With police investigations in shambles, a group of self-described superheroes have formed to protect sex workers from the serial killer menacing the New York area.
The New York Initiative, as it calls itself, has formed a Facebook group and defines their mission thusly:
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.
They recently posted the following on Craigslist:
If you absolutely don't have a friend to help you [track your movements while on a date], 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 love the idea of a support network (I mean, organized law enforcement would be even better, but still) but as the Atlantic Wire queries, "These guys obviously take themselves pretty seriously, but would some homicidal maniac do the same when they show up with their homemade armor and (presumably kind of foggy) goggles?"
Yeah, it's a little goofy, and some folks are clearly living out their superhero fantasies, but it's heartwarming nonetheless. Plus, they offer self-defense classes! They have asked people to spread their message and I for one am happy to — if for no other reason than some woman could learn to better defend herself — and hear the words "you are not alone." While I wouldn't abandon 911, it's nice to know there are people out there who care.