The Ringland Ninja.

South Wales has been abuzz over the weekend with news breaking of a masked crusader protecting the people of Newport. Well, that was the intention at least. The shadowy figure had in fact been caught, unmasked and prosecuted before a single criminal had been brought to book with a colourful ‘POW’ or ‘BAM’. Yet while the Ringland Ninja may have had only the briefest of periods in the limelight, rumours abound that the caped crusader (though sadly, reports indicate that this particular protector of the night had failed to incorporate an almost prerequisite cape into his costume) has already stimulated local copycats, with the Wales on Sunday today reporting accounts of at least two new vigilantes keeping a watch over leisure centre roof tops.

Of course the authorities have been quick to dismiss the Ringland Ninja as someone confusing fiction and reality, a danger to himself more than anyone else. And yet, are the actions of this lone individual something to be discouraged, laughed at, or perhaps praised? After all, how many people can we cite in the Newport area who are willing to protect their community in such a direct fashion? We have no shortages of thieves, drug dealers and thugs with a general disposition towards random acts of violence, all of whom through their actions are committing to undermining and ultimately destroying their communities, when people stand up to struggle against this tide of societal degradation, perhaps we might think for a moment as to who are the real criminals.

Put simply, everyone in and around the Newport area knows of the no-go areas, those places where, once the witching hour strikes, you would only be amongst the fool hardy, reckless, plain stupid or those in search of trouble, to enter. These are the corners where the police presence is, well, not present, they have more sense than that. Okay, from time to time some of the less intelligent of the criminal factions will be brought to rights, but in the main, the police force in this region serve to maintain a healthy balance. A balance in this part of the world which is concentrated on monitoring exactly where the criminal fraternity conflate, and do bugger all about them. So when local citizens decide that the appointed law keepers have resolved to turn their back on their responsibilities, perhaps because of a paper work backlog, we might not be so quick to dismiss their actions. You need to wear the most magenta of rose tinted spectacles to think that all is well on our streets, the reality is far removed. The Ringland Ninja might have been comical in his failings, but the template for community led action is there in the national newspapers of Wales today.

While we are of course in no way advocating such activities, we would at least suggest that the law enforcement agencies might consider approaching the vigilante question in a different manner in the future. After all, we have no real bounty hunting equivalent in our justice legislation, perhaps recent events suggest that the market is out there. We do however look forward to flipping through the pages of the local and national rags, eager to hear of any other masked figures tiptoeing through the midnight fog, and hope that those sticking two fingers up to society in the back alleys of our neighbourhoods might yet be encouraged to think twice before acting, should they hear a creek high above them emanating from the darkness.

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