“Knockout King”–Growing Teen Crime Problem or Phony Trend?


Some St. Louis teens play a game called Knockout King, says the weekly Riverfront Times. A lead attacker is chosen from among a group of boys, then a target is picked out. The attacker either charges the unsuspecting victim or motions for his attention. When the target turns or lifts his head, the attacker strikes. If the victim is felled by the punch, the group usually scatters. If the target withstands the blow, other members of the group may follow up with their fists to finish the job.

How common is the crime? Police Chief Daniel Isom believe “an isolated group of maybe five to nine kids” is responsible. One local teen says, “Maybe ten to fifteen percent of kids play Knockout King.”Mike Males of the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice, who runs the website YouthFacts.org, says the media have cherry-picking isolated instances of “knockout games” to gin up sensational stories that demonize youth. “This knockout-game legend is a fake trend,” Males contends.

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