Shame Day: Knockout

I once had a friend tell me that, in her opinion, being a teenager didn’t stop until you were 23. And that made me feel a little bit better, because teenagers do a lot of dumb things. In general, a lot of dumb things that don’t take into account how they can and will affect the lives of others. For example, the following “prank”:

From one angle, I guess the idea of freaking out shoppers with an over-the-top pratfall, pushed further by an explosion of the liquid of your choice, is kinda funny. From another, more empathetic viewpoint there’s the unavoidable fact that the people working at these supermarkets are going to have to clean up your mess. These people don’t make a lot of money, why are you making their lives more difficult? I mean, dang.

What’s worse is that this trend spawned imitators all over the world. It began in the US, as many of these online phenomena do, but actually went on to spread as far as Germany and other European countries. Why? People thought it was hilarious, and viral videos always lead to dozens if not hundreds of copycats.

Knockout, alternatively known as the knockout gameknockout kingbombingpolar-bearing, and polar-bear hunting is another “activity” that, much like the milk gallon prank, has found a fair amount of popularity on video streaming sites and revolves around zero regard for others. I mean, you have to not care about how other people feel when you’re going out of your way to straight-up coldcock a stranger. John Iaradola explains further below:

He, uh, pretty much says it like it is. “We’re trying to have a society here, and it requires a bit of a social contract. Not punching an unknowing person in the face is part of that.” Well put, John. He also admits that while at this point in time calling it a trend may be a bit of an exaggeration, at the very least there have been assaults that can be led back to this game.

Look, young people are dumb. I’m 23-years-old as of last month and I’m still really dumb. I’m not saying that knockout has the all the relatively safe appeal of planking, given that one teen who was playing it got shot twice when his “victim” turned out to have a concealed firearm on his person, but when has potential physical injury ever stopped the search for potential internet fame?

Two days ago, Sunday night, a Hasidic man was struck in the face by a woman on the streets of New York, which people are chalking up to be another incidence of the knockout game. The victim, Eli Leidner, told reporters that, ‘Two people came at me and the woman hit the front of my face like this. They just laughed afterwards and ran away, they didn’t say any words.” While members of the police force in particular stand by this simply being  an urban myth the apparent truth seems to be that attacks are occurring that are founded completely on entertainment, free of malicious intent.

While many of the attacks in New York City have been Jewish, that seems to be more an issue that has spun out of the knockout game existing to begin with. After all, what easier way to choose your random targets than to not have them be random at all, opting to go for the people who are uniquely dressed for religious reasons?

In all seriousness, not that this post hasn’t been, people have died in Bolton, Hoboken, and Syracuse in attacks linked to this activity. Even if as a whole this isn’t large enough a series of incidents to be dubbed a “trend” the fact remains that there are people who think it’s okay to punch other people in the face without dwelling on the consequences.

The Golden Rule as it appears in the Bible states “do to others what you would have them do to you.” Do you want to be attacked out of nowhere as you walk down the street? No? Don’t do it to other people. I realize that Gordon’s post on education addressed, however briefly, a broad number of issues, but did he need to add “empathy” to the list of what children need to be taught?

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