Black Friday madness and 'ill will toward men'

When did getting a gift for a loved one, a selfless act of generosity come to involve scratching and clawing at others in order to do so?This year's Black Friday sales saw a spate of incidents that over the years have sadly become commonplace. This year saw shootings, stabbing, macing, vandalism, and any other number of insane and altogether holiday-spiritless acts. Maybe Black Friday behavior illustrates the stress the holidays exert on people or the stress people put on themselves. But who can blame them? The constant inundation of advertisements selling high expectations, the stress of wanting to provide the perfect holiday for one's family-- it's enough to drive you crazy. All of this Black Friday related-violence seems entirely antithetical to the "peace on earth and goodwill toward men" ethos of the holiday season. I understand that economic conditions influence the sheer volume of and attendance at these sales. If nobody showed up year after year, these sales would likely fall by the wayside, but a combination of ever increasing-discounts at a time when many Americans are penny-pinching prove irresistible time and again. It is not all bad when it comes to Black Friday sales, named so because they have long been a means for retailers to end the year "in the black," or with a profit. They can provide a much-needed boost to the economy and jobs, albeit temporary seasonal jobs, during a time of high unemployment nationwide. Some point to the Black Friday antics as proof that the secularization of the holiday and cleaved religious allegiances have permeated our collective consciousness.But perhaps it is not the philosophy of Black Friday that is so disagreeable, but rather how it has been interpreted and enacted year after year. Perhaps it is simply that Black Friday has come to represent and demonstrate the worst of human nature at a time of year when we would all like to cultivate and celebrate the best of it in ourselves and others. -- Colin Deppen, Staff Reporter