He’s all talk. And all action to back it up. He’s Motor Mouth, a Real Life Superhero working in and around the East Bay/San Francisco area in California. From domestic violence in The City’s notorious Tenderloin, to street thugs running rampant in Oakland, to those who prey on the weak and homeless in San Jose, the one thing he never has done—and never will do—is sit idly by, even if it means taking the occasional risk of potentially physical confrontation, as it had recently, when riots broke out on the streets of Oakland after the verdict in the Oscar Grant case.
In July of 2010, violence broke out when Police Officer Johannes Mehsurle was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter—a controversial ruling in a case tinged with serious racial overtones—in the shooting death of an unarmed African American man, Oscar Grant. As the police were deployed to quell the looting and mayhem, Motor Mouth knew he had to do something—and promptly sprang into action. “We went to Oakland, we defended its businesses, we protected its people, and were bold in what we did. The Bay is our home, and we stood our ground and stood up for it.”
The “we” here are a confederation of Real Life Superheroes called The Pacific Protectorate, a network of like-minded costumed activists that stretches from its southernmost point in San Diego, up along the Pacific coast to Oregon, Washington State, Vancouver, B.C., and all the way north to Alaska. As the Regional Head of the Nor-Cal Protectorate (extending from the Oregon/California state line south to Bakersfield), the riots saw Motor Mouth tapping into every available resource available to him. “The first thing we did was figure out what we were going to do about the situation, then put out the call to the entire California branch of the phone tree. With that, we activated 20 heroes, who left their lives behind, and hit the streets on the chance something bad was going to happen. And eventually, it did. It was in all the papers.”
But that level of action is not common, nor does he want to see it become so. “I don’t actively seek out those type of situations, but it’s a matter of being prepared, he says. “I mean, Oakland at the moment is being inundated with car jackings, stabbings, rapes, murders, you name it, all flooding in from east of Lake Merritt, so I am prepared. I’d rather be caught with my pants up than down.”
Coming from a family rich in its commitment to service, from education to medicine to first response, Motor Mouth has steadily found himself coming into a leadership role—whether he sought it out or not. “I didn’t want that, I really didn’t think I was up to the task. But taking on the position with the Nor-Cal Protectorate, I’ve seen that I can help other members develop their talents. Still, there’s nothing I’m going to throw them into that I wouldn’t throw myself into as well. And that is what I think real leadership is about.” And it has also improved his ability to focus, network and gain some clout within the community. “I have people coming to me for advice now, and who am I? Look, America pushes agendas worldwide. California pushes the country’s agenda, and the Bay Area pushes California’s. It all starts here. Someone needs to strengthen a better line of defense for the average citizen. And it may as well start with me.”
Motor Mouth supports the work of The Surfrider Foundation: