When I read the Associated Press story about the bargain-crazed Wal-Mart shoppers who stampeded and killed Jdimytai Damour, 34, on Long Island the day after Thanksgiving, I shook my head in utter disgust at the inhumanity of our materialistic, consumerist society.

But then the article listed some of the prices that had been slashed – slashed, I tell you! – by that little yellow smiley face.

A Bissel Compact Upright Vacuum for $28! A Samsung 10.2 megapixel digital camera for $69! DVDs such as “The Incredible Hulk” for $9!

Thank you, Associated Press, for providing such crucial context to this story. Had I not known how much money these shoppers were saving, I might have just assumed it wasn’t worth the loss of a human life.

Given the urgency of compensating for the fact that we never spend any time with most of the people for whom you buy gifts, it’s easy to see why we innocent holiday shoppers get a little carried away with ourselves, especially in this economy. No wonder people at the Long Island Wal-Mart “shouted angrily and kept shopping” when they tried to close the store for a few hours after the fatality.

Clearly, the shoppers are not at fault. If anything, the “victim” himself should shoulder most of the blame. Not convinced? Consider a law in Kentucky passed in 2006 that requires the state’s homeland security department to acknowledge God as the first line of defense.

“Specifically, Homeland Security is ordered to publicize God’s benevolent protection in its reports,” says the Lexington Herald-Leader, “and it must post a plaque at the entrance to the state Emergency Operations Center with an 88-word statement that begins, ‘The safety and security of the Commonwealth cannot be achieved apart from reliance upon Almighty God.'”

Now, I never met Mr. Damour, the Wal-Mart stampeding victim, but it seems fair to suppose that he had probably not been giving God enough credit for his own personal security.

In fact, with a name like Jdimytai Damour, it’s hard to imagine he was even a Christian. Why has the media spent so much time mourning this guy, when he clearly had it coming? He was practically begging to be pureed under a mob.

As you might expect, I daresay the Kentucky law doesn’t go far enough. When you think about it, don’t we need God for basically everything?

We should require the government to acknowledge God’s role in making sure we have air to breathe and food to eat. If corporate mismanagement of our fragile food production and distribution system ever leads to widespread famine, or if pollutants render our air unbreathable, we will rue the day that we didn’t give God his props.

Without God, we would have no public education, because without God, there would be no children. Duh.

Tell you what. Let’s just cover all our bases by turning government into one massive prayer session. You can never be too sure that you’re worshipping ardently enough to avert catastrophe.

Chuck McKay is a Maine freelance writer. His e-mail is [email protected]

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