FEATURE, JUNE 9, 2011
It happened twice: This article gave me chills — and then made me mad as hell ["Knockout King," John H. Tucker]! People need to take this problem seriously. I've been telling folks for years: Watch where you walk alone, and watch out for groups of young, ignorant, thugged-out teenagers.
The first incident happened to me in 2001, as a group of kids were getting off a bus near one of the major hospitals in town. I felt someone grab my backpack and pull me into a blow to the base of the skull so severe that even today I have chronic muscle spasms and neck pain. What's amazing is that the police asked me to sign paperwork saying I wouldn't hold the assailant responsible for any medical bills — not that he could have covered them anyway. The kid got a charge of misdemeanor assault. It should have been aggravated assault and battery.
Fast forward a few years to 2004, and I'm walking along South Grand. It's 5 p.m., and the sun is still shining. Three kids meet me walking down the sidewalk, and one of them sucker punches me in the mouth as they pass. That incident left me with a chipped tooth and a whole lot of unrequited anger. When incidents like this happen to you, you have little sympathy for the plight of the poor, "disadvantaged" youth who visit violence and hate on unsuspecting and undeserving people.
In St. Louis, I tell people that, to walk around undisturbed, you have to take an aggressive stance and put your "character armor" on. Sometimes, when I'm with my family, I have a hard time dropping that armor and just relaxing. In crowded places, even at the zoo, I feel I have to remain vigilant, on guard, ready to defend myself. After all, it's happened twice to me already.
Jeremy Ivy, St. Louis
A violent trend: This might explain why I was jumped in the summer of 2000. I was walking up Arsenal toward Streetside Records on Grand when three black kids hanging out on a stoop approached me from behind and clocked me in the head. I didn't bother to fight back but rather curled up in a ball while they continued to rain blows on me until they got bored. My jaw didn't work right for a few days, and it kind of screwed with my cognitive abilities.
I was still living at home, so my mom called the cops (against my wishes, because I knew what they would say). Sure enough, I told the pigs that it had been three black kids on Arsenal, and they replied, "Oh, we know who that was." No, they didn't. Don't engage in profiling on my behalf.
I've lived in south city my entire life and continue to defend it in spite of what happened to me, which I had assumed was an isolated incident. The fact that it may have been part of a trend pisses me off.
Quit fulfilling the stereotype! It's hard enough for black St. Louisans to combat the entrenched racism of this community without these stupid kids exacerbating things.
Joy Grenade, via the Internet
Reason to flee: I'm also a victim — I just didn't report my incident to the police because I was afraid of reprisals. I was new in the neighborhood and white, and therefore a target.
It was in the Dutchtown South neighborhood, right at Spring and Bingham. Three black thugs at about 10:30 p.m. punched me in the head and, as as soon as I was on the ground, told me to get up and then punched me again. I had blood coming out of my left ear. My glasses were crushed.
Later, I got my landlord to transfer me to another property in the county. No fuckin' way I'll ever live in the city again. (And people wonder why there's racism here. No brainer, if you ask me.)
Matt Irwin, Maplewood
King of cowards: Assaulting an unsuspecting person, especially someone who's elderly or challenged, is an act of cowardice, plain and simple. It proves nothing other than what a spineless coward you are. Meet someone on equal ground, face to face in a real fight (without weapons or the element of surprise) to see how bad-ass you think you are. Until then, "Knockout King" is an empty, meaningless title fit for cowards.
TinkertheThinker, via the Internet
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