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Law Enforcement Today | July 28, 2016

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Pepper Spraying for Christmas Bargains

Lt. Maureen O'Hara

Am I the only woman in North America who finds it insane that people are camping out overnight to buy big screen television sets?  Sometimes I feel that way.

I have a confession. I hate, loathe, and despise shopping. I especially hate shopping at this time of the year. I can’t stand that Christmas starts (in the eyes of retailers) on the day after Halloween either.

On Friday a Los Angeles woman pepper-sprayed other shoppers, including children, to get an x-Box for sale at half price in the race for Black Friday items. Staff from the same Walmart store reported injuries from shoppers trampling each other.  A total of twenty shoppers were injured within the first two hours. And the store stayed open afterwards. Insanity.

What the heck are we doing? We’re in a recession.  Many people are out of work and looking to save money. I understand that. However, wouldn’t it be better to just downsize Christmas, focusing on time together and a special meal rather than using weapons against each our neighbors to get to the bargains first?  I wonder if this woman’s children will fondly remember this Christmas as the year that Mommy went to jail for the X-box.  Maybe they would have had better memories of decorating Christmas cookies with her.  The price is right on decorating cookies.

Christmas celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ.  While the holiday has become secularized, it still holds great religious significance for tens of millions of people worldwide. Whoever you think Jesus is, whether a wise teacher or a God himself, the fact that he lived and died is undisputed via the historian Josephus.

That would be the Jesus that told us to turn the other cheek.  The guy who said if someone asks for your cloak, to give him your tunic as well. The Lord who said that peace makers were blessed. The first century rabbi who suggested that you treat others as you would have them treat you. The leader who said to consider others better than yourself because ultimately the last shall be first. The one who said not to worry about what you will wear or eat.  The one who said that personal possessions were all hay and stubble.

I refuse to support any more of this insanity. Neither should law enforcement.  I don’t care what bargains I get, they aren’t worth being pepper sprayed or trampled to death as happened at Walmart last year.

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  1. I am with you. I will not shop during those sales! Even shopping at other times could be dangerous and violent. A lot of years ago, I was shopping at Walmart for my children’s Christmas. I had a doll in my hands that I was contemplating giving one of my daughters, when a lady ran up, grabbed it from my hands and ran for the door. I beat her to the door and waited just outside, when she burst through the door and came outside. I promptly placed her under arrest for shoplifting and also made a charge for assault on a Federal Officer. No she had no idea who she was messing with. I only share this story to let you know that things can happen during sales or almost any other time. Please be careful and don’t let them do it to you.

  2. Hi Ron:

    Thanks for weighing in on this. I think that the retail industry, corporate security, and local law enforcement need to put their heads together to think about how best to handle this situation during the holday season.


  3. Didn’t anybody hear of the website? All those bargains were also online with free shipping. I got everything I needed from Kohl’s in my bathrobe, slippers,and a hot cup of coffee. If they are on lines for an x-box, they certainly have a computer at home!!

    • Hi Nancy:

      Thank you for taking the time to comment. When you work hard on writing something, it is always such an uplift to gain feedback.

  4. Why does it have to be black Friday? I guess because they created a monster. If I had retail sales business I would start my advertising as Black week. Give people who sanely shop an opportunity for deals also. Same deal starts on Monday before Thanksgiving- closed Thanksgiving and open regular hrs thru the following Monday. Then the sales are off. Makes sense to me that the retailers make more because they sell more and everybody wins who want in the doors for a bargain.

  5. @Nancy….sounds great! @LT I agree with you, people are idiots more so this time of year, they’ve clearly forgotten the meaning of Christmas if the didn’t know. I thank God for my brothers and sisters and our families….that’s all I need.

  6. Jonathan:

    Thanks for your thoughts. I think some of the idiotic behavior is around the pressure that everyone feels at the holidays. When you combine this with the sort of anonymous feeling you can have in a crowd and all the hype about the shopping in the media, you have a recipe for disaster.

  7. im glad to see im not the only female who hates to shop! i too feel its insane to camp out overnight in front of a store to get the best deals! I think Christmas is too commercialized anyways and to me Christmas is really for the kids but thats just me.

  8. Hi Crystal:

    Thanks for your response. Maybe there are more of us female non-Christmas shoppers out there than I thought! I am more interested in the spirituality of Christmas than the commercialism.

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