Interview with "The Patriot"
In August of 2011 The Good Fight was published by Brighton Publishing. In the story, Jeffery Scott is a reluctant vigilante forced into fighting for what he believes. People like Jeff live in our world and many of them go unrecognized. From time to time the media will pick up on a story about a man or woman defending themselves, stopping a crime, or helping to save others from harm.
Recently, I was given the privilege to interview such a person. His identity remains a secret, but his public persona is becoming more and more well known. He calls himself The Patriot and he leads a group of like-minded individuals called The Guardians. They are part of the RLSH or Real Life Super Hero movement and they put themselves in harm’s to show the world that good people still exist. If you saw someone being mugged in an alley, would you help? Maybe you wouldn’t have to. Maybe you could just call… the Patriot.
Conducted completely through email, the Patriot has given me insights into what his life is like. If you have ever wondered, if you have ever had a single thought about pitting your own strength against those who seek to do wrong, then please read this interview. It gives us all a small picture into the heart and mind of a man who decided to risk personal harm for the greater good.
Q1: What exactly is it that you try and do?If I understand the question right, what I do, is help out rather than stand by to put it simply. To show that good people still exist in this world. To help pull all of us out of this apathetic, fearful, ignorant, and selfish world we have fallen into. But, I can't do it alone, and so I hope to inspire people who feel the same to help accomplish this task. There was a time when people helped one another, a time when we as a human race lived and cared for each other, and we weren't worried about what was in it for us, you did it because it was the right and good thing to do.
Q2: Are there any comparisons you can make that would describe the work you do, i.e. detective or neighborhood watch? Policeman or boy scout?Well, doing what we do is very much a unique thing upon itself. While I wouldn't directly compare what we do to the above, I will say, that myself and others do use certain skills from each one.
Q3: How do you get yourself in position to help out?When I was younger, and on a ride along with a Police Officer, he told me "You don't choose the day, the day chooses you." It's something that has stuck with me, and means that some days there is absolutely nothing going on, and other days you'll be swamped beyond belief. It's a matter of trying to be at the right place at the right time.
Q4: What goes in to the preparation and how do you actually get there?Well, besides testing the gear you’re taking to use that night, one other thing, and this goes along with the question above, is that you have done recon on the area you'll be patrolling that night. From gathering info on past crimes, to going there, taking pictures, finding quick exits should you need them, and mapping out your route. Depending on where I'm patrolling, sometimes I'll drive, and park my car a couple streets back or in a parking garage. Other times I might do a foot patrol and "walk the beat" so to speak.
Q5: Can you relate to me what a typical (if that is the right word to use) "outing" would be like?You suit up. Some of us play music to help get us in the right frame of mind, choose the tools for the mission that night, load up what you need in your vehicle, and then head out on patrol. Once on patrol you keep alert for any trouble, answer questions to curious citizens, and take the occasional picture with people. Then you head home, and like any job, unwind a bit, and hit the hay.
Q6: What kind of equipment do you carry?Nowadays, I carry a modified riot shield, mace gun and extra cartridges, flashlight, camera, cell phone, baton, canteen, pen and paper, Kevlar vest, knee pads, forearm guards, Kevlar knuckle gloves and other miscellaneous items.
Q7: Do you just leave your house already wearing all of your gear and then walk the neighborhood?Some do, some change at the area they are patrolling. Some suit up halfway at home, and finish when they are at where they are patrolling. I've done both. I have gotten ready at home, and have also changed in an elevator before.
Q8: Could you recall a memorable moment, maybe the first time you saved someone or maybe a time when you got in over your head?Well, the first time I saved someone is a lot of people's favorite story. I was working as a bouncer for a nightclub, and was locking up for the night when I heard a scream come from the alleyway. I looked around and noticed no one doing anything. I ran and saw a man trying to rape a woman. Without thinking, I took off down the alleyway tackling him to the ground. We both roll and scramble to our feet, but he's drunk so his reaction is slow, and I'm able to land a sleeper hold on him until he passes out. I tied him to a storm pipe with my belt and we called the cops to come arrest the gentleman. After that is where I kind of found my calling. There have been a few times, where I have been in over my head, especially when I first started. I wasn't always the star spangled hero that stands before people today. When I started I was more ‘Batman’ like and influenced. My name was ‘Nite Man’ then, given to me by the homeless. I went to take on a gang, and was pretty badly beaten.
Q9: What led to you work as a bouncer that night when you helped the woman in the alley? What led you to save her when others may have just let it happen?Bouncers are actually the last guys to leave the bar so that everyone gets to their vehicles safely. At that time we had had a 'gang' throw 2 huge rocks through the windows which meant that we bouncers got to take turns staying in the building till they got repaired. During the day, I worked at the local Wal-Mart as an ICS team member, which is a glorified way of saying that I stocked shelves. Also on the team was a woman, I will refer to as the 'voodoo lady' who, while at work that day, just randomly said to me "Your a superhero." To which I said "Excuse me?" And she said "You know, a Superhero, Swoop in and save the day type a guy." I responded with "Whatever." As I heaved the last bag of dog food onto a pallet and proceeded to take it to the floor she said, "You don't believe, but you'll see." The next day obviously I'm a little scuffed up, but I didn't tell anyone, how or why. She happens to walk by though and says "See, I told you so." If you ask the Voodoo Lady I was apparently meant to save that lady. I think what led me to save her, was partly the fact no one else was doing anything, but also I think there is just something inside myself and other RLSH’s that allows us to do what we do.
Q10: Tell me more about the “Voodoo Lady.” Does she still pay a role with the Patriot?Other than that event, no. I haven't seen or run into her again either. I’m not really sure who she was or why she knew what she did.
Q11: Can you go into more detail about what happened with the gang? How did it start? What made you go after them and conversely, what made you stop going after them?Back when I first started I didn't have nearly the knowledge, the arsenal, or the protection I use now. I was only trained in street brawling. As a bouncer I was taught how to restrain people and how to use a little karate. I used 2 plastic sticks I had wrapped with black electrical tape. I found the gang harassing some people and mentioned they should find a better hobby. The others had circled around and before I knew it, I was being punched, kicked, and hit with whatever they had handy. I was able to get away, but I broke my sticks in the process. While I was healing up, I would keep on eye on them. I learned to do recon work, find weaknesses, wear protection, and such. I'm really lucky I didn't die that night. They stopped after I came back, mostly because when I did come back, I did so with a wooden bat. I made sure to only do minor damage. I think they realized being a gang wasn't that much fun after that.
Q12: What was it like when you went back with the bat?If you were writing a book, how would you describe that particular scene? Well, as I said, I watched them, and on that night, walked up, gave them the chance to disperse, and leave, they thought they would have another go at beating me. Using minimal force with the bat, I took them out. Because I wanted it to be a lesson, a reminder that if I had used full force they could be in the hospital.
Q13: Could you explain what the healing process was like? What were your injuries? Could you explain how you did your recon on them while you were healing up? What did you tell your family about your injuries?I had a lot of bruises & lacerations all over, a concussion, and bruised ribs. It looked bad, but got even worse after I started swelling up. My ribs made it feel like I couldn't breathe. Everything else just felt really tender. For the first week and half or so I was to stay resting, which I did. I'd switch between ice and heat for the swelling. After I got healed up enough to move around I started working on what went wrong with the situation. So, to better recon, I would follow them wearing civilian clothes. It's really not hard to watch people. Most of the time they have no idea your even there. My family didn't see me until I was mostly healed and only a few bruises remaining in which I explained those came from my martial arts class.
Q14: Can you tell me more about your training in street brawling?There is no real training in street brawling. In fact, it's the opposite; it's untrained punches, kicks, and etc. Street brawling has one basic rule: you don't stop till the other guy is down on the ground.
Q15: Did you learn that when you became a bouncer or do you have other training?Not all, but some, bouncers are taught holds or have some kind of fight training. I've trained a little in karate, and aikido. Mainly now I do boxing and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Mixed Martial Arts type stuff, although, at some point, I do intend on furthering my training in karate and aikido.
Q16: What can you tell me about the "creation" of The Patriot? Was he born when you were young or was it something that you kind of fell into?Ever since I was little and as far back as I can remember, I've always had an urge to help people. Be it standing up to bullies, to giving food to someone, to just having a friendly ear to listen to their problems. It wouldn't be for many years before I finally figured out just how I could help people. It was that night at the bar that the light came on, and I realized, this is it, this is how I was meant to help people. As for the creation of Patriot, well, before that name, I had been known by several others, first was Nite-Man (sort of a ‘Batman” like persona), then came Wild Thing (like a mix of Tarzan meets Green Arrow), followed by Spartan (it came about after I did some familial research and found out that the Greek side of my family was directly descended from The Spartans), and lastly I called myself Warrior (after doing more family research, and realizing that each one was a sort of warrior people). Patriot came about, after I decided to take a break from both my personal and RLSH life. While on this little sabbatical if you will, I thought hard on what I wanted as a RLSH, and my own personal goals, and what name would best suit me. It was right in front of my face the whole time actually. A majority of my family had all served in the military in some way, shape or form. I was never able to, like a certain Steve Rogers. I still had that love of my country though, and realized that it's been too long since lady liberty has had a champion, someone that the American people could get behind and remind them that America is not bad, and that there are still good people in this world. So, shortly after that, I became Patriot. Not to mention that wearing red, white and blue kind of has what I call 'the Superman effect' with the public, officers of the law, etc. People just seem to be a lot more approving and ok with a brightly dressed hero.
Q17: Have there been any other important people such as the Voodoo Lady who have impacted your career?My family, in both bad and good ways. Bad, in the fact they have no idea that I do this. Good in the fact that, without them, I wouldn't be the man that I am.
Q18: Have you ever had anyone come after you for your involvement in stopping a crime? Has anyone ever targeted just you?When I first started, yeah, kind of. Something people might notice is that a lot of us started doing this without a mask. The mask and outfit didn't just serve as a symbol, but also to keep the bad guys from bothering you in your civilian life.
Q19: Have you ever attempted to stop a man with a gun?Yes.
Q20: Could you recall that memory and walk me through it? Where was it? What happened that lead up to it? Were you able to disarm him? Was he later arrested?Guns are something to be taken seriously. It's something I feel shouldn't be glorified. When a gun is involved the decisions you make have to be quick and precise, not taking the situation seriously could end with others and yourself either hurt or worse, dead. I'll tell you about the incident. However, I'm going to leave certain things out about it. I was on patrol and had pulled into a store to use the bathroom. So, going in obviously I got a few looks, snickers and what not. I got the key from the attendant though and made my way to the bathroom. Now any RLSH can tell you that when you gotta go it takes awhile to get all that gear off you. So anyway, as I'm getting everything back on and opening the bathroom door, I see that people were either lying down or squatting to the floor. Looking at the register I can see a man with a gun, and the attendant nervously trying to get the register open. I slowly take my shield off my back, and look the attendant in the eyes, nodding and motioning to duck. I throw the shield nailing the guy in the back of the head. As he falls to the ground the gun is knocked loose, and I push it away with my foot. I use one of my homemade flexi cuffs and bind his hands telling everyone to stay put and leave everything where it's at. Eventually the police arrive thanks to the silent alarm, and the guy went to jail. Thankfully everyone was safe.
Q21: Do you believe in God at all?I've studied religions enough to know thatt if people weren't so literal to the word of each one, they would see that all of them have a vast amount of similarity. More wars and blood have been shed in the name of religion than for any other cause. My belief is that people should be more open minded. I understand having faith and how it helps. I believe there are things that do happen that are greater than us.
Q22: Do you believe a higher power has given you gifts to do this, or is it more fate?Well, that's pretty much asking what people on the street ask, and put more simply they hear superhero and one of the first things they usually say are, "so what are your powers?" But that's just it, we don't have powers. I know some of the more "extreme" RLSH in the community would have you believe that they do have powers. I do believe there is a reason though, that there are all of sudden so many of us. If you read history, like old history from Greek, Roman, or Norse time periods for example you'll read about all these "heroes" that stood up and said we aren't taking it anymore. So, I do believe that when times do start to get dark, when fear has such a tight hold, that a certain group of people do rise up to drive fear back down. But our generation has always been taught there's no such thing as heroes, that being a hero gets you hurt or worse. Fear, apathy, selfishness and indifference have taken over this world, and for some reason there those of us that can see it, and have this urge to fight against. To remind everyone that there are still good people in this world, to teach people not to live in fear, not to worry about what is in it for them, to just do a good deed because it's the right thing to do.
Q23: What's it like working in tandem with another RLSH versus working by yourself?Working with others has both it's pro's and con's. Pro in being more ground is covered, strength in numbers and everything. Each person can teach the others skills or knowledge that maybe they didn't have before. When working by yourself, number one is, you’re by yourself. Being more careful is a major thing. You can't carry as much for homeless handouts. And it can be at times very easy to get in over your head. By yourself you want things to be slightly more precise and planned out. That's why I always recommend to guys that they recon the area they are patrolling ahead of time. Go to the library, use the internet, and also get some history on the area, have escape routes planned if they are needed.
Q24: Has there ever been a time when your own safety was on the line and another stepped in to help you? It could have been another RLSH you were patrolling with or even a bystander.I haven't run into a situation such as that yet. While I have worked with others, there has yet to be an incident where I'm in need of help.
Q25: Do people ever show their appreciation? In what ways?There are quite a few people who do show their appreciation. From people who just want to thank us for being out there (People who do that, I tend to tell them thank you, but that if they want to thank someone to thank a soldier for what they do). Speaking of, some us have had soldiers who have said thank you, (trying to quote from memory here, but one soldier said "They appreciate what we are doing to keep it safe on the home front, while they are keeping it safe off shores"). Some offer money, which is declined most the time, although, some random citizens have pitched in for bottled waters and such for the homeless.
Q26: Do you enjoy learning i.e. do you read? Do you train in new ways, learn new methods of fighting? Do you like history? Have you ever read the Constitution?I do enjoy learning, and reading (I'm old school. I read actual books. In fact, one of my hobbies is collecting hardback editions of books, not a big fan of paper back) Every so often, I do take the time to retrain in certain things, to either further my knowledge in it or remind me of something I might have forgotten. Fighting methods, I tend to tell others to find one that works for you. There is no one true fighting art. Watch UFC, those guys train in multiple arts. I think it was Bruce Lee who said the best fighting style was the one of no style. I do enjoy history, as I said earlier. It's also something I recommend to others when they start patrolling their area. I have read the constitution a few times. Do I have it memorized, not at all.
Q27: How old are you and will you ever consider training an understudy?I'm in my 20's and I have trained some in the past, no real understudy though. I have yet to have anyone who really honestly wants to be a 'Bucky'.
Q28: Do you find this life to be lonely at all?It can be from time to time. That's why a lot of the times if you notice, people in the community tend to date each other because they understand the task, and what tends to be required with doing this. I know for those that date outside the community, some of their significant others understand, and others have had them leave due to the fact that they couldn't wrap their heads around what we do, or thought what we do to be stupid or childish. Others leave, because they know what we do can be very dangerous at times.
Q29: Is it fulfilling?I don't know how it is for a lot of people, but I know for me, I relate it to the movie "Unbreakable". For the longest while I would wake up with a kind of sadness, and after doing this, the sadness is gone. It is fulfilling. To me it makes everything better from food to that first cup of joe in the morning.
Q30: How do the "authorities" regard you?They have mixed feelings, some like us, and some don't. I know some feel like we are trying to do their job, which is far from it. We know they can't be everywhere, and so we help, by being an active, vigilant citizen and not just a member of the community. Have you ever had to testify to put a bad guy away?
Q31: No, I've yet to testify.
Q32: Would that ruin your cover?It might possibly, because obviously I would have to use my name in court, and that would pretty much make the mask pointless.
Thank you very much for taking the time to answer my questions. You have been very gracious and I hope that this interview can shed some light on the good work you and your friends do.You are welcome and I hope that this helps you understand us a little bit better. I understand you want details about certain things, but you also have to understand that there are some details that I just can't give for reasons either personal or by law. I do hope this helps and gives a bit of a better picture.
Like Jeff, the Patriot does work for which he is rarely thanked. However, just like the people in the convenience store, I’m sure there are those who are thankful that he chooses to do what he does. From Matthew R. Horn and everyone who helped me to put together this interview, we thank the Patriot and those like him for their service to their country and their fellow man.