Sunday, November 21, 2010
Seattle: Rain City Superheroes
Oh man, I'm worried this could turn out bad...
From The Seattle P.I.
"Vigilante justice has come to Seattle, and the caped crusaders drive a Kia.
Seattle police say a group of self-described superheroes have been patrolling the streets at night trying to save people from crime. They call themselves the Rain City Superhero Movement and say they're part of a nationwide movement of real-life crime fighters."
(D.R.)- I have a feeling that this activity is a product of uncertain times. The financial elite have looted the wealth of the nation. Millions face homelessness, chronic unemployment, and shattered families. Crime will naturally increase. People have a need to try to regain control over their personal lives and try to improve society at large.
But this is not without personal and societal risk:
"Phoenix was interviewed by detectives this month and came to police headquarters dressed in most of his costume, police said.
(Phoenix) apologized for not being in full costume, as it was being repaired after (he) was stabbed while trying to intervene with a drug dealer and a citizen," the police bulletin stated, according to a police source.
The man was not seriously wounded during the incident under Interstate 5, and police say he may not have actually been wounded.
Now, police were told Phoenix wears body armor, a ballistic vest, arm and leg trauma plates -- and a ballistic cup. Police were apparently told that bulletproof vest helped stop a bullet during an incident in Tacoma a year ago.
Others are expected to be at police headquarters this week for identification."
"I don't condone people walking around on the street with masks," said the man who called himself Phoenix Jones. "Everyone on my team either has a military background or a mixed martial arts background, and we're well aware of what its costs to do what we do."
The police seem to be taking this lightly for now, but it is a slippery slope from crime fighting to pure vigilantism.
How much of a stretch is it before some "team" begins "hunting" supposed "illegal immigrants"? Or "Arabs"? Or Hippies? Or Gays? Or Democrats?
For now, this appears to be merely an odd trend that is becoming a national movement. According to the "Real Life Superhero" website, members not only arm themselves with tasers, batons, pepper spray and body armor. They study anatomy charts, supposedly allowing them to disable attackers.
To their credit, they also recommend donating blood, distributing food and blankets to the homeless, and handing out leaflets for missing persons and unsolved crimes.
This hearkens back to "The Guardian Angel" movement, started by Curtis Sliwa. Sliwa, now an extreme reactionary talk show host has commented that "The Guardian Angel" movement has morphed into a "paramilitary organization":
"Guardian Angels founder Curtis Sliwa has declared his volunteer street patrol group “a paramilitary organization.”
“Having guardian angels out there is the second line of defense for the police. Highly visible red barret, red satin jackets, it’s a paramilitary organization,” Sliwa told WYTV Channel 33 News in Ohio.
The Guardian Angels have been sharply criticized as a vigilante or paramilitary group since it first started 30 years ago. Sliwa and his followers have always taken care to emphasize its street patrols are merely “eyes and ears” for police and work more as a deterrent.
The group has recently come under scrutiny after members of the Davenport, Iowa franchise broke an Iraq War veteran’s arm in three places while detaining him.
Sliwa made the statement in New Castle, Pennsylvania, where he was holding a press event for Guardian Angels members who just passed a Tae Kwondo class.
There are a lot, a lot of grey areas of law here...