Sunday, December 08, 2013

Brooklyn Jewish Woman Struck in the Head - Latest Victim of the Knockout Game

Brooklyn community leaders stand up against the Knockout Game.
(Photo courtesy of DNAinfo New
The first snow of the year is just starting to fall outside the window of my apartment next to the Delaware River, but reading about a Jewish woman being struck from behind on the head yesterday while walking in Brooklyn in broad daylight has left me feeling cold inside.

This 'knockout game' insanity has to stop.

It's an unacceptable violent hate crime that seems to be disproportionately affecting innocent Jewish citizens in Brooklyn and Queens, NY. The same kind of collective outrage channeled towards ending 'Stop & Frisk' by the NYPD must be directed towards gearing up efforts to end the knockout game; and delving deeper into the reasons why it's such a trend among the young male assailants, many of whom are young black and Hispanic teens.

As Jacob Kornbluh reported on the YeshivaWorld Website yesterday, the woman was hit and knocked to the ground in the Midwood section of Brooklyn in the middle of the day; on the day of Shabbos no less.

There's no question the incoming NYPD Police Commissioner Bill Bratton has got a lot on his plate in terms of repairing the tattered relationship between the police and minority communities in New York City; but one of his first and most urgent priorities must be a zero-tolerance policy towards the knockout game and the development of effective tactics and the deployment of manpower to end it.

Personally I disagree with the term 'knockout game' - because it's not a game. It's a violent criminal assault based on a person's age, ethnicity and appearance and it should be treated as that. The kids engaging in it are cowards because they intentionally target the elderly or Jewish people from communities who traditionally avoid violent physical confrontations.

There's an unquestionable anti-Semitic component to it as well that's deeply troubling to many including both Black and Jewish community leaders and everyday citizens in New York who have recently called for rewards for arrests related to this senseless crime and more cooperative community action to end it; as reported by Sonja Sharp back on November 25th on DNAinfo New York.

But on a deeper level there's something disturbing about the lack of compassion here that's related to the effects of the growing inequality between rich and poor around this country.

In the exact same way that reports of an 8 year-old African-American boy named Donald Maiden, Jr. being shot in the face while playing tag in front of his house in September by a 46 year-old White Dallas, Texas man named Brian Cloninger for no apparent reason make us cringe and ask, why?

Like Republicans who block any proposed job creation legislation in Congress, then also oppose the emergency extension of unemployment benefits for millions of Americans who still can't find work because large-scale hiring by companies still hasn't taken place.

That's just not the America I and many others believe in. Speaking of compassion, please checkout Sarah Jones' article on PoliticusUSA about Senator Rand Paul telling unemployed Americans he's actually "doing them a favor" by blocking legislation to extend their emergency benefits when they run out in December.

Thanks Rand, happy holidays to you too.

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