I’m sure you’ve heard of the “Knockout Game” that appears to be sweeping the nation. If you’re unfamiliar, here’s how it works:
The participants of this pastime randomly select an innocent stranger, sneak up behind them, and attempt to knock them out with one punch.
That’s it. That’s the “game.” In some corners of the Earth, this activity is also known as “attempted murder.” Here, for some teenagers, it’s a hobby, like collecting baseball cards.
This has been going on for a while, but the media has been reluctant to report on it; mostly because the victims are usually white and the assailants are usually black. I say “usually,” but I’m not actually aware of a single instance where the assailant has been white and the victim black. Is the racial component relevant here? Yes, of course it is. But we live in a country of spineless white-guilt ridden wimps, so we’ll just pretend there’s nothing “racial” about black teens beating white folks to death for sport. Leave it to modern America to find ways to turn a peanut butter and jelly sandwich into a symbol of white privilege, while a rash of black-on-white beatings are categorized as “random” instances of a violent “game.”
A few people have already been killed by the Knockout Game, while plenty of others have been sent to the hospital. The victims come in any age or gender, but it’s worth noting one particularly egregious case where an elderly woman in New York ended up in the ER after being brutalized by one of these teenage cowards.
All of this inevitably leads to a conversation about what, precisely, drives a person to do this, and how to stop it in the future. I already touched on the why in a previous post. They do it, not due to a lack of “education spending” or “youth programs,” but because they choose to do it. They do it for the same reason all people commit evil acts: it makes them feel powerful. It makes them feel like they’re in control. It gives them an illusion of dominance. They do it because they enjoy it. They enjoy it because of the evil in their hearts. There is evil in their hearts because they let it in and feed it.
Why do we all act so perplexed by something that’s as old as time? We deny the existence of evil and then we’re thrown for a loop every time it pops up. That’s when we resort to our psychology textbooks and our pseudo-sociology; anything to avoid the inescapable conclusion that human beings have free will and they choose to do the things they do.
You can tell me about “environmental” factors all day, and you can sing me a sad song about their upbringing and their income bracket and whatever phantom prejudices are supposedly keeping them down, but you can not remove their responsibility from this equation. You can not mitigate it or diminish it. However hard their lives have been, a billion other people have experienced worse, and a billion other people aren’t patrolling the street searching for elderly people to sucker punch. What makes them different? Their choices. That’s all.
Now, while there’s nothing we can do to stop a man (yes, “man”; you aren’t a “kid” anymore once you graduate to felony assault) from doing evil if evil is what he wishes to do, we could take certain steps, as a society, to alleviate the situation slightly. We could, for instance, keep our families together. Dads could stop running out on their kids. Couples could get married before they have babies. Radical ideas, I realize, but nothing will get better as long as we’re unwilling to consider them.
I’ve extrapolated on those points many times, so, for right now, I’d like to lay out a more immediate three step plan for dealing with the Knockout Game. These are rational suggestions; suggestions that are absolutely guaranteed to slow down this “trend”:
In the old days, they used to banish prisoners to deserts and island colonies. They permanently removed the criminals from society. We can’t employ the same strategy anymore — I don’t think Australia would appreciate it — but we can keep in mind the fact that prisons are designed to protect our loved ones from predators. I’m all for rehabilitation, but that is not the primary function of a prison. Its primary function is to take dangerous people and neutralize the threat they pose to the rest of us. Everything else is secondary. Forgiveness is essential, but just because we forgive someone doesn’t mean we unleash them into our neighborhoods. You might forgive a pedophile for being a pedophile, but would you let him babysit your kids?
So why don’t we start using prisons for their intended purpose? These genius thugs are posting video of themselves playing their “game” online; it shouldn’t be that hard to track them down. When we do, they ought to be looking at significant time in a cage. I’m talking about ten years or longer. Whether their victim lands in a hospital or a morgue, I fail to see why it should matter all that much in terms of sentencing. The purpose of the game is to inflict as much damage as possible on the innocent passerby. Should they get credit if they accidentally fail to seriously hurt their prey?
The emotional detachment and moral depravity it requires to participate in something like this should not be taken lightly. I was always taught that, contrary to popular belief, you don’t always get a second chance in life. We all have one chance to not be vicious animals who prowl around the community looking to beat pedestrians unconscious. If you squander that chance, you don’t get another one. At least not during this decade. Sending a violent criminal to jail for a year or two is just about the most self defeating strategy I’ve ever encountered. There’s no sense in shipping a budding hooligan off to network with hardened criminals for 16 months, only to release him back into the community once he’s officially transitioned from delinquent to full-on gangbanger. Maybe prison could be a deterrent if the courts stopped playing pattycake with these goons and started doling out hard time for hard crimes.
Put them there and keep them there. Keep them there for a good long while. Need room to accommodate these extended stays? No problem. Release all of the non-violent criminals you want. I’d be more than happy if we stopped imprisoning people for growing plants or using unhealthy substances. Besides, it accomplishes precisely nothing to throw drug addicts in a cell for being drug addicts. All you’ve done is take vulnerable, desperate, non-violent people and put them around manipulative sociopaths. Not a good mix. Clear them out and make room for the actual dangerous crooks.
Boredom is a new epidemic. So is teenagedom. In the past, nobody had time to be either of these things. People worked. Work can cure a teenager of his boredom, and his teenage-ness. It boggles my mind that any “kid” is able to reach the ripe old age of 17 having never worked a day in his/her life. My parents wouldn’t have allowed such a thing.
Do we think anything good is going to happen when we take a bunch of confused, hormonal, aggressive, energetic teenagers and give them massive amounts of free time? Doing nothing — this is another concept I was never allowed to get too familiar with when I was growing up. Maybe it’s time to stop “protecting” our kids from sweaty brows and calloused hands. Maybe work could actually be protection from far more detrimental things — like criminal records and drug addictions. We don’t have sweat shops in this country anymore. Most of the mines are closing down. In other words, repeal child labor laws and what will be the result? Thirteen year olds working cash registers and pushing lawnmowers? They’ll survive. It’ll be good for them. It’ll keep them busy. It’ll let them contribute financially to their households — a concept that seems quite scandalous these days, but only because we’re often scandalized by sensible things.
They say you can’t solve a problem by “adding more guns” to the situation. That’s true, which is why Obama’s foreign policy has been such an abysmal failure. But I, much like any other Second Amendment advocate, do not suggest simply throwing a pile of guns at the problem. I suggest you consider adding one gun to a holster, and then adding that holster to your hip. At a certain point we — the pool of potential victims — must refuse to fulfill that destiny. Forget the prisons, the schools, family dynamics, the cultural ills; when a predator picks you out of the crowd, none of that matters. It’s too late for the system, or parents, or the government to help you. In that moment, you’ve either got the tools to defend yourself, or you don’t. These cowards hedge their bets and put all their coins on you being unarmed. It’s a glorious occasion every time they lose that gamble.
God gives you life. He doesn’t give it to you so that you can let some adolescent punk take it away. Guard it. It is a precious thing; it the most precious thing you’ve ever been given (aside from your children’s lives, if you have any).
Let’s be real here. My first two suggestions won’t happen. But number three can happen. Defend yourself.
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