It’s a story straight out of a comic book – real life superheroes are roaming around some of the world’s cities, putting their lives on the line to protect those less fortunate. These brave and determined individuals don masks and capes to stand up to crime and provide assistance to people who may not be able to access help through regular channels.
The phenomenon of today’s real-life superheroes (RLHs) began in the USA in the late ’90s, when citizens frustrated with their local law enforcement’s inability to make a dent in crime took matters into their own hands. Other countries have since followed suit; from Canada in 2008 to France and Germany in 2010, reports of RLHs have increased steadily in recent years.
Most of these modern-day crime-fighters are motivated by noble intentions, such as looking out for the homeless population, helping those being abused or kidnapped, and patrolling neighbourhoods for criminal activity. Their costumes range from medical scrubs to full-body suits—often with capes—and some even refer to themselves as “real-world vigilantes”.
Obviously, there are potential risks involved with patrolling city streets. Despite this, there is growing support for RLHs: they take crime prevention into their own hands without resorting to violence, which is an admirable trait. And even if it turns out that most crimes don’t get solved because of them, they still provide moral support and comfort to some people who are victims of personal violence or domestic abuse.
Unfortunately, some RLHs take it too far, overstepping boundaries and violating citizens’ rights—especially when it comes to searching for suspects or making arrests. Such extreme behaviour has resulted in several controversial media stories, increasing suspicion about RLHs’ legitimacy at times.
Despite this controversy, many people continue to recognize the important service that today’s real-life superheroes are providing for our communities. So if you happen to spot one in your neighbourhood, maybe give them a thank-you for their courageous efforts—you could be saving someone’s life!
For some, superheroes only exist in the pages of comics or on the big screen. But, in recent years, a number of everyday people have come forward to embrace the superhero mantle and become real-life champions — proving that even those with no superhuman powers can still do spectacular feats of good.
Meet Aaron Jones, one of the most renowned real-life superheroes. Known as “The Homeless Avenger,” this Ohio native has dedicated his life to fighting for the rights of people experiencing homelessness. Jones started off slowly by handing out food to those living on the streets, but he has since gone even further: he’s organized homeless marches and rallies in cities across the country, and leads a volunteer group called “The Homeless Avengers,” which educates and mobilizes people about homelessness issues.
Jones is just one example of an ordinary person doing extraordinary things. In Cleveland, a group of volunteers known as the “Crime-Stoppers” patrol their neighborhood each night to help provide a sense of security while also deterring crime. And in Los Angeles, members of a community called Echo Park Titans have organized clean-up initiatives to keep their beloved lake clean and safe.
From simple acts of good to more ambitious stunts, these real-life superheroes prove that anyone — regardless of class or background — can make a positive impact on their community. So if you’re looking for an example of selflessness, look no further than your own city for inspiration. Whether it’s doing a few hours of charity work each month or making a big commitment like Aaron Jones did, there are plenty of ways you can be your own superhero and help change the world around you.