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The Viper: Masked Crime Fighter Protects Small Town Tennessee

July 6, 2010

The residents of Columbia Tennessee can sleep safer at night knowing “the Viper” is patrolling the streets.

20 year old Christian Hardee is walking around town in tights and a mask “looking for crimes to report”.

“I’m just a guy trying to do what’s right, in tights”

Whether he’s a complete nutjob, or just a bored college student is for you to decide.

The Daily Herald:  Man dons costume to fight crime.

By day, he’s a mild-mannered college student studying chemistry. But at night, he becomes the Viper, a superhero looking to stamp out crime in Columbia.

Christian Tyler Hardee, 20, caught the attention of Columbia police officers when they spotted him wearing a mask and green-and-black tights about 12:30 a.m. Wednesday near the Bicycle Shop on the Square.

But the aspiring superhero assured police he was working for good not evil. He told officers he was on the prowl in search of crime to report.

Hardee, a self-professed comic book nerd, said he knows he’s just a regular college student without super-human powers, and his behavior might be viewed as strange by some. But for Hardee, dressing as a superhero is a way to inspire the community to stand against wrongdoing and perform acts of charity.

“I am just a guy trying to do what is right, in tights,” he said.

During his patrol of Columbia, he donned under armor, carried two plastic sticks and wore a utility belt. On the belt, he stowed a screw driver, wrenches and a cell phone to quickly call police if he stumbled across crime. Officers also found ninja throwing stars inside his car parked near the Bicycle Shop, according to a police report.

Columbia Police Lt. Michelle Jones said the department does not need the assistance of a superhero to keep the city’s streets safe. She discouraged the public from patrolling the streets while dressed in costumes.

“We always encourage the public to be good witnesses but not actively get out and look for crime,” she said.

Police determined Hardee was not breaking any laws, other than a city ordinance that prohibits wearing a mask that obscures the face in public. He was advised of the ordinance and was not cited.

Jones said detectives interviewed Hardee and encouraged him to stop his patrols. Investigators are worried he could frighten the public or hurt himself or others.

Hardee said he will continue to look for crime but without the full costume. To date, he has not stumbled upon criminal activity.

The 20-year-old studies chemistry and art at Union University in Jackson. He hopes to land a job with his chemistry degree, make some money and then embark upon a career as a comic-book artist once he is financially secure.

“I am not out of touch with reality. … I am just a normal guy,” he said. “I know what happens in the movies doesn’t happen in real life.”

He also wants everyone to know he is not trying to inspire children to follow in his footsteps, and he did not don the costume in search of publicity.

“If I wanted attention, I would go streaking or something,” Hardee said.

8 Comments leave one →
  1. July 6, 2010 1:51 pm


  2. kralston89sb permalink
    July 7, 2010 10:36 pm

    Tyler is my class’s valedictorian. He and I were in gifted classes together since middle school. He’s a very smart, and very talented guy.

  3. Matt permalink
    July 8, 2010 12:40 am

    They just freaking gave out his secret identity! I guess the superhero registration act passed congress.

  4. Keith permalink
    July 10, 2010 12:02 am

    Hes gonna get his butt shot

  5. December 13, 2011 8:32 am

    This guy shows the true American Spirit. First of all, there is no law real law anyone ever actually voted on, against concealing the face with a mask. That is nothing but government bullshit they use to try to keep themselves in power over the citizens. The founding fathers of this country originally intended for all citizens, not cops, to actively be on the lookout for crime. Police were never meant to exist here, and really, all citizens should know that police are no better than anyone else, instead of giving up to basically worshiping them: the essence of communism. The American citizens were the ones intended to keep and bear arms, with the obligation to fight any crimes they saw. This system worked, in fact, perfectly, until the government decided they didn’t have all the power, and not to mention the paycheck, that they wanted. Citizens are able to sleep safer at night knowing that a real hero, rather than a cop with the potential of any other criminal with way to many weapons that no one else has, is watching the streets, with true intentions of justice.


  1. The VIPER - Keeping Columbia safe - VolNation
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