Phoenix Jones Says He’s Training a Replacement Hero, Nightstick.

Originally posted:
By Jonah Spangenthal-Lee

After dramatically revealing his secret identity to a crowd of reporters following his court hearing at the county jail Thursday morning, Phoenix Jones—legal name: Ben Fodor—tells PubliCola he plans to continue patrolling Seattle’s streets, but also says he’s “training a replacement.”
Fodor says his replacement, known as Nightstick, is the strong silent type.
Fodor says Nightstick—a friend of Fodor’s from the mixed martial arts fighting world—is more interested in going out and thwomping bad guys than calling 911 and waiting for police. Fodor says Nightstick is already meting out street justice in Seattle, breaking up “six or seven crimes,” and recently left a drug dealer handcuffed to a light pole.
Fodor says ultimately he’s hoping Nightstick becomes “a guy that can function the way [he] did before [he] was outed before the Seattle Police Department.” (Though Fodor, aka Phoenix Jones, says he won’t slowing down his own crime fighting.)
Fodor would not provide any details about Nightstick’s true identity, but said he his a “mixed martial artist” who wears “head-to-toe covered gear” and “doesn’t do interviews.”

Seattle police arrest 'superhero' Phoenix Jones in assault investigation

Originally posted:
The man known as Phoenix Jones Guardian of Seattle, the self-proclaimed Seattle “superhero” who has received international media attention, was arrested and booked into King County Jail early Sunday morning for investigation of assault.
Shortly after 2:30 a.m., police were called to First Avenue and Columbia Street after an alleged assault with pepper spray. A group of men and women had left a club, were walking to their car and were “dancing and having a good time,” Seattle Police Det. Jeff Kappel said in a statement.
“An unknown adult male suspect came up from behind and pepper sprayed the group,” Kappel’s statement said. “Two men in the group chased after the suspect. Responding officers arrived on scene and separated the involved parties.”
The 23-year-old man arrested is the man previously identified by police as Phoenix Jones Guardian of Seattle. He was booked into jail shortly after 5 a.m. and released on bond about 12:45 p.m. Sunday, jail records show.
Jones is not the man’s real name. does not normally identify suspects in criminal cases until they’ve been formally charged by a prosecuting attorney’s office.
He’s expected to have a Thursday morning arraignment, where a plea would be entered. Police say the case involves four victims.
Other than the Sunday incident, the man known as Phoenix Jones doesn’t have a criminal history in Seattle Municipal Court. However, court records show he previously was arrested outside Seattle after being stopped for driving with a suspended license.
A spokesman for Phoenix Jones, Peter Tangen, told Publicola that a video of the incident tells a different story and that the self-proclaimed superhero was trying to break up a fight. He did not provide Publicola with a copy of the video.
“It’ll be interesting what [police] have to say when the video comes out,” Tangen told the site. “I’m very sure it’s going to show a different story than what police are saying.”
Police spokespersons on Sunday didn’t comment specifically on Jones’ behavior, other than Kappel’s statement which didn’t name him, though previously they’ve said self-proclaimed superheroes interjecting themselves into disputes could create problems.

The Problem With Self Defense: Superheroes Part 2

Originally posted:
By: Peter Lampasona
Date: 19 August 2011
In the last installment of the Problem with Self Defense editorial series, I started to discuss the recent surge in discussion over the Real Life Superhero trend in New York. Last week, HBO aired a documentary called Superheroes following members of the recent phenomenon of private citizens dressing in costumes to engage in everything from from charity work to vigilante justice. Among the groups featured in the documentary is a make-shift team of Avengers who operate out of the New York boroughs known as the NY Initiative.
In part one of this two part series*, I discussed the charity work and general positive side of these adventurous cosplayers. But the obvious problem with trying to be a Real Life Superhero comes from the part where they have to be super.
*Editor’s note: Part one can be view here.
The practice of crimefighting, as the term is used by Real Life Superheroes, is the actual intervention by one of these masked vigilantes on a violent crime in progress. Crimefighting tactics can vary from reckless self-delusion to actions that can, themselves, be defined as violent crime.
A particularly active yet relatively sane neighborhood watch can film a criminal act, call the police, and submit the video as evidence. And, to be fair, a minority of Real Life Superheroes use this tactic. This is somewhat more sensible as the police are not omniscient, but are equipped and trained to handle potentially volatile incidents with a minimal of casualty on both sides.
Members of the NY Initiative have publicly expressed negative attitudes towards local police as justification for trying to perform jobs the police are much better suited for. The sentiment that the police are either spread too thin or just don’t care is a thin veil placed over what crime fighting really is: looking to start a fight with someone no one likes so they take the blame while the trouble seeker gets to simultaneously get out his aggressions and feel like he did a good deed.
I used to do the same thing as a maladjusted youth (going in to maladjusted adulthood) with surly drunks at public gatherings. And even though I was also intentionally putting myself in situations where someone with an itch to do something violent would appear to be the aggressor, it didn’t make me a hero so much as an asshole who would one day get shot going down that road.
The most egregious example of this danger seeking was featured both in the documentary and on multiple articles about the NY Initiative. It is a practice they refer to as “bait patrol.”
One member of the team, usually a woman known as T.S.A.F. or an openly gay man who goes by Zimmer, will intentionally dress like a victim. T.S.A.F. will dress provocatively with an exposed purse or Zimmer will assume another identity of a hilariously offensive gay stereotype. They will then walk the streets of Brooklyn at 3 A.M. hoping to have a run in with a mugger, rapist, or gay basher.
When this violent encounter comes, or so goes the plan as I was unable to confirm if they ever got their wish of being attacked, they signal the rest of the team who are riding a block away on skateboards to come to the rescue.
There are so many problems with this practice it’s upsetting to have to put it in print. First, if the real intent was to deter violent crime, the Superheroes would come out in full regalia, let everyone know they are there, and hopefully make anyone with the thought of committing a violent crime view the neighborhood being patrolled as too hard a target.
Bait patrols are not crime prevention. They are spoiling for a fight.
Whether or not the bait patrol is technically entrapment is up for debate. However, it is certainly violent vigilantism and even more demonstrably stupid.
How long does it take for a team of Superheroes to skateboard a city block? How long can the physically smallest and weakest member of the team, dressed in clothes that intentionally restrict movement and ability to protect oneself from harm, fend off an unknown number of potentially armed attackers without serious injury?
I’d wager the answer to those questions are two different numbers.
It seems purely a side note at this point, but the two common people used as bait are really bad at fighting. Not that any amount of martial skill can guarantee safety in the bait scenario, but what sparring video and open-mat accounts of their training exists indicate that T.S.A.F. and Zimmer are terrible at unarmed violence.
Though, the existence of open-mat accounts show that they’re not above trying to convince themselves that they are fighters for a few hours a week at various gyms.
That is where the worlds of Superheroes, “self defense,” and martial arts cross: the ass kicking fantasy.
Visualizing the physical destruction of generic evil doers to either right wrongs or feel like the world is a safer place is a smooth and sexy feeling. It is a feeling of control: that the hero is the one imposing his will on the situation rather than the bad guy. And, like all control, it is a fantasy.
In my career as a sports writer I have had the privilege of meeting and sometimes training with some of the best athletes on the planet. These people’s skill, physical prowess, and dedication have turned them into something that seems more than a mere human. And all those athletes are killed just as dead by two bullets in the chest and one in the head.
Even the most intelligent and practical means of self protection, which are almost always absent from self defense fantasy, are playing a numbers game. The best methods are all built around avoiding trouble or recognizing and quickly escaping from it. And, if someone takes the most sensible measures to avoid harm, there’s a better than average chance he will lead a safe and happy life, free of violence, until disease or old age eventually kills him.
Or he could be killed by a stray bullet from an incident too far away for him to have possibly observed.
If you are reading this article the odds are that you are alive. This also means that there is a chance, no matter how small, that at any given moment you can die. And so can anyone you know who is also alive.
Playing the odds is the best you can do. And no amount of costumed gallantry used to disguise impotent rage at this fact can change it. Certainly beating up some malnourished crack head feels awfully potent, but in the end there will always be more danger.
A watchful and protective community group is only working if it is deterring violent crime from happening in its neighborhood, not provoking it or trying to physically fight it.

This Is Our Neighborhood Not Yours!!??!!

Rockin to save lives!!!!!!

Rockin to save lives!!!!!!

“This is our neighborhood not yours”, That is what my neighbor told me in a confrontation we had today. I am in a Superhero Metal band called Jack Havoc we have no place to practice, we have been run out of every place in town. We need to practice to play the Charity shows we agreed to rock, to fulfill our being a superhero needs. We only play wed. and sat. afternoons for two hours and we have worked on soundproofing my garage as we go, we are not rich, and i have one neighbor who just cannot tolerate it, he comes over almost every other wed. to tell us he wants it turned down, which we do, but no matter what we try he still always threatens to call the cops, we have spoken with the city and formed an alliance with Lisa Hopper of the city council and she is doing everything in her power to help us even going as far as to now divert his complaints to the police directly to her office. When he came over today he threatened that he already or may call the cops (he did not) but when i told him that we  used to be bad guys but now we are clean and rockin our music to stay out of trouble, he said He’ll be watching me and that this was there neighborhood not ours! I said,” Sir this is all of our neighborhood not just yours and we need to work together so we can all enjoy our freedom”. I even pulled the” This is America” bit, i know very cliche but i think he got the point. My point is I did not lose my cool once, i remind myself that i was a Superhero and never lost it once. I killed him with kindness, than made my point clear. We are not stopping. We do this at a reasonable time and stop before two hours go by, we all have to work together, and sometimes put up with things that we usually wouldn’t to ensure the happiness of others, I never complain about someone working on there house with a nail gun, The city parades, or running the lawnmower, hes like 70 but if he had a bit of a noisy career to practice for, like an old man band, i would be happy to put up with it cause he’s my neighbor.
The Ded Beat of Jack Havoc   [email protected]

Seattle's Superhero: Phoenix Jones

Originally posted:
By Michael Orion Powell
Phoenix Jones
Seattle, Washington is a strange place. Compared to most cities, it’s pretty tame. In the area in which I live, massacres have occurred along with drive-by shootings but, unlike cities like Washington D.C. or San Francisco, it somehow is not as obvious when this occurs.
In many ways, this makes it the perfect place to try out the superhero experiment. The films have been wildly successful, from Spider-Man to The Dark Knight. These adventures speak to something deep in the psyche of its audience – a longing for law enforcers who will really bring order. In nearly all of the films, these superheroes end up labelled outlaws by corrupt kleptocrats who should be doing what they have decided to do.
Seattle has plenty of corruption. Its police have abused citizens while its public school districts have stolen money on such a grand scale as to illustrate that they didn’t worry about consequences. The situation may not be as extreme as other places in the world but it is still offensive to people who believe in justice.
From interviews and stories about the guy, Phoenix Jones seems to be fairly serious about what he’s doing. If anyone has ever read comic books, the press was often relied upon to break down the character of various superheroes. (Spider-Man was repeatedly broken down by J. Jonah Jameson, the editor in chief of the Daily Bugle.)
From the Seattle P-I:

Self-proclaimed Seattle superhero Phoenix Jones Guardian of Seattle has received international attention, but a Seattle Weekly’s published Wednesday – the most in-depth article about the man so far – says Jones’ has done far more to get attention from reporters and publicists than he has from cops.
Through May 5, the Weekly reports Jones had called police about 18 incidents, but only two led to arrests.
Regarding Jones’ claims that he’s been assaulted, he refused to give the Weekly medical records and said his doctor wouldn’t be interviewed for fear of losing his medical license.
The Weekly also reports Jones didn’t formally tell police about being shot and stabbed, and the claim that he interrupted a car theft in Lynnwood turned out to be bogus, a Lynnwood police spokeswoman said.
The Weekly’s Keegan Hamilton also reported that in late November 2010, after a story told of police department-wide memo alerting officers to the self-proclaimed superheroes, a man was granted a restraining order against Jones.

It’s too early to really tell if that is how journalists are treating Jones but there does seem to be a general tone of looking at him and his colleagues as a joke. The popularity of comic books, however, comes at a time when public confidence in institutions is at its lowest, and that includes confidence in the press. Maybe it’s time for someone to save the day.

Real life superheroes patrol on campus

Originally posted:
Upset with an apathetic public, these guys took safety in their own hands

Photo by Peter Kluch / Senior Staff Photographer

Photo by Peter Kluch / Senior Staff Photographer

While they may not have the superhero powers featured in movies and comic strips, a local group has been braving the streets equipped with bulletproof vests and mace to “take a stand against violent crime.”
Although his “real job” is working as a security officer, Mr. Xtreme is the founder and president of the Xtreme Justice League. The name was inspired by the Justice League of America comic strips, but also because he views what he does as extreme.
“Most people aren’t going to put themselves on the line to help people they don’t know or put themselves in dangerous situations,” Mr. Xtreme said. “I think my views are extreme also, but in a good way.”
He said team members use influences from their choice characters and apply those traits to real life with the intent to stop crime through prevention, physical intervention and community outreach.
This is part of an online movement known as Real Life Superheros, in which individuals and groups perform heroic acts for the community under the masks of their hidden identities, he said.
Photo by Peter Kluch / Senior Staff Photographer

Photo by Peter Kluch / Senior Staff Photographer

The San Diego-based group actively patrols the College Area in response to lasts month’s assault of a woman walking home at 3 a.m. near the intersection of Campanile Drive and Montezuma Road. They also patrol areas of Chula Vista beca.
The XJL is comprised of approximately 15 individuals — students, security guards, military and retail workers — who are “running this aggressive campaign” to stop the perpetrators and prevent future attacks by raising awareness of these issues to the public, according to Mr. Xtreme.
“We are all regular people. It doesn’t matter who we are, but it matters what we do. “That’s what is special about our group: it’s a pretty diverse group of people.”
The group acts as a “visual deterrent to crime” during the day, late evenings and late night, based on what they feel is necessary.
According to Capt. Lamine Secka of the SDSU Police Department, the XJL doesn’t seem to have prevented any particular crimes, but the police department stands neutral as it hasn’t been much of a nuisance either.
Although, Secka noted, the XJL’s outfits “can be a bit distracting.”
Real life superheros patrol on campus from The Daily Aztec on Vimeo.
Mr. Xtreme, who based his outfit on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, wears a green helmet and matching cape, level IIIA bulletproof body armor, goggles that conceal his eyes and camouflage pants. Urban Avenger, a newer member who joined the XJL in the summer, dresses in red and black Under Armor items with polycarbonate motorcycle gear.
Each member carries an assortment of self-defense devices and tools that vary from pepper spray, tasers, flashlights, handcuffs and first aid to CPR kits — all of which are legal under full extent of the law, Mr. Xtreme said.
These tools are helpful if the group witnesses a crime and must implement a citizen’s arrest. Based on California Penal Code S.837, a private person may arrest another  in three situations; for a public offense committed or attempted in his presence; when the person arrested has committed a felony, although not in his presence; or when a felony has been confirmed and the citizen has reasonable cause to believe their suspect has committed it.
Though Mr. Xtreme said they’ve deployed their weapons and performed citizen’s arrests in the past, they refuse the title of “vigilantes” because they try to work within reason and not harm anyone.
Urban Avenger said that in October, he helped break up a fight involving a few men outside the San Diego State trolley station. A few months later, the man who was attacked approached him and thanked him for saving his life.
“That was the moment that justified everything we do,” he said.
However, there have been times when members of the XJL were detained by police during patrol because it was not immediately clear whether they were criminals themselves, he said.
International security and conflict resolution senior Amir Emadi said the group has a lot of potential for growth since the city is host to Comic-Con and a strong XJL presence would be good for society.
“The best aspect is it’s an option for those who might be considering joining gangs to join (the XJL) as an alternative,” Emadi said. “You can tell they feel it in their hearts and that makes them real superheros.”
The XJL is seeking to recruit more members from all backgrounds.
“The XJL can’t tackle all these problems ourselves,” Mr. Xtreme said. “We want people to volunteer and get involved so we can make our community safer. Public safety should be everyone’s concern.”

Police Invoke Keane Act: Local Superhero Viper Told to GTFO

The Police vs. Viper

The Police vs. Viper

In what is surely just the first shot fired in the inevitable war between the authorities and masked vigilantes, the police of Columbia, Tennessee have demanded that the local superhero, the Viper, cease his activities in the fair southern U.S. city. The move, reported by ABC News, recalls the harsh actions of government authorites in Watchmen, where the notorious Keane Act outlawed all masked crimefighters in the United States. Things aren’t quite as violently oppressive in the quiet city of Columbia – where, the ABC reporter takes care to note, there are many pigeons – but it is very much against the law to wear masks on the street. As such, the mysterious Viper has found himself S.O.L.
Garbed in a Power Rangers-esque costume of green tights and a mask, the Viper told ABC News, “I’m not in it for the ‘wow’ factor.” But while the Viper only wishes to inspire his fellow Columbians to do the right thing, the local police saw things differently. “My future endeavors are limited right now, since i’m confined to headquarters,” he said, deppressingly.
The events in Columbia do not bode well for other real-life superheroes like Phoenix Jones, especially as their flamboyant actions continue to draw attention from the media and perhaps undermine the authority of the police. In any case, ComicsAlliance will continue to monitor the situation.
Xeno be with you, Viper. We join the good citizens of Columbia, Tennessee in awaiting your defiant return to action.
[Via ABC News]

Obeying the Law When On Patrol

Many people think that I am being a stick in the mud when I talk about being sure to obey the law whenever they are on patrol. Actually I’m being extremely practical. Here is why. Every time you break a law, you run the risk of drawing negative attention to yourself. Even by walking across people’s lawns, flashing your flashlights down people’s driveways, etc, you draw attention to yourself and run the risk of someone calling in a complaint. It doesn’t matter if you are doing nothing wrong, an officer may be sent to respond. An officer will then, in most likelihood, fill out a Field Interrogation Card (or F.I. Card), and don’t forget Dispatch will also have their own notes on the encounter.
You want every contact with the authorities to be on a positive note. Having an officer fill out an FI Card means that he is making note of something suspicious.. this is not a positive thing. FI Cards are used to make note of “someone of interest” so that if later a criminal complaint is made, the police have a point to begin an investigation. If Dispatchers keep getting calls about someone looking into car windows, and walking over people’s lawns enough times, then police will eventually.. and possibly erroneously (or accurately).. attribute it to guess who.. you. They will then begin to watch you more closely, cutting you less slack each time they have to talk to you. Even officers who have not made contact with you yet will see that a number of FI Cards have been filed on you and will think, “Hmm.. other officers think there is good cause to talk to this person, so there might be reason to think they’re up to something.” Think of it this way, police officers are sharks, and having FI Cards attached to you, and special notes in your file, makes you an appealing lure. They will begin looking at you, and not the waters around you. Being a crime fighter is about helping to alleviate crime conditions, not muddy the waters.
By keeping off people’s lawns, not climbing into trees, not arousing suspicions, and obeying even the most innocuous traffic laws (avoid Jay Walking), you don’t give police a reason to stop you and speak with you. They will not have any past complaints to weigh against you. They will have no reason to be suspicious of you. And most importantly, they will not have a negative image of you when you approach them with information, meaning you will less likely get a brush off, or have an unfair accusation turn and bite you in the behind.
It doesn’t matter what your own personal philosophy on the matter of society’s rules and laws are. If you thumb your nose at them, don’t complain when you suffer the inconvenient consequences of your actions. Drawing heat down on yourself and then loudly complaining abut it is ridiculous. Nobody will listen. You brought it down on yourself.
If you go on patrol, keep your nose clean and pay attention to what you are doing.??

RLSH & Police

Real Life Superheroes believe in working with the police.  They work to make a positive difference in their communities.   While many RLSH actively do safety patrols and neighborhood watch activities, they do not seek to act as a police officer.  Many real life superheroes have fought crime, but only within the confines of the law.   RLSH’s report suspicious activities and crime to the police.  They act as an extra set of ears and eyes for the police.  They only intervene if necessary.
Real life superheroes are about going out to make a positive difference in their communities.  The RLSH movement is based around altruism and community service.
We do not support vigilante justice.  We do not seek to hurt or scare anyone.  We can not control everyone who throws on a mask and goes out on the streets.  If anyone goes out seeking vigilante justice or puts innocent people in danger they are not accepted here.