Northwest NEWS

November 1, 1999

Front Page

'Fight Club' claims local victims

by Marshall Haley, staff reporter

   KING COUNTY--The inevitable outcome of the Fight Club hype struck last Thursday night, Oct. 28, when a 16-year-old boy in unincorporated Auburn suffered critical injuries. On Friday, he was listed in serious condition at Harborview Hospital, but was released on Saturday.

   The movie The Fight Club promotes the glories of supposedly manly abilities to hurt others and "take a punch" without acknowledging injury.

   The Auburn tragedy occurred during an unsanctioned boxing match before an audience of more than 20 teenagers in a home where parents were out for the evening, according to King County police. When the homeowners returned, they ordered the boys to stop fighting and leave. The crowd ignored the owners, fighting continued, and the boy was injured. When Sheriff's deputies and medics arrived about 8 p.m., the boy was in convulsions on the floor, bleeding from his nose, mouth, and ear.

   "The Sheriff's Office has no intention of allowing this activity, nor will we stand around and let it happen," said King County Sheriff Dave Reichert. "If someone is injured, we intend to take the appropriate enforcement action, including referring cases to the Prosecutor's Office for assault, or even manslaughter charges, depending on the circumstances."

   Mutual combat is not an absolute defense to arrest or criminal charges, especially when injuries involve minors, according to a Sheriff's Office bulletin.

   The movie seems designed to cause young, hormone-driven minds to overlook the fact that actors are not actually hitting each other. Children aren't encouraged to consider how easily death can occur from any number of "right" blows to the head, or from the head hitting the ground. A broken nose can result in numerous attendant health problems over the course of a lifetime. A broken eardrum never works as well again. New teeth can cost up to several thousand dollars each.

   Woodinville police suspect an Oct. 22 incident in the Woodinville Park & Ride might also relate to the movie. A pre-arranged fight between a 17-year-old Kenmore boy and an 18-year-old Woodinville boy got out of control when the Kenmore boy got his opponent in a dominating hold. About 20 friends of the Woodinville boy ganged up on his opponent and beat him to the ground, then continued beating and kicking him. By the time police arrived, the boy had suffered serious injuries to his face and was taken to the emergency room at Evergreen Medical Center.

   "We've received several calls from parents who ask why we're trying to interfere with kids just trying to have a good time," said King County Sheriff's Office spokesman John Urquhart. "If you asked the mother sitting in Harborview with her son right now, you might get a different opinion."