Society's ChildS


US - Black Friday 2011: The Violence Continues

Black Friday
© Main
New York (MainStreet) - Black Friday took a turn for the worse this year as shoppers in stores around the country resorted to fighting, shooting and even pepper-spraying their way to the most coveted deals.

The violence began even before Thanksgiving was technically over. Moments after a Walmart in Los Angeles opened its doors at 10 p.m., one woman reportedly used pepper spray on at least 20 customers - some of whom were children - to keep them away from the discounted electronics she planned to buy.

Ten customers at the store endured minor injuries from breathing in the pepper spray, according to the Associated Press, and the woman in question has yet to be found. The rest of the crowd continued to shop.

As if the pepper spray incident weren't bad enough, shoppers elsewhere in California had to contend with something even more frightening: an actual shooting.

A man was found shot and bleeding in the parking lot of a Walmart in the Bay Area just before 2 a.m. The man and his family had apparently been the victim of an attempted mugging, as "several" people with guns tried to take the family's purchases by force.


US: Overzealous Walmart Shopper Pepper Sprays Fellow Bargain Hunters

Pepper Sprayers
© Minyanville

Walmart and Black Friday -- these two things just don't go together safely, do they? Two years ago, an employee at the retailer's upstate New York location was trampled to death by aggressive shoppers looking to be the first to grab Black Friday deals.

This year, at a Walmart in southern California, one overzealous shopper found a way to prevent others from getting on their hands on the merchandise she wanted. By pepper-spraying them.

The Los Angeles Times reported that the woman, who is still at large, was "competitive shopping" and pepper sprayed bargain hunters once the doors of the Walmart opened at 10pm yesterday. Matthew Lopez, 18, was one of the unlucky shoppers who was hit with the pepper spray.
"I heard screaming and I heard yelling," said Lopez, 18. "Moments later, my throat stung. I was coughing really bad and watering up."
According to officials, 20 people suffered injuries from the attack, another of whom was 24 year-old Alejandra Seminario.

Magic Wand

In Russian Chill, Waiting Hours for Touch of the Holy

© APThousands of Russians have flocked to the Cathedral of Christ the Savior for a glimpse of a religious relic.
From morning all through the night, tens of thousands of Russians have been lining up since Saturday in the cold with just one aim: to kiss a glass-covered reliquary that they believe holds the Virgin Mary's belt.

They shuffle along, waiting for up to 12 hours without complaint in a line that stretches for miles. Within a few days, the organizers say, the wait could reach 24 hours
. At any given time there are about 25,000 people, according to news media estimates, and as of Wednesday morning, 285,000 true believers had earned their moment before the belt, said the St. Andrew the First-Called Foundation, which organized the tour.

As befits his status as the arbiter of most things Russian, Prime Minister Vladimir V. Putin was the first to greet the holy relic when it arrived on Oct. 20 in St. Petersburg from a Greek Orthodox monastery on Mount Athos in Greece for a monthlong tour of Russia.

Of all the industrial nations, perhaps only Russia outdistances the United States in the religiosity of its people, two million of whom venerated the belt before its final stop in Moscow.


Black Friday Pepper Spray Incident in Porter Ranch, California

© Unknown
Apparently it started with a fight over the new Xbox 360.

A customer shot pepper spray at other customers at a busy Northridge Wal-Mart store late Thursday night, causing minor injuries to at least 10 people who had been waiting hours for Black Friday savings, according to Los Angeles firefighters and a police lieutenant. The Associated Press later reported 20 injuries.

"It was an unhappy customer'' who spritzed pepper spray at the Wal-Mart, 19821 Rinaldi Street, at 10:10 p.m., said Lt. Abel Parga at the Los Angeles Police Department's Devonshire station. The suspect then left the store.

Firefighters arrived to treat at least 10 people, said Los Angeles Fire Department spokesman Shawn Lenske. Injuries were minor, he said.


Family Goes Missing In Florida

An entire family from Edgewater, Fla., is missing in a case that has local law enforcement puzzled.

Karen Burger, 57, along with her daughter, son-in-law and grandson, have not been seen since July of this year, according to police.

Burger's elderly father, Maxwell Lee, initially reported his daughter as missing in August although she had not been seen for nearly a month prior.

The case is complicated by Burger's alleged drug-abuse problem, according to a police bulletin.

Pocket Knife

US, Missouri: Survival Shop Reports Jump In Sales To People Preparing For "Possible Collapse"

© unknownSteve Dorsey looks over survival supplies at Uncle Sam's Safari Outfitters
A chain of three stores that sells survival food and gear reports a jump in sales to people who are getting prepared for the "possible collapse" of society.

"We had to order fifty cases of the meals ready to eat to keep up with the demand in the past three months," said manager Steve Dorsey at Uncle Sam's Safari Outfitters Inc. in Webster Groves. "That's not normal. Usually we sell 20 to 30 cases in a whole year."

Dorsey says business has been brisk since the spring uprisings in the middle east, as customers share concerns about political uprisings, the world economy and the future of the United States.

"I've had people in here that are very wealthy and they've spent thousands of dollars just on backpacks that they fill with survival gear, one for each person of their family," Dorsey said, "And something where they can just grab a bag and get out of Dodge."

Dorsey says some customers talk of stocking up on freeze-dried meals for the home, while others confide they are stashing supplies at a remote location away from the city where they would go in an emergency.


US: FBI arrests 7 in Amish haircut attacks in Ohio

© Mike Schenck/Wooster Daily RecordIn this Oct. 19, 2011 file photo, from left: Johnny Mullet, Lester Mullet, Daniel Mullet, Levi Miller and Eli Miller wait to make their pleas in Holmes County Municipal Court in Millersburg, Ohio. The five men, along with reputed Amish breakaway sect leader Sam Mullet and Emanuel Shrock, were arrested by the FBI and local sheriff's deputies early Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2011 on federal hate crime charges.
The leader of a breakaway Amish group allowed the beatings of those who disobeyed him, made some members sleep in a chicken coop and had sexual relations with married women to "cleanse them," federal authorities said Wednesday as they charged him and six others with hate crimes in hair-cutting attacks against other Amish.

Authorities raided the group's compound in eastern Ohio earlier in the day and arrested seven men, including group leader Sam Mullet and three of his sons.

Several members of the group carried out the attacks in September, October and November by forcibly cutting the beards and hair of Amish men and women and then taking photos of them, authorities said.

Cutting the hair is a highly offensive act to the Amish, who believe the Bible instructs women to let their hair grow long and men to grow beards and stop shaving once they marry. One victim told the FBI he would rather have been "beaten black and blue than to suffer the disfigurement and humiliation of having his hair removed," according to court papers.

The attacks struck at the core of the Amish identity and tested their principles. They are pacifists and strongly believe that they must be forgiving in order for God to forgive them, which often means handing out their own punishment and not reporting crimes to law enforcement.


US, Washington: Guard fired after nabbing child who ate from box

A grocery store security guard was fired after he told the father of a 4-year-old girl that she would face criminal charges for eating from a dried fruit package, a TV station reported.

The child's mother, Alissa Jones, said the father wasn't looking when the girl grabbed the package, ate a few pieces of fruit then returned it to a shelf at a Safeway store in Everett, Wash., KOMO reported Wednesday.

Safeway previously faced widespread criticism when a Honolulu couple were arrested over stolen sandwiches and had their 2-year-old daughter taken from them briefly by state officials.

In Washington, the guard took the 4-year-old and her dad to a room and said the girl would face charges and be banned from the chain, Jones said, adding the guard had the girl sign a paper acknowledging she wasn't allowed to enter any Safeway stores.


US: Intense 'Twilight' Scene Triggers Seizure Reports

A local man says the latest movie in the popular Twilight franchise triggered a seizure, and similar incidents have been reported in theaters around the country.

Brandon Gephart and Kelly Bauman said they were watching Breaking Dawn: Part One at a theater Friday night when Brandon sudden began convulsing during a graphic birthing scene.

Brandon said he doesn't remember anything until he woke up on the theater floor, but Kelly said he was, "convulsing, snorting, trying to breathe."

"He scared me big time," she added. Paramedics transported the man to the emergency room and the theater had to cancel the rest of the movie for that showing.


US: New City Signs at Occupy Los Angeles Draw Mixed Reactions From Protesters

© Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times Park hours have been posted outside L.A. City Hall, reminding Occupy protesters of existing city codes.
Signs warning against staying overnight at Los Angeles City Hall drew mixed reactions from Occupy L.A. protesters and others camped outside the downtown landmark, with some saying they feared eviction and others insisting they were determined to stay unless forced out.

"It's created fear and panic through the entire community," said Melissa Balin, who said she has been living at the 1.7-acre park since the start of the protest nearly two months ago.

Another woman, however, said she was unconcerned, noting that protesters had never sought permission when they erected tents on the site.

"This is an occupation," said the woman, who gave her name as Zeeva International, as she photographed police officers putting up signs on the north side of City Hall.