November 21, 2012
As budget-conscious consumers prepare to ransack major retail outlets during their most profitable day of the year, retailers have ramped up security efforts in anticipation of swarms of unruly crowds, with at least one Walmart in California enlisting four armed guards.
According to the Northridge-Chatsworth Patch, “There will be 27 additional security guards, four of them armed, when the holiday shopping surge begins at the Porter Ranch Walmart on Thanksgiving night.”
Citing an incident that took place last year in which a woman fired pepper spray at customers in an alleged attempt to procure an Xbox game console, injuring 20 people, the Walmart manager defended the extra security as necessary.
“We don’t want anything like what happened last year to repeat itself. So we are taking extra precautions to make sure we are safe,” the manager told the Patch, implying the extra security is in place to protect merchandise and workers, not shoppers.
The LAPD stated they’d be assisting by beefing up their parking lot surveillance and saying it will supply roving patrols conducted by “officers on bikes, a mounted horse patrol and even regular fly-bys by police helicopters.”
Florida’s Boca Raton Police Department is also on high alert for Black Friday criminal activity, going one step further by issuing a call for citizens to spy and snitch on each other in efforts to curtail an expected pandemonium of “thievery and thuggery.”
Earlier today, BRPD issued their own version of the DHS’ “See Something, Say Something” campaign, enlisting citizen snitches to alert authorities if any suspicious vehicles are seen “circling or driving slowly,” or people are seen “loitering or whom you don’t recognize,” or if “strange vehicles” are “backed up to a garage door in a residential area.”
The police department gives no explanation of what a “strange vehicle” might be, or caution that during the holidays there are hundreds of folks in from out-of-town, nor does it advise that a car circling or driving slowly could just be looking for parking; it just encourages people to snitch because “If it doesn’t look right, it probably isn’t.”
This citizen snitch measure falls right in line with the FBI’s “Communities Against Terrorism” program which warned people at shopping malls to be suspicious of individuals that “shave their beard” or change their “style of dress” from visit to visit.
The FBI’s “Potential Indicators of Terrorist Activities in Shopping Malls and Entertainment Facilities” flyer lists people who discreetly use cameras, video recorders or take notes as potential terrorists, as well as anybody displaying “anti-U.S. Sentiments that appear to be out-of-place and provocative,” in other words, anyone exercising their First Amendment rights.
Police presence at Walmart Black Friday events was brought into question last year when a Youtube video surfaced showing Buckeye, Arizona police cleaning up after they “accidentally” knocked a grandfather unconscious because a Walmart employee told them the man was shoplifting.
“Officers in the video are shown trying to sop up blood as outraged customers yell expletives and say, ‘That’s police brutality,’ and ‘He wasn’t doing anything,’” the AP reported. According to witnesses, the man had put a video game in the waistband of his pants prior to bending over and picking up his grandson.
Every Black Friday, Americans go mindless in their voracious attainment of bargain electronics, discounted DVD box sets and other cheap unnecessary novelties. In the midst of a frenzied consumerist panic, people routinely forget to display compassion for their fellow man, and that’s sad, but does it really warrant a heavy handed police presence?
Will police or armed guards really shoot shoplifters or disorderly customers? Is that cheap tablet or laptop really worth your life or the amount of time spent waiting in long lines?
Given the fact that police routinely respond to even the smallest crimes with extreme physical force, it’s likely that police could actually do more harm than good.
As Congressman Ron Paul stated after the tragic shootings in Colorado this year, when it comes to keeping the public safe, the government cannot and will not protect you. No amount of extravagant police state theater or armed guards will ever be a valid substitute for a public that can properly defend its own safety.
“Do we really want to live in a world of police checkpoints, surveillance cameras, and metal detectors? Do we really believe government can provide total security? Do we want to involuntarily commit every disaffected, disturbed, or alienated person who fantasizes about violence? Or can we accept that liberty is more important than the illusion of state-provided security?
“Freedom is not defined by safety. Freedom is defined by the ability of citizens to live without government interference. Government cannot create a world without risks, nor would we really wish to live in such a fictional place. Only a totalitarian society would even claim absolute safety as a worthy ideal, because it would require total state control over its citizens’ lives. Liberty has meaning only if we still believe in it when terrible things happen and a false government security blanket beckons.”