I recently wrote an article that dealt mainly with the current state of superhero culture and how we will never outgrow our favorite characters because of the inspiration they give us. Consider this a follow-up to that article and my attempt to show how that inspiration can be totally misunderstood and lead to all sorts of wrong-doing.
Several days ago, a 23 year-old in Seattle was arrested on charges of felony assault for flinging a batarang at a perusing police vehicle after he was reported threatening a bouncer with a homemade spear.
This story perfectly highlights how certain people can use the ideas or imagery of superheroes and twist that inspiration into something dangerous or harmful. The term "inspiration" that I used in my previous article refers to the means of bringing out our best qualities and to celebrate and honor those qualities in others. Superheros can be a great source for inciting that form of inspiration and when they are used to do just that, we should celebrate them and enjoy them.
Unfortunately, superheroes can also incite idiotic and dangerous situations as well. While the exact details of the story above are a bit vague, some articles claim that the perpetrator was acting as a sort of vigilante character. From what has been reported thus far, nothing could seem further from the truth. At least on the surface, the perpetrator appears to be more on the side of disturbing the peace rather than preserving it.
Regardless of this though, even those who dress up and announce themselves as vigilantes to help others are also putting themselves in unnecessarily dangerous situations and could ultimately interfere with the successful intervention of law enforcement. The inspiration people receive from superheroes should incite less violence and not more. While that sounds like a common sense argument, it is always a good practice to remind ourselves of it.
I will always be on the side of suggesting that superheroes should be idolized and relevant in our society to both promote our own best qualities and to remind us of the real-life superheroes such as first-responders, that put their lives on the line to protect us from harm. No, the story mentioned above is not and will not be the last we hear about such dangerous antics inspired to some degree by superheroes. All we can hope for is that more people understand the values those characters actually represent and why so many people look up to them for their good acts either in the pages of comic books or movie screens across the world.