Black Friday stampede and the value of human life

November 28, 2008 — Leave a comment

I was sickened as I read this headline this morning: Worker dies at Long Island Wal-Mart after being trampled in Black Friday stampede

The article noted, “A worker died after being trampled and a woman miscarried when hundreds of shoppers smashed through the doors of a Long Island Wal-Mart Friday morning, witnesses said.

The unidentified worker, employed as an overnight stock clerk, tried to hold back the unruly crowds just after the Valley Stream store opened at 5 a.m.

Witnesses said the surging throngs of shoppers knocked the man down. He fell and was stepped on. As he gasped for air, shoppers ran over and around him.”

That’s the line that made me sick, “As he gasped for air, shoppers ran over and around him.”

What is wrong with us.

Is a $200 laptop or a $100 Wii really more important than human life?  Of course not!

In his most famous sermon, Jesus taught us:

19“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Matthew 6:19-21

As we prepare to enter the Christmas–and “treasure”-buying season–I think we need to resolve this issue.  What are true treasures to us?  Where are our hearts? 

This morning, in a Wal-Mart in Long Island, New York, a bunch of shoppers proved that their hearts were not with the dying clerk whom they trampled as they stormed the store or with the young pregnant mother whom they knocked to the floor–apparently apathetic to the precious young life she was carrying in her womb.

What is wrong with us?

Human life is a treasure and worth more than any earthly treasure.

We must not get caught up in the surge of movement towards materialism and the insatiable desire for more and more stuff.

Human life is sacred.

Earthly “treasure” is garbage.

People who don’t realize the distinction between the two sadden me.

Before police shut down the Wal-Mart this morning, eager shoppers streamed past emergency crews as they worked furiously to save the store clerk’s life.

“They were working on him, but you could see he was dead, said Halcyon Alexander, 29. “People were still coming through.”

Only a few stopped.

Would you have stopped?

“They’re savages,” said shopper Kimberly Cribbs, 27. “It’s sad. It’s terrible.”

Kim, I agree.

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