Q&A with a Real Masked Hero

Knight Owl kindly answered a few questions I had, and Googled about, after the Today Show story about Phoenix Jones and the others in Seattle that don masks, outfits, and go about patrolling for crime, people in need of help, and all that sort of thing.

Why did I take an interest, enough so to do even the little digging I've done so far and ask this man to answer a few questions for me? Let's see. I'm a nerd at heart and even though I'm more than a little leery of the idea of people throwing spandex on and doing things best left to trained professionals it's a subject of interest.

After all how many people have dreamed of being Batman? Knight Owl and people like him world wide stopped dreaming and started doing. Admittedly it's just slightly on the Nuts side, but after reading the Online Manual he has been working on I am willing to treat Mr. Owl as a rational adult doing something worthwhile and deserving of the sort of common courtesies you would want in return.

What follows is a set of questions I had sent via his Contact Form.

Knight Owl

How's your, presumably, nighttime, activities square with trying to hold down a job and your training.

Right now, it’s not a huge issue. I’m a full time student. I make time about every other weekend to go out and do safety patrols/charity handouts with other Portland area RLSH. On the sunny side (if there ever is one), I do other pragmatic things like donating blood.

Your guide goes into detail on how to deal with police/first responder interactions. How should things be played out with the skeptical observing public when 'dashing off into the night' isn't an option?
Be polite, be positive, be sincere. Show them you just want to help.

Your personal thoughts on the Phoenix Jones/Rain City movement being picked up by mainstream outlets?

The media will always gobble up the spectacles.

I'm quite aware you're going to get insulted and have your sanity questioned more than the average person, but it is an almost obligatory question. Why not go into a more mundane form of public service? Granted in your 'about me' section you outright state you're training to be a paramedic, so why the outfit and running around potentially getting shot/stabbed/arrested/etc?
As I’ve defended myself before from similar questions; I’m doing the same thing off duty as Knight Owl, as when I’m on the clock as a firefighter/EMT… for free. It’s a natural extension of what I’m already doing, just in a radical way- one that will draw positive attention not to me as a person, but to my actions. To show that anyone can do something, and that the world is worth fighting for.

Frivolous and I suppose beside the point but... what comics did you feel inspired you most?
A variety. The standards mostly: Batman, Spider-Man, Watchmen, The Boys, Powers. And no, NOT Kick-Ass. 90% of the genuine RLSH I know were around before that comic book was published, let alone the movie.

Any closing words for the home audience?

Instead of watching reality television, go do something nice for somebody else. A year from now you won’t recall an individual episode of Jersey Shore, but you will remember when you went out in the cold and kept someone alive for one more day by giving them food and a blanket.

There you go. Hopefully I'll have more material to send down the pipes, as I can see several different subjects this 'real life superhero' form of activism could be relevant to. Personally while I think the idea is more than a little silly, mostly because I'm in no personal shape to run around in bright colors and I'm fairly self conscious, the fact people like Knight Owl are out there is more encouraging than disturbing to me. I say this because he wrote a fairly detailed guide and how-to on the subject. Granted I'm not in much of a position to judge its relevance as I'm more than a bit of a home-body it does seem well written and thoughtful on relevant issues such as fitness, police/civil service interactions, citizens arrests, and scads of information on first aid (which presumably comes from his 'civilian' occupation.)

Hopefully my attention span will let me find a little more on the matter. Interestingly weird, but essentially this looks like people trying to better their surroundings.
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