Pols aggravating

Pols aggravating

There's already a law covering almost every imaginable crime.

There's a new game making the news — a nasty one called "knockout" — and it was only a matter of time before publicity-hungry legislators would exploit it with ill-advised legislation.

Knockout is a criminal activity whereby younger people identify vulnerable targets for victimization. They sneak up on them and suddenly clobber the unsuspecting target. They're going for a "knockout," a one-punch reduction of a standing person to a victim lying stunned on the ground.

News reports indicate have generally, although not exclusively, identified black youths as the perpetrators, and white people, characterized as "polar bears" by the offenders, as the victims.

Champaign-Urbana had its own experience with the "knockout" game years ago, although local police resisted calling it what it really was. These days, there are almost daily reports from major cities of "knockout" incidents.

It has struck a nerve among legislators, including state Rep. Dwight Kay, a Glen Carbon Republican. He says he want to pass the "Knockout Assault Prevention Act."

Kay is promising to get tough on this crime by imposing a prison sentence of three to seven years.

But we'll let Kay and other legislators in on a secret. "Knockout" already is a serious crime that carries a serious penalty.

It's called "aggravated battery," and, as one legal expert said, it can be "upgraded to a more serious" charge depending on the circumstances of the offense.

"Aggravation can be based on the type of injury, the type of victim or the place of the offense. Charges can range from a Class 3 to a Class X felony with a penalty range of three to 60 years in prison. If guns are involved, you could face a minimum prison term of 20 years and have up to 25 years added to any sentence if you harmed a child under the age of 13," the expert stated.

In other words, it's already covered. There is simply no reason to junk up the statute books with a new law specifically aimed at "knockout," when the only benefit is to the politicians who pass it.

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