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.

18 COMMENTS

  1. Thought this was interesting until the “white privilege” reference. I would think a mask or hoodie as you mentioned would cover all faces…
    Someone trying to do good and you bash them (you’ll do great in fake news)
    Will never read another article from this newspaper…..NEVER

  2. of course you had to make it about race haha. “a random white guy” is someones race the first thing you notice about them? you know what I call that? when you make judgements about someone based on their race?

  3. Nice job using this lame story to talk shit about the police. Your assertion that countless black and brown people are being shot in the streets by police is way over the top.

  4. Just had to inject your comment on race. Pitiful for a “journalist” to perpetuate social justice agendas into a piece that has nothing to do with race and everything to do with a person, regardless of color, wanting to help his community. Ms. Matsuoka, you are the problem when you see the world through racist eyes and try to influence others to do the same.

  5. thank you remarking how only a white man could run around fully clocked in black and people assume the best of intentions of him. racism is real and affects ever part of American life. If your sick of hearing about it do something to end it rather crying everything it comes up

  6. So if racism is so rampant then why have soooooo many people of color been caught making up situations where they were the supposed victim of racism? If it were that big of a problem then they shouldn’t have to make anything up. Also other races including whites have been unarmed and shot by police but that doesn’t get reported because it doesn’t fit the narrative. But don’t take my word for it, go look it up for yourself.

  7. At best, this a shining example to show a Journalism 101 class what NOT to do once you’ve gotten the audience’s attention. At worst, this is totally unprofessional journalism, being that this piece is not an opinion column. This vulgar display of racism is why Americans remain divided, when we should unite.

  8. Adding comments about race when it has literally nothing to do with the story… this is why everyone thinks journalism is a joke.

  9. White fragility is pathetic and tired, as illustrated by the butthurt comments whining about “racism.” Cry us a river then drown in it.

  10. Exactly. It must be nice for them to be ignorant and in denial of it. Maybe it’s because they haven’t amounted to much, even with this advantage. I say this as one myself, except I’m not an ignorant apologist about it.

  11. He can volunteer his efforts and donate selflessly but instead has to call attention to himself by playing batman. The people he helps benefit? Great. But no need for this manchild to put himself in danger because he doesn’t live in reality.

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