You gotta love Scott Cooke.
If you've been brought up on a diet of superheroes and vigilantes; if you've ever wanted to have a spidey-sense that actually tingles when criminal trouble is near then you've got to take your hat off to the guy in the picture above.
Because he's living the dream. He's seized the day. He built it and is waiting for them to come. Scott is a bona fide vigilante.
And he has a proper superhero's outfit and everything. And just check that mean hombre "don't mess with me, purp" moustache motif. Yup, Scott Cooke is the man. He has it going down.
The people of Birmingham (UK) can rest easier in their beds at night. 'Cos Scott Cooke, aka The Statesman, is on the case. He's on the prowl.
He patrols the mean streets of 'Brum' just looking for lowlife scum to perform a citizen's arrest upon. According to news reports (here and here) Scott, a former Territorial Army soldier (hey, anyone remember Mike from Spaced?) spurns utility belts and web slingers and Iron Man techno-costumes in favour of a more down to earth crime fighting arsenal.
We're talking notepad and pen. We're talking torch (probably one of those Maglite things). We're talking a first aid kit choc-full of Elastoplasts and those weird thin bandagey things that no-one knows how to apply properly. And we're talking mobile phone for when, you know, Scott has whupped some mean spotty criminal ass and needs to call in the boys in blue to help cart off the bruised and bloodied hoods to the state penitentiary. Job done for another night. Rest easy citizens.
Of course, some people - some unpublic spirited people - take the pee and claim that as an effective crime deterrent, Scott falls a little short of the mark. A few cynics have tweaked and misinterpreted the crime stats and pointed out that Scott failed to stop "99 crimes in his own neighbourhood in the last month alone".
I think this is unfair. Let's look at this from a wider perspective. The police were also on duty during this time and they too failed to stop 99 crimes taking place in that very same neighbourhood. Shame on them. Meanwhile, there may have been a 100th crime that Scott did stop. That Union Jack jumper may have been the only thing between a wheelie bin being upturned in the road and rubbish all over the highway.
Yeah. It's easy to mock. Easy to snigger. But at least Scott is doing something. He's putting his time and money where his mouth is. He's out there. He's out there for us. For you and me, man. Well, you and me if we happen to live in Nuthurst Road, West Heath. But hey - if you want to live in a safer neighbourhood, maybe you should think about moving? Cut Scott some slack here; make it easier for him.
As for me. Well, I'm thinking of joining him. Not joining him in Birmingham 'cos getting back to Leamington Spa from New Street station is a real nightmare at the moment. But joining him in spirit.
I am going to patrol the mean streets of Leamington Spa. I'm going to get all vigilanted up. I'm going to call myself The MP For Justice. Though the local bad boys may call me The MP For Medieval Retribution On Our Asses. 'Cos I'm plannin' on getting all Biblical on the wrong doers and the ne'erdowells. I got me a torch. I got me a Victorinox penknife / bottle opener thingy (though I may have to leave this at home as apparently it's illegal to carry one on the street). I've got me a bottle of still spring water which can double as a rehydration device and a quick and easy way to wash grazed knees clean. And I have my wife's Kindle (well, once I've wrestled it out of her hands) ready for those quiet times when, through no fault of my own, I happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time (i.e. the crime is happening elsewhere) and it gets a bit slow and I have time on my hands and get a bit bored. Oh and I may knock off at 9.30 'cos I like to be in bed by 10. Don't get snidey about this; just remember I'm not actually getting paid to do this. It's purely voluntary. Think yourself lucky that I'm willing to give up some of my free time to ensure your safety in the first place.
I just need someone to design a costume for me. Maybe some kind of pinstripe motif? Though I want a cape as well. And a utility belt that can hold a thermos flask. And, in a break from superhero tradition, I want to wear my pants on the inside of my trousers.
'Cos, you know, I don't want people laughing at me or anything.
Be safe, people, be safe.