REFLECTING ON THE AFTERMATH OF TWO TRAGEDIES
"All Americans need to reflect on this tragedy as we approach this season which should be goodwill toward all humankind, and ensure that it never happens again." The Dec. 1 New York Times wisely printed a letter from Nevada-based Michael Pravica whose concluding words begin this column. The letter was titled "Black Friday Sale Shouldn't Make Us Barbarians" and the tragedy, of course, was the death of 34-year-old Wal-Mart part-time employee Jdimytai Damour, who was trampled by a stampeding mob of obsessed bargain hunters. Pravica rightly says, "Though blame for this tragic incident rests mainly upon the barbarians who rushed the door, corporate America must shoulder some blame for the Black Friday corporative hype that makes some aggressive and nasty people do horrible things." Above all, blame must be placed on the forces that breed a climate for barbarism, like the fictional mayhem spewed out 24/7 by the televisions these shoppers mindlessly clamored to possess. Ignored are decades of research that find not only young people are influenced by what they view and hear. Oh yes, the Clintons in the White House also underscored entertainment excesses. So did ministers in the African American community, like Calvin Butts, and former City Council Member James Davis, whose related crusade and tragic murder are shamefully forgotten. Follow-up "reflection" by elected officials, police and news media centers on the lack of security at Wal-Mart. Protection of bus drivers was also in focus after the awful stabbing death of 46-year-old bus driver Edwin Thomas by a 24-year-old ex-con fare-beater. While optimal security/protection is an absolute must, so is action against the barbarism behind these and all American killings and harming of innocents. And the incalculable loss and grief suffered by those who love the victims, like the families of Jdimytai Damour and Edwin Davis, must also be repeatedly stressed. Stop ignoring the alcohol-overuse factor, not only in the high-profile case of the star athlete who accidentally shot himself in a nightclub, but in so much of the misguided, irrational, anti-social and violent behavior that is especially rampant over the holidays. Give media coverage to the magnificent Park Avenue Memorial Trees, and how the city's most truly meaningful tradition was begun in 1945 by several women to honor not only their sons, but all New Yorkers whose lives were lost serving their country in World War II. Now the trees honor all America's war dead. This year's tree lighting reception to thank the benefactors also honors Marge Ternes for her inspired and tireless years of organizing Christmastime tradition. Now, if only those attending might reflect and act to overcome the aforementioned barriers to home-front peace and goodwill-if only most movers and shakers would, including clergy. But a relatively new and needed tradition is found in Holy Trinity Episcopal Church's "Blue Christmas" service for those of any, little or no faith, who have a special sorrow this year. Call 212-289-4100 for information on the service, held Monday Dec. 21 (the First Day of Chanukah) at 6:30 p.m. at the church, on 88th Street between First and Second avenues. Services that give solace and support are needed year-round. So are the blessings that Chanukah imparts! [ email@example.com](mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org)
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