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Whip the dregs in public

Published: Sun, December 1, 2013 @ 12:00 a.m.

By Bertram de Souza (Contact)

No one (other than the morally deficient) who views the video recordings of the so-called Knockout Game can feel anything but pity for the victims, and disgust for the attackers.

The game is the latest manifestation of the urban decay evident in so many parts of the country. The vermin preying upon unsuspecting, defenseless people are no better than wild animals. They don’t belong in human society.

While there have been numerous reports of such crimes in the northeast part of the country and beyond, law enforcement is unwilling to label the activity a crime spree.

The men and women — young and old — who have been knocked out with just one punch would certainly have a different view.

According to the New York Times, which recently published a story under the headline, “Police Unsure if Random Attacks Are Rising Threat or Urban Myth,” a 78-year-old women in Brooklyn, N.Y., reported being punched in the head. Her assailant fled without touching her shopping bags or her pocketbook.

Punched in the face

In another incident reported by the Times, a 19-year-old Hasidic man said he had been approached by eight men and then punched in the face by one of them.

Police in Syracuse told the Times the city has seen two such attacks this year, each fatal. At least one of the assailants said he was playing the Knockout Game.

It is no game — certainly not to the victims who invariably are injured.

Thus the question: What should be done to put a stop to these senseless acts of violence?

The answer can be found in Singapore, the wealthy island nation in the Pacific that has earned a reputation as one of the cleanest, safest places on earth.

Their solution to anti-social behavior is simple: swift, harsh punishment.

Nineteen year ago, Americans found out just how strictly the code of conduct is enforced when 19-year-old Michael P. Fay of the Dayton, Ohio, area was whipped in Singapore for vandalism.

Fay received four strokes with a rattan cane that left three dark-brown scars on his right buttock and four lines each about half an inch wide on his left buttock, according to the New York Times.

Fay told the newspaper that the bleeding caused by the caning felt like a “bloody nose.”

After confessing to vandalism, Fay was sentenced to four months in jail and six strokes with a half-inch thick cane on two counts of vandalism and possession of stolen road signs. The sentence was later reduced to four strokes, the Times reported in June 1994.

The government of Singapore defended caning as a normal part of the country’s legal system. Indeed, in many parts of the world — and even at one time in this country — parents and guardians embraced the idea that without discipline children would grow up to be social misfits, at best, or criminals, at worst. So, punishment was commonplace.

But, today, any attempt to correct misbehavior by administering a few licks with a cane would immediately result in an investigation by social services.

The outcome of such hands-off upbringing is evident on the streets of America’s cities.

Children are growing up with no sense of right and wrong and, in too many cases, no adult supervision.

Lack of remorse

Thus, when you look at the videos of the Knockout Game, the most striking aspect of the attacks is the sheer lack of remorse or concern for the victim on the part of the thugs.

No amount of touchy-feely psychobabble can change the fact that there are human dregs roaming the streets of our cities.

What is to be done?

Jail or prison is certainly not a deterrent, given that oftentimes these individuals are inducted into gangs while behind bars. Having a criminal record has become a badge of honor.

The punishment, therefore, must include a public aspect.

The assailants should be caned in central square. It isn’t the sting of the rod striking exposed flesh that would cause the most pain; it’s the public humiliation.

After all, that’s what the victims of the Knockout Game feel — in addition to the suffering caused by their physical wounds.

This is clearly a case where the punishment must fit the crime.

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