The Blackest Of Black Fridays

This still image from cell-phone video obtained by WCBS shows the unidentified Wal-Mart worker before he was transported to a hospital.
WCBS
Weekly commentary by CBS Evening News chief Washington correspondent and Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer.
This was not the happiest of Thanksgivings.

A nation which was shaken by an economic crisis that no one seems quite certain how to repair was horrified by the awful tragedy that unfolded in India.

No matter how terrible, tragedy always seems more cruel on a holiday.

Against that background came news on Black Friday that an angry mob pushed in the doors at a Wal Mart on Long Island and trampled a sales clerk to death.

Bargain hunting on Black Friday has gotten dangerous in recent years - pushing, shoving, the occasional fistfight and injuries were reported at other stores on Friday - but the Long Island incident marked the first-ever Black Friday shopping fatality.

It made me wonder: What were they shopping for? Christmas gifts? They didn't show much Christmas spirit.

When store officials ordered the mob out of the store because someone had died, many called it unfair, because they said they had been waiting hours to shop.

The terrorist attack in India will cause us to redouble our anti-terrorist efforts, and economic recovery plans are already in the works.

But shouldn't the death of that poor sales clerk give us some pause as well?

If we have become a people so self-centered that we are willing to step over a lifeless body to get a bargain, we have problems that go beyond terrorists, a credit crunch and bad mortgages.

Surely we can do better than that.