You might have heard about a “game” called “Knockout.” It’s reportedly popular among certain teenagers and consists of punching a random person in an effort to knock them out with one swing. It’s one of the most stupid, senseless things I’ve ever heard of.
I started researching the phenomenon when a reader asked me to address the issue. I’m not sure what I can do. I think it’s pretty obvious to anyone that it’s a stupid thing to do. A few victims reportedly have died from the stunt.
I’m loath to call “Knockout” a “game.” Games are supposed to be fun for everyone. Punching unsuspecting people is not a game or even a prank. It’s a crime.
Some of the stories about “Knockout” indicate that it’s a new sport that is sweeping the nation. Some suggest that it is racially motivated since many of the perpetrators are black and many of the victims are white. Other stories say it’s not new nor as widespread as the media makes it out to be. They blame conservative media for overstating the problem, which is a switch because it’s usually the “liberal media” that causes all the trouble.
While my limited research shows that many of the teens drawn to the game are black, I don’t think that necessarily makes it a race issue. As Alan Noble states on the Christian website, Christ and Popculture, “correlationdoes not equal causation.” Noble continued, “We need to be honest and accurate about these crimes, neither sharing the hysteria and racial fear-mongering nor trivializing the reality of these crimes. This isn’t easy to balance.”
I did find conservative websites that seemed to revel in the idea that the practice is widespread and racially motivated. A headline on Breitbart.com reads “Knockout: Racial violence ‘game’ spreads across America.” Breitbart states that “the only perpetrators identified thus far have been black teenagers.” A modicum of research shows that is not true. Another Breitbart headline reads, “CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN, MSNBC Primetime ignore ‘knockout game.’” I found that to be untrue as well. Like many stories on the Internet, some websites appeared to promulgate the race issue without any credible research.
I think it comes down to this: If everyone who pointed a finger would instead lift a finger, problems like the “knockout game” might cease to exist.
• David Porter who can be reached firstname.lastname@example.org.