A Seattle man who calls himself “Phoenix Jones” appears to have taken 2010’s comic book film “Kick-Ass” to heart.
Like the main character in the independently produced hero fantasy, Jones has taken it upon himself to dress in a colorful outfit and roam the streets looking for crime.
And on Sunday night, while trolling the streets of the Seattle suburb Lynnwood, he found one.
A man, who asked local reporters to identify him only as Dan, said his car was almost broken into by an unknown criminal when out of nowhere a masked man in a “skin-tight rubber, black and gold suit” rushed in and chased the crook away.
His heroics caught the attention of KIRO Eyewitness News, which went up-close with Jones, the self-named “Guardian of Seattle.”
He carries mace and tear gas, and a stun prod for fighting off criminals. Jones’s outfit was also equipped with stab plates and bullet-proof material, he said.
Jones is just one of a team that calls itself the “Rain City Superhero Movement,” which calls to arms regular citizens who are sick of waiting for others to take direct action against criminals. They base their principles on the “Real Life Superhero Movement,” a website formed after comic book icon Stan Lee’s television show “Who Wants to be a Superhero?” caught on in 2006.
“Officially, a Real Life Superhero is whoever chooses to embody the values presented in superheroic comic books, not only by donning a mask/costume, but also performing good deeds for the communitarian place whom he inhabits,” the “movement” declared on its website. “You don’t necessarily need to engage in a violent fight to be a crime fighter – you might patrol and report whatever crime you see. So basically, terms like ‘good deed’ or ‘crime fighting’ are open to various interpretations.”
Adherents are encouraged to take action in their communities by posting flyers about missing persons, handing out food and clothing to homeless people, raising awareness of unsolved crimes and even donating blood.
The “Rain City” group first made waves in November, when Seattle police were notified that costumed vigilantes were paroling the streets under names like “Buster Doe,” “The Green Reaper,” “Thorn,” “No Name, “Gemini,” “Catastrophe,” “Penelope” and “Thunder 88.”
When Jones was interviewed by the local police, The Seattle Post-Intelligencer noted, he was not in costume and claimed that it was being repaired after he was stabbed while fighting a drug dealer. Police said they weren’t sure if he was really injured or not, and warned him that future crime fighting endeavors could cost him his life.
“I don’t condone people walking around on the street with masks,” Jones was quoted as saying. “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.”
Local police have encouraged Seattle residents to avoid getting involved with actively fighting crime, urging them to report suspicious activity by dialing 911 instead.
This video is from KIRO Eyewitness News in Seattle, broadcast Jan. 5, 2010.
MSNBC’s Dr. Gupta blasts ‘weak leadership’ of GOP governors: ‘It’s too little too late’
On Thursday's edition of MSNBC's "Meet The Press," medical analyst Dr. Vin Gupta laid into Republican governors' mishandling of the coronavirus pandemic as new cases explode across the country.
"Dr. Gupta, we have the governor of Texas issuing an order for Texans to wear masks. Not seeing the same thing in Florida," said anchor Katy Tur. "What is your medical take?"
"I think it's too little, too late. Both in Texas and Florida," said Gupta. "Florida especially, given what is happening with day-to-day caseloads. If I was Governor DeSantis, you need to be thinking about how to save lives. That's bringing in portable ICUs, making sure you have enough dialysis nurses. This is potentially even mobilizing National Guard. I know we are not talking about military forces, reserves."
Young Americans urged to be more responsible in coronavirus fight
Accused of failing to uphold their civic duty, younger Americans are behind the current COVID-19 surge, with several states moving to close bars, beaches and other places that saw huge crowds when lockdowns were eased.
The median age for new cases in Florida in the past few days has fluctuated between 34 and 36. In Los Angeles, 40 percent of new cases are among those under 40. And in the greater Phoenix area, the major center of the contagion in Arizona, half are under the age of 35.
In total, half or more of all the cases in California and Arizona since the start of the pandemic have been among the 18-49 age group, and the rate is expected to rise.
Texas conservatives lose their minds after GOP Gov. Greg Abbott mandates masks in public
Texas' Republican Gov. Gregg Abbott finally acknowledged that there is a serious problem as COVID-19 takes down the state's population.
It was just a few months ago that municipalities were deciding for themselves when and if they would reopen. But Abbott shut it down, saying that his orders "overrule any local jurisdiction."
In April, "Abbott and the state’s other Republican leaders have blasted local officials in Dallas and Houston for what they called overzealous enforcement of COVID-19 regulations, first zeroing in on Democratically led Harris County’s decision to fine residents for not wearing face masks, a penalty Abbott banned in his April 27 reopening order," ProPublica reported. "The fights came to a head this month with the arrest of a Dallas hair salon owner who refused to shutter her business, an act of defiance that was supported by a right-wing group that launched a GoFundMe campaign a day before she reopened that raised $500,000 before it was disabled."