"The safe word for tonight is justice."
__ An Example: Carrying any kind of restraints around with you on the street is a good way to get labeled a pervert, so I knew I'd need a subtler method of restraining my criminal. Which was why, underneath my leather jacket, I was wearing a shirt covered in glue, which I intended to use to hug my criminal into submission. But due to a miscalculation of ... basically the entire plan ... it turned out that I couldn't get my jacket off to unleash my justice hug. Panicking slightly, I decided to sit on my criminal, who was, fortunately for me, a smallish Chinese girl, incapable of kicking me off. "Citizen's arrest, checkmate!" I announced. "Someone call the real cops and tell them I'm giving free lessons on how it's really done!" I yelled at the crowd of strangers who'd gathered around. "It's all right, I write for Cracked!" I clarified, when several of them seemed to get more upset at me than the criminal. I was as surprised as anyone when this worked -- they may have thought I was saying something else.
Don't be surprised if you find yourself bonding quite strongly with your criminal. A citizen's arrest is a powerful shared experience, and with the passage of time (about 10 minutes or so, depending on police response times in your city), you'll quite likely start to see things from your criminal's perspective. This is a normal and healthy reaction, and it can help forge a new lifelong friendship. But you must resist the urge to fall in love with your criminal, and to free him and go on crime sprees with him, which, if you'll recall, was the exact opposite intention you set out with. An Example: "And that's why Teddy Roosevelt was the most badass president," I explained. Seeing her stare up at me, baffled, I started crying. "We're really doing it, aren't we? We're totally Stockholm syndroming! Let's never lose touch after this. People always say that, but let's really mean it!"
"And this key to the city is awarded to Darren Mitchell, who, having saved the president from ninjas, proved that, indeed, he was a Bad Enough Dude."
__ An Example: "So that's what happened," I said, trying to adjust my shirt/jacket, which, after the day's events, was now irrevocably bound together and twisted up under my armpits, exposing about 12 inches of midriff and a nipple. "Can I put my hand on her head when she gets put in the police car?" I asked. "So she doesn't hit it on the door frame? You know. I think it would be a nice capstone for my whole citizen's arrest experience." "She's not under arrest," the police officer said. "She was trying to return your wallet to you. You were dragging it behind you on a string when it fell off. Eight witnesses have come forth to say that." "I see. And you think this hurts the case? Should we check with the D.A. first, before making any rash decisions?" "No." "Well, if she's innocent, why didn't she say anything?" "She appears to speak English as a second language." I frowned. That would explain a few things. All the Chinese cursing -- that was one of the things. "She'd have tons of time to work on that in prison," I suggested. "There's only one person here at any risk of going to prison," the police officer said. "Is it you? Because of work-related duties?" That wasn't the angle he was getting at, as I would discover when he placed me under regular arrest. So that's it. I guess if there's one final lesson I have for you in all of this, it's that if you find yourself in a holding cell after making a citizen's arrest, it's advisable to have a cover story for why you're there. The fellows there did not take too warmly to having a citizen arrestor in their midst and spent the next several hours placing me under citizen's arrest in a variety of ways that, really, just mocked the sanctity of the act. _________________________