|Black Friday shopper Joy Ramey carries a TV to checkout|
As Joe Romm observed on ThinkProgress.org in an article about the fragility of the global economy earlier today, Pope Frances warned that:
“Obsession with a consumerist lifestyle, above all when few people are capable of maintaining it, can only lead to violence and mutual destruction.”
Here in the United States, we place a premium on the freedom to do whatever we want, so more power to ya' if you're fortunate enough to be a member of one of America's wealthiest households.
The still-fragile economy recovery has doled out the lion's share of income growth and asset recovery to the bank accounts and balance sheets of the top 7% since 2009 - so if you like to shop and you've got the coin by all means knock yourself out if it makes you happy.
If you're a member of the 99%, it certainly wouldn't be fair to fault you for taking advantage of Black Friday sales specials - especially those who are still unemployed, underemployed, haven't seen a meaningful paycheck raise in years, or those living on a fixed income.
As I've blogged about in the past, I personally have no desire to be anywhere near the crowded consumer orgies that take place in some stores on, or near the first official shopping day of the holiday season.
In my view, retail employees should have the right to enjoy some time off work to spend with their families too, so I choose to opt-out of making any purchases in person or on my cell phone on Thanksgiving or Black Friday.
I was certainly thankful to be able to spend Thanksgiving with family yesterday and enjoy a generous calorie-rich feast; and I'll be thankful again shortly when I heat up some of those leftovers for dinner.
|Black Friday protesters pack Miracle Mile in Chicago|
Today's protests in Chicago were concentrated on the Miracle Mile in the ritzy downtown shopping district, where peaceful protesters engaged in non-violent civil disobedience by blocking access to the store entrances of major retailers like The Apple Store, Saks Fifth Avenue, Brooks Brothers, The Disney Store, Neiman Marcus, Tiffany's and Ralph Lauren.
Today's protests are also an expression of anger over the fact that hours after the shooting on October 20, 2014, members of the Chicago Police Department walked into a Burger King, demanded access to the security camera footage which shows the area of South Pulaski Road where the incident took place, then intentionally erased at least 86 minutes of video leading up to and around the shooting.
|Burger King where CPD officers deleted security footage|
When they left, there was an 86-minute gap.
In the Gawker.com article, Darshane was quoted as saying about the Chicago PD:
“We had no idea they were going to sit there and delete files,” Darshane said. “I mean we were just trying to help the police officers.”
If it's proven that Chicago PD intentionally erased portions of the security camera footage, that's blatant destruction of evidence and interference with a criminal investigation - it certainly won't help Van Dyke's defense, or do much for the reputation and ethics of the Chicago PD.
Van Dyke himself spent his Thanksgiving in custody where he remains held without bond until a judge gets the chance to review the content of the dash-cam video on Monday to decide if he'll be released on bail - I'd have to believe he's seen it already.
I guess we should also be thankful that this guy isn't still out on the streets of Chicago in uniform with a badge and gun demonstrating the kind of restraint, professionalism and self-control he showed to Laquan McDonald last year.
We'll see what the judge decides to do soon enough but in the meantime the peaceful protests in Chicago and in other cities around the nation will continue through the weekend.
In an ideal world it would be nice if ethics, the rule of law and the desire for justice moves the gears of the Chicago judicial system to see that Jason Van Dyke is held responsible for his actions.
But money talks in this country and if it takes some high-end retailers loosing some customers and revenue to put pressure on the system to do right by Laquan McDonald, so be it.
Getting justice for a 17-year-old gunned down in cold blood is a lot more important than buying a bunch of stuff on discount anyway - those retailers have all the time in the world to recover any profits they might have lost today.
Laquan McDonald's short time on this earth was already taken from him.