You don’t have to be a victim…
Wikipedia defines Knockout Game as one of many names given to physical assaults in which one or more assailants attempt to knock out an unsuspecting victim, often with a single sucker punch, all for the amusement of the attackers and their accomplices. 
Jim Slater of Associated press writes that reports of Knockout Game have come from around the country including Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Chicago, St. Louis, Washington DC, etc., and that “the game” has become almost contagious, with tragic consequences.
The rules of the game are as simple as they are brutal. A group — usually young men or even boys as young as 12, chooses a lead attacker then seeks out a victim. The attacker charges at the victim and begins punching. If the victim goes down, the group usually scatters. If not, others join in, punching and kicking that person, often until he or she is unconscious or at least badly hurt.
While there are conflicting views of the term Knockout Game, also known as “Polar Bearing” (or polar bear) as some claim it as urban myth, the fact of the matter is that since 2009, incidents exactly fitting the definition have in fact escalated to the point where it has caused genuine concern. NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly who has stated that this trend is “not new to police” has stepped up police patrols in a Brooklyn neighborhood where a least eight people have ended up victims. Brooklyn Borough President-elect Eric Adams, a former cop himself, cut to the chase in a radio interview: “Knockout is not a game. It’s an assault. It’s terrorizing people, and we’ve got to put it to a halt.”
Regardless of what you want to call it or whether or not “the game” is an urban myth, it’s a hard cold fact of life that such acts of violence result in real victims who sustain serious injuries and either end up in a hospital or a morgue. Its deadly serious business and as concerned citizens, what can we do to protect ourselves and our family members from falling victim to these brutal and violent acts? The answer is found in Preventative Defense.
Arming yourself with three easy defensive measures you can significantly reduce the chances of your ending up a victim.
KnockOut Game Defensive Measure: Take Three Seconds
Is your personal security worth the price of three seconds? Based on interviews with perpetrators who are now sitting behind bars, the most common denominator of victim selection is found to be an “unsuspecting victim.” That is, unaware of his or her surroundings and unsuspecting of a pending potentially lethal attack. This observable unawareness clearly labels you as a potential victim. You can think of this as a giant blinking neon sign pointing directly at you reading “PICK ME” in the eyes of an attacker.
“The thing about [assailants], they catch you when you’re not looking,” said one victim. The easy defensive measure – look.
Situational awareness amounts to nothing more than observing your environment. We have a tendency to have our face buried in our mobile phones texting or talking and completely detached from our immediate environment which from the predator’s perspective is equivalent to watching an ostrich with its head in the sand – easy prey.
The predator looks directly at you and the secret to maintaining situational awareness is to simply look back. Every once in a while take a whopping 3 seconds to look up from your cell phone to see who is around you. When a pack of hunters observing potential prey notices that the prey is aware of their presence, the element of surprise –- which is their primary selection criteria (unsuspecting victim) is completely removed from the equation.
Knockout Game Defensive Measure: Trust Your Gut
When you take those few seconds to pull your head out of the sand and look around, what does your gut tell you?
It’s absurd to walk around in a state of raging paranoia suspecting everyone around us as a potential attacker. However, knowing what to look for when you are observing your environment and trusting your powers of perception (gut feeling) allows you to assess a potential threat and prepares you to appropriately respond.
Reports indicate that a hunt pack usually consists of a group of youths, usually unruly teenagers out to size up their victims. If you’re walking down the street and you look up and observe a group of teenagers that you sense may match this description moving in your direction then it might not be a bad idea to remain fully alert by keeping your attention (not necessarily your eyes) focused on reading their body language and movement. Depending upon what your gut tells you it may also be a good idea to inconspicuously place a safe distance between yourself and that potential threat.
Knockout Game Defensive Measure: Adjust Your Radar
By reading this article you are now up to speed on “the game” which means you are no longer unaware making you that much less of a potential victim. By paying further attention to the news and local reports, you can collect even more “protective intelligence” to help you identify potential threat areas.
For example if your foot travels take you through a particular neighborhood in Brooklyn where you now know there has been at least eight or more incidents in the last couple of weeks, then you are best advised to either avoid walking through that exact block or if you must, then at least click your “potential-threat radar” up to the highest setting. You can then dial it back down after you pass clear of the known threat area.
Sure if you can’t see it, smell it, or sense an attack coming and somebody pops out from around a dark corner and smacks you really hard in the back of the head there’s obviously no defense for this. However, in preparation against other than an abject ambush, you can use these three easy-to-follow defensive measures to keep yourself out of the Knockout Game.
~ Steve Tarani
Professional Educator, Author, Keynote Speaker
For more information on preventative defense look for Steve’s latest book: “Preventative Defense – The 90% Advantage” coming soon…
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