Knock Out

One of the best pieces of advice I ever got came when I enlisted in the U.S. Army out of high school: “Stay alert, stay alive.” It’s served me well over the years, and probably saved me from serious bodily harm — and death — on multiple occasions. Today, I pass that advice on to the good people of New Jersey, and anyone else who must deal with thuggish kids playing some version of “Knock Out.” I do this because the story doesn’t seem to have been picked up by many media outlets. I wonder why…

Townhall’s Katie Pavich brings to light a story first covered by a local CBS affiliate in New Jersey:

“You just knock them out, hit them with a blow and take their belongings,” a teenager with a blurred face says.

Police believe “knock-out” led to the death of a homeless man in Hoboken, New Jersey which is right across from New York City.

“It could be anybody, it could be a mother with their children. I know one time they got the UPS guy, it’s a macho thing,” another man says. …

“It’s just more like picking a target that is alone, defensive, they just go boom when it’s the right time and the right place,” a young man with a blurred face says in the report.

Sounds familiar? That’s because it isn’t an isolated event. I covered the Scotty Mandingo Strahan case out of Chicago in 2011, and the story of Allen Haywood in Washington, D.C. months earlier. (Incidentally, Allen was using the same Metro line where I had my own run in with a man itching for a fight.) Since I don’t want this blog to turn into the “dregs of society beat up random strangers” landing page, I don’t cover it that often.

I wrote back in 2011 that Plato’s “Man in the Cave” allegory should be updated because we are a nation in the toilet. That still holds true:

Today there is the case of Scotty Mandingo Strahan, who it appears is the young man responsible for cold-cocking a homeless, elderly man along Chicago’s Red Line. We can thank WorldStarHipHop for bringing this incident into the light, where it can now be examined (and possibly used to ensure that justice is served).

Some people despise sites like WorldStarHipHop and its glorification of a culture that finds entertainment value in treating homeless people as a punching bag. To me, WorldStarHipHop is whatever you make of it. For me, it’s a mirror that simply reflects American cultural decline. It serves as a wake-up call for those caught in the cesspool created by decades of moral relativism. Are we too close to the waterfall to prevent ourselves from going over a cliff? Are we stuck in an undertow and only gasping for breath before it all goes black? I don’t know, but the image of a homeless elderly man lying unconscious on the cold concrete, while his hand rests on the American flag on his chest, is powerful for all the wrong reasons.

The truth hurts: We’re like the man in the cave Plato speaks about in The Republic, but instead of a deep dark cave we’re the Nation in The Toilet. We’ve been in the toilet so long that most of us don’t even realize it because we’ve never looked up.

Make sure to watch the video and ask yourself what kind of sick culture would come up with the “one hitter quitter” — where packs of teenagers stalk a defenseless person and then try to knock him or her out with a single blow. In the video, “Knock Out” is said to be a “macho” way for kids to prove how daring they are, which is odd — nothing could be more cowardly than sucker punching an unsuspecting person. Worse, these diseased individuals prey upon women.

Knock Out New Jersey

Ask yourself a few questions: If you were victim James R. Addlespurger walking down an alley, the teacher who was viciously attacked as he passed six kids in an alley, what would have gone through your mind in the moments just before impact? Would you have been zoning out? Would you have your guard up? Would you be chatting away on a cell phone? Would you have been worrying about how your reaction would be perceived by pseudo-intellectuals who think all white people are subconsciously racist?

America has a serious cultural breakdown on its hands when this is the sort of thing that passes for “fun” in urban areas or celebrated on websites like WorldStarHipHop. Unfortunately, too many people are afraid to broach the subject. Given that, the best thing you can do is: “stay alert” to “stay alive.”

There’s a lot of junk online when it comes to self defense videos, and in general I’d just suggest signing up for classes with a reputable organization. However, if you don’t have any spare cash, I’d suggest perusing Nick Drossos’ videos. If you like them, check out his new website and sign up. I’ve been impressed with his very practical and common-sense advice for some time now. Since the nation’s “thought leaders” aren’t willing to tackle the problem, at least you can teach yourself how to literally avoid being tackled.

Side note: Less than 24 hours before this story broke my wife asked me if I’d be willing to live in Jersey City. I forwarded it along when I read it this morning and asked her the same question.

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About the Author Douglas Ernst

I'm a former Army guy who believes success comes through hard work, honesty, optimism, and perseverance. I believe seeing yourself as a victim creates a self-fulfilling prophecy. I believe in God. I'm a USC Trojan with an MA in Political Science from American University.

35 comments

  1. There are two (among many) reasons you don’t see this game played in Vermont:

    Thirty below zero keeps the riff-raff out, and:

    Due to the lack of state gun laws in Vermont, many of the people walking the streets here are packing heat.

    Forget Jersey City. If you want peace and safety, move to Vermont.

    1. Haha. I’m generally no a fan of the cold. We’ll figure out the whole move within the next four months. Right now, for a number of reasons, Colorado, Kentucky and Ohio are high on the list. We’ll see what happens.

      Question: If one of these thugs hit their target but failed to knock them out … and then the person rolled to the ground, pulled out a gun, and shot all six of them dead, what would be the media’s reaction? I would say that it would be perfectly reasonable for the person to fear for their life and unload.

    2. Hah, not in Lexington, but not that far from it either.

      KY does have a lot of great cities and various sized towns. In my previous job I’d have to sometimes drive around and visit other counties for repairs and I saw a pretty wide variety.

      Yet we always maintained a certain… Kentuckyness about us. If you ever move here, do a road trip vacation through the state sometime, you’ll see what I mean.

    3. Let me check my Ron Marz Racism Decoder Ring for a second… Yep, this post is totally racist. And denying that I’m a racist is proof of racism. Thanks, Ron Marz!

    4. LOL. “The Ron Marz Racism Decoder Ring.” I like that.

      And another I’d do if I ever go to Kentucky is catch a Wildcats game.

  2. Absolutely. No jury would convict in Vermont, and no DA would ever indict in a situation that you’ve described.

    Hey a tough Army guy like you should be able to hack a bit of frost. Take up skiing — you’ll pray for snow 🙂

    Besides, we need all the conservative voters we can get up here.

    1. Put me in 100 degree heat with enough water and I’ll work in the sun all day without complaint. Put me in the bitter cold and I’m … not happy. I like to be able to use my fingers.

      I actually do like skiing, although as a kid we usually packed up the van and headed out to Colorado. Skiing in t-shirts at that end of the season = amazing. Waist-deep powder or moguls, I’m happy.

    2. If the dude had shot and killed the thugs, he’d have been arrested for murder and the media would be going on and on about “racism” and grievance mongers like Sharpton and Jackson would use it as “proof” that America is still like the 1950s South. It wouldn’t surprise me one bit. Anyone who justifies this kind of behavior is just as bad as thugs themselves, if not worse. If it were me, I’d have fought back, even if it would’ve turned me into Public Enemy #1 according to the media.

      As for the cold, I’ve lived in Minnesota my whole life (never been skiing before… doesn’t really appeal to me), so I know what that’s like. I’m used to it. If I had the money, I’d be out of here in a flash, though. I’ve wanted to move to a slightly warmer state for some time now, and to get out of this overwhelmingly blue state. My parents have periodically talked about moving to a different state, although a thing called money prevents us from doing so. They also say that the fact that we have family here would make it hard for them to leave. I agree, although there are a few relatives of mine I wouldn’t be sorry to leave behind, such as my two crazy aunts for instance.

      And Nate, I’ve never been to Kentucky before, although I’ve always wanted to go to Daniel Boone’s home and also drive past Fort Knox.

      I assume that your moving to a new state has something to do with your wife’s medical residency, Doug?

    3. Yes, she’s in the interview process now. She’ll be done with interviews in early January, and then she needs to “match” with one of the hospitals that interviewed her. At some point in the process you have to rank your top choices. I’m a pretty laid back guy, so I’ll be able to make it work anywhere…but I think I’d like to move someplace a little quieter than D.C. if possible. I have family in Colorado, so that would be cool to move out there. We’ll see.

    4. I also have some relatives in Colorado (my dad’s cousin and her two kids), but I don’t really know them that well.

      And I don’t blame you for wanting to get out of DC. We moved out of the Twin Cities metro area back in 2001 and haven’t looked back. It’s quieter out here, and apart from the occasional meth bust and criminals who rob local stores in broad daylight (that unfortunately has happening a lot recently), the crime rate is low.

    5. That I’m still writing. Some people that you can instantly pop out a book, but I’ve been working on this one for a while. It’s changed so much since I started. Plus I can’t spend all of my time writing, either, due to work and other things, but I try.

  3. I’m not sure if this is merely pseudo-science or not, but many of the MMA fighters and trainers I’ve interviewed claim you’re much more likely to get knocked unconscious by blows you don’t see coming. It has to do with your body being unprepared for the moment before impact. Your advice of being alert and alive may be more accurate than you know!

    Another recurring theme I’ve seen – in any fight, sanctioned or not, always expect to get hurt. By having that mindset, you’ll be prepared should that actually happen. It’ll also help convince you to do more damage to the aggressor. The theory is that by expecting pain, you’re prepared for it and don’t “turtle up,” as the jargon goes.

    I know a few women – many tiny – who do Brazilian jiu-itsu, muay thai kickboxing, etc. and can easily take bigger, stronger men. I recommend anyone feeling unsafe look into these or similar arts as they maximize doing maximum damage to attackers with minimal energy, even in adverse circumstances. They’re also good for physical fitness, mental discipline and social networking too.

    1. Thanks for the comment, Mark. I appreciate it.

      Another recurring theme I’ve seen – in any fight, sanctioned or not, always expect to get hurt. By having that mindset, you’ll be prepared should that actually happen. It’ll also help convince you to do more damage to the aggressor. The theory is that by expecting pain, you’re prepared for it and don’t “turtle up,” as the jargon goes.

      Agreed. I always go with the mentality that the aggressor sets the rules of engagement. If some stupid thug tries to play “Knock Out” with you, then you play “Emergency Room” with them. I’ve generally found that bullies find a different victim when they get the sense that you’d turn the tables on them.

      I sometimes joke with my wife that I have over a decade’s worth of pent up aggression pushed deep down inside, and that I feel sorry for the person who gives me an excuse to open the floodgates. The DC Metro guy who tried to start something with me came dangerously close…

      Anyway, thanks again for the Brazilian jiu-itsu and muay thai kickboxing suggestions.

  4. Sick, but sadly, not surprising. Kids are stupid. Ever have one?.. total idiots. “I didn’t eat the cookie” he says, chocolate smeared all over his chubby face. They do not think through their actions or fear consequences if they’ve never had to face them. This is what you get with indulged, over-entertained children left to their own devices because their parents refused to parent. “Doing wrong is a like a joke to a fool..”

    Call your mom or dad today and say “thank you” for giving and teaching you wisdom and responsibility.

    1. It’s starting to become more and more common throughout the country. This article (rightly) asks where the hell Sharpton and Jackson are:

      http://nation.foxnews.com/2013/11/19/greta-knockout-game-no-laughing-matter-where-are-jesse-jackson-al-sharpton-and-others

      Of course, they haven’t commented and probably won’t. Predictable as the sunrise.

      And here’s a video of a woman in DC (at least, I think that’s where it was; she was visiting from Vermont) who was attacked. It’s beyond disturbing:

    1. Yeah, I saw that. That punk deserved what he got, to be sure.

      Funny thing today, Doug: my sister and her boyfriend were over today (which always makes for a stressful time, let me tell you; if I ever move away, she’s the one I want to get away from.) and my dad warned them about the knockout game as he was going downstairs to watch TV. Instead of asking about it, my sister called my dad “racist” as soon as he was out of ear shot. I happened to be sitting next to her, and it pissed me off. She then said, “Did you get that from Fox News? Because if you did, that’s a fucking lie.” I told her to Google it and her response was, “No. I’m not looking for things that have been made up by racists. You’re a tool, Carl. You just parrot what others say to you.” It pissed me off, and told her, to continue being naive and it could very well happen to her or one of her friends or her boyfriend. I went downstairs before she could get a word in.

      Suffice to say, the fact that she’s such a misinformed idiot (I refuse to pull any punches with her; I call her what she is, and I wish my parents would do the same) and that she called my dad and I “racists” just shows how far-gone she really is. She thinks I’m a “tool” that is “misinformed?” That’s BS. It’s the other way around.

    2. That’s rough that your sister feels that way, man. But like you said, she won’t even Google it because to do so might shatter her worldview.

      Just try to take the high road and call her out on all the mean and nasty things she says about her own family — individuals who are only looking out for her safety. Hopefully, she comes around one day.

    3. I saw that! I was surprised that Sharpton actually condemned it. I may have my issues with Sharpton, but I commend him for that. I’ll add an update to my post on the subject.

      And LOL, I await to see her response. She’ll probably come up with some wacky conspiracy theories like how “he was slipped money by the Right and the KKK” or something like that. When reality conflicts with her insane worldview, she’ll make conspiracy theories up out of whole cloth (she got her start by blaming me for all sorts of things when we were younger and getting me into trouble) so that she doesn’t have to concede that she lost the arguments.

    4. It’s funny, because Sharpton’s condemenation of knockout comes as the left-wing media is starting to claim that the whole thing is a “myth” and claiming that it’s been “overhyped.” It’s a collection of the usual suspects, from Think Progress, Media Matters, Salon, Slate, Huffington Post, etc. They’re in full-on denial mode in regards to the knockout game. Denying reality because it contradicts their PC mindsets.

      They’re so adept at denying reality that I swear, if a UFO were to land on the White house lawn and actual aliens hopped out, they’d claim it was a “right-wing myth” or some such nonsense.

  5. The MSM will continue to ignore or downplay knockout game incidents, or, if they do acknowledge them, they will blame it all on the availability of AR-15’s. (In 1990, a tourist from Utah was stabbed to death by muggers in New York City. Liberal politicians responded by calling for…more gun control.) If anything, the knockout game proves that there is a valid need for civilians to carry high-capacity handguns (i.e., automatics that can fire 15-16 shots without reloading). (Although, having said that, I don’t believe that citizens should have to prove such need. In a free country, the burden of proof is on the government to show a need for restrictions, not on the citizens to justify freedom of choice.) At the same time, though, I’m afraid Carl is right: if a victim did shoot some of these thugs in self-defense, the media would twist everything around. So would the politicians and civil rights activists. The victim would be portrayed as a trigger-happy racist, and the thugs would be portrayed as innocent children on their way home from buying Skittles and iced tea. The shooter would end up on trial for murder or manslaughter, possibly with a “hate crime enhancement.” Even if he were acquitted, the federal government might try him again on civil rights charges. And Barry would fan the flames (“If I had a son…”), especially since he needs a decoy to distract everyone from the ACA debacle.

    1. Thanks for sharing, Zach! Indeed, staying alert is key. There’s not a whole lot you could do to protect against these cowards, but staying aware of your surroundings at all times can help.

  6. A lot can change in four years… I’ve actually started to mend fences with my sister. It’s a slow process, but she’s starting to come around. I hope for the best. Back when I commented here, I didn’t think that would ever happen.

    Ironically, I’ve been butting heads with my dad a lot lately, not over politics but over well, stupid things. For example, he recently flipped out at me because my money was folded up. To most people, it’s no big deal, but to him every “mistake’ (real or imagined) that I make has catastrophic, world-ending consequences. He made a big deal about it at the store we were at (embarrassing me in front of the cashier), and actually threatened to take my money away from me, as if I were some kind of irresponsible kid. I think he sometimes forgets that I’m 27 and legally haven’t been a kid in over ten years.

    That’s just one of many irritating things he’s done lately, but I won’t bore you with the whole list.

    This is the first time we’ve been at each other’s throats since tenth grade. Back then, it seemed like a day didn’t go by without him yelling at me about something that, in the long run, doesn’t matter. The past two months or so have felt similar.

    1. “That’s just one of many irritating things he’s done lately, but I won’t bore you with the whole list.”

      You never bore me, Carl. You’re welcome to share anything you want. I’m always an ear. Regarding your dad, I would just say that if he has an issue with something you’ve done, then it isn’t appropriate it embarrass or belittle you in public. You don’t do that to your father, and I think it’s fair for you to receive the same respect — especially now that you’re an adult.

    2. “Regarding your dad, I would just say that if he has an issue with something you’ve done, then it isn’t appropriate it embarrass or belittle you in public. You don’t do that to your father, and I think it’s fair for you to receive the same respect — especially now that you’re an adult.”

      Like I said, there are times where I think he forgets I’m an adult. He likes to bring up stuff that happened years ago even though I’ve moved on from it. Every time we get into an argument, he’ll mention some stupid comics I drew (I readily admit they weren’t very good, although they did lead to me improving my writing and also to realize that I’m not very good at drawing) in middle school and claims that may have played a role in my being bullied. It wasn’t; the bullies thought I was retarded and that’s why they picked on me. Not once did any of them bring it up.

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