A few years ago there was an epidemic of sudden, unprovoked assaults on mainly white pedestrians by mostly black youths. It became known as "polar bear hunting" or "the knockout game". CBS reported in 2013:
A violent stunt is growing in popularity among teenagers. The so-called "knockout game" involves assaulting people without warning, and it is claiming lives.
The victims of the brutal game are chosen at random. Defenseless and unsuspecting people are attacked by groups of teens who have one goal in mind: to knock the victim out with one punch.
"One-hitter quitter," "knock em' and drop em," "point em' out and knock 'em out" are all names for a disturbing trend now drawing concern nationwide.
In Pittsburgh, a teacher was punched so hard he collapsed head first into the concrete curb. A man in Brooklyn was also knocked unconscious. And even women are being attacked.
There have been seven recent cases in New York City alone. And the game has turned fatal in at least four documented attacks -- in Syracuse, N.Y.; St. Louis; Chicago; and Hoboken, N.J., site of the latest fatal attack.
There's more at the link.
There are troubling signs that in the current urban environment of increased racial tension and political extremism, the practice may be making a comeback. The New York Post reports:
An Upper West Side man is cold-cocked in Chelsea.
An unhinged stranger throws a roundhouse at a woman outside a subway station on the Upper West Side.
A Catholic deacon and another man are pummeled in separate smackdowns in the Bronx.
It’s up for debate whether this spate of disturbing incidents is a return of the so-called knockout game, the sick spree of assaults that terrorized New Yorkers a few years ago, but it’s a still a gut-punch to frightened residents already on edge.
One poster to the Upper West Side Together Facebook group put members on high alert two weeks ago after two friends walking past the subway station exit on Central Park West and 87th Street encountered a man dressed in black coming out of the subway.
He tried “tried to sucker punch” the girl, whose boyfriend then chased him off.
“My friend was screaming, ran to a building on CPW (Central Park West) where doorman called police,” the poster explained.
An Upper West Side man responded, “This is happening all over. I was sucker punched by a disturbed man in Chelsea” — and left with two black eyes.
On Monday a stranger punched a 67-year-old man in the face on a Queens subway platform in an apparent unprovoked attack, police said.
The suspect walked up to the man shortly before 10 a.m. as he waited for a Manhattan-bound 7 train at the Court Square station.
“These incidents aren’t happening in front of officers. They are happening due to opportunists taking advantage of the anti-police, anti-accountability era,” NYPD Sgt. Joseph Imperatrice, the founder of Blue Lives Matter NYC and a 15-year-veteran, told The Post.
“It is a dangerous time to be out and about strolling in New York City. The combination of criminals and mentally ill individuals roaming the streets equals disaster waiting to happen.”
Again, more at the link.
If it's happening in New York City, the odds are pretty good it's happening in other cities where racial and political tensions are high.
Friends, if you live in an urban area, keep your head on a swivel. Be aware of your surroundings, who's near you, who's approaching, and their body language. If necessary, be prepared to defend yourself. It's too easy to become absorbed in your smartphone, or a conversation with someone, and ignore danger as it draws near.
As reported above, people have died from this sort of assault. Others have suffered irreparable brain damage. I don't want you to be another one of them.