You may be walking down Convent Avenue on your way to City College. Or, you may be getting off the train station, walking home after a long day of classes. Be on alert as you could be a potential victim of a violent game plaguing the streets called, “Knockout”.
“Knockout” is a street game, which reportedly originated in Newark, New Jersey. The objective of the game is to punch an unsuspecting victim as hard as possible, with the sole purpose of leaving them unconscious. Often, the assault may include robbery, and is committed by one person or a group of assailants.
Across the United States, victims of the game range from women to senior citizens. Many are severely injured and a few have reportedly died from their injuries.
Elected officials, community activists, and the NYPD recently began to classify the game as a hate crime, over fears that specific minority groups are being targeted.
In New York City, the majority of “knockout” victims have been Jewish and occur in Brooklyn. Reverend Al Sharpton, through his National Action Network, joined National Urban League president Marc Morial, hip-hop legend Russell Simmons, and Jewish leader Rabbi Marc Schneier, to promote awareness about the game and its deadly ramifications.
On the incidents occurring in the city, Sharpton says, “These kids are targeting innocent people, and in many cases specifically targeting Jewish folks. We would not be silent if it were the other way around, and we will not be silent now. This behavior is racist, period. And we will not tolerate it,”
CCNY students spoke to The Campus about their thoughts on the game.
Student Fatjon Kaja, says, “The knockout game is a very disturbing phenomena. It shows that the American teenagers are losing part of their identity as scholars and academics and merging into something awful, pathetic and sad.”
Jessica Salas, a senior, blames the lack of employment opportunities in society as a cause of the game.
“These kids have too much time on their hands due to a lack of employment opportunities,” says the senior. “Employment comes with responsibility, something they may not have. Something as absurd as knocking out another individual for amusement results when individuals are bored and do not value their own lives.”
To be safe, law enforcement advises the public to walk with someone, be a part of the crowd, be aware of your surroundings, or dial 911 to report any suspicious activity.