It seems like everyday we are reading an article or watching a feature on the local news about somebody being attacked randomly on the news. In my own city of Dallas, two elderly men have been attacked in the last two weeks as they were walking out of a restaurant. In each case, they were attacked by three men and were beaten severely enough to be hospitalized and in each case nothing was taken from them. The news suspects they are victims of the “knock-out” game and add to an already growing list of suspected “knock-out game” attacks throughout this country and in Europe. So why is this happening? Initially news outlets and police investigators suspected race or religious motivations for the attacks, but as more incidents of the game have increased, the demographics of the individuals have become much more diverse. If there is no specific motivation such as hatred towards a group of people, then we have to start realizing that the motivations for these attacks is much more sinister and depressing.
One of the overarching concerns that I hear from people in my practice is how worried they are about the future of society and how powerless they feel to change anything. Many people’s fears are fed by what they read and see in the media; whether it be a powerful shadow government trying to enslave its citizens or the rich elite who rig the rules to grow their wealth while steeping on the little people on the way. Regardless of what side of the political spectrum/ideology people fall on, the thing that is crystal clear is that people are unhappy and feel the system is rigged against them and there is nothing they can do to change it.
Sigmund Freud would argue that when you have a situation when you have a large group of people who are angry, desperate, and powerless and that emotion has to go somewhere. If it is perceived that nothing can be done about it, then we displace that emotion onto something else to balance the equation of sorts. I believe that these “knock-out game” attacks are simply groups of people feeling helpless, angry, and morosely narcissistic, displacing that intense anger on something they can. It really makes sense if you think about it.
How many of us have gotten angry and punched a wall or thrown a phone in anger? The wall or the phone didn’t make us angry, but the wall won’t do anything if we hit it. How many of us got reamed at work by a boss and picked a fight with a spouse or have been short with your family members as a result? We all do it and I think we are seeing a growing trend of anger at the direction of society with the sense that we are passengers along for the ride with nothing to do about it. The emotions are so intense that even drugs, alcohol, or other distractions can’t suppress them anymore. The emotion has to go somewhere and a deviant and obviously desperate swath of our population has taken to extreme and sociopathic measures to deal with it. That is just my professional opinion. What do you guys think?