Regular readers will remember the so-called "knockout game" (sometimes called "polar bear hunting") craze of the early twenty-teens. Young men, at that time usually black and often aspiring gang members undergoing initiation rituals, would randomly assault pedestrians, usually white, aiming to knock them unconscious with a single blow. Here are a few contemporary headlines.
Well, it's back.
Four recent, unprovoked sucker-punch attacks across New York City — the latest on a 74-year-old woman — have signaled the return of the insidious “game,” a sicko street challenge where thugs attempt to render an unsuspecting innocent unconscious with a single blow, a law enforcement expert told The Post.
“Knock-out games are back. The attack on New Yorkers is very real. We have to keep our heads on a swivel,” said Michael Alcazar, a retired NYPD detective and an adjunct professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice.
“It’s not only the mentally ill who are committing these assaults. There are individuals who are angry, bored and brazen, who know they are not going to be prosecuted.”
. . .
While the NYPD said it doesn’t track such “knockout”-type assaults specifically, this year there have been closer to 20 “sucker-punch” incidents, media reports show.
. . .
Whether the attacks are being carried out by the mentally ill or thugs with bad intentions, the state’s controversial bail reform laws are emboldening attackers, law enforcers said.
“It doesn’t matter if it’s a game or not. It’s just the way the streets are now,” said one veteran Brooklyn cop. “Perps think they can get away with anything, and most of the time they’re right. We arrest them and they get right back out.”
Former NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton — who served the city from 1994 to 1996 and again from 2014 to 2016 — said the incidents are not confined to the Big Apple, and are happening “all over the country.”
There's more at the link, including some very unpleasant surveillance video clips.
I've said often enough that if you can move out of/away from big cities, you should do so now. Things are not going to get better. If you can't, then this is one more security problem for you to think about. You're going to have to walk the streets with far greater situational awareness than you might have used up until now. Keep your head on a swivel. Don't assume you're safe. Don't look at your smartphone or get involved in a long telephone conversation. Look around you all the time. See who's approaching who might be a threat. Even if someone doesn't look like a threat, he/she can turn into one at the drop of a hat (and they may drop it themselves).
Also, don't forget that this type of assault can be potentially lethal. If you fall unconscious from an unexpected blow, and hit your head hard on the pavement, concussion is the least injury you can expect. It might also cause bleeding in your brain, leading to a stroke and even death. It's happened often enough before. For example, see these articles:
Frankly, if someone tries such an attack on me and I have enough warning to evade it at first, I'm going to treat it as an immediate and otherwise unavoidable threat to my life, health and safety, and I'm going to respond accordingly, to the full extent permitted under local laws. Fortunately, I live in a town, county and state where one's right to self-defense is affirmed by the law. Not all are so fortunate. If you're among them, you might want to think about moving before things get any worse.