Tag Archives: Oppressive Great Retail Empire

Walmart Shoppers are… Big Brother?

I don’t know how many of you saw this press release called “Secretary Napolitano Announces Expansion of “If You See Something, Say Something” Campaign to Walmart Stores Across the Nation“.

I’ll quote it in it’s entirety here:

Washington, D.C. – Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano today announced the expansion of the Department’s national “If You See Something, Say Something” campaign to hundreds of Walmart stores across the country – launching a new partnership between DHS and Walmart to help the American public play an active role in ensuring the safety and security of our nation.

“Homeland security starts with hometown security, and each of us plays a critical role in keeping our country and communities safe,” said Secretary Napolitano. “I applaud Walmart for joining the ‘If You See Something, Say Something’ campaign. This partnership will help millions of shoppers across the nation identify and report indicators of terrorism, crime and other threats to law enforcement authorities.”

The “If You See Something, Say Something” campaign—originally implemented by New York City’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority and funded, in part, by $13 million from DHS’ Transit Security Grant Program—is a simple and effective program to engage the public and key frontline employees to identify and report indicators of terrorism, crime and other threats to the proper transportation and law enforcement authorities.

More than 230 Walmart stores nationwide launched the “If You See Something, Say Something” campaign today, with a total of 588 Walmart stores in 27 states joining in the coming weeks. A short video message will play at select checkout locations to remind shoppers to contact local law enforcement to report suspicious activity.

The public service announcement will air in all Walmart stores equipped with checkout video screens.

Over the past five months, DHS has worked with its federal, state, local and private sector partners, as well as the Department of Justice, to expand the “If You See Something, Say Something” campaign and Nationwide SAR Initiative to communities throughout the country—including the recent state-wide expansions of the “If You See Something, Say Something” campaign across Minnesota and New Jersey. Partners include the Mall of America, the American Hotel & Lodging Association, Amtrak, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, sports and general aviation industries, and state and local fusion centers across the country.

In the coming months, the Department will continue to expand the “If You See Something, Say Something” campaign nationally with public education materials and outreach tools designed to help America’s businesses, communities and citizens remain vigilant and play an active role in keeping the country safe.

Something about this concept scares the bejeezus out of me.

Remember that Sesame Street game of “One of These Things Is Not Like The Other”?

I still think that was an early training tool teaching how to profile individuals.

And that also scares me.

But now the government is asking the shoppers of Walmart to point out anything they find suspicious.

Umm… have you seen shoppers at Walmart? If you’ve never been in one, there’s a website dedicated to fun pictures of Walmart shoppers. Go check it out. Totally worth it.

I’d be on the phone with DHS the entire time I was on Walmart property!

I’m all about being aware of your surroundings. And I’m all about getting the local authorities involved if I know something to be not totally right.

But why do I feel like I’m Dr. Miles Bennell in some modern version of “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” when I read this article?

And why do I feel like we, as a country, are rapidly moving into a similar place that resulted in the creation of the Gestapo or the NVKD in times past?

I’m starting to think Orwell had it right in 1984:

From where Winston stood it was just possible to read, picked out on its white face in elegant lettering, the three slogans of the Party:
WAR IS PEACE
FREEDOM IS SLAVERY
IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH.

Updated 2011.09.28: Replaced embedded video with YouTube video.

Until next time...
Erik

Does Walmart Really Care About Their Community?

This past weekend, Westboro Baptist was doing their usual protesting of a soldier’s funeral in McAlester, Oklahoma. Afterward, they found 2 of the tires slashed on their minivan. No business in McAlester would repair their tires.

Residents of McAlester, Oklahoma, I applaud you. Not so much for the act of vandalism. But for showing togetherness by refusing to repair the damage.

You can read more about the incident in this Tulsa World article.

There was one part that really bothers me, which I put in bold below:

The minivan finally pulled over several blocks away in a shopping center parking lot, where AAA was called. A flatbed service truck arrived and loaded up the minivan. Assistant Police Chief Darrell Miller said the minivan was taken to Walmart for repairs.

Reparied at Walmart?

Sure, it’s absolutely possible the store’s TLE associates had no idea who’s van it was. But I’m also betting in a small community like McAlester, people were following the vehicle and warning businesses.

Way to stand by and support your community, Walmart. I hope the residents of McAlester protest your store.

Update:
A discussion on Twitter over this post got me thinking: how does a publicly traded business go about refusing service? Can they legally? The closest thing to answer I can find is here.

Does that mean all the businesses who said “No” will be sued for discrimination of some sort?

I guess everyone could have gone on break and then been sent home early? That wouldn’t be construed as discriminatory, would it?

Until next time...
Erik

Dead Baby at Wal-Mart Home Office

Yeah, I know the post title is pretty damned inconsiderate of me. Deal with it.

Today’s high was supposed to be 102 degrees. And someone left a baby in the car today here in Bentonville.

This occurred at the place I used to work, which I commonly called the OGRE. So more than likely I know this person. I wonder if he was overworked? (A definite “yes”.) Or maybe late for an early meeting or conference call? I’m sure he was distracted.

But that’s still no excuse.

The Bentonville Police Department is currently investigating the death of a 14-month-old girl who was left in a hot car.

Preliminary investigation revealed that the child was left locked in the father’s vehicle at his workplace, the David Glass Technology Center, which is located across the street from the day care.

The outside temperature at the time of the report was 99 degrees, police said.

The child was enrolled at the day care, and it is further believed that the father failed to drop the child off prior to parking his vehicle at his workplace, police said.

Read the full story here.

I feel sad for what’s left of the family, but the whole incident pisses me off.

I had a whole big blog post going on in my head, but a comment over on Facebook by my buddy Sandy pretty much sums up all that I was thinking:

And people in Arkansas (cf. AR Act One) had the nerve to tell me that, as a gay man, I have no right raise a child? I am a gay father, bringing up a wonderful kid in a loving and caring environment that would never include baking him in a car. And yet I’m made to feel subpar. And this criminal, likely straight, harms his child in a negligent manner that anyone, gay or straight, with any common sense would know not to do? Sometimes I feel guilty when I am ashamed to call Arkansas home. Not this time.

The Husbear and I have raised three wonderful children who are now young adults. But yet, by law, we’re not allowed to have or raise our children.

For some reason Luke 6:41-42 comes to mind:

Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

(See, I can pick and choose Bible verses too!)

Maybe it’s time “the majority” quits legislating what one group can do when they can’t even do it properly themselves.

Maybe “they” are afraid they might be shown up as inferior parents?

And people wonder why I’m all angry on the inside.

Addendum:
From the comments I’ve received here and on Facebook, I think people are misunderstanding my point.

I’m not saying that as a gay parent I’m perfect. However, with this law on the book, we’ll never know that now for many people.

While I feel sad for the family in question, the whole point is that crap like this happens all the time, to everyone, REGARDLESS of orientation. We’re all humans.

I do know the person in question. He was not a bad man, and was a good father from the interactions I had with him.

The main arguments used to promote and sell Act One to the general population was that unwed and gay people make bad parents. Therein lies my anger and frustration in situations like this. Why legislate discrimination against one group of persons when no one can “get it right” to begin with?

Until next time...
Erik