David Karpel, a father and self-defense instructor, believes the “Knockout Game” is yet another example of how we are failing our boys.
We are failing our boys. When a “game” like this can exist, when the street and its occupants become the bitmap imagery of a violent video game, when they are apathetic to consequence, it becomes self-evident that something is broken.
In some places it’s called the “Knockout Game.” In Brooklyn it’s called “Knockout the Jew.” Essentially this “game” involves one teenager sucker-punching a total stranger. The ultimate goal isn’t just to punch the stranger. It’s to knock them out, to render them unconscious with a single blow.
Victims have died, and now one young man who played the game lost when his target grabbed his gun and shot him twice. The young man is in jail for a year now.
Is the problem in their homes? Is it the communities? Is it the schools? These are the questions everybody is asking.
Someone will inevitably point out that all of the children interviewed are black. In the videos, all of those playing the game are black.
Discussing this with someone recently, this question was proposed:
“Is it racist in the areas where this is happening to suggest being wary of large groups of black teens walking toward you?”
As a self-defense instructor my answer is this: be wary. Be wary wherever you go among people. Not just of a group of teens of whatever race. It’s a sad but true fact of life that anything can happen at any time and we live in a violent world.
Watch hands first. Peruse faces, but don’t stare. Listen to your internal alarm. People tend to give off a vibe good or bad. Just pay attention. Know where your exit routes are. And when something feels wrong, it is wrong. Move.
But that is only an answer for the individual potential victims of this tragic game. What of the children?
Yes, they are children, children dead to the humanity of others.
It’s great to see stories of upstanding boys and men doing great things. These lift and inspire us to do better and be better. But when I see the news, when I look at the kids waiting at the bus stop across my street who are playing slap games that turn into fights while the other kids cheer on and videotape it, when we hear of stabbings, beatings, and shootings on a daily basis more often than not perpetrated by boys, I begin to feel that the positive stories are the anomalies.
We are not teaching social responsibility. We are not teaching civic duty. We are not teaching empathy. Not in our schools, not in our homes, and not by example in too many public arenas.
Our schools are training workers interested in self-gratification, in making a living instead of making a life. They have become prisons of testing and detention, social experiments in teenage survival. Rules of the wilderness prevail.
We are failing our children. The “game” doesn’t depict a sickness. It depicts a symptom of something much deeper, much wider, and much scarier.
–Photo: Haceme un 14/Flickr