As soon as I get him, FOOM! A car comes flying by.
TP: I was going to ask if there any other RLSH people here in Chattanooga, but Mystery Man here has answered that (laughter). So the next question is, do you guys ever team up, comic-book style?
DG: We always go out together.
Mystery Man: He insists on it.
DG: Because, if you get outnumbered, where’s your backup?
TP: Have you ever had to personally break the law to stop another crime? What were you trying to prevent?
DG: Speeding. I was trying to prevent a car from hitting another little boy. His ball had gone into the road, and cars were just flying by, not paying any attention, so I sped up to put my car between the boy and the traffic. I just parked until he got his ball and got back up on the sidewalk.
TP: Do you carry any weapons when you go out on patrol?
DG: (Gestures with his cane.) This is actually a “Cold Steel City Stick.” This end can shatter cinder blocks. I’m an avid cane fighter. I carry a stun gun. Not a taser. A stun gun you don’t have to have a permit to carry. I carry pepper spray and I carry a small baton. The reason it’s small is so it can actually be legal to carry. You saw on my blog where you have to have training to carry a baton over a certain length?
TP: Yeah, I think it’s commendable that you are doing your homework in order to maintain the legality of your own presence on the streets.
DG: Well, that’s also to help any other RLSH that may arise in Chattanooga.
TP: Are there any, besides the two of you?
DG: There is one. She just moved here. We haven’t had a chance to really have a dialogue yet.
TP: How many RLSH are here in the States?
DG: Maybe in the hundreds. And those are just the ones who’ve made themselves known. There are many, many more hiding, because, as you said, the law usually looks down on this.
TP: Have you personally had any run-ins with any of the gangs here?
DG: Crips. For some reason, they just tend to ignore me. When I see ’em, they’re usually just hanging out, not doing anything illegal, so I just leave them alone. But if I do see ’em doing something, I will put a stop to it.
TP: I’m assuming neither of you guys have any actual super powers. So how do you guys stay fit?
DG: I’ve studied taekwondo and muay thai since I was a little boy, and I’ve also studied the Japanese sword since I was five years old. It’s a heck of a way to stay in shape. And this guy here (motions to Mystery Man}, what is that, a Shake Weight you have?
MM: (laughs) Yeah.
DG: A “Shake Weight” and walking. And he also spars with me…He got in a good punch last time.
TP: I’m noticing your gloves. [The gloves are black Kevlar with pronounced, “knuckle bumps.” The bumps don’t move as he flexes his hands. He hits the bumps with the metal end of his cane and there’s a ringing metallic sound.] Are those brass knuckles under there?
DG: Not brass knuckles—those would do too much harm. These just add a little bit of padding to my knuckles and give me an extra little bit of hit.
TP: You guys seem to be all about “Observe and Report, but Be Prepared.”
DG: I’ll intervene while he’s calling the cops. We operate like that because, if we were just trying to “report,” somebody could get mugged and killed.
Most RLSH have rallied behind the story of Kitty Genovese. She was killed while her neighbors watched and nobody did anything to help her. All it would have taken to save her would have been one guy going with a bat to help her.
TP: Anything else you want to add, or say to the readers?
DG: If anyone would like to talk to me, or is interested in RLSH, they can contact me via Facebook (facebook.com/charles.kovacs.39), on Twitter (@Dark_Ghost_RLSH) or my blog (darkghosthn.blogspot.com).