Regular listeners will know that I have no fondness for Walmart. I dislike their business model, I resent their efforts to boost China's economy while tearing down our own and I find it embarrassing that they are the largest employer of BadgerCare enrollees. So it should come as no surprise that I am appalled by what happened in the aftermath of yesterday's shooting at the Walmart in Neenah.
Employees, most of whom knew not only the victim of yesterday's shooting--but who were witnesses to the shooting--had to go right back to work moments after the incident. That's right, the store opened up immediately after police determined that they had arrested the shooter--and that she had acted alone.
I'm sure the managers would tell me that the liquor department (which is separate from the rest of the Super Center and was the scene of the shooting) remains closed today--and that it's not like shoppers have to walk past giant pools of blood or pick around merchandise with bullet holes in it. If you didn't need to buy a 30-pack of Busch Light, you would probably have had no idea that a person was almost killed in the store earlier in the day. Banks that get robbed usually shut down for the day--as much to allow police to do their work as to give traumatized employees a chance to recover. The same goes for other businesses that have seen horrific workplace violence. A Walmart spokesperson we talked to says they will have counselors on hand today--and that anyone who didn't feel able to work was allowed to go home (without pay).
But apparently, Walmart was just providing what the people wanted. Our reporter Emily Roberts was actually in the parking lot in the moments after the shooting and saw the employees and customers fleeing the building screaming that someone had been shot--and that there was a gunperson in the store. However, that wave of traumatized customers was soon replaced by those wondering why the store was closed--and who were upset that they couldn't pick up their prescriptions. And then when the store re-opened, the steady stream of customers returned to get their cigarettes, their junk food and the new issue of People magazine--either unaware of what had happened earlier in the day, or really not that concerned about it--because their shopping is far more important than someone almost getting killed, and the impact that might have on the people who witnessed it.