Teenagers don't gotta punch someone unconscious. Their choices in life, no matter how bleak, simply aren't limited to which person they punch.
Definitely, but I think this kind of behavior plays into similar feelings on the part of the teenager. On a subconscious level perhaps, some of these kids are trying to show that they aren't a mark. It's a weak-minded view, but that's how a lot of people view the world. You're either a wolf or a sheep and if you're not acting like a wolf (or demonstrating to the other "wolves" your "wolf-like" behavior) then you might become
a sheep. I remember in Jr High seeing one of the nicest guys (otherwise) punch one of the "omega" class of students in the back of the head, knocking him down. He and several other kids who didn't want to get lumped in with that "omega" role stepped on him as if nothing had happened. This is where I start to get concerned about popular media because it so often appeals to the lowest common denominator. I remember NWA talking about how they were just underground reporters, and while I think there was truth to that, they also glorified themselves. I'm not paying attention to it like I did, but it seems like now even the pretense of "reporting" has been dropped and you get almost pure glorification of young men with no brains and all balls...which perhaps highlights that "need" to actively demonstrate to the wolves, non-sheep-like behavior.
How do you train for this? Awareness is number one for me and eye contact not directly but enough to let someone know your aware of your surroundings.
For this kind of "bulletproof impunity" mindset (it feels good to feel powerful) I think these are the key things...bearing in mind I'm no expert. In my mind there's a dilemma between letting the person/people know you know they're there and not challenging them. I've known too many people who took a direct gaze as threatening (and got in fights over it) to not pay attention to it, so I believe it needs to be tempered with a very relaxed, genuine
, kind-hearted demeanor (the homonym association of love and
). A fixated scowl can be just as detrimental as having your head in the clouds when it comes to not being a target. Beyond that I think it's a matter of practicing scenarios and working on sharpening our senses (e.g. listening to and tracking the different footsteps around you instead of thinking about work, whatever). We are never 100% aware; we always have blind spots, so we cannot ever account for every possibility, but awareness/sensory training, and an intuitive awareness for the strengths and weaknesses inherent in the lay of the land around you seem like the best approach to this half-assed Aikidoist.
Also, I think people need to feel empowered. All those people who witness these kinds of child's play (i.e. no challenge to them) attacks are generally afraid to get involved because the events exist outside of their frame of reference; outside their recognized skillsets. Public safety requires public involvement (I agree with Jon that cops aren't able to stop things like this, generally speaking) and that requires individuals either stepping up on their own, or some kind of outreach to invite them to engage the issue.
...My two bits.