(In)Justice is Served

When I was growing up, I always wanted to be a superhero. I never really looked good in tights, though, and I didn’t have the whole muscle-man thing going on, so I tried my hand at writing, found out I liked it, and I decided to stick with that rather than the whole superhero thing. I’ve always tried to do the right thing, though, regardless of my subpar speedo-wearing body.

But those weren’t the only things that kept me from being a superhero. You see I’ve always been kind of broke, and I really can’t afford a good lawyer – a must for any superhero these days. Imagine Superman throwing a bad guy through a storeÂfront window today. With all the politically correct, civil liberty and equal rights groups out there, Superman would find himself in a lawsuit pretty quickly. I bet that shopkeeper would demand some sort of reimbursement from the Man of Steel for breaking his window. Even if he was saving the day.

What happened to justice? To getting what’s coming to you? Where have all the superheroes gone? Well, after an intensive search, I’ve found them; they’re all in hiding, fearful of all the pending lawsuits they face from beating up so many bad guys and saving the day so often.

Modern day stories of heroism gone wrong are more frequent than not, and one of them hits close to home.

A current UVM student is facing disciplinary action for his act of heroism. Let me paint the picture for you. Our hero is attending one of the many off-campus parties throughout the year and walks in on a ghastly scene: one of his friends is passed out in a dark bedroom; on top of her is an unknown male that is trying to have his way with our damsel in distress.

Our hero reacts quickly and does the first thing that comes to mind, which is not to politely ask the villain to stop what he is doing. Instead, he rips the villain off her and gives him a few punches, probably well-deserved. I’m not a big fan of violence, but I’m less of a fan of rape. Now our hero is facing disciplinary action for his heroic act, and the villain is pressing assault charges. I ask, who is the bigger villain here? The boy who got a few well-deserved punches? Or the disciplinary board for allowing such a case to be heard?

I often wonder if our hero would do the same thing had he had known that a few months later he, rather than the villain, would be in the hands of the law for doing the right thing? I hope so.

And I hope that there are more superheroes out there like this one, regardless of whether they look bad in tights, who would do the right thing no matter the consequences.