By Kari Luu, Staff Writer
To some, he’s just a man skulking through the night for an overdue Halloween party; but to others, he’s a symbol, a crusader and a giver. His identity is a secret. His weaknesses are on par with any other man, but he gets his kicks from doing good and his adrenaline rush comes from sweet justice. He’s just your neighborhood friendly superhero: Mr. Xtreme.
Donning a lucha libre mask and armed with a utility belt stuffed with a tactical flashlight, pepper spray, handcuffs, first-aid kit and a stun-gun, Mr. Xtreme is a homemade superhero who patrols San Diego areas by night in an effort to prevent crime. He sifts through various San Diego areas such as downtown, City Heights, Pacific and Mission beaches and more. On patrols, he occasionally hands out food and drink to homeless people and sometimes works with a superhero from another town.
Mr. Xtreme is one of the more active and visible members of the local Real Life Superheroes Organization, which is an international online community of nearly 300 comic book fans that stays connected through Web sites such as worldsuperheroregistry.com. These heroes spend their free time fighting crime and doing good deeds for society behind the anonymity of a mask and cape.
By day, Mr. Xtreme works as a security guard. As a native San Diegan, he was a witness to the city’s wave of crime in the early ‘90s. He grew infuriated by the public’s apathy and began his mission three years ago to deter crime in this town and promote safety awareness.
Mr. Xtreme’s primary method of crime prevention is acting as a visual deterrent — raising awareness by being highly visible and intervening in situations when a victim is involved. However, he is often invigorated by the gawks and stares he receives because of his outrageous attire.
“We’re not here to take law into our hands,” he said. “We’re not vigilantes. And we’re not here to harass people or violate their civil rights. Our role out there is a neighborhood watch: Deter crime and make sure it doesn’t happen in the first place or raise awareness: So I don’t mind if people get on their cell phones or call the police or try to shake me down.”
Mr. Xtreme cares more about the message he sends to society rather than what people think of him.
“At least I’m getting people to see what I’m doing and hopefully that will get them into the habit of calling the police when there are problems and suspicious activities,” Mr. Xtreme said.
As a young man, Mr. Xtreme himself fell victim to various crimes such as physical abuse, bullying and was even held at gunpoint by a gang. From his experiences, Mr. Xtreme was inspired to become the neighborhood superhero.
“I take the violent victimization of innocent people very personally,” he said. “Even if I don’t know the victims I feel that I can relate to them.”
Although this is not something he can put on his resume, Mr. Xtreme is just in the business to do good. He uses his own money for most of the charity work he does, such as printing flyers when a violent rapist was loose in San Diego. He also distributes food to the homeless and even offered $1,500 of his own money to whoever caught the sexual assault suspect last year. He’s no sellout either. He was offered to be on a reality show, which he turned down.
“I’m trying to give back to the community and do something positive,” Mr. Xtreme said. “All this apathy just kind of bewilders me and makes me kind of lose faith in humanity sometimes because nobody cares. ‘Another victim, another statistic’ and all we hear is, it’s time for a wakeup call and I’m tired of hearing of wakeup calls and instead of getting on with our lives we need to devote and dedicate our lives to take a stand.”
Despite how some may scoff at Mr. Xtreme’s lack of experience and odd ways of applying his justice, he has been training for the last year by learning various martial arts such as jiu-jitsu and judo. He has also taken classes in defensive tactics, handcuffing, first aid, batons and citizen arrest procedures.
“I’ve worked in the security field for several years and worked in a field that’s closely related to what I do here as Mr. Xtreme,” he said. “So I do have some experience in making citizen arrest, dealing with hostile aggressive people and dealing with the police.”
Mr. Xtreme said he hopes to recruit more superheroes in the near future and patrol the College Area.
“When I go out and do this it feels really rewarding,” Mr. Xtreme said. “I’m not bound by society’s rules, I don’t have to be a kissass and I’m trying to do something positive and give back to the community in a time when not too many people care.”
For more information on Mr. Xtreme, visit www.reallifesuperheroes.org.
By Kari Luu, Staff Writer