By now you are familiar with the escalating urban street crime called the knockout game. It can be traced as far back as 1992, with a few variations that ranged from slapping a victim to group beatings resulting in the death of their victims. The latest trend has evolved into mostly black on white attacks, with the purpose of knocking the victim out with one punch. When a gang is involved, many times it results in the death of the victim.
However, some of the players are running into unexpected consequences. In Lansing, MI, a father was waiting for his daughter at a bus stop. He was approached by a 17-year-old black youth, Marvell Weaver. He felt something against his side but was not sure whether it was a knife or something else. It was a Taser, which failed to activate. The father, who wishes to remain anonymous, pulled out his licensed conceal carry 40-caliber pistol and shot the youth twice. Weaver, now serving a year in jail, feels it was a lesson learned. He has since admitted that he had knocked out six or seven other victims, usually on a dare by his friends.
With such violence on the rise, Americans can and should take precautions to protect and defend themselves. In a Prepper Journal article, author P. Henry offers some common sense tips for pro-active citizens.
- Situational Awareness – Henry advises you to be aware of your environment and any potential threats to your safety or those you are with. He advises you to pay attention to where are you walking and to take notice of who is around you. Texting, checking messages or chatting on your cell phone can be enough of a distraction that you walk into a dangerous situation without realizing it.
Recently I attended a meeting held at a local plaza. I planned to shop afterwards at another store. As I walked toward the store I notice a gang of youths standing by the door. I felt uncomfortable, although the plaza is in well-established and safe area. Instead, I decided to go to another retailer to browse, walking diagonally to enter it rather than pass the group of youths. I stayed in that store until they left. It may have been nothing more than a group of kids skipping school together, but I had a gut feeling not to take a chance.
- Be ready to use force – The right and responsibility to protect yourself also means to defend yourself in some way. If you have to use force, be prepared to do so. Henry advises, “Even if that force is only covering your head and body to diffuse some of the blows, it could mean the difference in an attack or your death. You don’t have to fight back to win this confrontation, only survive.”
But fighting back is what one woman and her boyfriend did in a Las Vegas shopping mall. An attempt to knockout the woman backfired on the attacker, who then wound up getting slapped by her. Her boyfriend then joined in. The assailant was left in a fetal position on the floor of the mall. Caught on video, it has now gone viral.
Community organizing is another way to apply a type of force. In Brooklyn a group of community activists, neighborhood residents, and parents came together for a rally on Friday in an effort to end to the recent assaults. Taking the initiative to organize a neighborhood watch would be a pro-active step to protect one another.
Do not be afraid – Fear is seen because our behaviors reflect it. We know that bullies look for weakness. Henry advises when you have to walk past a group of youths, not to look away, but rather look them in the eye.
One example of fearlessness was exhibited recently by another failed knockout attack in Philadelphia where a woman snapped a picture of the attacker with her cell phone after he struck her from behind. She didn’t cower; she found a way to pro-actively react by getting a picture to give to the police.
In perilous times such as these, citizens might consider arming themselves. The Michigan father who was attacked while waiting for his daughter at the bus stop believes that he could have been injured to such an extent that he might not have been able to care for his daughter. His attacker, Marvell Weaver, took the game up a notch by first trying to use a Taser on his victim. It failed to activate. Had it worked, it would have rendered the father helpless and unable to use his legally concealed pistol. The Taser would have dropped him to the ground where his assailant could have kicked or brutalized him, either permanently injuring him or killing him.
As Henry counseled, be prepared to defend yourself. Today, self-defense products are readily available. As Weaver was prepared to tase the father, citizens are also carrying tasers to protect themselves in states where allowed.
Today, there are small powerful battery operated Tasers, that a woman can wrap her hand completely around it. Some units include a built in personal alarm and safety disconnect switch. In the event the assailant tried to take the stun gun away, there is a wrist wrap on some models that once grabbed, the pin would be disengaged, and the gun would be rendered useless. Check with your state laws before purchasing.
Another option is pepper spray. The drawback here is that an assailant of the knockout game usually attacks from behind. However if you are confronted from the front, pepper spray may be an option. Today there are even concealed pepper spray devices such as rings. Some states have pepper spray restrictions.
Finally, you might consider a conceal carry pistol. Gun laws are changing and the stand your ground laws have been under attack in such states as Florida, so do your homework. Twenty-two states have removed the duty of retreat from other locations outside the home. Such “stand your ground” laws state that a person has no duty or other requirement to leave a place in which he has a right to be, or to give up ground to an attacker. However, a citizen who is carrying firearms must do so legally regardless whether a gun is concealed or openly carried. A helpful site is http://www.handgunlaw.us/. You can also check with a local criminal law attorney to find out your rights. Choose not to be a victim.