It appears the simulated violence in video games is no longer exhilarating enough for some urban teenagers.  There’s a new game in town that is all the rage among seemingly asocial posses of thrill seekers.  They call it Knockout.

The object of the game?  To see if the teen has enough skill and strength to knock unconscious some random pedestrian in one well-placed blow.  When successful, the unsuspecting pedestrian falls like a tree and the posse celebrates. 

Sometimes the prey doesn’t recover.  One man, Ralph Santiago,46, was found dead in Hoboken, N.J., his head and broken neck wedged between two iron fence posts. Video surveillance recorded his assailant delivering the knockout blow.

Apparently, this phenomenon is moving across America’s vast landscape, coming soon to a city near you. There have been deaths as a result of such attacks in Syracuse, St. Louis and New Jersey.

America, what have we done!? How have we allowed our society to decline into a re-enactment of Lord of the Flies

The proverbial elephant on the table, based on the reports of such incidents to date, is the race of the young people shown in the videos mindlessly attacking innocent people who happen by at the exact moment these feral human beings decided to get their “fun on.”

These are the first two comments I saw when I scrolled down on yesterday’s CBS DC report on Knockout:

jimjenky3 minutes ago

  • Yep, call me a racist, but soon as I saw the article title I knew the race of those playing this game. Oh, but we need to understand that this is the result of slavery, the break-up of the black family, the on-going racism of America and its effects on the lives of black youth, etc, etc, etc. The biggest problem with black America, especially with black youths, is the continued excuses that are given for their poor conduct, thus encouraging further poor conduct. Face facts, America, the greatest enemy of black America are black Americans. Time to look at whether this is cultural of genetic.

Roxy3 minutes ago


Yes, the guilty parties were black.  And no matter how hateful we find the comments I’ve pasted above, the truth is that I also knew without seeing the video that the kids involved would be black.  That is particularly problematic for me because I am also black and I spend a good deal of my time writing about and fighting against the stereotypes that plague me and other mothers of sons who are black and innocent of such ignorant,feral behavior.

To answer the commenter jimjenky, let me say this:  It is not genetic, it is cultural.  It HAS been looked at to see if this kind of amoral behavior is genetically inherent to descendants of black Africans.  It is not.  So no, it is not about race.

It is about decade after decade of poverty among black families who cannot join the White Flight that renders inner cities dark-skinned and even poorer. 

It is about children in those dark-skinned cities being raised by child mothers, who were raised by child mothers, who were raised by child mothers. 

It is about the propensity for residents of these dark-skinned cities to turn to drugs and drug trafficking to both escape the relentless grind of poverty that they can’t hope to escape and to earn the kind of living they think they deserve. 

jimjenky stated: “Face facts, America, the greatest enemy of black America are black Americans.”

This is where it gets difficult for me.  This is a statement I cannot refute.  I, too, am afraid of groups of black teenagers.  As a senior citizen, I am feeling more and more vulnerable to the dangers of simply leaving my house. 

Last week I was afraid to carry my cell phone while walking my dog because young black men and woman are making a sport out of jumping out of cars and snatching the devices right out of the hands of pedestrians.  Now I have to be concerned about being the random target of a so-called game to see if one of those thugs can knock me out in one punch.  The chances that these crimes will be committed by black youths are well into 90th percentiles. 

What’s interesting about my concerns is that I do not live in a blighted neighborhood.  On the contrary, this is considered an upscale in-town neighborhood with a fair amount of cultural diversity, but still predominately white.  In-town Atlanta has undergone an impressive gentrification over the past three or four decades.  In fact, many of those white flyers have reclaimed large sections of the inner-city, pushing the dark-skinned city dwellers outward into the exurban areas and creating new pockets of urban-like blight.

The problem is the feral thugs are mobile.  If they have no car to use to cruise the areas where the stuff they want is likely to be, they steal it.  Their thought process seems to be simply “I don’t have one; I need one; I’ll take yours.”  There is no conscience involved.  It is pragmatic. Morality and conscience have vanished among this group. 

It has vanished to the point that knocking innocent passersby unconscious is a leisurely pastime.   

You and I may disagree about how we got to this place, but this is where we are.  Blaming it on black people will not protect non-black people from the Knockout Game.  Blaming it on white people will not protect non-white from becoming prey. 

America, we have a problem.  There is nowhere to hide.







Views: 249

Comment by koshersalaami on November 17, 2013 at 11:26am

The problem I have with all this is that, in respects like these, Whites created Black culture. It's not that Whites designed it, but Whites set up the circumstances that made it inevitable. If Whites do not accept responsibility for repairing our damage, we have no right to complain about the results of what were ultimately our actions. 

Like with the drug trade: If we set up school district funding such that it's primarily local, which means that poor neighborhoods will not be able to afford good schools, then allow employers to discriminate (in part on the basis of inferior primary education which was, in a few ways, structural to begin with), resulting in illegal occupations like the drug trade becoming the obviously available way to make a decent living, it is utterly insane to assume that a whole lot of kids won't opt for the one available decent living. That's not a function of being a minority, it's a function of wanting to be able to eat. If the mores of illegal occupations spread through a community, that's because the community was driven to those illegal occupations. So far, the biggest macro solution to this has been incarceration, another serious structural error. When local Whites are more willing to shell out a few million for a new prison than a few hundred thousand for Midnight Bastketball and similar programs, the result not only being a ton of extra expense but essentially funding a training ground for more criminal behavior, and on the taxpayer's nickel, the end result will not make them happy but they are undoubtedly responsible for it.

The chief characteristic of these commenters is an utter failure to take responsibility for what they're seeing or even approach solutions if they don't accept responsibility. Again, my answer to "Is it cultural or genetic?" is "Cultural, and you're responsible for creating the culture." 

If the point is that we should address this, or at least the root causes of this, out of self-interest, I'd argue that most of us should have been doing this out of self-interest for many, many years. A permanent underclass is not healthy for our economy or for our social fabric. 

Comment by L in the Southeast on November 17, 2013 at 12:40pm

Thanks, Kosh, for expanding on this complex issue.  It makes me want to scream when I see those kinds of knee-jerk responses to these issues.

Comment by koshersalaami on November 17, 2013 at 1:05pm
No problem

I see irresponsible pleas for responsibility all the time - someone else's responsibility
Comment by Poor Woman on November 17, 2013 at 2:11pm

We had to have the heart to fight for these kids' rights BEFORE they could begin fighting. I'd like a redesign of governmental policy, yet don't have a clue myself as to how this could be brought to bear on the minds of others without there being room for my words to begin with.

It's frustrating.

Lez, what if you and other seniors of color wanted to offer the kids options, and/or work to defend them? Any room there for y9ou locally?

Comment by nerd cred on November 17, 2013 at 2:16pm

This raises many thoughts in my wandering little brain, mostly disjointed.

One thing you could think, rather than N****** N****** N****** is MALES MALES MALES etc, no? All I know now is that all the videos depict black males.

When my kids were in high school, a thing in the affluent DC suburbs was mailbox bashing. Kid would drive around housing developments and the ones on the passenger side would hang out the windows and bash rural mailboxes with baseball bats. I know it's not the same as this though I'll bet it's the same thing fundamentally, but yow, people used to get as outraged about it. Sacred property. Random destruction makes them feel powerful.

It is about children in those dark-skinned cities being raised by child mothers, who were raised by child mothers, who were raised by child mothers. 

It is about the propensity for residents of these dark-skinned cities to turn to drugs and drug trafficking to both escape the relentless grind of poverty that they can’t hope to escape and to earn the kind of living they think they deserve.

I keep hearing people speaking admiringly about women who don't want to accept help, don't want welfare, etc, so they work 2 and 3 jobs to support their kids. Now, this was different when I first started hearing about it 40 or so years ago, single women with kids could get welfare back then and jobs more often paid subsistence wages. What I keep going back to is, who's raising their kids while they work all these jobs? (No one, that's who.)

Which leads me to this, and I didn't start out heading here but here I am: those kids grow up, poor or not (and they really look pretty middle class, those kids in the videos) in a society that fundamentally does not respect human individuals. It respects money. It demands conformity but usually does nothing to facilitate it, to offer any incentive for that conformity.

We live in a country with a large and vocal power base that loudly advocates a patriotism founded on forcing others to do our bidding, freely will knock out another country for little or no damn reason at all.

Is the question, "Why?" or "Why not?"

(OK, that last line was dumb and this is sort of stream of consciousness. I'll probably give it more thought as the day goes on.)

(How would your n'hood take to a pretty little lady walking her pretty little dog with a big honkin automatic rifle slung over her shoulder? jk)

Comment by L in the Southeast on November 17, 2013 at 2:53pm

Pea Dub, we do many volunteer projects with the kids in the nearby gritty areas.  Here's the thing, though.  The kids who participate happen to be the handful of poor ghetto kids whose mothers have a vision of breaking the cycle.  Some people are simply born with principles and character, it seems, in spite of being raised by a teen mother who might or might not be involved in the street life.  Those are the kids who beg to attend the programs we work within.  I have no idea how a group of grannies could lure the bad boys and girls away from the "glory" of breaking bad.

nerd cred:  We just have to find a way to meet face to face one of these days!  Actually, one of the things that bothered me so much about this latest street game is the presence of girls in the video who were quite blase' about the idea of Knockout.  I thought I saw one girl present in one of those scenarios;  maybe not.   There is no question that our society has devolved into Greed Machine, teaching our young that all that matters is how much money (or sneakers or whatever) one has.  We seem to have lost the one thing about The Church that I feel is worth saving -- the focus on helping others.  The current Pope Francis is certainly setting a fine example of that which we have lost. 

LOL. If my son had anything to say about it, I would be walking around "strapped."  I will not do that.

Comment by alsoknownas on November 17, 2013 at 6:28pm

Well Lezlie.... I did not immediately think young black men were the ones doing the assaulting.

I knew of similar jump and run things happening back in the late 60's and in my area it was young white boys doing it.


Comment by Arthur James on November 17, 2013 at 6:50pm


I too tuckered to make any sense . . .

I wear t-shirt, white sneakers, and hang

out in OR room and Hope Folk No Be Nasty,

and punch each other in Snout. I sad too.

Lewis Arthur James got ` eight stitches.

Lewis (4) hit his eyebrow on a window

sill. My son took a ` You Tube ' video.

I wince to see stitches sewed in skull.


The hospital ER room is better than

watching TV. I heard ref` this Today:


Jake wine he no want to go to school.

Ten years later Jake still be whining.

He tell mommy & pa he hate school.


Kids tease, have bad ` goat breath,

smell, never talk, cuss` and ten-years,

twenty-years later . . .` Jake's Ma & Pa

say` "Jake, You got to finish kindergarden."


Ig Jake complete ` kindergarden? Jake be?

Jake be ` editor ` @ Open, Our, and Salon.

Jake finish kindergarden. Jake now editor.

So what if some folk are slow to learn.

Jake be still a editor for 1,000 years.


Gosh . . .

Pleasant dreams.

I go sip a cold ale.

Elders be less ill.

But, be temperate.

Drink Moo Cow Milk.

I got jug of Goat Milk.

I share IF You Here.

Comment by Jonathan Wolfman on November 19, 2013 at 3:57pm

And I am sure Kosh gets it that both individual reponsibility and shabby behavior are at play along w the cultural-historical forces he cites. Both are sadly at play here and I share what you and Kosh feel and think on it.

Comment by koshersalaami on November 19, 2013 at 4:45pm
Of course I get individual responsibility. The kids who do this should be prosecuted. However, there's a lot of responsibility to go around. If you set up the macro dominoes, don't complain about where they fall.


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