Costumed Crusaders Patrol Downtown San Diego In The Name Of Justice
December 18, 2013 1:26 p.m.
Mr. Xtreme is the founding member of the Xtreme Justice League. By day he's a security guard.
Emerald Fael is a member of the Xtreme Justice League, and by day she works as an executive for a company in Poway.
San Diego Police Lieutenant Kevin Mayer
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: This is KPBS Midday Edition. I am Maureen Cavanaugh. In San Diego the sight of characters in masks and capes can be shocking. There's a group part of a movement called prelim of superheroes, the group's members are dedicated and eager to help protect the public. But like to welcome Mr. Xtreme. Welcome to the shell. Another member of the Xtreme Justice League is an executive for a company in Poway. Emerald, welcome to the program. And Kevin Mayer. And Mr. Xtreme is the only name that you go by in public, why is that?
MR. XTREME: I have a life outside of what I do here at the Xtreme Justice League, I want to keep that separate. And for a lot of other reasons aside from privacy, it's a very nature of only two is dangerous and there are a lot of bad guys out there in becoming contact with my identity if I can help in.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Describe your costume for your listeners.
MR. XTREME: I have a green tactical helmet that is stickered up and tactical goggles with the demon eyes and camouflage pants and shoulder and elbow pads and a cape.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: What is your character, what is your superpower?
MR. XTREME: I don't have an actual superpower, but I would say being very motivated to make a difference.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Okay, what is it exactly that the members of the Xtreme Justice League do as they walk around downtown San Diego.
MR. XTREME: We're going out on sick costume safety patrol to give a presence. We want to strive to prevent crime. If a gaseous they do not commit a crime they go elsewhere. We want to encourage and empower people to get involved. We do see a situation we will act as an extra set of eyes and ears for police and if necessary we will step in and get involved.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Emerald, also your name in the Xtreme Justice League, not your actual name. You act as an administrative administrator for the Justice league, and a tragedy brought you to that role. Tell us about that.
EMERALD FAEL: The reason that I am involved in the Xtreme Justice League is because my son was a member of the Xtreme Justice League and he did safety patrols with the league and he was tragically killed in an automobile accident in 2012, after the accident had occurred these guys came up around me in a support system, think of him as a brother and a brother in arms. They came to me afterwards and donated money to help take care of funeral expenses and will pallbearers at the funeral, and they really made me feel even though I have lost my child, that I had an entire group of young men to help raise up and I could support them and give them a bit of what I still had to give even though my son is no longer with me.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: And that is part of your total mission of support and being there for people, how many are there in the extreme just speak here in San Diego?
MR. XTREME: We have about twenty at the moment. It's kind of membership check changes constantly every so often, but the last time I checked we have about twenty.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: What characters they represent?
MR. XTREME: We have a guy who looks like Skelator, we have the Freedom Fighter who looks like he is like Captain America, and Midnight Highwaymen, he was a big pirates. Have a guy named Lights Out who looks like a dark evil Iron Man, we have quite a few others. A guy named Badger who looks like a guy who got electrocuted.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Do you know eachother's each names and identities?
MR. XTREME: I know them all.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: But within the group you don't share that information?
MR. XTREME: Some members choose to buy what we're out on the street, we go by our codenames.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: The tenant Mayor, Mr. Xtreme told us that the relationship between the Justice league and the police used to be adversarial but now not so much, why is the what is the policeman's police take on this?
KEVIN MAYER: We look at them as any group that is try to deter crime and they are trying to produce crime and multiply the force. In the past we do not know their medical items but now that we know what they're doing and trying to do, I have talked with several officers and I have heard no problems with what they're doing.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: When you are out on patrol, how often does your group actually intervene and stop a fight or stop a crime?
MR. XTREME: But have to look back but at least a couple times a month. We get involved in some type of altercation and sometimes it's depending on how many people are out there and depending on the weather, sometimes it is more or less, but I look back at it and it looks like at least a couple times a month.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: And what kind of shops self protection weapons to carry?
MR. XTREME: Us of us will carry some pepper spray or a stun gun or a flashlight, some people don't carry anything and just rely on martial arts training, but that is pretty much it. That is the extent of it. We do not allow members to carry knives were bats or clubs or guns or anything.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: That is okay with the police?
KEVIN MAYER: There are penal codes that cover all of that and to stun guns are allowed, as long as you're not a convicted fun: gut drug user or convicted of assault. The same with pepper spray is allowed under the same regulation. These are legal to own, possess and carry.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: But police can stop fights and that is their job that they are trained for, what about a group of private citizens to go out with the aim of intervening if there is an altercation. What if something were to go wrong and they were responsible for injuring another person? That would be the consequence?
KEVIN MAYER: I was once asked by a reporter, we had a citizen of the attack another person on the bus, the reporter asked if people should get it involved and intervene? I wish there was an answer I could give you for each situation but there also specific and it really comes down to the comfort level of the individual person seeing it and what their skills and capabilities are, you have a professional ex-martial arts fighter versus someone who may be ninety-seven years old, their perspectives will be different in terms of what they are capable of. And if people are to assist you to take care that issue, if his life-saving matter, you may want to get more involved, if it's just a verbal argument, for us it's much more better to be a good witness that rather than be part of the it's equation be part of the solution. Ultimately, when someone intervenes whether his eyes are a citizen, they're going to be judged next day. We will all be judged next day and it all comes down to each instant.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Let me ask you Mr. Xtreme, is this happening in other cities?
MR. XTREME: It is happening worldwide. Basically individuals or groups draw inspiration from fictional comic books and action heroes and make their own personas and conduct themselves in real life as part of neighborhood watch and homeless pouch outreach and speaking to kids, they use real-life superhero movement as a vehicle to promote goals and objectives they're working on.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: Emerald, you do a lot of behind-the-scenes work for the Xtreme Justice League promote the kind of presentations are put on at the time?
EMERALD FAEL: There a couple of different groups that we had the opportunity to do presentations for, the Rotary club in San Diego action can't contacted us interestingly enough, I ran into people that I knew there that work for the Department of Homeland some security, I thought that was interesting. We did a presentation ended up our point presentation talk to them that give this they gave us opportunities get involved with them and offered us support with some of the stuff that we do. We also the last two years a large portion of the Xtreme Justice League as well as other superheroes got together and did fundraising. We also work with the food bank that allows us to come in with food for America. We set the example. A lot of what happens with costumed activism is that you're bringing awareness. When this Xtreme Justice League is on the street, they are bringing awareness to safety and safety patrols and monitoring behavior making people aware of their own behaviors when David had been drinking or what we're doing environmental cleanup, the quick kids are enthralled. Other kids want to be doing environment cleaner because they see superheroes whether they are real superheroes or Mr. Xtreme in the Xtreme Justice League, or any other groups that are out there.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: I'm wondering Mr. Xtreme, which her interest in helping people, and protecting people from violence, why not maybe become a police officer or an EMT instead of patrolling in a superhero costume?
MR. XTREME: I think there is a need for what we do here, there is a need for more police and EMTs as well, and they do a great job. But I think I needed something a little more on the street level, something more work and outreach to people, where we try to also reach out to young people that might be susceptible to joining games or getting involved with drugs, and I see the way of being accustomed crimefighter patrolling the streets is a way we can try to reach out to them and try to empower them do something good, and it's something that is more community-based. I am a community activist first and foremost.
MAUREEN CAVANAUGH: There's a new short documentary screening in January at the Digital Gym about the Xtreme Justice League. If you'd like to see a trailer for that new short film, you can go to our website where you can also see a picture of Mr. Xtreme and other members of the group. Mr. Xtreme, Emerald, and Lieutenant Kevin Mayer, thank you for having us.