I saw a post over at Tam's place that really cracked me up. It's a piece that includes a link over to the LonelyMachines site where the origins of the term "Mall Ninja" are explained. It cracked me up so hard, that I checked Wikipedia for the term, and *surprise*, they had no listing for it. I knew what it meant from hanging around various forums and blogs, but thought Wikipedia might have a listing.
A Google Search fared much better, and led me to this page with the "Top 10 Mall Ninja Guns".
Now in Days of Old, I did some security consulting for people that thought their offices were being bugged, and as a result of that, I got hooked up with a PPO who wanted me to be his "Tactical Stealth Electronics" operations guy. The owner of this place had this brilliant idea to have a one-stop "Security Mall" where you could hire a Private Investigator (an active-duty LAPD guy, no less!), go to school and get your Guard Card (LONG story on that!), hire his security officers, and pretty much "Take Care of ALL Your Security Needs Under One Roof!". Well, I hung around for a while, made some decent bucks sweeping offices, and got to know a bunch of security guards. Back then, they weren't called "Mall Ninjas", but rather "Cowboys", which considering who the term was applied to, I thought insulted real cowboys!
Some of these guys were freakin' NUTS! There are VERY strict rules for running a PPO (Private Patrol Operator) in Kalifornia, and they cover vehicle types and paint schemes, officer uniforms and badging, and a host of other rules and regulations. To make a long story short, the PPO MUST ensure that his patrol officers CANNOT be mistaken for a Duly-Sworn Peace Officer, a.k.a., a REAL Cop.
This is where the "Cowboy" part comes in. Some of these guys went out of their way to look, and act, like real police. One guy bought a used Kawasaki "Police Special" from the CHP, and bought the correct style pants, boots, shirts, and helmet. He looked scary good, and after being told THREE times by the owner of the place to "Knock it off, or we'll BOTH get in trouble!", he got fired.
Same thing with a "Motor Unit" guy who'd bought himself a used Crown Victoria from the CHP, and outfitted it with all the gear the CHP had, except for the light bar. He had all yellow lenses in his, but again, same thing happened. Repeatedly warned, then canned.
Anyway, I heard one of the line managers mutter something one day, and I asked him what he said. "Goddamn COWBOYS!", and then explained the whole situation to me.
It's funny, but a lot of people seem to want to be police, but either can't or won't make the effort to actually do what it takes to be one.
I see the same thing among Amateur Radio operators who get involved with EMCOMMS, too. Some of these guys just have to have the same style vest, pants and shirt that the real first responders wear, and when they get told they can't, get all hissy about it. Some of these guys even have official looking badges, fer Pete's sake!
Maybe someday the term "Radio Ninja" will enter the popular lexicon, but for now all we have is Mall Ninja.