Real-life superhero "The Viper" defends Tennessee town, told to take a hike by cops

Columbia, Tennessee (a.k.a. "The Mule Capital of the World") has a new defender: The Viper, a 20-year-old masked man who patrols the town square carrying batons and ninja stars. Police aren't impressed, but hey, someone has to defend those mules.

Columbia police spotted The Viper in the ~34,000-person town's public square last week. They told the crime-fighter to quit the foolin' and to stop defying the town's "no masks" ordinance. Nonetheless, citizens are curious about the self-anointed do-gooder. Columbia bike shop owner A.C. Howell is warily optimistic about The Viper's potential as an agent of justice:

The Viper, I believe. Isn't he the Masked Viper? [...] I don't know. He needs something to do. Probably needs a job. I hope he's looking out for my benefit. I hope he's guarding my store [...] I welcome him to Columbia. I hope he does some good.

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We at io9 salute The Viper for his brave sartorial choices. The forest green detailing is lush and not ostentatious, and his mask's holes are ample enough to allow his eyes to breathe. We are however less impressed with his name — "The Viper" isn't a moniker that screams civic confidence. Seeing as how Columbia is the Mule Capital of the World, The Viper should rebrand himself as "The Mule" and carry around an arsenal of non-lethal oats and salt licks. Criminals won't know what hit 'em.

[11 Alive NBC]