I guess some kids these days are really that bored… or that depraved.
The rules of the game are as simple as they are brutal. A group – usually young men or even boys as young as 12, and teenage girls in some cases – chooses a lead attacker, then seeks out a victim. Unlike typical gang violence or other street crime, the goal is not revenge, nor is it robbery. The victim is chosen at random, often a person unlikely to put up a fight. Many of the victims have been elderly. Most were alone.
The attacker charges at the victim and begins punching. If the victim goes down, the group usually scatters. If not, others join in, punching and kicking the person, often until he or she is unconscious or at least badly hurt. Sometimes the attacks are captured on cellphone video that is posted on websites.
I’d say I’m appalled, but that doesn’t convey the gravity of how much this sickens me.
They do it to show how cool they are, how tough they are. Yeah, real tough, picking on weak, old people.
But here’s the thing folks. It’s truly random. They aren’t out to rob you or rape you or any motivation other than to just pick someone and mercilessly beat them (almost) to death. Because it’s cool, because they want to get YouTube famous, because it feeds their own ego. Nothing more than that, or so it seems.
There’s really no pattern to it. They just look for an easy target and commence stomping your head into the pavement.
Whatever illusions you had about crime, about your safety based upon the neighborhood you lived in, whatever… all shattered.
Some things I take from this:
- Don’t look like a victim. Don’t look like a grass-easter, with your head down, earbuds in, and otherwise unaware of your surroundings. Like Greg Hamilton says, walk the plains like you are the biggest, baddest lion out there. Send the right message to the jackals.
- Don’t put yourself in situations of disadvantage. Don’t walk alone. Don’t go places you shouldn’t go or that could be risky.
- Trust your gut. If that crowd of teenagers makes you feel uneasy, act upon your uneasiness — take a different route, cross the street, whatever.
- You will be at a disadvantage. By nature, there will be multiple attackers, and I don’t care how badass you think you are, multiple attackers are extremely difficult to overcome no matter how good your muay thai or BJJ skills may be; even running may not save you, if you get surrounded. This is where tools to help you overcome force disparity — like a gun — can be useful. And if you do opt to carry a gun, carry it always, get training, and then don’t do nor go anywhere with a gun that you wouldn’t go or do without a gun.
- And while the gun is useful if we get to that state of last resort, realize that by nature of this attack you may never have a chance to draw a gun. You need skills well before the attack, to work to keep the attack from ever happening and/or you out of the situation. Everyone uses the term “awareness” or “my head on a swivel”, and while that’s part of it, you need skills to be able to actually DEAL with the things you become aware of. This is where training such as Insights Training Center’s Street & Vehicle Tactics and SouthNarc‘s “Managing Unknown Contacts” (MUC) can be invaluable.
As Sgt. Esterhaus said, “Let’s be careful out there.”