Slate Writer Who May Have Been Victim Dismisses Knockout Game

A writer for Slate who may have been the victim of an attempted "knockout" attack two years ago dismissively writes that those who see such attacks as part of a larger trend are delusional.

To blogger Matthew Yglesias, the knockout game, which is played largely by black youths against whites, Jews, or those of Asian descent, is fake. He accuses writers of making up "weird trends and games out of thin air," because these mere random acts of violence are feeding nothing more than a "pseudo-factual narrative."

Yglesias first describes his own experience:

A couple of years back, I was walking home at night on North Capitol Street here in Washington, D.C., when two dudes randomly assaulted me before running away without stealing anything. At the time, I didn't think it was all that strange—I've lived in urban areas all my life, and plenty of people I know have been victims of anonymous street crime. The good news is that urban crime rates have been trending downward since I've been about 9 years old, so we're making important progress in this regard.

He then writes that because the assailants failed to knock him out, he was not a victim of a violent game—"insofar as there's supposedly a 'game' here where the contestant tries to knock someone out with one punch, that absolutely isn't what happened. I was knocked down, but definitely not out, and then after that I got kicked a bunch of times."

"In fact, this substantial deviation from the 'rules' of the 'game' is a lot of what made getting violently assaulted for no reason such a physically unpleasant experience," Yglesias writes. 

He further suggests, while not downplaying the violence, that the "knockout game" is like what they say at an "expensive summer camp"—"boys will be boys."

"On the streets of Washington, boys will be part of a trend piece," he writes. 

The game thrives in areas charactized by strict gun control, and assailants have admitted that they were indeed playing a game. As Breitbart News has reported, a teen who got shot twice when he attacked a victim who had a concealed carry permit stated he had "knocked out" six or seven others before his luck ran out and admitted it is a game that is being played. 

"It was a lesson learned," the teen told the Today show. "Someone throws it out there: 'Want to play this?' And people go along with it and one thing leads to another, and it just goes all downhill."

There have been numerous victims of  the "knockout" game in cities like New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., and even New Haven, Connecticut, where six incidents have been reported. A 12-year-old Jewish boy in New York was even knocked out, while other Jews have been targeted in Brooklyn. 

Yglesias's tempered reaction sounds similar to Phoebe Connolly's, who was also a recent victim of a "knockout" attack in Washington, D.C. in which her attacker said "pow" before whacking her on the head. She remarked that the "knockout" game is a reason to support more "youth programs" to empower teenagers:

Yeah. I mean, I really—I ultimately, I have moved past it and I really have no hard feelings about what has happened. I see it as another reason to support our youth with activities and youth programs, which is actually what I do for work. It's great to see teenagers do things when they are supported and empowered.

As Breitbart News's William Bigelow has reported, those writing about and concerned about the "knockout game" are hardly making things up out of "thin air," as Yglesias dismissively suggests. While authorities have said there probably have been numerous incidents that have not been reported, Breitbart's Bigelow has compiled other reported incidents of the "knockout" game:

  1. 46-year-old Eric Ralph Santiago of Hoboken, NJ, whose body was found with his neck broken and his head squeezed between iron fence posts. Videotape shows Santiago walking in an alleyway during the day, and one black teenager in a trio punching him hard enough to kill him, causing him to slump into and wedge his neck in a fence.
  2. In Crown Heights, New York, A 19-year-old Jewish man was crossing the street when brutally punched by a black man who was in a group of roughly ten young black males. Police Commissioner Ray Kelly told reporters there have been at least seven attacks on Jews in Crown Heights in the recent weeks.
  3. Another attack in Crown Heights on November 6 where two black teens reportedly approached a 12-year-old Jewish boy playing baseball in the street and punched him in the head.
  4. Syracuse, New York: May 23: A 13-year-old teen tried to knock out Michael Daniels on May 23; when that didn’t work, a 15-year-old teen punched Daniels and injured his brain so severely that Daniels died the next day. One perpetrator pled guilty to assault and the other was convicted of second-degree manslaughter. Both were sentenced to 18 months.
  5. Pittsburgh, 2012; James Addlespurger, a teacher, was allegedly punched by one black teen walking with a group. Addlespurger points to surveillance video of the altercation, saying it "pretty much speaks for itself."
  6. Syracuse: 70-year-old Jim Giffords was allegedly punched so hard by Romeo Williams, an eighteen-year-old black male, that he died.
  7. St. Louis, 2011: an elderly Vietnamese man was murdered by “knockout” by a black man who was 18 years old at the time of his sentencing in May 2013.
  8. St. Louis: 21-year-old Zack Finkelstein was walking to a bus stop to go meet his grandmother when police say a black man in his 20s or 30s brutally punched him in a random attack.
  9. St. Louis: A 17-year-old black teenager Edward Townsend allegedly punched a 30-year-old man in the head in an apparent “knockout” attack. Also in St. Louis: a group of teenagers beat a gay man up playing “the knock out game.”

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