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November 28, 2008 - 8:36 am

If you need another reason not to go near the stores today, a href=”http://www.nydailynews.com/ny_local/2008/11/28/2008-11-28_worker_dies_at_long_island_walmart_after.html”here’s one:/abr /br /blockquoteA worker died after being trampled and a woman miscarried when hundreds of shoppers smashed through the doors of a Long Island Wal-Mart Friday morning, witnesses said.br /br /The unidentified worker, employed as an overnight stock clerk, tried to hold back the unruly crowds just after the Valley Stream store opened at 5 a.m…..br /br /Before police shut down the store, eager shoppers streamed past emergency crews as they worked furiously to save the store clerk’s life.br /br /”They were working on him, but you could see he was dead, said Halcyon Alexander, 29. “People were still coming through.”br /br /Only a few stopped.br /br /”They’re savages,” said shopper Kimberly Cribbs, 27. “It’s sad. It’s terrible.”br /br //blockquotebr /br /It seems that cities and congested areas breed the type of anonymity that would lead to such a tragedy.br /br /Update: There is a chapter on panic in the book I am reading, a href=”http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0307352897?ie=UTF8tag=wwwviolentkicomlinkCode=as2camp=1789creative=9325creativeASIN=0307352897″ span style=”font-style:italic;”The Unthinkable: Who Survives When Disaster Strikes – and Why./span/aimg src=”http://www.assoc-amazon.com/e/ir?t=wwwviolentkicoml=as2o=1a=0307352897″ width=”1″ height=”1″ border=”0″ alt=”" style=”border:none !important; margin:0px !important;” / The author says that panic in a crowd is a tragedy, but one of errors, not malice:br /br /blockquoteBut it is one of the more preventable human mistakes in the disaster portfolio. If mass gathering places are designed with physics in mind, than the prerequisites to panic should never develop. People will not feel potentially trapped, helpless, and alone. They will just feel crowded. /blockquotebr /br /The author goes on to point out that the problem lies in the design of the space and the management of the crowd. Communication between the organizers and the crowd is also important. Perhaps more forethought needs to be put in place when stores expect large crowds.

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