The “Knockout Game” has repeatedly made headlines on CNN, but it has all the makings of an urban legend to rival gang members killing people for flashing their high beams or hiding underneath cars to slash their victim’s ankles.
The game, as breathlessly reported by CNN, involves rampaging teenagers who run up and hit someone from behind, trying to knock them out with a single blow.
I’m not saying it hasn’t happened — there have been incidents that match this modus operandi — but as despicable as these attacks have been, it doesn’t mean there’s a national epidemic of teenagers trying to bash people’s skulls in.
There have been a number of posts pointing out the flaws in the Knockout Game hysteria.
- The Daily Beast: Guess What? The ‘Knockout Game’ Is America’s Latest Phony Panic
- NY Times: Police Unsure if Random Attacks Are Rising Threat or Urban Myth
- Snopes.com: Knockout Game Turns Deadly (false)
My point isn’t to say that these bludgeoning haven’t happened, but it seems far more likely to me that people are trying to make the crimes fit the trend, or that a few true incidents have inspired a handful of copycat crimes. If nothing else, I think it’s worth keeping a skeptical eye on these kinds of reports.