A generation of kids play ‘Knock Out’ — and America is afraid to ask why

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.

DC Metro Green Line Thug Shrinks from Hulk Green Rage.

There’s a simple reason why you should never try to kill off the inner “hulk” inside you: your safety might depend on it.

In January, Allen Haywood was a young man who was attacked on the DC Metro green line for no other reason than he was a nice guy minding his own business. I wrote back then that it didn’t have to be that way. Allen was reading a book when a bunch of hoodlums swarmed. He responded by trying to reason with individuals who are not only unreasonable, but in many ways worse than animals (animals act on instinct, but these kids knew what they were doing and ambushed him just for the fun of it).

I wrote back then that the proper response should have been to indicate (through a number of verbal and non-verbal cues) that he was someone who wouldn’t be an easy target. In the comments section a reader I greatly respect posted that my philosophy hinged on the ability to recognize that there are evil people out there and the ability to fully commit to the strategy should the nightmare scenario unfold.

Tonight, for me, it did.

As I came home late from work on the DC Metro Green line, an inebriated older man approached me. I stood towards the back of the Metro minding my own business. The stranger crept up beside me, but just enough to my rear to obscure his actions. There was almost no one else on the train. I angled slightly towards him and he whispered in my ear,  “Why don’t you sit down? Don’t you like black people?” I ignored him. He raised his voice: “Why don’t you sit down? Don’t you like black people?” Again, I ignored him. Since the third time around is a charm I finally answered, “I’ve been sitting all day.”

He didn’t believe me.

The man continued to ask me the question, and when I ignored him some more (all the while paying close attention to his position and body language) he turned his question into a statement. Then, he squared up, stated that I didn’t like black people and pushed his palm into my shoulder, which I immediately swiped down with a force that surprised him. He approached again, reaching out his hand to push my shoulder and I swiped it hard enough to make him stutter-step backwards.

On his third attempt to escalate the situation he came at me from the side and bumped me. I responded by shoving him to the other side of the Metro car with enough force so that, should I have chosen to pounce, the backward momentum with which he was stumbling would have put him at a distinct disadvantage.

At this time the Metro stopped, the man gave me a few hard glares and left the train car.

How would my night have transpired had I wilted when confronted by an angry drunk eager to start a racial throw down? While it’s impossible to know, we do know that the individual was looking for an altercation. Faced with someone who paid him no mind from the get-go and ignored his race-baiting, the man still resorted to physical intimidation. So why did he stop?

I believe the answer lies in the old maxim: peace through strength. When bullies realize that their target is the type of person who could suddenly turn the tables on them, they think twice. Letting a thug—even a drunk one—know from the start that you will be the aggressor in any serious altercation (and thus dictate what options are permissible for its duration) causes hesitation. And, because governments are composed of men—fallible men—in many ways such lessons can be applied on a larger scale. Anything you can do to place doubt in your enemy’s mind about their ability to successfully attack is to your advantage.

If you’re a mild mannered young man (or nation), you should never fear The Hulk inside you. He’s there for a reason, and not using such strength and rage when the situation calls for it would be another crime added to an already-sad situation.