"Passout," "Blackout," "Space
Monkey," "Space Cowboy," "Knockout," "Gasp,"
"Rising Sun." These are all alternative names for the choking game,
which is no game. Kevin Tork, a 15 year student from a loving, intact family,
died a month ago from self-strangulation. Not a suicide, it was an attempt to
feel good that went fatally bad. Dr. Thomas Andrew, New
Hampshire’s chief medical examiner explains:
“There are two parts to the
experience. The first is a light-headedness (a perceived "high") due
to reduced blood flow, and therefore reduced delivery of oxygen, to the brain.
The second part comes with the removal of pressure on the chest or neck
releasing a powerful surge of dammed up blood up through the carotid arteries
into the brain (a perceived "rush").”
And Kevin is not the only one. After seeing his father,
mother, and sister on NBC’s Today show this morning, I found reports of dozens of victims.
Though the game is not new, what’s new is children are
learning how to do it on youtube, they’re playing it alone, and they live in a
culture that glorifies feeling. Kevin’s dad, Ken, pleaded with parents this
morning to restrict access to youtube. Warnings were given of signs to look for
in your children because healthy, happy young people are playing the “game,” by themselves, in their rooms, with no one to rescue when the "rush" turns deadly.
Are our children taking to heart a dominant message of western
culture: “If it feels good, do it”? That’s
an old phrase and the sentiment used to be balanced by other cultural values,
such as delayed gratification. Work first, play second. Get good grades now, expect
rewards later. Eat dessert last, if at all.
Emotional and spiritual health includes large measures
of pleasure, fun, and laughter, balanced with a long-term perspective, a
willingness to suffer for what’s right, and an understanding that feeling is
not the only motivation for behavior.
Satan has so saturated western culture
that our children are in danger of growing up believing emotion is the
final arbiter of action. The choking game looks like one of Satan’s finest
Sweet Jesus, expose the lies. Illuminate your truth. We need you.