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The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

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Twas a Black Friday indeed

By Tony Pizza

This is supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year, or at least that’s what Andy Williams’ Christmas song says. For some people, that just isn’t the case.

Although a study published by the Centre for Suicide Prevention states that suicide actually dips before, during and after the holidays8212;contrary to popular belief8212;the holidays can still be a stressful time both financially and emotionally. For most people, the holiday season can also be an exhausting affair that leaves many looking forward to Christmas being over before it arrives.

With businesses and homes setting up holiday decorations earlier than ever, the marathon that the Christmas season has become can sometimes last upward of 40 to 50 days. Black Friday8212;the day after Thanksgiving and the traditional start to the Christmas shopping season8212;aptly rings in a time of year that has become an over-commercialized spend-a-thon that knows no limits. For every 20 stories of Christmas giving, generosity and selflessness, there’s that story that gives this time of the year a black eye. This Black Friday provided two.

In Palm Desert, Calif., two men shot each other to death inside a Toys R Us store around 11:30 a.m. on Nov. 28, according to the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department. The altercation began when two women got into an argument that turned bloody. The Sheriff’s Department, however, believes the fight was a personal dispute, and Toys R Us released a statement suggesting the shooting probably had nothing to do with the traditional holiday frenzy of Black Friday. Each woman was with a man, and each man had a loaded pistol which he used on the other as the fight escalated.

Eight hours earlier at a Wal-Mart at the Green Acres Mall in Valley Stream, N.Y., Jdimytai Damour, a seasonal employee, was trampled to death when a mob of shoppers caused a sliding glass door to shatter under the weight of their banging fists and pressed shoulders. The mob then rushed inside the store, but instead of taking advantage of some early Christmas sales, they took Damour’s life. The shoppers also critically injured another person. Ironically, the store reopened at 1 p.m. that same day.

The tragedy is that at least one man lost his life on Black Friday so a few people could attempt to save some money. Not than any amount of money would justify that loss, but we’re talking about a few hundred dollars here. Even more tragic is how this reflects on our society as a whole.

This is the same society where a significant portion of the people needs a yearly reminder to exhibit goodwill toward others. Now we can’t even get that right.

Ever since the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade debuted in 1924, Christmas has increasingly become a commercial holiday that has struggled to keep its spiritual integrity. Fortunately, Damour’s tragic death doesn’t have to be completely in vain. His death should serve as a reality check and an example of what these holidays are supposed to be about versus what they have become.

This time of year has become a time for families to reunite, for priorities to be re-evaluated and for goodwill to be shared by all. It should never be about procuring the latest gadget and trying like a bat out of hell to save $10 on it, let alone costing another person his or her life for that pursuit.

Sadly, as a society we have a short memory. Let one good thing come of Damour’s untimely departure from this earth and remember that no matter how bright the billboard, or how enticing that extra 15 percent off is, this season is still about something that goes beyond price tags.

[email protected]

Phil Cannon

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