We’re all familiar with comic book and cartoon super heroes, Spiderman, Superman, Batman, the Fantastic 4,
Tickle Me Elmo, Mister Incredible, The Crimson Avenger, and a whole slew of other super heroes. Some of these people were born with super powers, some gained their super powers from some external source (solar radiation, radioactive/genetically engineered spider, etc.), and some were just ordinary guys with super gadgets and a mission.
Batman/Bruce Wayne summed it up fairly well in The Dark Knight when he said “Gotham needs a hero with a face” and James Gordon when he said “Because he’s the hero Gotham deserves, but not the one it needs right now. So we’ll hunt him because he can take it. Because he’s not our hero. He’s a silent guardian, a watchful protector. A dark knight.”
Sometimes the police are just a bureaucratic force, tied with departmental policies, regulations and red tape, unable to truly respond to a criminal threat – or such is the perception of the general public, or worse yet, the perception of the criminal element.
Real Life Super Heroes?
So why not real-life super heroes? People who lead normal, everyday lives, but have a costumed alter-ego to fight crime and strike fear into the hearts of criminals?
Cops don’t like this one bit. But what’s their reasoning? Are they like the teacher’s union who fears that private schools will someday eliminate their funding and eventually their jobs? Or do they just think that crime fighting ought to be left up to the “men in blue”? Ironically, most law enforcement officers that I’ve spoken with feel like their job is less about fighting crime and more about filing reports.
Fox News has a story featuring a modern-day super hero. Sure, he’s a self-proclaimed super hero, and he doesn’t hide his secret identity very well (Jack Brinatte). Fox’s interview with him is mildly condescending, and very tongue-in-cheek, but the question begs: are modern day super heroes the answer to our crime problem?
Today criminals fall into two basic categories:
- those who are generally good people but, due to an overwhelming amount of laws on the books – some contrary to others – made into law-breakers without knowledge or intent, and
- those who blatantly break the law, without regard for persons or property
Police have long since traded in their 6-shot revolvers for body armor and assault-style weapons. We even have SWAT teams with fully automatic machine guns, helmets, riot gear, tear gas, chemical sprays, flash-bangs, and any number of other weaponry at their disposal.
Criminals have countered (or did the criminals arm first and the police countered?) and are carrying Uzi’s, wearing flack jackets, and are toting high caliber, large capacity firearms.
One side escalates, and the other follows suit – with innocents caught in the cross-fire.
Can’t cameras reduce crime?
After getting concerned with the growing number of “traffic cameras” in his city, without any demonstrable effect on reducing crime, a gentleman in England wondered if the ineffective cameras were even being monitored. He dressed in his “Predator” costume and took to the streets – acting in character as The Predator.
Within minutes he was surrounded by several police officers, was detained, and as I recall, arrested and taken into custody. His comment to the press: Why can someone dressed in a costume be surrounded by who knows how many cops, yet the assault victim gets no response until they go down to the station and file a report?
Would Super Heroes really help?
Super heroes, though not necessarily “above the law” aren’t restricted by departmental policies, procedures, and regulations. They aren’t tied down with reports and waiting for backup. They aren’t a nameless uniform. They are a symbol, a beacon, an icon of standing up for the helpless, giving aid to those in need when no one else responds.
Or are they vigilante’s? Criminals due to the fact that they are taking the law into their own hands?
Would super heroes help fight crime, or would they be a distraction to the “professionals” trying to do their job? What’s your take?