Monday, December 9, 2013

This is No Game

By Julie Nauman, VCGCB Executive Officer

The most effective crime prevention method
is being aware of your surroundings.
There have been many recent reports about a very dangerous, and sometimes deadly, activity that teens refer to as the “knockout” game. Also called “polarbearing,” the object of this brutal pastime is to target a random victim with the intention of knocking them out in one single punch. Victims are typically assaulted, but not robbed. There is no underlying purpose or motive apart from the thrill of hitting someone to see if you can strike them down like a bowling pin.
Though reports of “knockout” first surfaced in New York, viral internet videos have triggered a troubling nationwide trend, sparking a string of attacks in New Jersey, Missouri, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., and most recently, San Diego. “Knockout” attacks have resulted in major injuries, and in a few cases, death.

As a leading victim’s advocate in California, I am disturbed to learn of this senseless act of violence disguised as entertainment, and I want to remind everyone to take precautions to minimize the chance of being victimized. The most effective crime prevention method is being aware of your surroundings. And, as a parent, I’d like to urge other parents to do your part by teaching your children fantasy versus reality. Remind them that life is not a video game; you cannot play with real lives. Encourage children to pursue their talents and passions, as kids who direct their energy in a positive way are less likely to suffer from depression, to bully and/or be bullied, and to satisfy their “boredom” with destructive activities like “knockout.” Lastly, I ask Californians everywhere to report violence if you experience or see it. If you should ever become a victims of this type of senseless and cowardly crime, CalVCP is here and available to help.

Julie Nauman is the Executive Officer for the Victim Compensation and Government Claims Board (VCGCB). VCGCB provides compensation for victims of violent crime and helps to resolve claims against the State.