Many Brothers may have heard of the “Knockout Game”. This is the ‘game’ where attackers try and knockout an unsuspecting person with a single punch. Typically there are groups of young kids that are the attackers and the victim is usually walking alone and oblivious to the ensuing attack. Imagine walking down the street, minding your own business and being punched in the face!
This moronic activity has taken a deadly turn — with at least two fatalities tied to “knockout” stunts this year and a growing amount of evidence of a surge of similar assaults in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Missouri, Illinois and Washington, D.C. there is a growing concern among citizens. Authorities have been diligent in using multiple resources in pursuing those responsible for these vicious attacks. In the cases where identification was possible it was due to the fact that surveillance cameras were present and the public was able to identify the people that participated in the attack.
As Men of Sigma we condemn this abhorrent behavior and will not stand idly by as our communities continue to be impacted. We refuse to allow this to hurt our neighborhoods.
Many liken the “Knock Out Game” to the late 1980s events referred to as “Wilding Out” or “Wilding” where groups of people would randomly appear in areas causing mayhem and creating chaos [the slang term wilding reached the public when used by NY Mayor and police chief to describe the teenage activity related to the case of the Central Park jogger]. Admittedly, both situations are similar and result in innocent people hurt. Neither scenario is an acceptable way to behave. The origins of this ‘game’ in its current form can be traced back to similar antics such as “one hitter quitter” or “pick ‘em out knock ‘em out”. In 2005 in London (UK), there was a similar game called “slappy happy” where unsuspecting people were being slapped – often to the point of being knocked unconscious. The alarming events with the “Knock Out Game” are especially sad when one looks at the deaths that have occurred:
- In September, in Jersey City, two 13-year-olds and a 14-year-old were charged as juveniles in the slaying of Ralph Eric Santiago, 46. He was discovered Sept. 10 with his neck snapped and his head stuck between iron fence posts, according to the AP. County prosecutors have said they believe the accused teens were playing “knockout.”
- In May, in Syracuse, N.Y., a pack of teens trying to knock out Michael Daniels, 51, with one powerful punch ended up beating and stomping him to death, according to the wire service. A 16-year-old was found guilty of manslaughter, and his 13-year-old co-defendant pleaded guilty to assault — confessing he began the deadly beating by attempting to knock Daniels out cold with one blow. Both of the defendants were sentenced to 18 months behind bars.
- Also in May, Elex Murphy, now 20, was sentenced to life in prison plus 25 years in St. Louis, Mo., for killing a Vietnamese immigrant as part of the game in 2011.
Add to the situation that these participants show no discretion in picking their victims. Age, gender – there is no demographic to the victims in these assaults. It could be a 60 year old man or a 25 year old woman. Either way they select the most unsuspecting person to attack. Attacks on the elderly or male on female just prove that the attackers are nothing more than punks seeking a cheap thrill. In reality these attackers could not square up and fight fairly if they had the opportunity.
In order to protect ourselves, families and others we need to remain vigilant and raise community awareness. Since the holiday season is upon us many more of us are out and in places that could make us a victim. Always be aware of your surroundings. Know who is around you and who is approaching you. Make sure that our community is also aware of the circumstances surrounding the “knock out game”. We can only hope that as all things change – this senseless “game” will also pass on.
Here are several viewpoints regarding the “Knock Out” game:
Eastern Regional Director of Social Action