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.
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.
Join the First Amendment Society, a membership that goes directly to funding TCB‘s newsroom.
We believe that reporting can save the world.
The TCB First Amendment Society recognizes the vital role of a free, unfettered press with a bundling of local experiences designed to build community, and unique engagements with our newsroom that will help you understand, and shape, local journalism’s critical role in uplifting the people in our cities.
All revenue goes directly into the newsroom as reporters’ salaries and freelance commissions.