I was out at the movies the other day with my son. He was wearing a shirt that Purple had bought him. It has a picture of the Green Lantern on it and says “Future Superhero”. I have always loved this shirt and never really though twice about it.
During the movie my son feel asleep on my lap and since it was a kids movie I was not that interested in it and I started thinking, what if my son really does become a superhero? At first I had these ridiculously funny dreams of him being a kid sidekick with wise cracking jokes. Then I thought maybe he would just carry on my Phoenix Jones title kinda like Nite Owl gave his title to Dan Dreiberg.
As I’m daydreaming I started really dissecting why I became a masked adventurer in the first place. The first couple times I did this kind of work it was easy to understand the motivation. Someone hurt my son and I was mad and I’m the kind of person that if I see a problem and I can fix it I will. The next couple of times it was also out of need, friends getting beat up, or walking down the street and seeing someone get mugged. I actually wore all my super gear under my clothes and would park far away from activities I was planning to attend just so I could walk the streets and maybe see something.
As I was pondering all my adventures and mishaps I remembered a time I saw a guy do a hit and run on Capital Hill. I raced into the alleyway, ditched my regular clothes and chased after the car. Eventually he got stopped on a one way and I was able to grab the plate number and report it to 911. I started walking back to my car sliding through alleyways so I would not be seen. I reached where I had left my clothes and there was nothing there, someone had stolen my clothes. My original crime prevention suit looked nothing like the current Jones suit so I was at a loss about how I would walk in public and not be recognized. After going through several ideas I finally just said well I’m in the Capital Hill nightclub district (which is known for outlandish costumes just FYI if you’re not from Seattle) so I’ll just wear my boxers, no shirt, no shoes and my flattop. I walked three blocks to my car half naked right past the police taking the statement from the women who was hit by the car I had chased. Its moments like these I would never want to deprive my son of. Crime fighting isn’t just about catching the bad guy and looking out for people, there are a lot of gritty parts and these are the parts I wanna protect him from.
Back to motivations, at some point helping people became less about getting lucky and being in the wrong place at the right time and more about parking in dark alleys and walking bad neighborhoods just in case someone needed my help. I was so mad that there was no “Phoenix Jones” there when I needed him, no random stranger to say “Here is my phone, call 911”. That’s what this is all about, it’s about creating awareness, awareness that people can be great, that they can and should look out for each other. Lots of people only wanna do what’s easy and comfortable, never reaching out of their comfort zone. Some people are more concerned with watching YouTube videos then making witness statements.
I decided that this world needs help and if I was going to help her I would have to bring some attention to the things I believe in. I would use social media and the idea of being a superhero to create a conversation about what level of citizen intervention is legal and helpful. Every day I get a couple of messages and stories where someone I know on Facebook or in real life did something heroic when the time came, not because they wanted to be a hero but because I had inspired them to do the right thing. I hope I inspire my son to do the right thing. I hope I have the will power and dedication to see this through. I hope that people take notice and really change their hearts and minds to reflect a more caring society. I hope most of all that in 15 years when my son becomes a man the world will no longer need a “Phoenix Jones” and that all citizens have summoned the testicular fortitude to say no to crime and to look out for each other.