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Wednesday, March 2, 2016

RLSHs

By Robin Weaver

While I pondered this month’s blog and our real life hero/ines theme, an episode of the Big Bang Theory played in the background.  In that television show, Adam West attended Sheldon Cooper’s birthday party. For those of you who’ve been living in a bunker, hiding behind a cape, or are under 40, Adam West was TV’s first Batman.  The DC comic-based crime fighter has always been my favorite superhero (after all, my name is Robin). I’m a bit worried about his upcoming battle with Superman, but that’s a topic for another blog.

Anyway, thinking about superheroes made me wonder if there actually are any real-life caped crusaders. Naturally, I grabbed my “Lasso of Truth” and Googled.

Wham, shazam!  There’s a multitude of them. Well, a multitude of wannabees anyway.

 The Dark Guardian has patrolled New York streets for nearly 10 years, stopping drug deals and defending the defenseless. He wants to pass on his philosophy to the next generation. How? By opening a school called HERO where he’ll train kids to fight crime, of course. According to GQ, the Dark Guardian’s (a.k.a. Chris Pollack’s) crime-fighting moves include creeping up to drug dealers, shining a flashlight in their eyes and yelling, "This is a drug-free park!"Alrighty, then. Perhaps the waiting list to get in won’t be as long as I originally thought. Still, as I hide behind my laptop, I can’t be critical of someone who urges others to: “Do something good. Don't be a bystander.” Especially if the dude follows through on his commitment to collect supplies for the homeless.


On the opposite coast, there’s San Diego’s Mr. Extreme, real identity unknown. A mild-mannered
Mr.  Extreme
security guard by day, our superman puts on pinhole googles and camouflage at night and fights crime with a taser, pepper spray, and handcuffs—although I couldn’t actually find any crimes Mr. Extreme has actually stopped. Even so, I can’t fault his ideals. A former victim, Mr. Extreme says, “I wanted to do something positive, heroic and also as a way of protest against indifference in society. People are being victimized, and I feel that someone has to take a stand.” As part of that stance, he formed the Xtreme Justice League, and together with RLSH (Real Life Superheroes) he goes on patrols, participates in outreach efforts to boost volunteerism in his neighborhood, and looks to make his city a safer place all around. “

Crime fights sans badges are certainly not unique to our little corner of the globe. In Argentina, there’s Menganno, a masked man who sports a color-coordinated Superman-style suit and 33,000 Facebook followers (maybe we authors should consider donning a cape). For those of you who don’t speak Spanish, Menganno translates to Joe Blow. Seriously—it does. Mr. Menganno described himself as "a real, flesh and blood superhero” and insisted his only weapons were a flashlight, pepper spray and a compass but when three petty criminals “allegedly” shot at Menganno’s car as he drove with his wife, (Say what? His wife rode shotgun? Was she masked too?) he opened fire with his Glock. Menganno posted photos of the bullet ridden car but according to the responding policeman, all shots all came from inside Menganno’s car. The subsequent arrest of our superhero resulted in his unmasking. He’s Oscar Lefosse, 43, a former police officer with an expired gun license.


In Canada, there’s the Crimson Canuck.  Seriously, folks, I’m not making that up. Our RLSH was originally a member of the Canadian Armed Forces, but retired because he got into “far too much due to his outspoken and political nature. Go figure.  Not sure what he actually does, but he has teamed up with the Rogues Gallery Comics (the store accepts donations on his behalf).


Are these folks superheroes, or should they leave crime fighting to the professionals? Whatever your stance, I’m sure we all agree these self-proclaimed RLSH are doing something. In this age of “standing on the sidelines,” isn’t that something?

3 comments:

Judith Ashley said...

I can see that Google search is your friend, Robin. Who knew there were people who were RLSH's. I'd heard of the New York guy but not the others. And I'm not going to be out there shining flashlights into people's faces either! Pull out my phone and dial 911 and maybe take a picture - yeah, but from a distance.

Diana McCollum said...

Great post! I hadn't heard of any of these guys. But good for them trying to make a difference.

The only group I had heard of was "the Guardian Angels" founded in 1979, in New York City. The group is going strong and has groups in various cities around America.

The other one would be all the neighbor hood watch groups. Many have been responsible for preventing crimes and/or arrests after crimes took place.

Enjoyed your blog post!

Linda Lovely said...

Robin--Your posts are always entertaining. BUT I think I'd rather leave the policing to trained professionals. That's not to say that citizens don't need to show some spine when there are no professionals in sight and an innocent victim needs help. Then reluctant not-so-super heroes need to jump into action and make whatever stand seems reasonable to provide aid.