Tuesday, December 03, 2013

The Knockout Game

You may have read of the recent spate of random attacks in which young people approach a victim and strike the person as hard as possible, with the aim of rendering the victim unconscious with one blow. This bizarre and hateful activity is known as "The Knockout Game," and it makes you wonder what we've come to. Here's an excerpt from a longer article by CNN's Morgan Winsor ...

"Youth violence expert Chuck Williams blamed the media and parents for what he called extreme aggression by America's youths. Negative attention, he said, is often rewarded.

"'That's America. America loves violence, and so do our kids,' he said. 'We market violence to our children and we wonder why they're violent. It's because we are.'

"Williams, a professor of psychology and education at Drexel University in Philadelphia, said some young people are desperate for attention. He called it the 'Miley Cyrus effect,' where teens will do anything to get noticed, no matter how unconscionable.

"'These kids know the consequences,' he said. 'They want to get arrested. They want to get caught, because they want that notoriety. They know they won't go away forever because they're kids. It's a win-win all around for them.'"

What sort of example are parents setting, and what are we teaching our children when their idea of a game is brutally assaulting a random stranger? Are our children indeed so desperate for attention that they find it necessary to injure others in order to "be noticed?"

I think there are a lot of negative things coming together to create this unfortunate trend*.

One is the glorification of violence in television and the movies, much of it loud and cartoonish and not reflective of the real blood and terror that's involved with all the gunfire and explosions and fights that are choreographed in blazing color and thundering sound on the screen.

Another is the abdication of personal responsibility for one's actions, in which bad things are justified by all sorts of excuses that put the blame everywhere but on the perpetrator.

The increasing anonymity of modern life also plays a role. Our children spend more time in impersonal contacts on social media than actually dealing with real people, and this can make it difficult to relate to live, breathing persons. This is related to the idea I explored a few posts back about the lost art of conversation ... if you only communicate via SMS using OMGs and LOLs, it can be tough to actually talk to someone.

Many of us have an unfortunate idea that unlimited freedom is the ultimate purpose of America. Don't tread on me is one mantra ... leave me alone, it's a free country, and get the government off my back** are others. We focus completely on the rights of the individual, and ignore the responsibilities that go along with them.

If that's what you believe, you deserve what you get ... which might well be a starring role in some bored teenager's YouTube video for The Knockout Game.

Have a good day. Remember the Golden Rule. More thoughts tomorrow.


* I'm not a psychologist, just an observer.

** Unless I need disaster help, or a tax break for my business.


Kristen Drittsekkdatter said...

There is too much glorification of senseless viloence.

eViL pOp TaRt said...

There's a convient imbalance of freedom to responsibility that some people make.

This senseless aggression epidemic -- it's scary!

Big Sky Heidi said...

I hope this game doesn't catch on around here. Scary.

Mike said...

The knock out game started a few years ago but seemed to die out. It's making a comeback.

allenwoodhaven said...

I heard a radio report that talked about this "game" (call it what it is: random attacks on the unaware and defenseless). It said that the earliest references to it go back at least a hundred years. One can only hope that karma will get them someday...