There has been a strong response to the trampling death of Jdimytai Damour at the the Green Acres Mall Wal-Mart in Valley Stream, New York. People have wondered, “how could this happen?” or have expressed horror that such a feeding frenzy mentality could exist. I will explore several aspects of an important question this incident brings up. Who is responsible for this man’s death?
The first reflection in this series of exploration starts with the accountability of Wal-Mart. As I was reading a story in the New York Times of November 26th titled Wal-Mart Employee Trampled to Death I was struck by the reporting of a statement issued by Wal-Mart’s corporate headquarters. It stated that, “The safety and security of our customers and associates is our top priority.”
I began to ponder what this meant. For if this is the case, there surely are some criteria that the company has developed that must be met to fulfill this top priority. There also must be some measurements that tell the management of the company how they’re doing with regard to the safety and security of the customers and associates. Finally, I wonder what tie there is to the compensation of the top executives for such a top priority?
As you can see, I have a lot of questions. Today is Sunday and I can’t find anyone to give me those answers. Indeed, finding the answers may take some time. Whatever the distance we must travel to find the truth here, we are off on that journey.
You can expect to find here and through our radio programs a full airing of the accountability of Wal-Mart as an organization for this incident.
This whole situation also raises fundamental questions about the underlying conditions that create such a primal incident. As we further explore the manslaughter of Jdimytai Damour, we will answer the questions of personal, community and corporate responsibility that must be addressed. For if we do not address them and open ourselves to honestly engaging the full range of accountability, how can we say we have a safe, civil society of human beings?