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Holiday season should be about family, not fighting

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By Stephen Lega

My parents, like millions of Americans, got up early to seek out some “Black Friday” deals. For the most part, people were able to get away from the stores unscathed.
But not everyone did.
Maybe it’s just because we live in a world with 24-hour news stations and social media outlets that allow anyone anywhere to report what is happening around them, but stories about violence between holiday shoppers seem to be a regular part of post-Thanksgiving reports.
A hashtag was even created on Twitter — #Walmartfights — to call attention to incidents around the country.
Since so many people can take photos and shoot video with their cell phones, we now have more documentation of what kinds of idiocy people are capable of in an effort to get a bargain or grab the last of an item in the store. Yes, idiocy is the right word.
I know Wal-mart gets picked on, but its hardly the only place where those kinds of incidents take place. A quick Internet search turned up a video of people fighting in a mall, which included one woman using a stun gun on another.
But that was just one fight. Other altercations reportedly broke out over towels (yes, towels), cookware, and dollar DVDs. More videos than I can count show people getting trampled by fellow shoppers bursting through doors when stores opened.
The Christian Science Monitor noted in its reporting that in the Chicago area a woman spit on another woman’s child when they were fighting over baby clothes. In White Plains, N.Y., a Wal-mart was evacuated when someone called in a bomb threat. Police shot a suspected shoplifter in Romeoville, Ill., after the suspect started driving away while a police officer was partially inside the car.
Another shooting was reported in Las Vegas, where would-be thieves shot a man in the leg while trying to take the television he’d just purchased.
When I think about the holidays, I remember a few specific items I received as a child. I’m sure at that moment, they seemed like the greatest things in the world.
What I remember most is spending time with family. Regardless of your religious beliefs, Christmas should be an opportunity to visit with loved ones.
As much as little John and Susie might want a new video game or toy or electronic gadget, when they look back years from now, let’s hope their holiday memories are about more than that.