New York City, Lansing, Chicago, Brooklyn, and a number of other cities have reported incidents where groups of teenagers are running up on unsuspecting, random people and punching them in the head to knock them unconscious.
(Warning: the following footage features graphic violence)
Judging by the comments, these kids are “animals,” “thugs,” or more crudely, “stupid monkeys on the loose” and of course, it isn’t that simple. On today’s #TWiBRadio, we sigh a whole lot and then question whether perhaps these kids aren’t preying on society, but rather are products thereof. (01:18:03).
Also on today’s #TWiBRadio: new grammatical quirks because . . . evolution (40:09), a mechanic has a Doc Brown moment and develops a flux capacitor for vaginas (45:52), and a young boy is tazed in the face by police (01:06:47).
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And this morning on #amTWiB: number of rapes are drastically under-reported (18:16), domestic violence is the primary cause of murder for women in New York (26:07), Oklahoma denied National Guard benefits to avoid serving same-sex couples (36:18), and Switzerland’s attempt to limit the potential income of executives spark a discussion about how Americans are trained to embrace capitalism (45:30).
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Just Some Fuckhead, Thought Leader
They can be both.
Hasn’t this “trend” been happening on and off for 40 years? I remember five years there was a SINGLE incident in the city where I was living, and the place descended into a panic over the “Pick em out, knock em out” game all the black youths were playing. But really it was just a single attack.
Still doesn’t justify it.
“He was depraved on account of he was deprived”.
Who the hell does something like that? WTF?
@Violet: How many murders were there in Chicago last year?
What an pathetically chickenshit thing to do. Still, I wonder how much of a “thing” this actually is. (Remember the hype about “wilding,” which led to the Central Park show trials?)
Stepping on Cole’s Amazon link income?
I was living in NYC when that occurred. Just horrible how those kids got railroaded, but the widespread white condemnation, especially from Ed Koch, was equally shameful. I believe his word was “Monster.”
@debbie: Several outlets are framing this as attacks on Jews.
@raven: A lot, I’m sure. I don’t know the numbers. Are those people just randomly going up to people and shooting them? From what I’ve read the gun violence seems to be drug and gang related, and if innocent people get shot, it’s more accidental rather than deliberately targeted. That doesn’t make it right, but it’s not the same thing as people punching strangers for no apparent reason except to do it. Edit: To clarify, I’m saying that deliberately targeting someone, whether it’s hitting them or shooting them or whatever, is different than people being caught in the crossfire. It’s terrible either way, but there is a difference in intent.
This also isn’t confined to just one city. According to the linked article, it’s happened in London, Pittsburgh and NYC. At least one person has died as a result of the injuries and others have had to go to the hospital.
@Violet: I didn’t say it was right did I? I just can’t be shocked when dudes are sucker punching innocent people when they live in an environment where people get, you know, murdered.
Why do young white men decide to set off a couple of bombs at a public event? Testosterone poisoning is an insidious thing, especially when you put several of them into a group.
It seems like that’s just in the Brooklyn attacks. Brooklyn has large Hassidic communities, so it would probably be tough to find a non-Jew to bop on the head.
I remember a scare about this in Boston/Cambridge about 20 years ago. As others said above, it was two or three weird attacks and it got blown up by the papers into a coming scary trend, for about a week or two.
@raven: How do you know the perpetrators live in environments where people get murdered? Except that we all do, because people in general get murdered every day. Is that what you meant? If so, why are you not participating and running around knocking people out? Or did you mean their specific neighborhood or community? And if so, how do you know they are products of communities where murder is common?
Gee, Officer Krupke.
500 in the city proper. That’s quite a few in an absolute sense, but it’s far from the worst murder rate of large cities, and it’s drastically better than it was 10 or 20 years ago.
I don’t know why, but this seems kind of like the thing total dumbasses would do. Perhaps someone should ask them if they’re dumbasses for some higher ideal.
@Served: Indeed – the concept of “Happy Slapping” has been engaged in by plenty of caucasian thugs in the UK for years. It’s neither new nor racially specific.
“It’s a fair cop, but society’s to blame.”
Right, we’ll be charging them too.”
Old Python sketch.
Defining deviancy down. Individual responsibility? Nah.
Those who do this are SICK and need to be prosecuted to the full extant of the law.
Am I wrong, or am I not seeing that much difference between this and high jocks raping drunk/unconscious girls they chance upon?
“we sigh a whole lot and then question whether perhaps these kids aren’t preying on society, but rather are products thereof.”
If they’re committing crimes (especially violent ones) then they are preying on society. No sympathy from me at all since I could be a victim. Sigh.
Gin & Tonic
@gwangung: The difference, of course, is that scary Negroes are scary.
Yes, but those jocks are nice boys with a bright future who just made one mistake. These boys are thugs who were born bad and need to be locked up and the key thrown away.
@Gin & Tonic: if only they were soccer fans. Then it would make more sense.
I’m sorry – but I don’t need to “figure out why these kids are doing this”. They committed aggravated assault and should go to jail. Period. End stop.
And for the record, that’s the same place the above mentioned high school jocks should go as well.
Can we not make excuses for violent assaults on innocent people?
@goblue72: Agreed. I don’t get why we have to understand criminals.
@debbie: No, it’s plenty easy to find a non-Jew in Brooklyn. It all depends on the neighborhood.
sociopathic thugs are sociopathic thugs regardless of any other attributes. . Understanding why they are the way they are is useful in trying to prevent the creation of more, but doesn’t really help the current victims.
I think the “Knockout Game” is bullshit. I’m sure it’s happened but I’m also sure it’s nothing like the rising trend they’re trying to suggest it is. I’ve lived in Jersey City, & not the gentrified part, for over a decade and never heard of this happening to anybody.
Yeah, it could happen to you; you could also get struck by lightning. They’re trying to make white adults afraid of black kids and they should be ashamed of themselves.
When someone on this thread does so, let us know.
Are you somehow suggesting that raping a girl doesn’t retroactively make her a slut? This is a new concept…
This “new and shocking” problem has a faint whiff of “Negro Cocaine Fiends: New Southern Menace!”.
Does any reliable data show this to be an actual, widespread problem, or is it just a handful of yahoos?
@NotMax: Good catch! I had just time to fix it…
This happened in Southern Maine about a year ago. I have no idea why people do the horrible things they do. I deal with it every day at work and some days it can be overwhelming.
“Black teenagers” in general aren’t attacking random strangers; a handful of assholes are.
This was even considered a subject for humor on Saturday Night Live as far back as 2008.
See Andy Samberg and People Getting Punched Just Before Eating.
GHayduke (formerly lojasmo)
That’s fucking brutal. I don’t use terms like “animal” or “thug” specifically in cases such as these, because I understand these are dogwhistle, fucknut racist terms.
However, their behavior, whether it be learned or institutionalized, is brutally uncivil.
I don’t think those girls wind up there by happenstance. There’s a whole scheme to get the girls drunk and separated from their friends so they can be preyed upon, which I sincerely doubt happens for people engaged in happy slapping.
The narrative seems to be that the young funsters are deliberately going outside of their own neighborhoods to target people who aren’t likely to recognize them, and therefore to retaliate. “Drug lords”, like any tribal clan leaders, seldom appreciate random violence in their fiefdoms.
Something not mentioned above is that this particular Media Narrative tends to get recycled as an argument against public transit. .. if it weren’t for subways/buses, those people‘s kids wouldn’t have a way to invade “our” nice neighborhoods. (Lansing, the state capital, had a comprehensive & perennially endangered bus network when I lived there 25 years ago.)
GHayduke (formerly lojasmo)
Why are you trivializing this? Both are horrible things to do.
Do you honestly think Served was trying to justify the attacks?
Speaking of thugs, turning to the attempt at limiting executive pay. A) don’t confuse the renumeration the original creator earns through ownership of the company and that he earns as an executive of said company. It is the latter that is being (flexibly) capped, not the first. B) The flip side of no limits on top pay is essentially the same as arguing for no minimum wages whatsoever. Free-market! But this rationale carefully ignores that at the higher level, it is a closed inbred network of people setting their comrades pay and thus establishing the “free-market” value of themselves and their buddies. Not good.
@Rex Everything: It happened in DC. Just because people can use it to glorify racism doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. And I don’t care what color they are, what gender they are, what ethnicity or what sexual preference they have. Anyone who knocks people down just to do it or mugs people like a congresswoman in DC was mugged is an animal.
@GHayduke (formerly lojasmo): given that my first impulse us to throw both groups in the slammer for multiple decades, I don’t think I’m trivializing thus. Or the rapes.
How many more will have to die until we realize that they are crazy and out of control with no respect for the sanctity of life. Stupid, dangerous and foolish.
Well there’s an awful lot here that’s dangerously close, if not over the line. Witness: (1) the OP’s “perhaps these kids aren’t preying on society, but rather are products thereof” which manages to be both meaningless and an obtuse false binary, (2) the various statements to the effect that there are other crimes that are as bad/worse (e.g., murders, rapes committed by high school jocks), so why should anyone care about these random, brutal assaults, which is just classic deflection, and (3) my candidate for stupidest reaction, the statement that it can’t really be any kind of trend because one commenter hasn’t heard of it happening in his/her neighborhood.
No doubt, this phenomenon has occasioned, and will continue to occasion, a lot of casual racism and projection onto baked-in racial stereotypes. But that does not mean that it’s not happening, that it’s not serious, and that only racists are appalled by it. Asking whether there are any stats on the incidence of these attacks (as Woodrowfan does) is fair enough, but a search for scientific accuracy here is probably pretty bootless because (a) it’s happening in several jurisdictions, and in some there may not be awareness that this is a thing, (b) a lot of attacks go unreported (anecdote in point, in DC, attacks of this kind have been reported twice in my area; the publicity surrounding the reported incidents caused a number of other victims to come out of the woodwork and state that they, too, had been attacked in the same manner although they did not file police reports), and (c) in many high-crime jurisdictions, police can be unhelpful in cases of “simple assault” without clear identification of the perp, and their departments have a tendency to minimize crimes so as not to screw up their stats (that’s endemic in DC). So it’ll be hard to come up with reliable stats. That said, the news reports’ compilations of incidents that happened to be caught on surveillance cameras (which are stomach turning), interviews with police who report that this is indeed a trend, and interviews with kids confirming the trend show that this isn’t being made up.
I just asked mistermix about this today. It’s obviously just come to a boil in the wingusphere. Good Lord, it’s gonna be hard enough getting through thanksgiving without blurting out “When are you gonna tell me how you’re saving $700 a month on your insurance thanks to Obama? And please don’t talk about the Oprah thing anymore!Is. She’s right”
This isn’t new – we had a case here in Philly several years ago that actually made it to trial (unlike most of them). Certainly stories like this have been around for a long, long time; the 18th century Hell Fire Club in London was accused of unprovoked assaults on a regular basis.
it made it to the somewhat center right radio host on the hate radio this morning – the “reasonable” guy.
there’s no doubt it’s unacceptable behavior. in some cases it’s resulted in deaths. in a just society killing people for a fun game should result in prison until the person is too weak to harm anyone, even by the old “slip a tablet into someone’s coffee” the kids like to video this stuff and post on social media. (no taking a video of committing a crime is not smart, but they do)
the right wing radio version of this couches it in a media conspiracy to hide the rampant targeting of (usually) elderly white people by Black kids.
fuck the kids need to just fucking not beat the shit out of people for fun. all kids. including the shitheads who do things like set homeless people on fire when they’re asleep (yep that shit happens too)
the media conspiracy thing is amplified in a book
Sometimes, people suck.
….and here’s just the response to put matches to gasoline: http://talkingpointsmemo.com/muckraker/aryan-brotherhood-may-have-targeted-black-teens-who-killed-wwii-vet
@Betty Cracker: This. Also “wilding” was bullshit and I expect that this is as well.
More to the point, I’d like to see some hard numbers. How many of the kids doing this are black and how many are white?
I’d be willing to bet hard cash that many more white kids are doing this than black kids, but the media has chosen to hysterically report only on the black kids doing it — in just the same way that far more white people use drugs than blacks, but our media only seems interested in reporting when a black person gets busted for drug possession.
@hello rochester: Maybe we need the “Official Balloon Juice Guide to Surviving Thanksgiving with the Relatives” post.
Although, I think it will be pretty short: Stay the fuck home.
@mclaren: My guess is that 17 (+ or -) people are doing it and the national media went bugfuck nuts.
@YellowJournalism: Everyone at my Thanksgiving will be left of center.
I’m pretty sure the alleyway attack shown at :52 on the Youtube video is already a couple years old (the teacher who lands face first). This isn’t “new news”.
I agree with the comments that this isn’t a real trend (however when you put it on the news and call it a trend, then it gives idiots new ideas). I’m not saying it never happens, clearly it has happened, as shown on the videos. But it’s not a “fad”, it’s a fake fad. I think this is about making black teenagers seem scary… so that cutting the social safety net seem like it might be an okay idea.
@DC Non-Villager: I think much of what you’re seeing is not intended as a dismissive answer to the question “How bad a crime is this?” (very bad!) but to the question “How afraid should I personally be of this happening to me? How should I react to news reports like this one?” And it’s informed by a long history of bad journalism.
Reporting on any sort of crime is notorious for jacking up fear to irrational levels. Most Americans believe that the amount of violent crime has been increasing for decades, when in fact most types of violent crime have been decreasing since the 1990s, even with a bad economy and readily available firearms (one of the few types that is probably increasing is the high-body-count mass shooting, which is still a relatively rare type of shooting: see also next paragraph).
Furthermore, that fear has destructive effects when it’s aimed at an already-marginalized and feared group of people. It can make everyone less safe: we tend to fear violence from strangers more than from people we know (who are much more likely to do it to us), and fear of attacks from strangers leads people to do things like keep easily-accessible loaded guns around, or pursue aggressive vigilantism against the stigmatized group, or embrace a paranoid worldview that eventually drives some marginal individual to go off and gun down some kindergarteners, or encourage the police corps to get more and more militarized and trigger-happy.
So there are actually several good reasons to react to stories of “the new, terrifying nationwide fad of black teenagers punching out random people like YOU” with skepticism as a default position. Clearly there are people doing terrible things here, for whom there is no excuse and who ought to be caught and prosecuted for it. Maybe there’s even been some kind of recent rash of incidents, or maybe the reports are drawing a spotlight on something that got underreported before.
Where the trouble comes in is the question of what conclusions to draw beyond that. And I think insisting that everyone is obligated to react with maximum horror doesn’t help.
My comment had nothing to do with Served’s.
I shouldn’t say that without backing it up with numbers, so here are some:
I know Gallup isn’t the greatest polling organization, but they do these long-baseline polls where they ask the same question over a period of decades. The results are more interesting than I thought: “getting better” increased in the late 90s and actually briefly beat “getting worse” in 2001, but then the number of people answering that plummeted, even though the real crime numbers kept going down.
It suggests that this is really a measure of “how good do you feel about the world in general?” 9/11 and the Bush era were enough to knock people back to the default perception that crime was increasing, even though it wasn’t.
It is that simple. Of course, there may also be interesting stories about the underlying situation that perhaps shapes such animalistic behavior, but as to the behavior itself, it is monstrous. And as pointed out above, it is also typical of packs of young males jacked up on testosterone.
@karen: The last report I saw on it was all about Jersey City. It’s all the same, though: it happens once and suddenly it’s a “trend.” This is bullshit. See “Served” in the 2nd comment above.
There was a case like that in Toronto a few years back where a guy was punching random women in a particular neighbourhood in the face. It really hit the news when he managed to hit the same woman twice. As I recall, that guy was white. It’s more fun to gin up racial tension, though.
@Matt McIrvin: That’s a pretty charitable reading of the rather striking pattern of minimization on display among many of the comments here — for values of “minimization” that include rapidly changing the subject (Look over there! Murders in Chicago!), oxymoronic denial (“This is bullshit. I know it’s happening, but the story is bullshit.”), excuses (“It’s ‘society’s’ fault!” Someone cue Janis Ian soundtrack.), and all manner of poor reasoning (“No one I know has said this has happened to them, so it’s simply not a problem.”) I fully appreciate that news outlets have incentives to hype these incidents and are; I also fully appreciate that said hyping is appealing to baser racist conditioning and feeding it. Be skeptical of the hype, sure, fair enough. Be alert to the possibility of selection bias in reporting, yeah (but not to the point of simply assuming that stories of white youths doing the same thing are being suppressed, as mclaren does). But going from there to pure denial — “It’s being hyped and the incidents reported on involve African American youths, ergo there’s no real story here, just racist fear-mongering.” — is stupid and dispiriting. It has happened enough times in my neighborhood — within the last month — to qualify as alarming. (BTW it’s true enough that the phenomenon is not entirely new — a good friend of mine was severely cold-cocked but not robbed several years ago, and other similar incidents had been reported as well. But, AFAIK, it hadn’t the status of a game.) I think a big part of the visceral reaction — and you see that visceral reaction reflected in the people of color interviewed in the linked broadcast — is the complete senselessness combined with the complete absence of empathy involved. Compounding that is the fact that the randomness factor is something that stokes fear, naturally (which is why the “EEEK terr’sts” ooga booga has worked so well for the authoritarians).
In short, I appreciate your effort to rescue some of these comments from the idiocy that underlies them, but I’m not buying it. It’s perfectly easy to express the thought “I hate the way the local newscasters and the right wing are hyping this, but it is horrible and is happening with enough frequency (with at least three examples resulting in fatalities) to be alarming.” That’s not what the folks upthread are saying.
Tone in DC
I just read that some guy was doing that in Toronto in August. Teh st00pid, it burns. North or south of the 49th parallel.
There are some misogynist, racist idjits out here. They need to be beaten down/medicated severely/incarcerated/forced to make license plates/beaten down again. And such as.
This is why Jon Miller should be ostracized, not featured on CBS’ morning show every day.
Yeah but in my TeaBible, blonde blue-eyed Jesus said “To you who are dark of skin I say, whatsoever the worst of you do, so shall all of you answer for.”
Why are you oppressing my religious freedom!?!?!?
Really? How many times is that? And cite a source, please.
Wow, three fatalities?
Hey, looka this: “To date in 2013, there have been 23 lightning fatalities”
Is getting struck by lightning an even more alarming trend? If not, why not?
It should, but sadly does not, go without saying that to question the wisdom of calling this a “trend” without basis, and to examine the “Be very afraid!” tone of the reports, in no way minimizes the seriousness or viciousness of the crime itself. But the attempt to see fear mongering for what it is is not “idiocy.” Quite the contrary.
@Rex Everything: For a start, dipshit, see the broadcast and report linked in the OP, the check out the DCist piece on the woman hit on 14th Street. And as for minimizing three deaths, you can simply go fuck yourself.
OK, so you, sadly, can’t tell the difference between “3 deaths =/= an alarming trend” and “Those who died don’t matter.”
Most of us can. And I’m thankful for that.