By C.N. Staff Writer
Local police authorities are warning District residents to be much more cautious when out and about biking, running or simply walking along District streets and corridors. There have been several reported incidents of residents becoming victims of the “knockout” game, whereby attackers randomly target unsuspecting victims and attempt to knock them out with one punch.
The game is internet-fuled and headed by youth, most likely in a group setting where one youth attacks the suspect and they all run away laughing. Recently, two women were attacked separately in and around the Columbia Heights neighborhood. a 27-year-old woman reported that she was walking home along the 3300 block of 14th Street in Northwest D.C. when a group of juveniles on bicycles swarmed past her and one teenager hit her in the back of the head.
In the other, 32-year-old Phoebe Connolly said she was hit in the face by one boy as she rode her bicycle past a group of teenagers in the 2200 block of 11th Street Northwest.“He just like threw a hook with his left hand and just got me right in the face,” Ms. Connolly told WJLA-TV. “And he said ‘wa-pow’ as he hit me in the face.”
U.S. Representative Grace Meng (D-NY) was recently attacked in D.C. as she walked home one night alone. “After I hit the ground, there is a period of time where I don’t really remember what happened,” Meng said. She was found disoriented, had little recollection of the attack, and could not describe her attackers. The New York Daily News reported that the attackers did not take a tote that contained her cell phone and credit cards.
This “game” with the point seeming to be simply a perverse way for teenagers to show off in front of friends, has already caused deaths in Syracuse, St. Louis and New Jersey and is sweeping the nation, and it preys upon unsuspecting people walking the streets, anywhere and alone.
In almost every report, the assailants are described as young black men, and many of the victims have been white, making race an obvious element in the attacks. It’s hard not to see the sensationalized coverage of “knockout”—and before that, “wilding”—as a reflection of the nations fear of young black men. Indeed, in the more sinister corners of the Internet, you can find people who argue that these incidents are the opening shots in a “race war” by “feral black youth.”
According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s 2012 crime report, there were an estimated 127,577 assaults with “hands and fists” in American cities with more than 250,000 people, a 0.7 percent increase from the previous year. The “knockout game” may or may not be a new phenomenon, but with a few instances out of tens of thousands of assaults, it’s not a trend, and media outlets shouldn’t treat it as one.
Youth violence expert Chuck Williams blamed the media and parents for what he called extreme aggression by America’s youth. Negative attention, he said, is often rewarded. “That’s America. America loves violence and so do our kids,” Williams said. “We market violence to our children and we wonder why they’re violent. It’s because we are.”
Williams, a professor of psychology and education at Drexel University in Philadelphia, said some young people are desperate for attention. He called it the ‘Miley Cyrus effect,’ where teens will do anything to get noticed, no matter how heinous or unconscionable. “These kids know the consequences,” he said. “They want to get arrested. They want to get caught, because they want that notoriety. They know they won’t go away forever because they’re kids. It’s a win-win all around for them.”
“It appears these are just random acts of violence,” said former FBI profiler Clint Van Zandt. “There’s no robbery, there’s no rhyme or reason; it’s just simply youths making a decision they’re going to punch somebody out — sometimes as simple as $5 bet between themselves.”
he knockout game, to be sure, has been around a few years. It has been mostly ignored by the mainstream media, which generally airbrushes out the black-on-white nature of the mayhem. The knockout game, however, was the subject of a lengthy American Thinker article by John T. Bennett way back on July 14, 2011. Now, in light of the spate of recent attacks in New York City and nearby cities, some media outlets are belatedly acknowledging that the knockout game is indeed a growing trend – though they still tiptoe around the fact that the attackers are black.