|Black-Run America is one 'Amateur Video' away from chaos|
But those will have to wait; because a number of stories must be quickly discussed that offer a glimpse of what the summer of 2011 will offer and a hilarious story shows us, despite McDonald’s complete pandering to a 365Black mentality, that people generally fail to exercise incredulity or rational thinking.
The rules of Knockout King are straightforward, according to Jason and other former players interviewed for this article. A lead attacker is chosen from among a group of boys, usually young adolescents. Next a target is picked out. Then the attacker either charges the unsuspecting victim or motions for his attention. When the target turns or lifts his head, the attacker strikes. If the victim is felled by the punch, the group usually scatters. But if the target withstands the blow, other members of the group may follow up with their fists to finish the job. "Some people kick, but I ain't used to kick," says Jason. "I just punched."
The St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department, too, knows of the violent ritual. "The 'knockout game' is played by a group of kids who, as outrageous as it sounds, go around with the goal of knocking people out, for apparently no reason," says Chief Daniel Isom. The department came to that determination about a year ago, says Isom, who adds that he doesn't consider the violent activity to be widespread. "Based on our intelligence, we believe it's an isolated group of maybe five to nine kids," he says.Local teens say it's far more popular than that.
"I'd say maybe ten to fifteen percent of kids play Knockout King," says Aaron Davis, who's eighteen and lives in south city, adding that he never took part. "It's not a whole school, but it's a nice percentage."
The City of Atlanta recently announced its intention to enforce a longstanding teen curfew ordinance, lest kids 16 and younger roam the streets in the wee hours. Under the ordinance, anyone younger than 17 can't be outside their homes without adult supervision from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. Sunday through Thursday, and from midnight to 6 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. Many cities and counties across metro Atlanta have similar regulations.Proponents say the laws reduce teen crime and protect teens from danger, while critics believe the rules do little more than give a false sense of security to nervous adults."There's pretty much no question that [the ordinances] aren't effective in either reducing crime or preventing harm to young people," said Mike Males, a senior researcher for the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice, who has researched the effectiveness of teen curfews in cities across the U.S."It's basically designed to make people feel better about using a city at night, and it's an artificial thing," he said. "It’s a psychological law -- not an effective policy."But some law enforcement officials say experience tells them the curfews are needed. While many said it's difficult to track juvenile vs. adult crime, they do see an increase in crimes such as car burglaries when school is out of session.Sgt. Dana Pierce, spokesman for the Cobb County Police Department, said calls for police service rise in the summer, particularly as jittery homeowners report groups of teens roaming the streets."Part of that is because of the juveniles out there aimlessly, bored and with nothing to do," he said. "And we know that when someone is bored, they’re probably going to get into trouble."Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed said recently that patrols will be stepped up at city parks, pools, recreation centers and potential trouble spots. Repeated curfew violations will result in tough penalties for the parents, potentially costing them a $1,000 fine and making them subject to 60 days of jail or community service.Danielle Bell, a 14-year-old Atlanta girl, said she understands why people are nervous about packs of teenagers at night. While she has a strict curfew, most of her friends ignore theirs, she said."I think there is a reason to be concerned," she said. "Nine times out of 10, they're looking to get in trouble."
“We will be tough on crime; we are not being overly heavy-handed at all,” Reed said.This latest call for a youth curfew enforcement comes nearly two years after former Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin made a similar pronouncement -- without the threat of a fine or jail time.It also comes more than a month after youths in a large group boarded a MARTA train headed for Hartsfield Jackson International Airport and attacked and injured two Delta flight attendants, leading to three arrests.However, Gerry Weber, a constitutional rights lawyer, said curfew ordinances in general have received mixed reviews in federal court, including the notion of blaming parents for their children’s crimes.“The imposition of criminal sanctions on the parents when the wrongdoing is done by the child, that kind of derivative liability has been frowned on by the courts,” Weber said. “That is a challenge that the city is going to have to face if they try to enforce this.”As part of the increased attention to the curfew, MARTA Police will have an increased presence on trains and buses, and at the Five Points MARTA station.“After a certain hour, a child needs to be doing child things at home,” said Felicia Butler, a Buckhead mother with a 13-year-old boy. “The penalty is a little steep, the fine and the jail time. However, it may deter parents from having their kids out. Those are the consequences.”Police Chief George Turner and Reed said they want to create “safe havens” for youths, and the nighttime curfew will coincide with an increased police presence -- including 24-hour park patrols -- at all city-sponsored recreation facilities.
Over the weekend, many people became acquainted with this photo for the first time. It's a hoax: McDonald's isn't charging African-American McDonald's customers an extra $1.50 "as an insurance measure due in part to a recent string of robberies." Nevertheless, the pic seems to have caused yet another PR problem for the dream McJob-generating giant of fast foods.
According to various sources on the Twitter, the picture is an old meme first posted on the 4chan message board. The photo also shows up in this blog post, dated June 17, 2010, on the website McServed. Yet somehow it began recirculating a few days ago, causing much alarm. On the Twitter, people tweeted and retweeted the photo, using the words "Seriously McDonalds" to express their disappointment with the fast-food chain.
On Saturday, McDonald's addressed the photo in a tweet of its own: "That pic is a senseless & ignorant hoax McD's values ALL our customers. Diversity runs deep in our culture on both sides of the counter." For the rest of the day, the company replied to only two concerned Twitterers. Some people saw the McTweet—but many more, it seems, did not. If you were on the Twitter earlier today, you would have noticed that "Seriously McDonalds" had achieved a place on its "Trends" list.
Today, McDonald's took to its Twitter once again: "That Seriously McDonalds picture is a hoax." No matter: the picture kept spreading around as the afternoon went on, with many people upset at what they thought was a for-real photo. And who can blame them? The Internet has shown us that anything's possible.
As I type, the pic's still being forwarded—though the number of people mistaking the pic as real appears to be dwindling: "Seriously McDonalds" and its innovatively hashtagged version have dropped off the Twitter Trends list, and more and more people are tweeting in relief that the pic is just a hoax. Clued-in folks have helped to clear up any lingering doubts about the pic's veracity by pointing out that the toll-free number listed on the bottom of the sign actually belongs to KFC. (Maybe McDonald's should reward these volunteer damage controllers with some coupons for the crisis mitigation help—though whether that would be a valuable offer or not depends on one's opinions of McDonald's food, I guess.)
Why does any of this matter? Because McDonald's is a gigantic corporation, and even it can't stop a reputation-damaging meme all that effectively. So imagine how hard it is for an average Joe or Jennifer McDonald to do so. True, an online reputation manager or PR firm can help—if you can afford such things. But even if you succeed in solving your scandal problem, someone two or five years from now might innocently recirculate what you were trying to clarify or suppress—or resurrect misleading information, as what seems to be the case here—and restart your problems anew.Oh Internet, how you enrich our lives! But you are also kind of a jerk.