|James Addlespurger, a Pittsburgh high school teacher, was a victim of a knockout game, that was caught on surveillance camera.
A popular game called "knockout," usually played by young men and teens, requires a player to throw a surprise punch at a total stranger, who is actually not playing the game - and could be called the "target" or "object" of the game.
If the player knocks out a stranger with a single punch he is the winner.
In the second half of 2013, a number of games were reported in the United States, hosted in such places as Jersey City, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Washington, D.C., Milwaukee, Seattle, Syracuse, Fort Meyers, St. Louis and many other cities.
While the game is usually safe for players, injuries, and sometimes deaths have occurred to the objects of the knockout game.
Ralph Santiago, 46, of Hoboken, N. J.,, died after being the knockout target of three teenage boys who were playing the game.
Hoang Nguyen, 72, of St. Louis, died after he was punched and then fell hitting his head on the pavement.
Most times, however, the objects don't die.
Jonathan Lomaskin, for example, only had a fracture when he was knocked out by a stranger playing the game.
"Basically my lower mandible was fractured in half and all these teeth rolled inward,” Lomaskin said.
As part of the game, one of the team members will record the event on a cell phone, so that a video can be posted on the internet for public viewing.
RACISM MAY BE PART OF GAME
Thomas Sowell, who is black, and a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, called it not a game but a crime.
He wrote in the New York Post, “This knockout game has been played for years by young black gangs in other cities and other states, against … Jews… whites … or people of Asian ancestry.”
Sowell adds: “The main reason for many people’s surprise is that the mainstream media have usually suppressed news about the knockout game or about other and larger forms of similar orchestrated racial violence in dozens of cities in every region of the country. Sometimes, the attacks are reported, but only as isolated attacks by unspecified ‘teens’ or ‘young people’ against unspecified victims, without any reference to the racial makeup of the attackers or the victims — and with no mention of racial epithets by the young hoodlums exulting in their own ‘achievement.’
“Despite such pious phrases as ‘troubled youths,’ the attackers are often in a merry, festive mood. In a sustained mass attack in Milwaukee, going far beyond the dimensions of a passing knockout game, the attackers were laughing and eating chips, as if it were a picnic. One of them observed casually, ‘White girl bleed a lot.’”
Rev. Al Sharpton, who is black, also did not think the game was an acceptable sport.
Sharpton, in a column in the Huffington Post, wrote, "It is insane thuggery, and it is unequivocally wrong. We would not be silent if it were the other way around, and we will not be silent now. This behavior is racist, period."
Hip-hop producer Russell Simmons, who is black, referring to a spate of games being played by black youths with Orthodox Jewish as "objects," said, “How come you all want to hit people that look like they’ve got on devotional clothing and might not hit you back? Why don’t you hit somebody that might hit you back? I mean, the knockout game is for cowards.”
BLACK COUNCILWOMAN SAYS BLACKS ARE TENSE ABOUT JEWS
The game has been justified by Crown Heights Councilwoman-elect Laurie Cumbo, who is black. In an open letter released last week, she wrote that her black constituents feel threatened by the growth of the Jewish community and tensions were perhaps eased by allowing nine Orthodox Jews to be targets of the young blacks' games.
One player last week delivered a winning knockout to a 72-year-old Jewish woman, according to the Daily News, prompting The Jewish Post to call the game "part of a national wave of so-called 'knockout game' attacks in which black teens punch random white strangers for sport."
Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke Jr. said he's tired of people referring to it as a game, and questioned how the public would react if it were skinheads attacking African-Americans.
Sometimes girls get into the fun too.
GIRLS WANT TO HAVE FUN TOO
Fifteen-year-old Traveshia Blanks, who is black, accompanied by four high school basketball teammates, who are black, were playing the game in Fort Meyers. Blanks snuck up on a 72-year-old man in his garden and kicked him down. The group exploded into merry laughter and ran away. Blanks knocked on a door a few blocks away, according to a Lee County Sheriff's Office report. When an 89-year-old man, who is white, answered, she slapped him across the face.
The high spirited Blanks was arrested and charged with two counts of felony battery on a person 65 years or older.
LEFTY CHANGES VIEWPOINT
Colin Flaherty, who is white, who wrote "White Girl Bleed a Lot: the Return of Racial Violence to America," and has been accused by many of traditional racism - white against black - has done perhaps more reporting than any other journalist on "a nationwide trend of skyrocketing black-on-white crime, violence and abuse," and about the knockout game.
He also wrote about librarian Paul Lane, 58, who is a white, left-leaning Obama supporter who changed his views after a game.
On Nov. 7, Kenneth Johnson, who is black, walked into the Contra Costa, Calif., library where Lane worked and played the game, utilizing a 67-year-old man, who is white, as an object, and successfully knocked him out. When Lane objected, Johnson jumped over the library desk and struck Lane more than 20 times making him bloodied and dazed.
Technically, Johnson, by not knocking out Lane in a single punch was not successfully playing. Johnson, tired and concerned that someone might misunderstand that it was game, left the scene, with his mother, who is black, who was waiting there to drive her son home. Curiously, Lane says he is not quite so liberal anymore and may not vote for Hillary Clinton.
SYRACUSE POLICE CHIEF BEMOANS PLAYERS’ FATE
In some places the game is not called "knockout." It is called "polar bear hunting."
In Syracuse, a young gamester, who is black, successfully knocked Michael Daniels, who was white, to his knees. The gamester and a fellow player, who is black, ran away. But seeing Daniels helpless, they returned. The players punched and kicked Daniels until one of his eyeballs came out of its socket. They laughed at their skill.
Daniels died the next day. .
Syracuse Police Chief Frank Fowler, who is black, lamented the sad fate of the young gamesters who were victimized by the death of Daniels: It “has probably cost three people their lives. Mr.Daniels, who died as a result of this, and these young people who are going to have to face our criminal justice system. And that is going to have a lifelong effect on each one of them,” said Chief Fowler.
Some people think that reporting the game in newspapers across the country is making more people want to play it. Others dismiss it as a fad. Some say it is not happening, just a hoax. Most news accounts do not report the race of the game players.
PLAYERS TALK ABOUT THE GAME
One NBC affiliate interviewed several teenagers familiar with the game.
“I’m not gonna say it’s not right and it’s not fun, because it is fun,” said one teen.
“What’s not fun about it? Just go up to a random person slap them and run away,” said another teen.
Brandon Demond, who is black, told the St Louis Rverfront Times, "I know now I shouldn't have hit 'em," he says. "But I did hit hard. I always hit 'em hard. If you don't hit 'em hard, they don't go far."
“I don’t think race has anything to do with it. Most teens are mischievous and get in trouble for fun,” said Kevin Green to the Fort Meyers News Press.
Lee County Sheriff Mike Scott, who is white, “pledged to flush out the cowards perpetrating these acts and make examples of them without delay.”
But then, Scott’s daughter was an object of the game when she was “sucker-punched” on the campus of Florida Gulf Coast University.
GAME PLAYED BEST WHEN OBJECTS DON'T HIT BACK
Perhaps when the knockout game becomes more dangerous for players than objects, it will cease to be popular.
In Lansing, Mich.,, Marvell Weaver, 17, was only playing the game when his victim, who possessed a pistol and not quite knocked out, shot Weaver in the leg and once in the buttocks, causing Weaver to cry foul. That's not how the game is supposed to be played.