Man Punched In Face After Attacker Confirmed He Wasn’t Carrying

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On July 31, a Neptune Beach 15-year-old walked up on a man who was alone, minding his own business. The teenager asked the man if he had a Glock. The man, confused, told the boy that he wasn’t carrying a weapon. That was all the teenager needed to hear. He punched the stranger in the face, making him the latest victim of the “knockout game,” a dangerous pastime that involves knocking out innocent and unsuspecting strangers. Several victims have been killed as a result of the game, and the Neptune Beach victim didn’t want to see that happen. He drew a knife after being attacked, a move that was apparently enough to send the teenager and his compatriots running.

Reports of this insidious game go back as far as 1992, though the last couple of years have seen a tremendous upswing in the trend. Unfortunately, there appears to be a racial element to the attacks, and most of the widely-reported incidents have been very much color-coordinated: black men and teens attacking white people. Republicans in New York and Wisconsin, among others, have strongly considered legislation that would elevate sentencing for Knockout Game assailants. Thus far, however, these bills have not come to fruition.

Of course, the Neptune Beach incident isn’t so much a warning about the Knockout Game as it is a reminder of the kind of situation you can find yourself in on any given day. You don’t have to live in Bed-Stuy to run up against violence. No one wants to walk around in a world where they could be attacked at any moment, but that’s the world we live in. True, if you are cognizant of your surroundings and don’t go out of your way to antagonize people, the chances of running into a violent conflict are slim. But don’t make the mistake of believing they are nonexistent.

There are a number of options a right-thinking person might explore before pulling a gun in a violent situation, of course. One should always make every effort to avoid those situations to begin with, and it is strongly preferable to use your wits to get out of a situation before it escalates. Depending on the circumstances, it may be better to engage in hand-to-hand combat before turning to weaponry.

At the end of the day, however, each of us has the right to protect ourselves and a moral obligation to protect our loved ones. As the Neptune Beach man demonstrated, a knife can sometimes be just the trick. But you can’t always count on your attacker to run away when presented with a knife. Meanwhile, any survey you come across will show that criminals don’t want anything to do with armed victims. There are too many easier targets out there. If you can avoid making yourself one of them, why not consider it?