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AMERICA - Whipped into an hysterical frenzy by retailers, this year's rioters stopped at nothing in pursuit of lower prices.

Black Friday police squads stand helpless outside most shopping centers and strip malls.With death tolls hovering around the 4,850 mark by 11a.m., this year's frenzied orgy of destruction and chaos appears on track to hit the widely accepted forecast of 8,590 by midnight tonight.

"Given this level of carnage and death," said Jim "James" Jamison III, from the Brookheimer Institute for Consumer Economics at Harvard University, "it bodes very, very well for retailers. The fear-addled public still ventured outside to score a wide screen T.V., despite the very real threat of death. This is the best economic news I've heard since [Milton] Friedman croaked."

The nation's jails and holding cells, meanwhile, normally full of petty criminals and drunks, today stand packed to the brim with shoppers accused of everything from shoplifting to murder.  James Puetz, 43, an electrician from Fairview, Maryland, for example, was arrested by police around 7:35 this morning after strangling a mother of 4 for the final 11 mega-pixel Canon digital camera at a local Best Buy.  "She wouldn't let go," said Puetz.  "What else could I do?"

Despite the chaos, many police officials are breathing a sigh of relief as the clock approaches noon on the east coast.  "We were bracing for much, much worse," confessed Police Captain Frank Kennedy of the Boston Metropolitan police.  "If another 3 or 4 percent more people were unemployed, you would've seen a revolution out there."