Someone did a blog about how horrible society is because someone shot somebody on black friday over a parking space and some crazy lady got into a fist fight over the last who-cares-what toy etc, the usual. I replied:
When someone shoots somebody over a parking space, it’s never about the parking space. It’s about that person being out of their mind. There is nothing special about black friday, people start fights over petty, stupid shit year round. The media reports on black friday brawls more often than other acts of violence for the same reason tabloids publish pictures of overweight celebrities with cellulose – because millions of americans are insecure and find it cathartic to see or hear about people who are uglier or crazier or more petty, or more evil etc than they are. Feeling superior eases their own insecurities temporarily.
I don’t think we’re an evil people because we have insecurities.
I went shopping at Target on black friday because I needed a new pair of shoes. The parking lot was half full, the people were friendly, the line was fairly long but because there was a problem processing someone’s order, and most importantly nobody got into a fist fight or shot anybody or trampled anyone or even said an unkind word the whole time I was there.
Anecdotal evidence can be used to reach any generalization – imagine how easy it would be to find an example of a violent black man to justify a racist generalization, or a smart black man to refute it. The reality is there are all kinds of people.