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05 January 2011 @ 10:23 pm
Oh, holy crap  
I just saw an article that a group of eight "masked superheroes" is patrolling Seattle, intervening in attempted crimes.


I must go tell seanan_mcguire.
Peter Engdornbeast on January 6th, 2011 04:25 am (UTC)
I have to say, patrolling the University District seems like a good plan.

I'm not 100% convinced of the wisdom of being a masked vigilante, especially if they're going to provide too many clues to where he changes, but that's up to Phoenix Jones and his lawyer.
starcat_jewelstarcat_jewel on January 6th, 2011 04:43 am (UTC)
I'd be a lot more sanguine about this if he wasn't bragging about all the weapons he carries. Sooner or later he's going to get a bystander caught in the crossfire, and then they won't be calling him a superhero -- they'll be calling him an inmate. Batman only gets away with it because there's an author standing over him to make SURE the story comes out right.

*sign* Libertoonian fantasy worlds...
seawaspseawasp on January 6th, 2011 04:47 am (UTC)
"Bragging about the weapons he carries"?

Where do you get that? Presumably the interviewer asked him how he expects to deal with crime and what he carries to do the job, since he doesn't (one would think) have actual superpowers. It reads like a summary and, perhaps, a warning: "No, I'm NOT just armed with fists and stupidity."

He's not carrying much of anything to "catch bystanders in the crossfire". Some "tasers" are just handheld stunguns, some have range; it doesn't say which he carries, and I doubt he gave specs anyway.

If he was carrying FIREARMS I'd be seriously concerned, because those DO catch people in crossfires and are meant to be lethal.
Peter Engdornbeast on January 6th, 2011 04:49 pm (UTC)
If I understood the description, the taser is built into his baton. I suppose it might be possible to build a ranged version of a taser into a baton, but it seems more reasonable to assume that it's a contact version. From what I understand, the only successful merging of melee weapon and ranged weapon is the bayonet.
starcat_jewelstarcat_jewel on January 6th, 2011 05:33 pm (UTC)
1) You don't have to be the one with a gun to start a firefight. You just have to convince someone who does have one to start shooting.

2) TASER. That's a lethal weapon in and of itself, no matter what narrative the propaganda arm is pushing.
seawaspseawasp on January 6th, 2011 08:31 pm (UTC)

Firstly, the point was that I didn't see any "bragging"; are you arguing that point, or do you agree that upon reflection there's no evidence for bragging?

To your 1), If the person's already committing a crime, to which you're intervening, that person's the one who's the problem, not the intervener. He's already initiated the violence by starting the criminal action; there was no guarantee he wouldn't use it WITHOUT intervention.

And for 2), a BATON is a lethal weapon, too -- one that police departments issue regularly. Like the taser, it's not primarily MEANT to be lethal, however. Tasers CAN kill. So can batons. Or mace. Or bare hands. So assuming he was getting involved in any altercation, he's bringing SOMETHING that could potentially kill someone.

The difference is that none of these will fly 60 meters off and kill someone who's not even aware of the combat.

Yes, someone could get hurt. But then, someone could be hurt by the people that these people are trying to stop. Is vigilantism a good idea? I dunno, actually. But I think it's important to see what the people are actually doing versus what we're afraid they might do.

browngirl on January 6th, 2011 01:27 pm (UTC)
Batman only gets away with it because there's an author standing over him to make SURE the story comes out right.

I like this phrasing. *makes a note*
zemhitchhiker on January 6th, 2011 06:49 pm (UTC)
yeah, me too!
seawaspseawasp on January 6th, 2011 04:44 am (UTC)
This has been around a while; Wikipedia has a fairly good article on the phenomenon.

When I was much younger I considered doing this myself, but not being combat trained and being an effort-induced asthmatic, I was able to point out the essential stupidity in my case and keep from taking THAT particular step towards getting myself killed. I *could* have made some neat gadgets, though.
Tom the Alien Cattomtac on January 7th, 2011 02:10 pm (UTC)
I have been following this group


and they seem to think they know what they're getting into.

There is one who is up in Chicago (forget his name ... wait, "The Watchman") and he has the protection of being completely anonymous. That was necessary, because he has wife and children.

Here he is with "Citizen", in Milwaukee.


Janet, I think this may die out the first time one of them gets beaten bloody with a two-by-four, or worse.
seawaspseawasp on January 7th, 2011 02:29 pm (UTC)
Might, but might not. One could say the same thing about any adrenalin-fuelled sport or activity. Here, the people involved presumably think they're doing something that's actually meaningful, and are, also presumably, accepting the risk that they could end up getting killed in the performance of those activities. Terrorism doesn't stop because a terrorist gets killed; why should the inverse stop because one of them gets killed? People keep doing sports in which members of the sporting group (rock-climbing, extreme skiing, etc.) get fairly frequently killed, and they're just doing it for the fun, not for what they see as an important purpose.

The thing likely to cause it to die out is governmental pressure which takes the issue seriously enough to make doing the vigilante thing more expensive and dangerous -- not in the sense of getting killed "on duty", but in the sense of being LIKELY to be arrested, convicted, and thrown in jail (where a former "superhero" is probably going to be only slightly more welcome than a child molester).
Tom the Alien Cattomtac on January 8th, 2011 06:23 pm (UTC)
We really do have to make a distinction here between superheroes that attack and thwart criminals regularly (a la Batman) and superheroes that have taken it down a notch. (The link I posted was about two of these that took part in a toy drive, while I know The Watchman does a sort of "neighborhood watch" thing in which he "patrols" an area.)

Your "might, but might not" comment is, of course, completely correct. I'll wait and see ... but I am pulling for them. There are two of them in New York that seem to take the cautious-but-effective approach.

If any of them gets seriously roughed up, there will be an incentive for the least dedicated ones to hang up their masks.
Lesliemamatiger on January 6th, 2011 06:44 am (UTC)
SOMEbody's been watching (reading) too much Kick-Ass!