For Seattle's masked vigilante Phoenix Jones, shit just got real.
According to CBS News, Seattle police arrested the city's most famous, self-styled "superhero" Sunday night for allegedly assaulting several people with pepper spray. Jones claimed he was breaking up a fight but police determined that the unwitting criminals were only dancing, certainly a severe criminal offense in Bomont (i.e. Footloose), though, from what sources tell me, legal in Seattle.
In case you're not already familiar with Jones and his team of marauding super friends, the Rain City Superhero Movement, you can watch YouTube clips of Seattle news anchors trying to stifle totally inappropriate laughter as they interview Jones and his partners Buster Dough (?) and Red Dragon (which, just we're all on the same page, is the title of Thomas Harris' about the eponymous serial killer). Jones is a mixed martial artist according to a June interview with the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and says that all members of his crime fighting team have "either a military or a mixed martial arts background."
If you think that maybe — and this is wild — having a paramilitary band of disguised men run around an urban area with cattle prodders looking for trouble is a bad idea, this story pretty much confirms your skepticism. If, however, you also think that superhero-ing is the exclusive past-time of whimsical adult men who've maxed out their credit cards on utility belts and grappling hooks because they've never lost their sense of childlike wonder, you might want to consider the following lady heroes, some of who make vigilantism seem less like disturbing the peace and more like serving a public need.
- The ‘Gulabi Group' of Northern India's Uttar Prandesh state dress in pink saris, beat and shame abusive husbands, and expose government corruption in Banda, one of India's poorest, most patriarichal areas. Awesome, right? Sampat Pal Devi, the group's founder, has recently made progress in regional elections, garnering more support after an unsuccessful political bid in 2007. According to the BBC, Devi doesn't want "appeasement or affirmative action," only a fair chance to earn a living wage and the restoration of female dignity.
- Terrifica, a now-retired New York superhero, garnered a bit of infamy with her super-judgey mission to prevent men from using "lies and drinks" to seduce women into having casual sex, meddling that earned her the name "Anti-Cupid" back in 2005. While preventing the ill-conceived hook-up was probably NONE OF HER BUSINESS, Terrifica was practical enough about her crusade to pass out condoms along with her cautionary diatribes. As all superheroes have an origin story in which some horrible accident imbues them with superhuman powers, you're probably dying to know how Terrifica was born — her boyfriend broke up with her when she moved to New York and, I assume, spilled radioactive waste on her.
- For the sake of geographical diversity, this post wouldn't be complete without mentioning Portland, Oregon animal rights activist Lunar Veil, who works with her partner Dark Wolf to shut down puppy mills. Or a single puppy mill. I think we can all agree that this is an awesome thing to do, especially if you, like me, imagine that a "puppy mill" is a place where sad-eyed puppies push against a giant wooden wheel with their little, wet noses while a grizzled overseer taunts them.
Image via Danomyte/Shutterstock.