ROWE: Over the holiday, many on Arkansas social media have seen or shared an article, "The States Where You're Most Likely to Encounter Fights at Black Friday Sales." The article by "we" at the marketing site Estately takes FBI aggravated assault data and matches it to Facebook data measuring interest in Black Friday Sales. Their findings? That Arkansas is the most likely state to have violence occur over Black Friday sales.
This is stupid. This is dumb. This is lazy.
BRASHER: I have seen that. I also see the ones heralding Little Rock as the most dangerous place in North America, per capita. It’s always per capita, which takes a little of the shine off our already dubious achievement. I mean, just let us have something all the way without a qualifier for once.
ROWE: It's a combination of unrelated things. Arkansas ranks in a lot of things, but they don't always correlate so easy. For instance, Arkansas has the United State's only diamond mine, so get ready for my new headline: ARKANSAS: AMERICA'S MOST DANGEROUS DIAMOND MINE? How about obesity? ARKANSAS: THE MOST LIKELY STATE FOR SOMEONE TO EAT A DIAMOND. Also, I hate to be the bearer of this news, but did you know that Arkansas has had more abortions performed within 100 miles of a diamond mine than any other state? Fire up Facebook, we got some commenting to do!
BRASHER: We could extrapolate this out a little. Did you know that in Adams County in Pennsylvania you have the highest chance of being pushed around by a Civil War re-enactor? Or that your chances of being shanked by an Elvis impersonator are greatest in Las Vegas. There are lots of other places where people in costumes get rough with you but you get my drift.
ROWE: That's how easy it is: You can do it for anything! The Estately article matches up aggravated assault, you know, the kind of assault that usually includes a weapon that can cause death or great bodily harm. The only people harming folks like that in Walmarts are police.
BRASHER: Missouri leads the nation in chances of being accosted by an armed and out of control Rusty Stratton at a Walmart. There are shoplifters inside.
ROWE: If you live in a town in Arkansas, chances are you've read a link about how your city is the most dangerous city in America. Forget that a good chunk of violent crimes are domestic, crimes of opportunity or crimes related to the drug trade — this sort of article makes you focused on CRIMINALS, just waiting to jack your Black Friday cheap Xbox at a Walmart Supercenter.
BRASHER: Wait a hot second though, Black Friday has come and gone. That means we can actually assess the fallout and see if there was any sort of veracity to those projections. A quick Google search indeed turns up some Worldstar-level action on Black Friday. We have a fight in Louisville, Ken., at the top of the list, which didn’t even get a top 20 ranking on the infographic. El Paso, Texas represents with a pretty good scrap and they weren’t ranked in the top 20 either. In fact the only ranked contender to make it onto the front page is Louisiana, where people lost their minds over some $1.60 towels. The most important takeaway from this is that no one knows how to hold their phone the right way when filming a fight.
Personally, as a kind of side note, I think Black Friday fighting is a nice symbolic modern representation of the United States and its economy and priorities. It’s pretty perfect. We outsource the labor, import the products, arbitrarily reduce prices for one day and then underpaid workers fight each other for them while profit goes to the top. I don't even have room for an analysis here. Honestly, Black Friday should just replace Christmas as the major U.S. holiday and the fights should become the centerpiece rather than a side effect, like "The Purge," or one of those commercials from "The Running Man."
ROWE: I recommend you watch these fight videos while eating a delicious, delicious diamond.