The Sadistic ‘Game’ of Knockout

by Alec Torres

There have been a growing number of reports over the past few weeks about a senseless “game” known as “Knockout.” The object is to punch an innocent, random person as hard as possible in the head and knock him unconscious in a single blow. The game does not have a pretty history:

So far, six fatalities resulting from Knockout have been documented. The first was of an MIT student in 1992, according to an Associated Press report. Yngve Raustein of Norway was approached by a group of teens who asked him what language he was speaking. They then proceeded to sucker-punch him in the face and rob him and his friend. Raustein immediately fell to the ground. When he tried to get up, the assailants stabbed him in the heart. Cambridge police at the time said that these attacks might be perpetrated by just a few kids.

The game was around before 1992, according to a St. Louis man named Askia who spoke with reporters in 2011. He described a similar game, “One-Hitter Quitter” (a name still used today), from the ’80s, when he was growing up. “We’d be out in the club or something and pick a random person and drop him to see if we could knock him out,” Askia said.

Former players have said that they did it for fun. Others speculate that the game is an attempt to demonstrate manhood and earn respect from peers.

While few have successfully defended themselves against these cowardly surprise attacks, one man from Lansing, Michigan, shot his would-be assailant after being attacked last February. Marvell Weaver, 17 years old, circled around his near-victim in a van twice before jumping out of the car to tase him in a “game” of “Point ‘Em Out, Knock ‘Em Out.” However, Weaver’s Taser malfunctioned and the man being attacked, thinking he was being prodded with a knife or a gun, pulled out his concealed-carry .40 caliber pistol and shot Weaver twice in the leg and an inch away from his spine.

While Weaver survived being shot, he has been sentenced to one year in prison. He now regrets his decision. “It was just a lesson learned. I wish I hadn’t played the game at all,” Weaver said.

Read more about the history of Knockout here.