If you’ve been watching Fox News or paying attention to American media lately, you would notice that there is a big trend going on regarding young kids, mostly teenagers, walking up to alone person (normally, older white person) and just punching them to knock them out. This is called a knockout game and it already resulted in a couple of deaths. It is that serious and it is completely bad news. Unfortunately, it has taken on a racist dimension in some circles. A lot of people are making a big deal about the point that most of the perpetrators of the knockout game are young African-American males and the fact that most of the victims (at least, the ones that are reported) are white and Jewish. So the question now is “how pervasive is this problem and how systemic is it?” Actually, there are many videos on Youtube that compile all sorts of knockout assaults and you would notice that if you pay attention to the time stops, that these assaults occurred over wide period of time. These don’t happen within a month or even within 6 months or few quarters. There are many videos where assaults that occurred 3 years ago are spliced with more recent beatdowns.
This has prompted some media observers to come, particularly leftist or liberal media observers, to claim that the knockout game is a social media legend. They are saying that you can make a crime trend out of thin air. All you need to do is to look at crime statistics , pick out certain types of crimes and pick out certain patterns and play out of that pattern. The truth of that matter is that, violent crime, up until fairly recently, has been declining. Also, there’s a lot more black and black assaults rather, compared to black on white assaults. So, why are incidents involving black on white crime being played up and the context of overall black crime rates including black on black crime left out? These are very serious counterpoints to the media hype. After all, it is very easy to get carried away.
Remember the pitbull scare few years back? There were so many new stories regarding pit bulls going crazy, that many local municipalities started pasive ordinances that banned these bread of dog. There may be seen another replay here with so called knockout game. The big culprit here really is social media. Politics is just one highly influential person to post a link and other people will start parroting, retweeting or republishing that link and then all of a sudden, it arrives at mainstream media and once there are media mentions, more people will go on social media and hype it up some more. See how these works? So basically, it becomes a common response pattern and an upward spiral is created. The more people talk about it in social media, the more press mentions it gets, the more legitimate the story is and the more people talk about media and so on and so forth. In terms of statistical reality, the knockout game is a tiny blip. There are all sorts of crimes going on right now in the United States and there is no trend for those crimes. So, the argument that the knockout game is a social media legend, much like any urban legends, actually has some legs.