A couple of friends and I have cooked up a neighborhood meeting for later this morning. “Bored” teenagers have cooked up a “game” where they try to knock someone (usually an older guy like me) unconscious with a punch or a brick. They killed a 72-year-old Vietnamese immigrant last year doing this, and seriously injured his wife. I’d never heard of this so-called “knockout game” or the kids who refer to themselves as the “Knockout Kings” until our mayor mentioned the term at a talk in late September at a local library. Ironically, the mayor himself rescued the latest victim in front of that same library a week ago. A local gas-station attendant tells me that the kids even practice for this at a park not 2 blocks from me.
If kids are so demoralized or disenfranchised that 13- and 14-year-olds have to go get their jollies by punching out unsuspecting old men on the street at 11 p.m., civilization really has collapsed. We are not doing our job. I have over 20 years of public speaking experience under my belt, talking to groups from kindergarten to college, plus churches, industrial groups, etc., and I’m going to offer to give some motivational talks at the local high school where most of these “bored” teens are attendees (the ones not in jail yet, that is). Go clean up litter. Rescue stray animals. Spend some time planting stuff at the community garden. Building up a rap sheet when you’re 13 is not a prescription for a great future. Jail is not a fun place to be.
Here’ are a couple of an articles about what happened: http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/crime-and-courts/article_b039d24b-88d3-5508-8f23-77f0b0af534a.html
There’s a benefit coming up for Matt, the latest victim. If you crave irony, here’s some more for ya: he works at one of my favorite pizza places, and rents an apartment (in a different building) from my very cool landlord. You can send donations for his medical bills care of Joanie’s Pizzeria. If you’re in St. Louis, please show up. A friend calls the movement “Occupy South Grand,” for S. Grand Boulevard where all this crap has been happening. I also tagged the Bleeding Deacon pub, host of our monthly Greenpeace meetings and of this special event today; best food ever, even for you veggies, and very friendly staff. And a killer jukebox.