No Character, Not Even Bad Character

By | August 1, 2019 | 0 Comments

Knockout “game”

I can’t abide them kind. You see them in the taverns, you know, tramps and drunk teamsters and crazed miners, sporting their pistols and acting like they was bad men, but without any sand or character. Not even any bad character. – Little Bill Daggett

Little Bill Daggett was the sheriff in Clint Eastwood’s Oscar-winning film “The Unforgiven.” Among a cast of unlikable characters, Little Bill stood out as particularly unlikable. Nevertheless, the screenwriter gave him words that regrettably have meaning for us today.

If your source of information is the mainstream media, you will have heard little or nothing about what is called the knockout “game.” Youths, mainly males but some females – I deliberately do not call them men or women – wander the streets, looking for victims. The object of the “game” is to knock down, and preferably out, a totally innocent passerby. The object is not robbery; usually nothing is taken.

That is, usually nothing material is taken. The victims’ dignity is taken. Their physical and emotional well-being is taken. And in at least one case thus far, a life was taken. Although the media are reticent to the point of silence, it appears that many of the youths are African American, while many of the victims are white or Asian. As expected, the words “hate crime” are not uttered. If the media were not silent, we would know whether these rumors about race are true. Media silence only fuels these rumors.

The mainstream media are still living in the past, when they had a monopoly of news. But they can no longer conceal important events from the public by ignoring them. Talk radio and conservative websites cover what the mainstream media ignore, and the Internet is filled with actual videos of the “game.” So the mainstream media do what they can – they declare the “game” to be a myth, to quote the New York Times. But when people can see multiple examples on video, they come to understand that the myth is not the knockout “game” – the myth is that the mainstream media are reliable sources of news.

Victims of the “game” appear to be ordinary. Specifically, they appear not to be over six feet tall or over 200 pounds, not to have shaved heads or tattoos on their necks, not to look like they might be off-duty police or military, and not to look like they know their way around the weight room at the gym. That is, they look like easy victims – especially when they are struck unexpectedly from behind.

What we have here is pure sociopathy – no stealing cash, or credit cards, or jewelry, or watches, or smart phones – just exercising power over human beings by inflicting pain. Of course, the victims are not seen as human beings, but as worthless things. Players of the knockout “game” are devoid of moral principles based on the Judeo-Christian tradition. People like them were concentration-camp guards in World War II.

Not clear from the scanty media coverage is whether this “game” is being played as often in areas where ordinary citizens are allowed – after background checks and training – to carry firearms. Still, I would be willing to bet serious money that the “game” is played less often in these areas, as this cartoon suggests:


What can we conclude from this sad tale? I believe we can conclude that Little Bill was correct. True, he was uneducated and rough, even brutal. But he had a nugget of wisdom for us. He showed a grudging respect for real outlaws, men who had the guts to shoot it out with stage-coach guards and sheriffs. What he really couldn’t stand were cowards and back-shooters who pretended to be outlaws, but who in fact were beneath contempt.

And I believe we can also conclude that our nation, and our civilization, are on a downhill slope. What else can you conclude, when we are producing cowardly predators – and defenseless victims for them to prey on? In your wildest dreams, do you imagine that we can remain the land of the free, if we are no longer the home of the brave?

But wait, you object – our service men and women in Afghanistan and elsewhere are doing their best to preserve our freedom with their bravery. Yes, what happens in Afghanistan is important. But what happens on our own streets is crucial.

Granted, it may be difficult to distinguish victims of the knockout “game” from victims of ordinary street crime. But in the latter case, robbery is usually involved, and victims are selected for the likelihood that they are carrying valuables, not just at random. Also, victims are usually held up, not punched in the back of the head and left lying like a piece of meat. On the other hand, the very fact that it is difficult to make the distinction demonstrates the high frequency of street crime – hardly something to feel complacent about.

Little Bill used the word “sand,” an obsolescent expression for guts or courage. The people he held in contempt had none. As he saw it, they didn’t even have bad character – they had none at all. What kind of adults will the players of the knockout “game” become? What contributions to civilization will they add? How much from civilization will they subtract? What kind of leader will they follow?

Players of the knockout “game” remind me of the gangs of feral young people that roamed the streets of Weimar Germany in the pre-Hitler days, looking for victims on whom to vent their frustration and emptiness. Indeed, preliminary reports indicate that identifiable Jews make up some of the victims of the current knockout “game.”

But even worse, those German young people were looking for a Leader to show them where to focus their amorphous rage. Let us do something now, before our feral young people find such a Leader. Otherwise, the prospective victims may wake up to the fact that they no longer dare to walk the streets staring down at their smart phones. And then they may find their own Leader, who could be equally dangerous to our freedom.

A nation that produces a significant number of players of the knockout “game” may not survive. A nation that tolerates them doesn’t deserve to.

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