Why Is Violence Sweeping Shopping Malls?
This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," December 27, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
MARK STEYN, GUEST HOST: In the past several days, chaos and brawls have erupted in shopping centers across the country, and much of the turmoil was caused by this -- the new Nike Air Jordan sneaker that was released last week.
Last night on "Hannity" we showed you video of shoppers in Indianapolis rushing the entrance when the sneakers went on sale. People were knocked over and stepped on.
And in Georgia, according to police, a woman was arrested because she left her two young children in the car to try and get her hands on a pair of the coveted shoes.
But not all of the shopping fights have been about the new kicks. At the Mall of America in Minnesota, it took police over an hour to get the mall back in order after an apparent fight broke out in the food court.
And the melee was not just confined to the U.S. In London yesterday, a teenager was killed and a second person seriously wounded while shopping on Oxford Street.
Joining me now with reaction, our psychotherapist, Dr. Karen Ruskin and "Project 21" fellow, Fox News contributor, Deneen Borelli.
Karen, what is going on in these shoe riots?
DR. KAREN RUSKIN, PSYCHOTHERAPIST: There are several pieces of what is going on. One aspect of what is going on is that we have become such a culture of impulsivity combined with listening to our inner id, which wants what we want when we want it. And it's those aggressive impulses that act upon fulfilling that inner id.
STEYN: OK, Deneen, that is kind of psycho analytic view of it. I guess, the positive view of it, we're giving into our inner id. Is that the beginning and end of it?
DENEEN BORELLI, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Well, here's what I think is happening. We are witnessing a moral breakdown in our society. And if you look what is happening, this behavior is absolutely deplorable. But think about it. You have young adults, young children who are inundated with the bad behavior and negative influences they see on a regular basis, music videos, Hollywood movies, video games, and they are mimicking this behavior and it's very detrimental to them and to our society.
STEYN: Now, Karen, you in a sense said we're surrendering to behavioral impulses here, but in the end, a pair of shoes is a pair of shoes. Do corporations such as Nike, for example, bear some blame? They have tried to distance themselves from these riots and all the rest of it, but they make shoes and invest with significance beyond footwear.
The Air Force One shoe they say is one of Nike's most revered and iconic models. It celebrates African-American culture. It proudly displays the colors of the African-American flag. The Swoosh has a luxury material, marbleized like the courtrooms of the U.S. Supreme Court.
In other words, they are telling these guys, this isn't just about shoes. This just isn't about something to cover your socks with.
RUSKIN: Well, I don't believe, Mark, that Nike is to blame. I believe that it is so important for parents to be able to educate their children to take ownership of their own behavior. We have become such a culture of entitlement and me me. If I want this, whether I can afford it or not, I'm going to get it.
In addition to that, what I find very fascinating is that in a culture where how you view yourself and others view you could actually have something to do with it. It does with these tangibles of what we own. That is playing a role as well as -- ready for this one? -- do you know one in eight of adults, and this is reported has anxiety?
That often shows up in children, too. So think about the anxious feelings that I must have what I want is what I want it. And unless that urge and impulses is fulfilled, I feel as though I'm not OK. So these are several of the components.
STEYN: That makes it sound, Deneen, as it to a certain extent it's the surrender to emotional impulses, but there's a kind of rationality behind this too. I got this direct from "Hannity" makeup department. That is how authoritative it is. A member of the "Hannity" family stood in line for 12 hours, bought these shoes, $180, December 23rd. They are now worth between $300 and $520.
So it's better investment than gold. Instead of going back to the gold standard like Ron Paul wants, we should go to the sneaker standard.
We should close down the Federal Reserve, put our money and peg the dollar for sneakers. I mean, the market is driving this as well as, you know, people's subconscious urges.
BORELLI: Well, and to your other point, Nike it is not their responsibility. It's up to individuals to be responsible with their behavior. They are selling sneakers.
But this is also an economic issue. Unemployment is high, it's through the roof and we have a black market for these sneakers. They retail for $180. The stores sold out very quickly, but they're being resold online, you know, for hundreds more dollars than what the individual paid for originally.
STEYN: Karen, to explore that argument, just to explore that argument that it's individuals. At the Mall of America, people who worked in the store said they were terrified. I mean, in a post prosperity culture, regardless, aren't we're going to end up in a world where people want this stuff even -- the less money they have the more they want it. Are malls are going to be targeted in this way more and more in the future?
RUSKIN: Well, actually, Mark, I am concerned about what I'm seeing. Because if you combine an already existing problem which is poverty, which is worry about what it is that we don't have financially, combine that with the need to get money. And if the only thing you can think of that you can do is get the pair of Nike sneakers, for example, and then sell it so you can make more money. That is real prime example of a person feeling completely with what else they can possibly do.
The hope is rather for people to realize that need isn't beyond out of concern or compassion for others. What we're seeing here is that need and that impulse and that worry and fear regarding financial, we become a mob thinking mentality rather than that overpowers our thoughts and concerns for people working in that environment and others around us.
STEYN: That is fine thought to close it out. The other she is yet to drop. Thank you, Karen. Thank you, Deneen.
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