Tuesday, September 13, 2011
Blackbird and Life- A Firsthand Account of a 9/11 Patrol
I've met local Milwaukee Real Life Super Hero Blackbird several times. Last year Blackbird took a trip to New York and met up with NYC RLSH and Superheroes Anonymous founder Life. On a return trip to NYC this year, the duo decided to meet up for a hand out of supplies to the homeless on September 11.
What follows is Blackbird's account of the evening, recorded in a phone call and transcribed by me.
I made plans to meet Life just before sunset on the 11th and went to a store and spent a ton of money on homeless supplies. Honestly I just wanted to stock him up on supplies, I thought for sure we would have a bunch of stuff left over. So I went crazy getting stuff and then his girlfriend was on the way with more.
So first we stopped and talked to a bunch of people, like this whole family and what was really cool was even though the whole family was homeless- the one dude, I kinda liked it- he was like 'you know what dude, I just got a job, I don't even need this stuff.' I thought that was really noble.
I told Life I think 95 percent of the homeless population in Milwaukee is a symptom of addiction but in New York I think a lot of times its just people that didn't make it, you know what I mean? Just couldn't work it out. Because you'll ask if they need anything, and they'll say- 'yeah, I could use some food.' Whereas when we visit the site (referring to a homeless camp in Milwaukee) they are like '(expletive) that, bring me some vodka and blah blah blah.'
Anyways, we were going to meet (Life's girlfriend) at Penn Station, and right when we were talking to this one nice lady and giving her stuff, all sorts of people started responding to something there. And I mean, it was just a little bit weird because like I said, I was a little freaked out about being here on the 11th.Once I got in Penn Station and saw how heavily populated it was in there I was like- this could be a target. Its shoulder to shoulder in there and there was probably 15 or 20 squad cars, and that was just on one side, and we saw 5 firetrucks responding too.
So we ran into Penn Station and started following all the fire chiefs and detectives that were running and it was a maze- it was like we would run, stop and go- 'where did that dude go?'
We ended up on the stop adjacent to where everything was happening and saw them pulling the first bag up, which was small. The subway engineer we talked to said it was a decapitation. There was probably about 30 cops on the track that was blocked off and they were all looking down at the rest of what was left, which ended up coming up in a bag like 5 minutes later.
We went back out with the supplies and soon were surrounded by about 15-20 people at that point and it was great. This one guy showed us a bunch of his street art he was doing on fabric, I have tons of pictures of that.
So we stopped there a long time and that's when the engineer came up to us and said 'it's awesome you guys are helping people out- this dude over there doesn't have a belt, he doesn't have any underwear on, his pants are falling down.' The guy was bleeding from the top of his head, streaming down his body. And he was just walking around. Life's girlfriend went up to him, but he wouldn't accept anything from her. He was kind of a dick. And she even got the vibe where you know if she was a guy he might have been more responsive. So I told them I'd be right back.
I saw him walking off, so I went and gave him one bag and then I went back and was talking to the engineer about him. He said he had seen the guy there for months and that he had lost tons of weight, stopped accepting food and was only accepting water here and there and picking up cigarette butts.
As he's telling me this, the guy starts walking into traffic so I kinda ran after him into traffic myself, grabbed him by the shoulders and hurried him along. Then I gave him another bag of food and he accepted it. The engineer said he never saw the guy accept food before. And I literally have one belt and its with me right now and its in (expletive) shape and I took it off to offer it to him. He got a little weird about that and kinda hurried along to get away from me.
The rest of the night wasn't too crazy, we went back to talk to the group we were with before. And the guy that does the street art and stuff he looked pretty well put together. They were all about getting the razors and soap, toothpaste, deodorant and stuff. I had the personal health stuff and Life had food stuff. We walked around and handed almost all of it out.