Sunday, April 11, 2010


Captain Australia on the street

First, a general announcement. Kick-Ass will be released next weekend, and so tomorrow starts "Art Appreciation Week" here at Heroes in the Night. I will be spotlighting different media projects featuring a RLSH angle every day, Monday through Friday. More info tomorrow.

Today I've exchanged e-mails with an interesting guy, Captain Australia. Like a lot of Australians, the Captain is a larger than life type of person. You can read more on him at his website HERE.
The Captain has a situation in Australia he'd like to think of a strategy for very carefully, and is seeking advice.

In the Captain's own words:

I've accepted a Quest, and it will help me construct my strategy by taking on a range of viewpoints, as this one requires a bit of lateral thinking on my part.

What I'm asking is your opinion on the below:

- I was approached by a small business owner from King's Cross (in Sydney) who asked me to help.

(Editor's note: I actually stayed in the King's Cross area back in 2001. I don't know how much it's changed, but I remember it was an eye popping intro to Australia for me. In the five block walk from my bus stop to my hostel I walked past the porn theaters, bars, and kebab shops and was solicited by about seven prostitutes, several drug dealers, and various scam artists and panhandlers)

- Problem is junkies and dealers outside his store.

- There is a legal injection room nearby and a 1200 meter (about 0.75 miles) exclusion zone around it where you can legally carry a small amount of otherwise illegal drugs, for personal use.

- The junkies and dealers flaunt the inconsistent law, and it drives honest trade from this business, which is going belly up.

- The local drug trade is all ran by a network of Lebanese bikey gangs, very structured and very dangerous.

I'd be grateful for your ideas and opinions and general comments, it will help me compose my own plan of attack.

I told him that I would post here, and invite comments from RLSH about how they would handle this problem.

I think your response will not only help him (and me as a writer) but it will probably benefit yourself to think about what the right thing to do is in this situation. After other people post comments, I will in fact offer my own opinion.

Let me add a couple of fictional "what ifs" to this situation.

- The Lebanese gang is considered armed. They are not just causing problems for the business, but because they are hanging around outside, they are also harassing passers by (sexually harassing comments to woman, trying to start fights, pissing in the alleyway, leaving graffiti, etc.)

- The police for whatever reason REFUSE to intervene. Maybe the Lebanese bike gang has paid them off, or some weird zoning law exists.

If this was happening in your home town, and this business owner came to you asking for help, what would you do?


  1. Ahhh, Cap Aussie, my original nemesis. Not a terrible guy, just like a lot of capes these days he's a wee bit gullible to the RLSV thing.

    He's a helluva kisser, though.

    But I digress, this post would be completely pointless if I didn't try and give some sort of solution to Captain Kangaroo's store-owner-junkie-problem.

    Step one: Surveillance. Try to secretly get visual or audio evidence of what is happening.

    Step two: Take a copy of that evidence to the police so they can maybe get a warrant and bust some dealers, tossing them into a cell on their thick heads.

    Step three: If the police continue to do nothing, go to any news outlet you can find that maybe want to buy a copy of the evidence for a news story. The police will be forced to do something once the public become hip to whats really happening.

    Step four: If all else fails, strap on the Batman boots and start kicking people in the face. Always works in the movies. Ha.

    Anywhoo, that's my contribution for the day. Off to kicking stray dogs! :D

    -Malvado SV

  2. I have to agree with Malvado. Get photo and video evidence and show it to both the authorities and the media. Once there's documented proof of what's going on, the authorities will be forced to take action.

  3. Documentation and publicity, with the added pressure of appealing to the Austrian equivalent of the FBI since this gang has international connections. The Aussie feds may already be watching them.

    Organizing a merchants patrol ( private security group ) per local laws may also help deter these guys.

  4. Thank you, Tea & All for your comments.

    I've committed to taking meaningful action to help the local business that has reached out to me, and your comments and ideas really help me to refine my strategy.

    Unfortunately the area of contention is not in my home state, but I will visit toward the end of April for a few days, my way of thinking at the moment is along the lines of:

    - outreach to my media contacts to write a story about the exclusion zone laws and their detrimental impact on crime and business (outcome being that the attention may indeed reduce drug traffic in the area)

    - active patrol of the area over a few days, not surveiling but blatantly patrolling and photographing dealers and junkies (intended effect: same, by shining a light prompt them to relocate)

    - during active patrol, declare my intentions and negotiate relocation with junkies/dealers (it doesnt solve the problem, but if successful and they move along it does at least temporarily fix my citizens issue)

    - lawfully fight any junkie or dealer that threatens or attacks me (media loves violence - result being same as above, the attention prompts some move-alongs)

    Its early days, still just mapping the problem out in my mind - but let me say that I am very grateful for your comments and suggestions, it is really helping me.

    Your friend,

    Captain Australia

  5. Footnote: I think the lebanese gangs controlling the Kings Cross drug trade are mis-represented in the overview. They're actually more like organised crime, with a structured heirarchy and a significant amount of revenue flowing through their organisation. From what I've observed so far, they have a very specific set up, with spotters (including barkers outside the strip clubs), dealers, enforcers, collectors.
    Engaging them effectively without getting shot will take a very specific and structured approach.

  6. I know Australians sometimes like to talk with their fists. I think it must be all the rugby or Aussie Rules Football. Or meat pies.

    In this case, though, you're outnumbered and outgunned, so you need a well planned strategy. Malvado brought up some good ideas (1-3 anyway) that will put some distance between you and the gang.

    I think if you combine that with community involvement, you might have a best case scenario. I know of a few RLSH pushing for community involvement, and I think it's a great evolution to their approach, particularly in cases like this. I know this is a bit difficult for you, as you're not close to Kings Cross. But you can use the internet and try to cover ground on foot when you get there.

    You already have one ally, the shop keeper. Kings Cross is pretty well populated with businesses and residents, right? It's highly likely that if this shop keeper is having issues, other people in the neighborhood are too.

    You and the shop keeper should walk around the area and talk to people. You can say something like:
    “I’m Captain Australia, and this is my friend who owns a business across the street. As you can see, I’m dressed a bit strangely. We’re out talking to people because we’re concerned about the negative impact this gang is having in the area. What has your experience been?”

    Instead of marching in and telling people what’s what, by asking them to talk you’re inviting them to participate. Some people might tell you you’re crazy and slam the door in your face. Some might tell you they don’t care. Some might tell you that they are in a Lebanese bike gang, so piss off. But some might be sitting around frustrated and fed up and so they might say, ok strangely costumed man, what next?
    (A simple handout or pamphlet that explains who you are, what you're doing, and your website might be helpful, too. Sometimes people need time to digest an idea.)

    Ask people to help you. Stress to these people that participating doesn’t mean that they have to wear body armor and get in a biker ’s face. As suggested here in previous comments, you could gather a group of people who all stand united on the street, monitoring the gang, and taking pictures, writing down notes, and such. After your group has done this, there are two outlets you can turn to.

    1. The Authorities. You may want to start on a local level. If the Kings Cross police station has public meetings, lead your group of people to the police station and present any evidence as a group. If you have a local politician (for example, in Milwaukee we have elected aldermen who represent small regions of the city) present your case at his office or at a board meeting.

    Also, as Captain Black says, if you have an Australian version of the FBI or M16,or a Drug Enforcement Agency, report it to them.

    2. The Media. Malvado is right on the money on this. This is actually where your costume could help, as well as group of concerned citizens. Write up a brief press release about what's going on and send it to every single media outlet in Sydney. You should be able to find all of these online, just go to the media outlet's website and look for a "contact us" button.
    State how you are CAPTAIN AUSTRALIA and that you are working with the citizens of Kings Cross. A headline that reads "HERO RALLIES CITIZENS TO CONFRONT DRUG DEALERS" reads a lot better than "MAN IN SPANDEX STANDS IN STREET YELLING AT PEOPLE."

    Is all this a lot of work? Yeah, probably. But good things come to those who work.

    Anyway, all of this has just been my opinion on a theory that COULD work, not necessarily will.

    Whatever you decide to do, Captain, good luck, and let us know what happens.

  7. I think a more concrete way of breaking it down is to find out if/why the public, law enforcement, and city government are all letting this stuff pass.

    Maybe they have a good reason. Maybe what you have in common with them is you don't live there. Maybe that is the solution you would realize if you banged your head against this wall for a few years. Maybe you really don't want to fight this battle. Maybe it isn't yours.

    If you were to make a long campaign of it (several years at least) I think you'd have to move in. Then identify the major criminals and any corrupt enablers. Rally everyone else together by exposing how it's all a black eye for the city and authorities by showing how little control they have, and how they accept it. Ask tough questions, name the names, get the quotes. Kickstart the media into doing all this, because it's really their job.

    Also, much of this work may be more easily accomplished if you do it without a mask and persona. Just use him as an organizing and publicity tool. if that sounds bad, ask if you want to be effective or just parade around in a costume.

  8. Thanks for the valuable input, I've gotten alot from this !

  9. All good suggestions to help you combat this problem Captain Australia...well except for the part about strapping your boots on and kicking people in the face. See, if you did that and proactively smacked people around instead of reacting to imminent harm upon you with such reasonable force then you would be a vigilante and that's not a good thing.

    But yeah, start climbing up the political chain for assistance. Document all of your attempts to get the local governmental help in this. If they turn a blind eye then go to the media with your documentation and basically say "Well here is a list of people in the government that apparently does not care about how organized crime is devastating local honest business owners and citizens." Show then what you have written and how you have been ignored. Having worked for a newspaper for over a several years I can tell you that the media loves to put a spotlight on lazy corrupt politicians/government. Once these slacker politicians are exposed they will probably jump to action on your behalf in order to at least save face / put forth some damage control to their own reputations.