Lately, our teenagers have started to play a violent game. “Knockout” is when a person, who is usually walking alone, gets randomly attacked, often punched in the face by at least one person. It could be a boy or a girl, man or woman, homeless person or even the local UPS delivery man. No one is safe, and the game is anything but funny to the victims and those of us who know better.
The game was first called to my attention late last year when a video of a homeless man at a Red Line ‘L” stop in Chicago was knocked out. A group of teens appeared to be conversing with the older man. Then out of nowhere, one of them fired off on the guy, knocking him unconscious. The teen has sense been arrested.
Below you will see a compilation of people, predominantly African American, talking about the game. “They just want to see if you got enough strength to knock somebody out,” said one teen in the video. Most of the youth agree that the motives for the game are simple. They find it to be FUN.
WARNING: Graphic violence depicted
Watch the report:
Few people playing “Knockout” realize the consequences of their actions. Not only does the act constitute as an assault, but those injured can die. Take the case of Ralph Santiago. While walking near downtown Hoboken, N.J. on September 10, Santiago was an unauthorized of the violent game. Three teens followed him, determined to make him a victim of “Knockout.” They succeeded in ways unimaginable. Not only did they knock Santiago out, but the force from the blow was so intense that it killed him. Santiago was punched in the back of neck, which broke as a result of either the punch, or his fall to the ground. Ten days after his death, the three teens were arrested and charged for his murder. Lives ruined. And more bodies funneled into the country’s prison system.
Those of us with common sense realize that “Knockout” is anything but a game. The action comes with real consequences, sometimes deadly. As community members, it isn’t unreasonable for us to have the expectation that we won’t be knocked out while walking peacefully down the street. The unfortunate reality is that we can no longer have that peace of mind.
What’s even more disturbing is that the game appears to be executed mostly by black teens. Incidents have occurred in London, New Jersey, Chicago and St. Louis to name a few, and the trend appears to be gaining momentum. “Knockout” isn’t a new phenomenon, but the rise of social media has shed light onto the practice. The unfortunate case is that the game is sure to leave someone injured, and will most certainly create another pathway to prison for our youth.