(That's ~A~, not ~the~, we're more of a franchise operation. But anyway...)
Chances are, I'm a casual friend, acquaintance, or near-stranger spotted at various cons, faires, or what have you. There are more like me than you'd think. And as one would imagine, we brutes get called upon to aid people in somewhat ugly social situations.
Sadly, these have only grown uglier and more common over the past couple of years. And while we're still willing to aid, our responses are limited. Hence, talking about what you can realistically expect when you call on one of us.
(your mileage may vary and there are exceptions, but the following is a good set of principles).
First off, it's important to recognize what a brute squad is not.
A brute squad is not Batman. (though he might be cosplaying him)
A brute squad is not a bodyguard.
A brute squad (probably) is not a cop.
A brute squad is not event security (that's currently on duty).
A brute squad is not a champion for trial by combat.
A brute squad is not Sir Lancelot.
A brute squad is not an Avenger.
A brute squad is not a hitman.
Brute squads are a defensive and evasive measure. Using one offensively rarely works well. Using one as a retaliatory instrument works even less well.
What does that mean?
It means that whether or not damage has already been done, the best one of us can do is extract, prevent anything further, and if desired, help contact the authorities.
What I won't do is actively go after whoever creepified/harassed/assaulted you. Whether or not I believe you doesn't matter. The law allows for defense, not vengeance.
And yes, this does include calling out someone for an act I didn't witness. Because if that calling out leads to an argument that becomes physical, I then become legally responsible for the ensuing assault. That it was a response to harassment and/or assault by the other person does not matter.
Understand that this isn't about your feelings, or mine. This is how American self-defense and good Samaritan laws allow me to act.
(And before you ask, yes, there are people I will risk the prison time for on their word. There's not many people that fall under that description. Chances are, you're not one of them. Deal.)
So don't put me in that position. I won't play along.
That said, let's look at what a brute squad can do.
As said before, I'm not a bodyguard. I can look and react to what I do see. But to be effective, I need to know what I'm looking for.
Walking up to me and saying, "the guy in the big hat grabbed my ass," doesn't leave me with much if I didn't see it happen already.
But if I don't look occupied and you say, "I'm posing for some pics over there. Can you watch my six for a minute, please?" Then I'll probably be able to watch out for you. ((Granted, I'll probably get a good look in myself, but I will keep an eye out)). Sometimes a brute squad is a visual deterrent just being there. Sometimes they just fade into the background, only to emerge with an angry "What the fuck?" at the guy who just copped a feel.
Sometimes, the best way to get out of the mess is to just leave. As mentioned above, a brute squad can't do much about what already happened, but preventing anything else while you get out of the area helps.
Again, the key here is prevention. A brute squad isn't there for you to hide behind while you get the last word in. They're there to keep trouble from following. Whether that's in the journey to your car, to event security or to the nearest cop depends on you.
In my brute squad time, I've been several flavors of fake boyfriend, fake lover, fake fiancee, and fake husband. I've been a big brother to three times the number of actual siblings I have, and uncle Jay to enough young congoers to field a football team. At my age, I wouldn't look too askance at a glomping from some costumed teenager I've never met calling me "Dad" (though I'd probably be doing some heavy mental math and wondering from where in the tribe this one came from).
Yes, it's playing into the patriarchy. It also works pretty damn effectively. And as long as that's the case, I'll play the role I'm needed in whenever it comes up.
Long story short, brute squads won't solve the spread of harassment that's been plaguing convention culture. They're neither a silver bullet nor some sort of crusade movement. They're just a little help here and a little help there in big, hairy packages.
But sometimes that's enough.