some form regardless of the venue.
Those of us who have committed to disseminating the Occupation Movement message will still be reporting, planning, organizing and following the activities of other locales. There will be much more to discuss on these topics after the dust settles in Los Angeles this week.
While it is important to stay abreast of the developments here, there is also news from across the pond that will contribute to the atmosphere this week, a subplot that includes everyone, especially OWS demonstrators and others who have pointed out their concerns over the dismal state of affairs in the banking and financial services industries. Look out folks.
Euro zone dangers:
"As the Italian government struggled to borrow and Spain considered seeking an international bail-out, British ministers privately warned that the break-up of the euro, once almost unthinkable, is now increasingly plausible.
"Diplomats are preparing to help Britons abroad through a banking collapse and even riots arising from the debt crisis.
"The Treasury confirmed earlier this month that contingency planning for a collapse is now under way.
"A senior minister has now revealed the extent of the Government’s concern, saying that Britain is now planning on the basis that a euro collapse is now just a matter of time.
“'It’s in our interests that they keep playing for time because that gives us more time to prepare,' the minister told the Daily Telegraph."
"The defining moment was the fiasco over Wednesday's bond auction, reinforced on Thursday by the spectacle of German sovereign bond yields rising above those of the UK.
"If you are tempted to think this another vote of confidence by international investors in the UK, don't. It's actually got virtually nothing to do with us. Nor in truth does it have much to do with the idea that Germany will eventually get saddled with liability for periphery nation debts, thereby undermining its own creditworthiness.
"No, what this is about is the markets starting to bet on what was previously a minority view - a complete collapse, or break-up, of the euro. Up until the past few days, it has remained just about possible to go along with the idea that ultimately Germany would bow to pressure and do whatever might be required to save the single currency.
"The prevailing view was that the German Chancellor didn't really mean what she was saying, or was only saying it to placate German voters. When finally she came to peer over the precipice, she would retreat from her hard line position and compromise. Self interest alone would force Germany to act.
"But there comes a point in every crisis where the consensus suddenly shatters. That's what has just occurred, and with good reason. In recent days, it has become plain as a pike staff that the lady's not for turning."
So it should be an interesting week, the global stage once again becoming the focus of the Occupation Movement and the message which is not subject to eviction.