Seattle's Superhero: Phoenix Jones

Originally posted:
By Michael Orion Powell
Phoenix Jones
Seattle, Washington is a strange place. Compared to most cities, it’s pretty tame. In the area in which I live, massacres have occurred along with drive-by shootings but, unlike cities like Washington D.C. or San Francisco, it somehow is not as obvious when this occurs.
In many ways, this makes it the perfect place to try out the superhero experiment. The films have been wildly successful, from Spider-Man to The Dark Knight. These adventures speak to something deep in the psyche of its audience – a longing for law enforcers who will really bring order. In nearly all of the films, these superheroes end up labelled outlaws by corrupt kleptocrats who should be doing what they have decided to do.
Seattle has plenty of corruption. Its police have abused citizens while its public school districts have stolen money on such a grand scale as to illustrate that they didn’t worry about consequences. The situation may not be as extreme as other places in the world but it is still offensive to people who believe in justice.
From interviews and stories about the guy, Phoenix Jones seems to be fairly serious about what he’s doing. If anyone has ever read comic books, the press was often relied upon to break down the character of various superheroes. (Spider-Man was repeatedly broken down by J. Jonah Jameson, the editor in chief of the Daily Bugle.)
From the Seattle P-I:

Self-proclaimed Seattle superhero Phoenix Jones Guardian of Seattle has received international attention, but a Seattle Weekly’s published Wednesday – the most in-depth article about the man so far – says Jones’ has done far more to get attention from reporters and publicists than he has from cops.
Through May 5, the Weekly reports Jones had called police about 18 incidents, but only two led to arrests.
Regarding Jones’ claims that he’s been assaulted, he refused to give the Weekly medical records and said his doctor wouldn’t be interviewed for fear of losing his medical license.
The Weekly also reports Jones didn’t formally tell police about being shot and stabbed, and the claim that he interrupted a car theft in Lynnwood turned out to be bogus, a Lynnwood police spokeswoman said.
The Weekly’s Keegan Hamilton also reported that in late November 2010, after a story told of police department-wide memo alerting officers to the self-proclaimed superheroes, a man was granted a restraining order against Jones.

It’s too early to really tell if that is how journalists are treating Jones but there does seem to be a general tone of looking at him and his colleagues as a joke. The popularity of comic books, however, comes at a time when public confidence in institutions is at its lowest, and that includes confidence in the press. Maybe it’s time for someone to save the day.