The Knockout game is an internet trend in which an attacker will approach an unsuspecting individual, and attempt to knock them out with one punch. This has also been called point ‘em out, knock ‘em out. In Rosenberg Texas, an 18 year old man identified as Alejandro Maldonado is seen on video walking up behind a 30 year old man wearing a red baseball cap. Maldonado punched him in the back of the head, rendering him unconscious. The man fell face down on the sidewalk, and lay there motionless as Maldonado walked away. Rosenberg police are searching for him.
This is not a game. This is premeditated, Aggravated Assault. Aggravated Assault, known alternatively as First degree assault in some jurisdictions is defined as assault which leaves a victim with serious bodily injury, and/or involves the use of a weapon. The 30 year old man who was Maldonado’s victim was hospitalized for three days as the result of this attack. The knockout game was first brought to public attention in 1992. Since, then it has evolved into a criminal activity in which an attacker, typically a teenager or young man will select a victim and assault them. The attackers associates often video record the attack and post it on line. Some sources identify the knockout game as a criminal trend, and other sources indicate that the incidences of the assault are too low and irregular in occurrence to qualify as a trend. The underlying motives for this activity could be inferred as:
- Bored young men without proper guidance who are seeking excitement.
- Young men engaging in violence in view of their associates and an internet audience to display their toughness.
- As part of gang initiation.
- Sociopathic individuals who derive sadistic pleasure from inflicting injury and suffering.
All of the above motives could be also be included in any combination. The violent young men who engage in this activity often target those who are weaker or infirm; the elderly or women. Despite the physical advantages a young man has over an elderly person or woman, the attackers use surprise and deception to close distance with their victim and assault them. The cowardice which is a part of this activity ironically place the offender on the lower levels of the criminal hierarchy when they are incarcerated. Even among violent offenders, those who target women and the elderly are not respected, and can become the object of ridicule or violence.
Some states have enacted legislation to increase criminal penalties for those who commit unprovoked aggravated assault on unsuspecting victims. Another deterrent would be for more responsible young men to step up and actively discourage their peers from committing such a pathetically cowardly act of violence.