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What has happened to our Christmas spirit?

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By Becky Cassell, Editor

"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men."

-Luke 2:14

We heard the first stories early on Thursday. Unconfirmed reports of additional incidents surfaced throughout the weekend.

A Wal-Mart worker in Long Island, N.Y., died after being trampled by customers who broke through the doors early Friday morning. Other workers were trampled as they tried to rescue the man. In addition, reports say at least four other people, including a woman who was eight months pregnant, were taken to hospitals. Many shoppers, asked to leave as the store was closed, refused.

Two men at a crowded Toys "R" Us in Palm Desert, Calif., pulled guns and shot each other to death after women with them got into a fight, according to police.

At a Wal-Mart in Columbus, Ohio, a 19-year-old woman jumped onto a man's back and pounded his shoulders when he tried to take a 40-inch Samsung flat-screen TV, which she claimed was hers.

At a Wal-Mart in Niles, Ill., a mother cried when she discovered someone had taken her cart filled with toys.

A woman reported being trampled by customers at another Wal-Mart in Suffolk County, N.Y., according to another police report. She suffered minor injuries but finished shopping before filing the report.

Black Friday, the official start of the Christmas shopping season, has turned from what is supposed to be a time of holiday cheer into what more closely resembles a nightmare.

I went to one of these "big" sales because an item on one of my children's Christmas wish lists was on sale for half price. But while I was there, I heard several "excuse me's" when carts bumped in crowded aisles. One woman pushing a cart with only three items inside insisted I take her cart as I struggled to pull my large box toward the checkout aisle.

Why can't it always be like that? Whatever happened to the manners all of our mothers instilled in us: "Be polite to others?"

When did it become OK to break down the door to a store? When did it become OK to trample another person to death? Why would anyone take a loaded gun to a toy store? When did saving a few dollars become more important than a human life?

I was simply amazed at these stories. And sad, too.

Last Friday's events certainly weren't a display of "good will toward men."