He calls himself Night Watch, and he’s here to save us all.

Well, not really — but he’s certainly got people talking.

Over the weekend, people kind of lost their shit on social
media when they discovered that a masked crusader has taken up the crime-fighting
mantle in Winston-Salem and has been patrolling the streets of downtown for
about two weeks now.

Dressed in all black with a kind of ski mask and large reflective goggles that make him look a bit like a giant fly, Night Watch was first spotted by folks through his Instagram, @night_watch_rlsh — with the last part of his handle acting as an acronym for “real life superhero.” So far, he’s got 13 posts and more than 240 followers. Not bad for a 2-week-old account.

Posts range from selfies on downtown streets to information
on missing persons, endorsements of local businesses, and most recently, a
photo with a guy who recognized him from the aforementioned Facebook group
where he’s garnered a reputation.

A photo of Night Watch from his Instagram. (courtesy photo)

When asked about his newfound penchant for patrolling the
night, Night Watch responded through Instagram messages that while he has only
recently started wearing a mask, he’s actually been doing this kind of work for
a while. He says he’s most involved with helping those who are homeless, and
explains that the issue speaks to him personally because he has family members
who are homeless. A number of posts describe how he helped someone figure out a
bus route or chased away kids who were making noise on top of a parking deck.

While he wouldn’t say what he does for a living, Night Watch
did reveal that he lives and works in the city, and patrols at night when he
has time.

About the getup, he explained that the kind of absurdity of
it helps raise awareness for what he’s doing. One post from Jan. 17 encourages
other people to join him.

“Truth is, I could do and have done most of these things
without a mask,” he says, “but I’ve found that putting on a costume is a good
way for me to help bring visibility and awareness to these issues.”

And yet, it’s hard to ignore the striking privilege that a
random white guy has to have to be able to go around a city’s downtown at night
with his face covered and not get shot and killed by police, when countless
black and brown men and women in hoodies often meet much more fatal fates.

Plus, there’s that whole question of whether this guy’s actions
are even strictly legal.

But if he’s helping the homeless and he’s not causing that
much disruption it’s fine, right?

To learn more or follow along on Night Watch’s journey, follow him on Instagram at @night_watch_rlsh.

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