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:

(Seattle PI)
"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...


Bill said...

In Colombia during the 1990's landowners started to organize "Cooperatives" to protect their lands from the leftist guerrillas. Later on these groups were responsible of the worst atrocities. If people start to take the law in their own hands things will get really ugly real fast.

Charles James said...

DR: A vigilante is a vigilante no matter what title you put on it.

Sean C. Ledig said...

Remember the Triads in China were originally revolutionary secret societies dedicated to overthrowing the Mongols and later the Manchus.

The Mafia was originally a proto-socialist revolutionary society whose original goal was to overthrow the landlords and create a more democratic society in Sicily and Italy.

I don't think this situation in Seattle will end well.

Martial Development said...

Sean, do you care to speculate on where the RLSH movement will be in 5-10 years from now? :)

Maybe they will be employed directly by President Palin, as a solution to big government law enforcement spending? :D

Sean C. Ledig said...

MD, it wouldn't surprise me. The Republicans, taking a cue for Ayn Rand and Herbert Hoover, are notorious for their concept of "volunteerism" to fill gaps in services which were previously provided by state, local and the federal governments.

I could see some future Republican candidates and office holders calling for "deputizing volunteers" to help in the fight against crime.


Good Job to all the Rain City Superheros. Most of the comments I've read are stating this is a bad idea. The Seattle Police are one of the best in the state, but everyone can use a little help. If there presence on the streets will help the people of Seattle, then more power to them. P.S. This isn't China or Columbia it's America and if some citizens want to help keep Washington green by taking out the trash we should help them, not hide in front of the computer bloging how bad they are. Dont be an Ostrich

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