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By Jeremy Schiffres, Daily and Sunday Freeman, Kingston, N.Y.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Senseless death

The term “door-buster sale” took on a new, and tragic, meaning Friday morning when about 2,000 overeager holiday shoppers broke down the main entrance of a Wal-Mart store in Valley Stream, N.Y., and trampled an employee to death.

Can we now agree that the annual Black Friday shopping frenzy has gotten out of hand? This isn’t just two parents fighting over the last Elmo Live toy or Wii console; this is a man’s life we’re talking about — the life of Jdimytai Damour of Queens, over after a mere 34 years because 2,000 sale-crazed lunatics were more concerned about saving money on a big-screen TV than about making sure no one got hurt. (And worse yet, when it became clear that someone had gotten hurt, the shoppers simply continued their push into the store, stepping over the critically injured Damour in the process.)

Whether laws can be passed to forbid these sales is unclear, but perhaps now, finally, popular holiday season retailers like Wal-Mart, Target, J.C. Penney and Toys ‘R’ Us will realize the risk to life and limb in these predawn “door-buster” events outweighs the benefits of store profits. And perhaps they all will go back to opening at the normal time on Black Friday and offering sale prices that don’t expire after a few hours and compel people to fight for merchandise in an effort to beat the clock.

I doubt it. But perhaps.



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