DC’s animated original movies have a strong track record, and in 2012 they added to an impressive library with Superman vs. The Elite. In short, the movie explores the modern superhero’s dilemma: To kill or not to kill? More specifically related to Superman, perhaps we can ask: Should he be more like Christ or Gen. George S. Patton?

Is it a moral failing for superheroes to repeatedly capture super-powered villains who exist completely outside the rule of law? How much blood, if any, does Superman have on his hands due to his refusal to kill evil incarnate?

At the start of Superman vs. The Elite, a monster known as Atomic Skull kills two people on the city streets of Metropolis — infusing his victims with radioactive energy that turns them into volcanic ash or Pompeii-like sculptures. Superman asks why. The answer: they serve as Superman bait. That’s it.

The Atomic Skull Superman The Elite

Atomic Skull exists to kill, and he kills to draw out Superman.

Superman The Elite Skull victimSuperman refuses to end the monster’s life, and after a battle tears up half the city Atomic Skull is sent to a holding facility. Will it restrain him for long? First comes an exchange between Superman and Professor Baxter ensues at the United Nations:

Professor Baxter: “So was this justice, Superman? Millions in property damage. Helpless bystanders killed by a repeat meta-human felon who is now enjoying three square meals a day as a guest of the state. You had the power to end Atomic Skull’s criminal career — permanently. Why didn’t you?”

Superman: “I’m not anyone’s judge and jury, professor Baxter — definitely not an executioner. My powers do not put me above the law.”

Professor Baxter: “A noble sentiment, but are you the Superman that the 21st century needs? Why not use your power to fix the world? Let me reiterate that I am playing devil’s advocate. I’m a huge fan [of yours].”

Superman: “First, I don’t believe the world is broken — because when we say ‘the world,’ we’re really talking about is people. It’s always been my belief that people, at their core, are good. The grace of mankind is everywhere. You just have to open your eyes. Humanity has a limitless potential for good. My purpose it to help people reach that potential.”

Indeed, we can talk about the nature of man all day. Are people at their core all good? It’s a tough question — it depends on how you define “good.” They certainly have the potential for either great good or great evil — but Superman dodges the initial question: “Was this justice?”

Perhaps the right answer is that in a world with Atomic Skulls roaming around, the death penalty would need to be applied much more liberally. If humanity in the DC Universe can’t get its justice system right, why should Superman have to be the one to play judge, jury and executioner? As it stands, Atomic Skull escapes soon after his apprehension and kills Professor Baxter in the middle of the street.

Superman The Elite Death
Superman is super grumpy right now, because a guy who he apprehended only days earlier has escaped — and killed — again. Should he be mad at the citizens of Metropolis for having such a rotten justice system or at himself for allowing such madness to continue?

Manchester Black steps in and does what Superman won’t — he blows Atomic Skull’s head into a million pieces. Superman predictably flips out, but the citizens of Metropolis do not. One “woman on the street” interview sums up the mood of the city:

Citizen: “I’ve lived in Metropolis all my life. Superman has always been there for us, but so have those criminals he’s put away so many times. Maybe his way doesn’t work.”

Manchester Black Superman The Elite
My name is Manchester Black, and I can blow up your skull just by pointing my finger at you. I’ve got an itchy trigger finger, so don’t get on my bad side.

Or maybe Metropolis’ justice system doesn’t work?

The Elite, led by Manchester Black, are a shady group of anti-heroes whose tactics go too far. They wantonly kill anyone who doesn’t fit their definition of “good,” even going so far as to slaughter the entire political leadership of two warring countries. (Oddly enough, the media in the DC Universe give The Elite a pass on the execution, essentially saying: “Well, they did end the war…”.) Regardless, Black does have a point.

Manchester Black: “You probably won’t believe this, but I used to love superheroes. But masks are for hiding. Capes are for playing. You were the first. The best. But now you’re a cliche and you don’t fit in anymore. Mad scientists, idiots in underwear, bank robbers — knock yourself out with that lot. But the real work — fixing the world — is ours.

The rules of engagement in a war zone are different than the rules of engagement for a local cop, and the vast majority of villains in comics are walking war zones. They should be dealt with like an enemy on the battlefield, particularly since they’ve erased any lines between civilian and military targets.

In many respects Superman is his very own deus ex machina, but writers would weave better tales if they didn’t always have that escape hatch at the ready. That is, unless … we see Superman as a Christ-like figure. If the writers would openly admit to giving him that role, I would be willing to accept that.

The following exchange between Lois and Clark is telling:

Lois: “Why do you have to do this? Why can’t you call someone else? …

Clark: They have to be stopped.

Lois: “I think they can beat you. I’m sorry, but they’re willing to go places you won’t — and they are so damn strong.”

Clark: “I heard a child say that he wanted to be in the elite when he grows up because it would be fun to kill bad guys. Fun to kill? People have to know that there’s another way. They have to see that someone believes in humanity strongly enough to…

Lois: “…to die for them?”

Is Superman a Christ-like hero, or is he just one heck of a superhero? If he’s just an “elite” superhero, then I will now quote Patton:

“Now I want you to remember that no bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making the other poor dumb bastard die for his country.”

Regardless of what you think, you should give DC’s creative teams for their original animated films a thumbs up. They’re doing great work. Now, if they could only get those movies in order…

Related: David Goyer is right: The ‘Superman doesn’t kill’ rule hurts the character

Related: Man of Steel Trailer: Harbinger of an epic film

Related: Snyder’s ‘Man of Steel’ hits audiences with big ideas, soars over small-minded critics

Related: Batman: Under the Red Hood, and Lessons for Dealing With Jihadist Jokers

Related: Spider-Man: War Zone liability thinks small in big situations

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About the Author Douglas Ernst

I'm a former Army guy who believes success comes through hard work, honesty, optimism, and perseverance. I believe seeing yourself as a victim creates a self-fulfilling prophecy. I believe in God. I'm a USC Trojan with an MA in Political Science from American University.

19 comments

  1. Whoa…

    Well this was…unexpected…

    I mean…this aligns with my interests perfectly! 😀 I have so much to say!

    *Coughs in hand*

    First off, I’m glad to see that your looking into or have already looked into the animated movies DC puts out. For years now, I’ve always maintained that, while the rate of silver screen gems that Marvel outputs has largely been greater than the amount that DC outputs (though with Man of Steel, Warner Bros is FINALLY taking an interest into actually competing in this market), in the realm of animation, DC has marvel beat by a long-shot (excluding the rare stroke of enthusiastic genius that is Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes), particularly in the realm of straight to DVD animated features.

    Second off, I’m glad to see you bring up this particular movie. Did you know that Superman Versus The Elite is based off an early 2000’s story arc in the mainstream DC comic-verse called, ‘What’s So Funny About Truth, Justice, and the American Way?’ Did you know that it was also made in response to a group DC’s Wildstorm Imprint was making called ‘The Authority’ who sort of popularized the whole idea of ‘Superheroes should be jerks who should kill at the first sight of trouble and care more about publicity stunts and maintaining their own power that legitimately helping people’ that was later even more popularized in Marvel’s secondary ‘Ultimate’ Universe?

    Third off, I’m glad to see that you’re a little bit more on the fence with Superman being a more anti-recidivist kind of hero and actually DO point out that it’s not so much Superman or other heroes’ fault for their villains continually coming back to cause more harm (though you do maintain that is a large part of it, which I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t) and that it’s more the fault of the curiously inept ‘Justice System’ that makes ours look clean cut and square jawed by comparison that lets these super criminals off so easily. You still maintain that he should still have the anti-recidivist option as the Nuclear Option of last resort (one that’s a bit more pleasant than Harry Reid’s Nuclear Option) by exercising good judgement (unlike The Elite), but hey, it’s a decent position and baby steps man. Baby steps.

    Fourth off (blech. That don’t sound no good), speaking of legalize and Superhero Universes, I just thought of another interesting moral dilemma: should the mutants of the Marvel Universe be tracked, monitored, and etc?

    1. First off, I’m glad to see that your looking into or have already looked into the animated movies DC puts out. For years now, I’ve always maintained that, while the rate of silver screen gems that Marvel outputs has largely been greater than the amount that DC outputs (though with Man of Steel, Warner Bros is FINALLY taking an interest into actually competing in this market), in the realm of animation, DC has marvel beat by a long-shot (excluding the rare stroke of enthusiastic genius that is Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes), particularly in the realm of straight to DVD animated features.

      Every so often I’ll see a DC flick that looks pretty good, and if I have some time and it’s on Netflix I’ll check it out. In the animated realm, I’d say that DC has beat Marvel hands down. That may change, but I have been impressed with DC in this regard. Don’t get me started on EMH. I loved that show, and Marvel killed it. It was amazing. I wish that thing came out when I was a kid…

      I’m glad to see that you’re a little bit more on the fence with Superman being a more anti-recidivist kind of hero and actually DO point out that it’s not so much Superman or other heroes’ fault for their villains continually coming back to cause more harm (though you do maintain that is a large part of it, which I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t) and that it’s more the fault of the curiously inept ‘Justice System’ that makes ours look clean cut and square jawed by comparison that lets these super criminals off so easily. You still maintain that he should still have the anti-recidivist option as the Nuclear Option of last resort (one that’s a bit more pleasant than Harry Reid’s Nuclear Option) by exercising good judgement (unlike The Elite), but hey, it’s a decent position and baby steps man. Baby steps.

      I think if characters like Superman would forcefully call out the political leaders in the comics, who put all of these guys in a prison (apparently with zero superhuman security guards) instead of having the death penalty, I’d be more at ease with Superman’s order of business. I “get” what he’s doing, but it also annoying to watch the cycle play out over and over and over again. 1. Capture bad guy after he kills innocent people. 2. Pat self and fellow superheroes on the back. 3. Go out to eat with girlfriend/wife. 4. Leave dinner to capture the exact same super villain, who has broken out of prison and killed again.

      Yes, I know it’s “just” a comic book, but I think the writers need to find a better way of dealing with this problem. I guess that’s why I like stories where it’s more of a personal vendetta between the bad guy and the superhero. One represents “good” and one “represents” evil, and for the most part they’re just concerned with beating each other to a pulp. Buildings might get shattered, but innocent people aren’t dying.

      Fourth off (blech. That don’t sound no good), speaking of legalize and Superhero Universes, I just thought of another interesting moral dilemma: should the mutants of the Marvel Universe be tracked, monitored, and etc?

      Marvel’s Civil War storyline showed that registration was a good idea. When it first started, super-powered humans just had to register. Then, it was changed and they had to WORK for the government. Marvel had to do that because otherwise their weird Bush allegory started to fall apart and they needed one side to be “wrong.”

      It makes no sense that in the Marvel Universe they government would want to know where child predators were, but not the guy who could blow up half of New York if his wife cheated on him and he went bonkers. If the guy next door had the ability to walk into your house, do all sorts of nasty things to you and your wife, and then mind-wipe you so you never remembered it happened … you’d want the government to know about that guy. Marvel made Captain America look like a fool — again — with some of those speeches during Civil War.

  2. I personally don’t mind if superheroes kill if there’s no alternative, since in real life, soldiers/cops and others sometimes have to kill if they’re in a life-or-death-situation. As you know, I thought the whole Superman kills Zod “controversy” was ridiculous, and that’s being kind.

    That said, I HATE the Authority, largely because of the authors using moonbat talking points throughout the comics.

    And I’ll have to check this movie out sometime. I recall reading the comic years ago and enjoying it.

    1. “I personally don’t mind if superheroes kill if there’s no alternative, since in real life, soldiers/cops and others sometimes have to kill if they’re in a life-or-death-situation. As you know, I thought the whole Superman kills Zod “controversy” was ridiculous, and that’s being kind.”

      You see, in the film medium, I too don’t have (as big of) a problem with heroes killing villains either, so long as its true to the character, and I give the makers of MoS mad props for showing a remorseful Superman after he had to take Zod’s life.

      The thing is though…I don’t want that thing to become more common in the comic book medium because the odds of that finding a balance in the stories told and not going off into Authority and Ultimate Marvel territory is a thin one that crackpot, crack smoking writers and artists aren’t even going to consider (ala The New-52 and New-52 Superman, though he I don’t think he’s killed anyone…yet…).

  3. I’m glad you brought this film up Doug when your dealing with powers it is a war zone and the revolving door of jail is infinitely more at fault than the heroes. If I remember correctly the Joker has escaped prison More Times than he’s been thrown in prison the totals around two hundred. Two hundred chances to execute him were not taken there’s got to be something in the water in Gotham.

    In entertainment we hold different heroes to different standards based on their history and character I’m not going to be whining about the last criminal the Punisher has killed because that’s old news. For me it goes down to the heroes motivations as a hero and there reaction to the killing.

    Maybe I’m biased but my standard for one of the better superheroes killing is what happened in The Other.

    1. I’m glad you brought this film up Doug when your dealing with powers it is a war zone and the revolving door of jail is infinitely more at fault than the heroes. If I remember correctly the Joker has escaped prison More Times than he’s been thrown in prison the totals around two hundred. Two hundred chances to execute him were not taken there’s got to be something in the water in Gotham.

      That one made me laugh. Holy cow. 200?! If I were Batman I’d say: “You people are nuts. I’m out of here. I’m moving to Kansas,” after the 50th time.

  4. Perhaps the right answer is that in a world with Atomic Skulls roaming around, the death penalty would need to be applied much more liberally. If humanity in the DC Universe can’t get its justice system right, why should Superman have to be the one to play judge, jury and executioner? As it stands, Atomic Skull escapes soon after his apprehension and kills Professor Baxter in the middle of the street.

    Why does this sound so familiar…
    http://natewinchester.wordpress.com/2012/09/25/why-dont-superheroes-kill/
    😉

    I say if the Joker was real, not only would he be executed, but clowns would become illegal. May I also recommend: http://lawandthemultiverse.com/

    On the other hand… Well I’ll just quote myself when I emailed the L&tM guys:

    [O]ne wonders that in a world with mind control, time travel, robot duplicates, alternate universe duplicates, shapeshifters and so much more, if anyone would ever be convicted of anything. (what CAN’T be reasonably doubted in that universe?)

    Though it could lead to some interesting punishments. “You are guilty of murder. I sentence you to bringing the victim back to life.”

    After all, with Jason Todd back to life, does that mean the Joker is no longer guilty of killing him?

  5. This is where I will disagree with ya Doug, to a point. When it comes to registration and superheroes, all of them are still by and large vigilantes and operate outside the law to get the job done. To go places the cops can’t because of laws and structure. They break minor laws by comparison to those who commit murder and wanton destruction. And frankly, I wouldn’t trust politicians with agendas (they will always exist and we are fools to think otherwise) to have access to that kind of power because if you were to tag and register every single superpowered character, they would dissect you, kill you, violate your constitutional rights (regardless if you’re the good guy or the bad guy) and then replicate it onto themselves or keep it in cold storage. Can’t say I blame superheroes having secret identities.

    As for the kill or no kill, to take another life is to violate the basic human right to live, which most of us are raised with said moral value. To kill is the basic violation of that right regardless of the circumstance, especially in an age when we can cripple to the point where they won’t cause much harm to anyone else. Most superheroes follow that right (some more of the focus than others ie. Batman or Spider-Man) and to kill, even if it’s say the Joker or whatever, makes you just as ugly as them, and in the case of the Joker, you let him in his dying moments win because in that single moment you had to stoop to his level to get the job done. That’s the joke. That’s why Batman won’t kill him, or anyone else: He spent his entire life haunted by death and basically doing anything and everything to make himself a peak human but to any other man would’ve removed his basic humanity to do it. And that is why he doesn’t kill because it would be to acknowledge that there is nothing human about him anymore and then his own reason to fight would cease to be.
    Superman summed it up beautifully in this piece against the type of “hero” that is Manchester Black. In subsequent appearances, Black tries to get Superman to kill him (in a very Joker-esque fashion) because in his mind, if Superman won’t kill and is really that good of a person, then he (and by extension the rest of us) are that evil. Well we can’t have that, so let’s bring him down a notch. Lex Luthor follows this trope as well.

    But what I WILL agree on is that the justice system in the DCU is pretty pitiful, but at the same time I can see why it would be:

    In Gotham, the entire system as a whole from beat cop to judge is corrupt. As much as we see the mob get P/O’d at Batman and the “Freaks” of Gotham, they are ultimately good for business because it distracts Batman from their trafficking and work more than it would without them. So while he’s off hunting for the Joker, they can move a shipment of diamonds or drugs or even people. Not to mention, especially in recent comics, the kind of doctors at Arkham that protest whenever the cops get involved into what they see as “patient/doctor relations” pertaining to their illness in question. Heck there was actually a story where the Joker was put on death row for a crime he didn’t even commit, and Batman, as much as it burned him on the inside to do it, helped the Joker out of it because he couldn’t shake the idea of another murderer out there trying to pin it on an established mass-murderer, spree slayer, serial killer, and a man who has committed 99.7% of the crimes that one can possibly commit in Gotham and the world at large (this was established).

    As for the greater DCU, the reason they don’t get offed is a combination of various Secret Societies controlling them from within or all the red tape and rammifications and mis-trials or what have you that take months at a time to reach a verdict (or money changing hands) that by the time they are sentenced, they’ve already escaped, and the process repeats itself over and over again. With characters like Lex Luthor for example, the reason he can’t be accounted for murder yet still convicted of other crimes to put him away is because he either carefully (or after the fact) destroys evidence, kills key witnesses to testify (his power doesn’t stop when he goes to jail, he’s Lex Luthor!) or Superman (as famously put in Superman Returns) “doesn’t make his court date…” because naturally any superhero who goes into court to testify has to reveal himself to the public eye, thus putting their loved ones and themselves in danger not just to other villains, but to the press AND the government who will go Jason Bourne on them (see above paragraph.)

    As Man of Steel puts it: “He can’t be trusted.. But I’m not sure humanity can either.” and Superman was right: we can’t. They may have limitless potential for good, but as is, we as a species are horrible and frankly ALL of us deserve to be put in the ground just for all the things we do to each other to “be held accountable.” So while I agree that the justice system in the DCU needs serious revisions (though they’re not wrong to portray them as is), I’m with Superman’s ideology on death and to kill or not kill. Because to do so starts a domino effect that can lead too ultimately the destruction of not just a hero, but what it means to be one by setting an example for others to follow.

    1. As for the kill or no kill, to take another life is to violate the basic human right to live, which most of us are raised with said moral value. To kill is the basic violation of that right regardless of the circumstance, especially in an age when we can cripple to the point where they won’t cause much harm to anyone else. Most superheroes follow that right (some more of the focus than others ie. Batman or Spider-Man) and to kill, even if it’s say the Joker or whatever, makes you just as ugly as them, and in the case of the Joker, you let him in his dying moments win because in that single moment you had to stoop to his level to get the job done. That’s the joke.

      Yes, everyone has a right to life, but your rights end where mine begin. If you threaten me with a gun and I shoot you dead in the process of defending my life, how would that make me a bad person? It wouldn’t.

      As I’ve said before, Superman is his very own deus ex machina. That’s lazy writing. To a lesser extent, writers do it with Spider-Man, Batman, etc. They always are given a way out. They always find a way, even when a more realistic approach would end with them (occasionally) having to take a life to save a life. Sometimes they might have to take a life to save millions…or billions (e.g., Amazing Spider-Man’s ‘Ends of the Earth’ storyline shows how this could happen). Those are the tough choices law enforcement officials, soldiers and first responders have to make every single day. I don’t see why our comic book heroes should get a free pass on having to make the split-second decisions that real heroes make throughout our lives.

      There is a big difference between killing someone in self-defense (or in the defense of others) and murdering someone because, say, you don’t want to pay off a debt or because someone made you angry.

      I simply disagree with your premise that killing in self defense makes anyone “just as ugly” as the person who instigated the altercation.

      So while I agree that the justice system in the DCU needs serious revisions (though they’re not wrong to portray them as is), I’m with Superman’s ideology on death and to kill or not kill. Because to do so starts a domino effect that can lead too ultimately the destruction of not just a hero, but what it means to be one by setting an example for others to follow.

      Your confusing my desire to put superheroes in the same impossible scenarios that policemen find themselves in regularly with someone just deciding that really bad people (i.e., people he defines as “bad”) need to die because they’re bad. I want to see a situation where a guy turns his heart into a living detonator — where every beat blows up a stockpile of explosives — and the only way for Superman to stop innocent people from dying with every beat is by ending the psychopath’s life. I don’t want to see him travel faster than the speed of light to grab a donated organ ready for transplant and then somehow switch out the hearts… That’s lame, but that’s the sort of thing writers always do.

      Do you remember the D.C. woman who snapped in her car and tried to ram through the White House gates not too long ago? She ended up dead, but afterward all these people said, “Why couldn’t the cops just shoot the tires?!” Well, it doesn’t really work like that because if you missed or if the bullet ricochets off the ground it could hit an innocent bystander and kill them… But the “there’s always a way!” mentality encourages that line of thought. So the cops get second-guessed or possibly demonized because society has unrealistic expectations of them.

      Likewise, people always say, “Why couldn’t the cops just shoot the guy in the leg?” during altercations that end in death. Well, first of all it’s really hard to hit moving targets, and on top of that if you hit a guy in the leg or the arm … it won’t necessarily end the altercation. Try shooting a guy in the leg who is pumped up with all sorts of drugs and then watch as a bad situation gets exponentially worse. Sometimes, the only way to “end” a criminal’s behavior is by ending their life. Shoot for center mass and hope you hit your target. I want my comic heroes to have to deal with these sort of gut-wrenching decisions. It makes for a better tale, in my book.

    2. the problem with that is doing that basically negates the ideal of a superhero the likes of Superman or Batman. Superman is the ideals we all strive to be and that with each day he goes forward sets an example for us to follow. To always find that third option even when it looks like there is none. He’s the moral centre for all of us. If we brought him down to our level, then he’s no longer Superman, he’s just “fictional character with powers #37.” and in Batman’s case, and is the subject of many a story is that his meaning to be came at the weight of death. By the point of a gun. He underwent all kinds of training and murderous cruel environments to emerge as the peak of human potential, but doing so basically burned away his humanity and the constant struggle to maintain what is left of it each night he patrols the streets.

      Frankly I don’t want to see a Superman who will kill somebody if it means for the so-called “greater good”, I want to see a man struggle with the ideals and then MAKE an option 3. His mission is to save everyone, even those who would do ill, and he is not one to make those judgments of right and wrong ESPECIALLY because he is that powerful. We as humans aren’t that powerful and can’t make those kind of decisions in quite the same fashion, but that should never discourage one from trying.

      And to your whole “Your life is forfeit if it endangers my own.” I must again disagree: The better man has restraint and judgment. He doesn’t need to stoop to his enemy’s level to get the job done when for example, shoot him in the hands, disarms, shoot him in the legs, slows down, shoot him in the other hand, kick to the lower back to cripple. Regardless if a man is hyped on drugs or not, the body can only take so much before it goes down, and that single stumble is all it takes to move in and deliver the ending blow, but not necessarily killing them in the process. There are many articles where I’ve read people hyped up on lord knows what who attacked cops and none of them had to use deadly force to subdue them and in some cases yeah, tasers and guns didn’t put them down, but it stunned them enough to allow the officers to get in close and cuff them. In fact I’ve read articles where the victim posed no threat whatsoever and the cop STILL shot him dead as well (this recently happened in Toronto. Kid had his hands up, was coming off the street car, cop still shot him, then walked onto the bus and unloaded his clip into the kid to “make sure” even though he was down, bleeding profusely, and did nothing other than he had a knife in his pocket and was of Arab descent. This sparked the move of the increased permissions of tasers in the city, which yes while can still be lethal have a better chance of not killing the target than a bullet does. It also started a massive anti-police protest that shut down the entire streets on the lake for nearly 2 blocks and the cop was suspended but with pay. So let me get this straight, cops who perform non-lethal actions on would-be killers get no recognition and yet a cop who shoots an 18-year-old kid who had openly surrended dead get suspended BUT with pay? Humanity…)

      As for the whole “don’t want to take a chance on ricocheting bullets and not wanting to hit moving targets.” is fear talking. Even if you hit the target square the bullet still has a chance to go through it and harm someone else, or in the case of that woman in the car, they were aiming straight for her and the bullet STILL could’ve ricocheted and harmed someone else because it could’ve bouncd somewhere else. You never really know until you actually try.

      A warzone is different because of the multiple elements, making that very difficult, I understand that, but to categorize superhero brawls as walking warzones is a bit of a leap because it is a personal fight just on a grand scale. Superheroes, despite the destruction they cause, are in those one-to-one confrontations and CAN do that. If they wish they CAN cripple, maim, paralyze, wound, but they don’t have to kill.

      Law enforcement isn’t that much different in the same cause of the Rules of Engagement, hence why they started giving more and more access to less lethal weaponry. Neutralize them as a threat, but killing them only proves you are just as ugly as them because you have to do unto them what they were going to do to everyone else. That isn’t what a hero does, regardless of what if doing so saves a lot more people. A hero is one who saves everyone and will find a way to win in a no-win scenario.

      I respect your take on what makes for good storytelling in terms of superheroes and the tough choices they make, and I will openly defend your right to say it, but I disagree with it. When I see superheroes I want to see someone to strive to be who will stand above us, not with us so we can strive to be them. If my hero was no better than me, why would I want to be them? If I could say “this is what I would do, and I want my hero to do that as well.” Why would I believe in them? That’s why I universally despise Superior Spider-Man and every other “anti-hero” who are the so-called “gritty realistic heroes.”

    3. And to your whole “Your life is forfeit if it endangers my own.” I must again disagree: The better man has restraint and judgment. He doesn’t need to stoop to his enemy’s level to get the job done when for example, shoot him in the hands, disarms, shoot him in the legs, slows down, shoot him in the other hand, kick to the lower back to cripple. Regardless if a man is hyped on drugs or not, the body can only take so much before it goes down, and that single stumble is all it takes to move in and deliver the ending blow, but not necessarily killing them in the process.

      We’ll just have to agree to disagree. I highly suggest talking to a few cops. Give them a lecture about how “good” cops shouldn’t ever have to use deadly force. Give them the same line of reasoning you’ve used here. See how that goes over.

    4. *”We’ll just have to agree to disagree. I highly suggest talking to a few cops. Give them a lecture about how “good” cops shouldn’t ever have to use deadly force. Give them the same line of reasoning you’ve used here. See how that goes over.”*

      That’s fine. Though to be fair I have family who are cops and they have told me the goal yes is to keep civillians safe and always find a non-lethal solution to a situation, especially recently with the aforementioned controversy that happened here in Toronto not too long ago, using their sidearm as a last possible resort. So neither of us are really wrong in this debate, we just see opposite sides of the same dilemma. And that’s okay, nothing wrong with that.

      Anyways, looking forward to your next article, especially if it buries Superior Spider-Man. Cheers 😀

  6. “but as is, we as a species are horrible and frankly ALL of us deserve to be put in the ground just for all the things we do to each other to “be held accountable.” ”

    Ah…gotta love Secular Humanists…

    1. way to take my words out of context… But no matter, you have to admit I’m not wrong in believing and viewing the world the way I do because I have yet to be proven of otherwise, otherwise I wouldn’t believe the world as I do. And you always have to have room for a differing opinion otherwise discussion does not take place.

  7. There is a “basic human right to live,” but rights can be forfeited. There is a Constitutional right to keep and bear arms, but there are also laws against convicted felons owning firearms. And respect for rights should be a mutual obligation. If the murderer does not respect others’ right to live, then they are relieved of an obligation to respect the murderer’s right to live. (That goes individually and collectively; that is, whether it’s a person shooting an armed attacker in self- defense, or the state executing a convicted murderer.) And the idea that killing is always wrong, “regardless of circumstances,” has no basis (afaik) in common law or statute law. Homicide can be legally and morally excusable or even justifiable in some situations. There have been cases where cops managed to subdue armed criminals without using deadly force, but there have also been cases of cops getting killed because they hesitated to shoot, or because they tried to use a stun gun or billy club when they should have used a .357 or a shotgun. Each case is unique, and what worked in one case might not work in another. Further, I know of no situation that would not justify killing, but would justify maiming or crippling. Any use of force, especially shooting, is potentially deadly. People have died from gunshot wounds in the arm or leg, people have choked to death on tear gas, people have died or suffered brain damage after being punched with fists. Any time you use a weapon, there is the potential for killing someone, whether you want to or not.

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