The man, Mark Wayne Williams, has been aptly nicknamed the “Petoskey Batman.” He’s a member of the Michigan Protectors, a group of “real-life super heroes.”
On one hand, they have some constructive ideas, such as setting up neighborhood watches. On the other hand, members dress up as super heroes in an effort to maintain anonymity while reporting — and “if necessary, fighting” — dangerous crimes.
It’s fantastic that these people are willing to put their efforts into making the world a safer place — but they must realize that, in the process, they’re creating a terribly unsafe situation for themselves and for others.
Public safety officers — whether you love ’em or hate ’em — undergo extensive training on how to deal with the situations, dangerous and otherwise, that they encounter on a daily basis. Toss an added variable into the equation — like a vigilante dressed up as Batman trying to handle the problem on his own — and who knows what might happen?
Williams’ motives are noble. He and the others in the Michigan Protectors seem to have the best interests of their communities at heart.
We would encourage them to continue their efforts to make their neighborhoods a safer place to live, but caution them to be a bit more selective in the ways in which they go about doing so.
Organizing neighborhood watches is one thing. Getting in the way of a police investigation — or worse, a standoff where gunfire is a real possibility — can only lead to disaster.
Our Views reflects the majority opinion of the members of the Grand Haven Tribune editorial board: Kevin Hook, Cheryl Welch, Matt DeYoung, Liz Stuck and Fred VandenBrand. What do you think? E-mail us a letter to the editor to firstname.lastname@example.org or log-in to our website and leave a comment below.