Private Security: A Dangerous & Necessary Service

11/22/2012  Murder of Critical Intervention Services Officer Michael Valentin

My brothers at Critical Intervention Services ( ) lost an officer Thanksgiving Eve.

CIS officer Michael Valentin died patrolling a Tampa community his company specializes in serving. As an anti-crime activist and security professional, this is beyond tragic on many levels.
A teen  with an extensive record has been arrested for this crime and two armed robberies.
Please consider:
A father and husband fell serving America in a profession many may not consider dangerous and necessary. Private Officer International ( POI), of which I’m a proud member, documented these sobering 2011 statistics:
*Over 37,000 reported assaults against contract and proprietary officers; loss prevention agents and private police officers.
*These assaults resulted in 13, 700 injuries,
* 114 reported deaths while on duty, broken down by POI, is as follows:

54 Gunshots
11 Stabbing
19 Trauma/Assault
10 Car Accidents
6 Industrial Accidents
14 Unclassified

The average age of the security officer killed in the line of duty was 38.

The states with the most incidents of security officer injuries, assaults and deaths included New York, California, Illinois, Texas, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Tennessee, Louisiana, Virginia, Indiana, and Nevada.  
High risk communities like those CIS serves also base my activism. My urging urban males to ” Make Peace With America”,  resembles CIS innovative Community and Character Protection Initiative ( CCBPI ).
Officers like Michael Valentin are applied theorists serving communities whose infrastructures shudder under rampant social disorder. These men and women partner with residents and other stakeholders to reclaim these areas as prequel to restoring them.
Losing such a compassionate and competent person is incalcuable. Valentine was a force multiplier equivalent to several professionals from other disciplines. 
It’s particularly painful to read that conflict deescalation was one of his specialties. Zip codes like mine are short on viable referees, making this loss even more tragic.
America; his family; CIS and urban stakeholders lost a rare ally in these trying times. 
The upside is Critical intervention Services attracts those like Officer Valentine, who privately do the work of many during their shifts.
I celebrate the life and service of CIS officer Michael Valentin and ask patriots to share their condolences with the great institution which employed him. 
Private security is a dangerous and necessary public service. We should consider that next time we see a private officer on duty.
RIP Officer Valentin. Thank you for your service to our country.… Private Officer International 2011 Private Security Officer Deaths link.
Nadra Enzi ( Cap Black, The Hood Conservative )
504 214-3082
” Be your OWN Superhero!”

A quick shout out for Tothian.

I gave him one on Facebook…then realized since I don’t have a Facebook anymore nobody wold see it. The other night when I was desperately trying to get a hold of somebody in the Orlando area to check up on Master Legend, Tothian was all over it. I had no idea you could 911 from anywhere in the country…Tothian knew.
By the time I got a hold of somebody (I’m two hours away) they arrived to find the paramedics already there.
Way to go Tothian, way to be on top of it.

Now superheroes step in to help protect prostitutes from the Craigslist killer

Originally posted:
By Daily Mail Reporter

Crime fighter: Vigilantes from the New York Initiative have offered to protect hookers from the Craigslist killer

Crime fighter: Vigilantes from the New York Initiative have offered to protect hookers from the Craigslist killer

Self-styled superheroes have offered their help in fighting the serial killer thought to be behind the murders of over a dozen prostitutes in New York City.
The New York Initiative (NYI) – a group of vigilantes who model themselves on comic book superheroes – have posted an advert on classified ads website Craigslist offering ‘rescue teams’ for hookers whose clients’ turn violent.
NYI, who identify themselves as a group of ‘martial arts trainers, security specialists, emergency first responders, drug counsellors, former military police and former law enforcement’, are also offering free martial arts and weapons training to the women.
The murderer stalking New York – dubbed the Craiglist Killer because he targets women selling sex through Craigslist – is thought to be behind the deaths up to 13 prostitutes.
Most of the bodies so far found had been dumped in scrub land on the southern coast of Long Island, New York. All had been strangled and stuffed in burlap sacks.
According to their advert, NYI have offered their help to prostitutes because ‘apparently the law doesn’t respect your personal choices and that means cops are slower to follow through when it comes to you.’
The group is offering ‘a number to call and a few one-number or one-word codes you can say or text to us so that we can contact someone to assist you with a possibly violent date.’
They add: ‘We will react quickly and without hesitation every time, using our considerable contacts to the full extent of their reach.’ And they promise not to involve the police unless there is a risk of ‘serious danger’.
The New York Initiative patrol the streets of Brooklyn and Manhattan by night, attempting to deter crime.
Though they are loosely affiliated with the so-called Real Life Superheroes, unlike their more colourfully-dressed counterparts they tend not to wear masks and capes.

Superheroes Shade is part of the ‘rapid response teams’ offering their help to New York City’s frightened ladies of the night

According to their website the group is composed of 11 members, with roles ranging from medic to combat specialist.
‘Our primary goal will always be to help those in the most need to the highest ethical standard and to the maximum effect,’ they say.
The ‘Craigslist ripper’ case started in December after the disappearance of 24-year-old Shannan Gilbert, a New Jersey prostitute who advertised on the site.
Although her body has not been found, the remains of 10 others have so far been uncovered with Maureen Brainard-Barnes, 25, Melissa Barthelemy, 24, Amber Lynn Costello, 27, and  Megan Waterman, 22, the only identified victims so far.
Detectives have also investigated the possibility that the same serial killer may also be responsible for the deaths of  four prostitutes in Atlantic city in 2006.
New York detectives have begun to piece together a picture of the Craigslist killer.
According to experts, the man police are looking for is a white male in his mid 20’s to mid 40’s,  financially secure, well spoken and drives a nice car or truck.
Able to charm his victims into a false sense of security, he will also have access to burlap sacks as part of his job and will have been treated for poison ivy infections received as he disposed of the bodies in thick undergrowth.

NYC Superheroes: How to Not Get Murdered by the Long Island Serial Killer

Originally posted:
By Joe Coscarelli,
The New York Initiative, a local chapter of the Worldwide Real Life Superhero Community, describe themselves as a “free public security/community watch/community outreach program” working “to achieve peacekeeping objectives and humanitarian missions.” The vigilante crime fighters state that their “primary goal will always be to help those most in need to the highest ethical standards and to maximum effect.” They pick projects based on “unfolding events” and now, that means the Long Island serial killer thought to be responsible for the deaths of at least four, but as many as fourteen people already. Four of the identified victims, as well as four dead women found in New Jersey back in 2006, all worked as prostitutes on Craigslist, so the New York Initiative have taken to that site’s personals section with tips on how to avoid being next. What the hell, you may be thinking; it gets wackier, but it also makes some sense.
“We are doing this because we feel that law enforcement does not recognize these women as a priority,” the group explained in a press release. “We are taking steps to directly aid potential victims in hopes of preventing further murders by the Long Island Killer, as well as offering an ongoing system to prevent further violence against people at risk.” That’s actually a pretty rational explanation.
To the killer (or killers!) the group has this to say: “You have far overstepped a basic human boundary; you have claimed lives to feed your pitiful base desires. Unfortunately for you, no amount of pity is going to stop us.” That sounds slightly nuttier.
But the Initiative’s full ad on Craigslist, aimed at escorts, whom the group sees as potential victims, is amusing in its detail. Basically, they’re proposing that women take extra precautions when they go on a date, making sure to tell a friend all of the details. If a friend isn’t an option, the New York Initiative is volunteering to be every working woman’s “personal log book” in an attempt to help keep them safe.
“The Long Island Killer is out there,” the ad reads. “He’s a scary bastard, and it’s starting to seem like he is focusing on you pretty ladies because some people are slower to report you missing, and also because apparently the law doesn’t respect your personal choices and that means cops are slower to follow through when it comes to you.”
Here’s the full ad (sic throughout):

Hello, pretty lady!I’m writing you on behalf of a group called the New York Initiative (We are not affiliated with law enforcement), and with the hopes that I’ve created a system that will help keep you safe when you go on dates! You can find our facebook page through Google, as well as Google us with the words New York Press or Superheroes Documentary 2011 to find out what we’re about (Craigslist doesn’t allow me to post our URL)…yes, we look a little funny, but believe me when I say that we are all quite competent and capable of doing the things we say.
So with that out of the way, let me just get down to business… The Long Island Killer is out there. He’s a scary bastard, and it’s starting to seem like he is focusing on you pretty ladies because some people are slower to report you missing, and also because apparently the law doesn’t respect your personal choices and that means cops are slower to follow through when it comes to you. Well, I’m here to say FUCK THAT. We respect you as human beings, we believe in personal freedoms and think that you’re doing something that is absolutely your choice to do.
So rock on, ladies…We are on your side. With that said, we are here to help.
In lieu of this, I have devised two systems that will keep you safe… both law-enforcement free, but one meant specifically for you to do on your own, with a friend, and the other which offers our very distinct and unusual services (free of charge, of course).
OPTION 1: Whenever you have a date, make sure a friend knows the address you’re going. Have them write it down in a book made specifically for this purpose, with the times and dates included. If you can, when on the date, text your friend with the address you are at or the general area in case your date takes you somewhere else than he had earlier specified , and let your date know that a friend knows exactly where you’ll be if he starts to get “funny”.
Give your friend hourly updates on your location so if anything goes wrong, they can send someone to help you faster. We realize that this could alter the mood of your date, but in these crazy times, a pretty lady that’s ready is a pretty lady that’s alive. If your date watches the news at all, he will understand. Be wary if he doesn’t.
OPTION 2.If you absolutely don’t have a friend to help you with this, you may use the services of the New York Initiative as your personal log book, as well as your rescue team in the event of an emergency. If you choose to do this, we will provide you with a number to call and a few one-number or one word codes you can say or text to us so that we can contact someone to assist you with a possibly violent date. Another idea is keeping us on speed dial, and if things get weird just call us and let the line open. We’ll know what’s going on immediately.
We also have other techniques which we can explain to you after confirmation via phone.
We will react quickly and without hesitation every time, using our considerable contacts to the full extent of their reach.
We also want to extend to you our services as the NYI: Namely, practical martial arts training free of charge, as well as improvised weapons training free of charge (i.e. pens, phones, keys)…Add to this basic to advanced survival skills, or pretty much anything else you want to know about that will keep you safe out there.
We care about you. We want you alive, in this world, just like everyone else. Because you’re a human being, and you are deserving of love. The NYI loves you, and we’re here to bust the asses of any asshole trying to hurt you.
This is just one of the ways we can get the Long Island Killer off the streets, as well as make what you do safer.
Let me say one more time that we won’t involve law enforcement unless you are in serious danger. The logs will be kept personal and private, because what do the police need to know about your personal life, right? It’s just a date, for cryin’ out loud.
Be safe out there, whatever you choose. You are no longer alone.
-Zero and the New York Initiative
P.S. If you have any other ideas that we can help with to keep you safe out there, don’t be afraid to ask!

Real Life Superheroes Patrol Our City Streets

Originally posted:
By Mark Berman Opposing Views

(2 Hours Ago) in Society

The next time you need help, you may get it from a real life superhero. A group of people calling themselves, oddly enough, the Real Life Superhero Project takes to the streets of U.S. cities, helping out the needy.
People magazine reports that members want to reduce citizen apathy by exhibiting “superhero” virtues and encourage others to do the same.
The group’s Web site writes:
So who are these modern day heroes? They are our neighbors, our friends, our family members. They are artists, musicians, athletes, and yes, politicians. Their actions serve as reminders that as most giving today has become reactive—digital and removed, temporarily soothing our guilt and feelings of helplessness—we have blinded ourselves to simple principles and practice of compassion and goodwill.
According to a report in the Daily Mail, 21-year-old Irene Thomas is one of them. By day she is a self-described “boring accountant” in New Jersey. At night she is “Nyx,” patrolling the streets of New York City wearing a black catsuit and mask with a red belt, gloves and boots.
She gives food and clothes to the homeless, and hopes “other people notice and are maybe motivated to help too.”
New York production manager Chaim Lazaros’s alter-ego is “Life,” wearing a black hat, mask and waistcoat.
‘I just feel like I’m walking on air after I’ve helped 30 people,’ he told People.
The ninja-like “Motor Mouth” calls San Francisco home. He generally gets a positive response, but one teenage homeless girl smirked when he handed her a bag of food.
“(I don’t mind) if a million people snickering behind my back as long as there is the possibility to help,” he said. He added, “if you live this kind of life, you can’t take yourself entirely seriously.”

Nationwide Phenomenon: Real-Life Superheroes Fighting Crime

Originally posted:
They are part of a bizarre new nationwide phenomenon. Self-proclaimed “real-life superheroes” are patrolling the streets and making their neighborhoods safer.
There is a spate of real-life superheroes cropping up across the nation, including the Dark Guardian in New York City, Phoenix Jones in Seattle, and Knight Vigil in Tampa.
A young woman named Nyx patrols in northern New Jersey, Boston has a guy called Civitron, and someone calling himself DC’s Guardian protects Washington, D.C., and there are plenty of others.
“If you have to be a little eccentric, you have to be a little eccentric,” says Phoenix Jones.
Phoenix tells INSIDE EDITION his rubber costume is stab-proof and he has a bulletproof vest underneath. The outfit has other practical functions.
“I need a symbol that’s readily identifiable to police that says, ‘Hey, I’m not a bad guy,’ and I also need to cover my identity,” he explains.
Like every good superhero, Jones has a sidekick for backup. She calls herself Blue Sparrow.
The Dark Guardian is actually 26-year-old martial arts instructor Christopher Pollak. He says his costume is an attention-grabber on the streets of New York City.
“I could do everything I do in regular clothes, but I do it with my superhero persona. It helps me to reach out to people more and get out that positive message that there’s a hero in everybody,” explains Pollak.
But is this whole real-life superhero bit a big joke?
“It is absolutely not a prank. It’s all for real, and we’re going out there trying to do good,” says Pollak.
The website insists, “These are not ‘kooks in costumes,’ as they may seem at first glance.” It points out that they also do things like helping the homeless.
Things can get dangerous for the amateur crime fighters. In a scene from a new documentary movie called Superheroes (, the Dark Guardian confronts a man he believes is a drug dealer, a guy who towers over him.
“You a cop? You better…you better have a badge, man. If you don’t have a badge, don’t come over here [expletive] with me, man. All right? Mind your [expletive] business, all right?” the alleged drug dealer said.
“This is my business,” replied the Dark Guardian.
Despite his tough talk, the suspect left the scene.
Phoenix Jones recently had his nose broken, and was also threatened with a gun. That time he called 911.
Phoenix Jones: “Hey, I’m reporting an assault in the street. The guy tried to…said he was going to shoot me.”
911 Operator: “What color clothing are you wearing?”
Phoenix Jones: “I’m wearing a gold and black rubber suit.”
911 Operator: “OK, are you guys part of the Superheroes?”
Phoenix Jones: “Yes.”
Seattle police aren’t exactly thrilled about the whole superhero idea, and say they should leave the crime fighting to the authorities.
But Pollak shrugs off the critics. “Some people may think it’s crazy but anybody I help is usually grateful. They don’t care what I’m wearing,” he says.
Pollak says he knows life is not a comic book and he always calls 911 when things get out of hand.
The website has 53 different caped crusaders listed.

Inside the world of real life superheroes

Originally posted:
LYNDHURST, N.J. – November 22, 2010 (WPVI) — Superheroes have been a part of our popular culture for generations. But you may be surprised to know that an actual real-life superhero community exists.
At first you might be quick to judge them. But once you hear their tragic backgrounds that mirror many of the fantasy figures we’ve come to love and their powerful missions you might think twice.
One says: “My name is Phantom Zero; I chose it because I have a love of cinema.”
Another says: “The name Nyx came from the Greek goddess of the night, which was the only time I could go out which was at night.”
We don’t know their real names, and we’re not allowed to show you their true identity. That’s because Nyx and Phantom Zero are living double lives.
“I read my first comic when I was 13 and I just kept thinking there has to be people that are doing this, obviously they don’t have super powers, but there still has to be people who want to do something good for the world,” explained Nyx.
Nyx discovered the Real Life Superheroes online community 5 years ago. It’s a community that stretches all over the world bringing strangers together with one common goal.
The secret society hopes to open the doors of their world to the public by allowing one man to tell their stories.
“I did quite a bit of research and discovered that the vast majority of media coverage was more exploitation only, they were looking for the humor in this story,” filmmaker Peter Tangen said.
Tangen is part of a team putting together a documentary about real life superheroes. He said he quickly learned that what these men and women are about is no laughing matter.
“I hope that as people learn about these individuals that they can look at their own lives and make a positive difference in the world around them,” Peter said.
Nyx says some of the heroes, including her, got into this to help fill a void.
“When I was 13 my mom died and that motivated me to want to do more with my life because she had never really gotten to live,” Nyx said.
Nyx also revealed she grew up in a strange religious sect forcing her to fight crime in the streets of Kansas City strictly at night.
“I couldn’t let them know that I was going out being a superhero and trying to help people.”
Nyx soon found her escape through Phantom Zero and moved to New Jersey. Like her, he too dealt with a tragic loss.
“One of the major motivations of me doing this was the death of my father,” said Phantom Zero.
Together they don’t fight crime but they do offer help to the homeless in New York and New Jersey.
But how are they received?
“Usually the people you’re helping don’t really care about the attire; they’re more than willing to accept help,” said Phantom Zero.
Nyx and Phantom Zero understand they will still have critics. But their hope is this:
“It’s very hard to convince the common man to pay attention to things, certain plights certain problems, in doing this we kind of standout and direct attention to those things,” Phantom Zero said.
For more information:
The Real Life Superhero Project
Real Life Superheroes
Superheroes Anonymous
Peter Tangen, Photographer
A site that challenges individuals to become heroes by undertaking various pro-social projects…
Superhero forums:

Modern day costume heroes fighting to make the world a better place

Originally posted:
Published Date: 07 September 2010
chaim_lazaroBy KATY ROSS
That’s what many 25-year-olds do when confronted with the monotony of the hamster wheel of life, when nothing matters but who you are going to the pub with at the weekend and whether you happen to get lucky. Instead, each night when he gets home from his job at an non-profit organisation in Brooklyn, he goes to his wardrobe and pulls on his superhero costume, then goes about the important business of saving the world, one step at a time.
He is not alone. Lazaros, or ‘Life’, to give him his superhero moniker, is one of a legion who make up the real-life superhero movement, a worldwide community of loosely affiliated individuals committed to a broadly defined ethos of making the world a better place.
These people may look as though they have jumped out of a comic book or Hollywood blockbuster, but they are all ordinary citizens who haven’t got a super power between them. What they share is an all too human ambition to help solve some of society’s most challenging problems by donning masks and costumes and venturing into their respective neighbourhoods to feed the hungry, comfort the sick and protect the innocent.
“We are just people who want to make a difference,” says Lazaros, who co-founded the New York-based website Superheroes Anonymous, to bring superhero groups together through outreach, education and creative community service. “We are not delusional – we know we’re humans with limited abilities. But inside every human is the capacity to do something kind, brave and strong for our fellow humans; some among us simply choose to do so in secret.”
But why the need for costumes? Would these good deeds not be equally welcomed if carried out in jeans and T-shirts? Working from the basic premise that the definition of a real-life superhero is someone who creates their unique persona to do good acts for others, Lazaros believes that “just because you are becoming something greater than yourself when you do these acts of good does not mean you have to be wearing a mask while doing them.
Nevertheless, the costumes do provide a universal symbol of good that people can recognise. When my father went out on the streets dressed as a Rabbi, people recognised him and trusted him. Dressing up in a superhero costume means something similar to me.”
The Real Life Superhero Project is photographer Peter Tangen’s attempt to document the work of the individuals who make up the movement. “They are some of the most amazing people I have ever met,” he says from his home in Los Angeles.
“As I researched the project I was struck by the irreverent and almost insulting tone of some of the reporting into these altruistic people who devote their time and effort into helping others. Their approach is very savvy though. In some ways they are marketing good deeds. They are drawing attention to personal power in an entirely unique way.”
Despite the hurdles the movement faces, its numbers are growing fast and are currently estimated to be in the region of 250 to 300 around the world. The work they do is varied; for example, The Cleanser will actively go out and clean the streets. Direction Man will go out and offer directions.
Other people have less specific personas and just aim to help. With great costumes, though, comes great responsibility, and while the superheroes are united in their aim to make the world a better place, their community has at times been divided on how that should be done.
Some members advocate a high-profile existence, helping the less fortunate through established non-profit organisations. Others want to fight the bad guys, vigilante-style, hiding in the shadows while supporting the work done by those in law enforcement.
Before moving to New Jersey to be with her boyfriend, 20-year-old Nyx, like Peter Parker in Spider-Man, prefered to keep her true identity secret. Living in Kansas, she would secretly take photographs of drug dens and send them to the authorities.
“It was dangerous work and I used to carry weapons. But I’m in New York now and things are different,” she says.
“We need to remain focused about our aims. I ask myself how I can be most productive. I want to help people feel safer and happier, but the best way I can do that is by volunteering. So now I work with my boyfriend at a homeless shelter. Everyone has it in them to make a difference, and I think this is the best way I can help.”
In Atlanta, Crimson Fist, a compact 5ft 6in, admits on his first night patrol it was the shock of seeing a man in a red and white cape and mask that scared off the two men he had confronted in an alley for attacking one another.
With a history of substance abuse, he says his superhero work is an attempt to make up for treating people poorly in the past.
“Generally when I go out on patrols I pack up a backpack with different supplies – in the summer I hand out bottled water, in the colder months, I give them clean shirts and socks and things like that.”
Citizen Prime, real name Jim, works for an unnamed financial institution by day and is one of the most respected members of the superhero community. Recently retired, he is consulted by many of the other super- heroes for advice. Prime distributed literature on drugs and crime and boasted a $4,000 custom-made outfit with breast armour.
On reflection, he likes to think his humour was his key weapon in diffusing awkward situations as he patrolled the streets of Arizona.
It would be easy to assume the actions of these members, and the many others committed to the movement, stem from a sense of disillusionment with society’s limitations, and that the new breed of superheroes are simply looking to find purpose in their lives. This isn’t always the case though.
Many of these people come from extremely successful backgrounds. Some are employed by non-profit organisations but others work on Wall Street or in politics.
As Peter Tangen puts it: “These people come from all walks of life. The organisation is very focused but it isn’t political. There are committed Democrats, Republicans, the whole spectrum of society is included. These are people with relationships, families, successful lives.
“They are not people who are lacking. They are people who are doing what they can to make a difference to the world they live in.”
For Lazaros, the motivation to get into the movement wasn’t through some sense of disillusionment, but more a desire to share his good fortune. Raised in the Jewish tradition of leaving the world a better place than the way he found it, he was imbued at an early age with strong values of charity, courtesy and kindness, modelled for him by his Hassidic parents, who always gave to others, even when it was hard to do so.
This moral code, underscored with a powerful sense of social justice, led him to his work with the homeless and disenfranchised.
Now minimally costumed in a mask, tie and jacket, he sets out every day with a backpack brimming with toothbrushes, lotions, soaps, even sweets, delivering the smaller necessities of life that fill in the gaps left by the NYC Department of Homeless Services.
The challenge, as Lazaros sees it, is to find people who are creative and altruistic and encourage them to express those charitable impulses in ways that may range from the subtle to the extreme. It is also what he sees as the ultimate mission of Superheroes Anonymous. “If I can inspire someone to do even the littlest of things to help others, and they in turn can do the same, think of how many thousands can be helped.”
This article was first published in Scotland On Sunday on Sunday, 5 September, 2010

Real Life Superheroes…with Capes

Originally posted:
In North America exists a team of superheroes. They don’t have their own comic book or 3D movie or long running TV series, but what they do have is the drive help those around them. They are on a mission of “activism and altruism.” In crazy costumes.
They are the The Real Life Superheroes, and they roam the streets of New York bestowing good deeds on those who need them.
There is Nyx, who focuses her efforts on aiding the homeless in New Jersey.
There is The Crimson Fist who tends to addicts in Atlanta.
And there is Life, my personal favorite, who hands out essential toiletries like toothbrushes to those on the streets of Manhattan. He is also the co-founder of Real Life Superheroes.
Here’s a short clip with Life, who explains why he does what he does. Mask and all:


This is such a fantastic idea, and one that could very easily be a project for children. Who better to participate in such a project than kids who are already way into superheroes, but also the perfect age to establish a lifelong trend of philanthropy. Your little caped crusaders could volunteer to walk dogs at the local shelter. Your daughter could register to run a fundraiser-for-charity 5K and run it in a mask and cape. The possibilities are innumerable, and what a fun way to instill a charitable mindest in a child.
Who knows, maybe for Halloween your second grader will want to be Connie the Canned Food Collecting Crusader.
LITTLE REMINDER: Modest Needs is in 4th place in the Pepsi Refresh Project, and your daily vote will be the only way we can move up and secure $250K for the unemployed Gulf oil spill victims. A click and you’re out. Thanks so much for your time and support!

NYC's own superheroes

Originally posted:
By James Fanelli
With great costumes comes great responsibility.
“Kick-Ass,” an action movie opening this week, spins a tale of average Joes becoming masked crime fighters, but New York has been home to real-life caped crusaders for years.
Gotham’s legion of real-life superheroes includes a leather-clad martial-arts expert who battles drug dealers, a masked religious hipster who feeds the homeless and an engaged pair of relationship counselors, Arjuna Ladino, 42, and Shanti Owen, 50, who don star-spangled spandex as the “Transformational Warriors” to spread the power of love.
“We are just people who really care and try to go out and make a difference,” says Chris Pollak, 25, whose alter ego, “Dark Guardian,” strikes fear in the hearts of drug peddlers in Washington Square Park. “The idea is to be this drastic example of making change in your community.”

The Staten Islander has been patrolling city streets for the last seven years, frequently putting himself in harm’s way. A drug dealer flashed a gun at Pollak once, and he has almost come to blows with thugs.
“My fiancée is very supportive, but she gets worried if I’m doing anything that involves danger,” Dark Guardian said. “When I met my fiancée, I told her I liked to do this thing where I go out and help the homeless and patrol the streets. I didn’t get into the whole costume thing — I waited until a little bit into the relationship.”
Occasionally, Dark Guardian gets an assist from two fellow superheroes, Chaim “Life” Lazaros, 25, and Ben Greenman, 23, a k a “Cameraman,” who has videotaped the Washington Square showdowns. The plucky pair also hands out food to the city’s homeless at least once a week.
Lazaros, who shares a Harlem hideout with Cameraman, said it takes a certain type to don a mask and do good. “They all have extremely strong personalities and a desire to change the world,” he said.
That’s not to say all real-life superheroes seek change through crime-fighting.
“The Phantom Zero,” a 33-year northern New Jersey-based superhero, raises money for charities and donates to the homeless. He has also accompanied Dark Guardian on some of his patrols. “I was scared out of my gourd,” The Phantom Zero said, declining to give his real name.
But his 20-year-old masked sweetheart, “Nyx,” has shown some gumption. Before moving to New Jersey to be with her super man, she lived in Kansas, where she would secretly snap shots of meth labs and send them to the authorities.
“I used to carry weaponry with me. But seeing as how I’m in New York . . . I don’t,” Nyx said.