New Faces, Old Problems (Online Blog: Benson Around Town)
By Howie Benson
As I’ve said in a couple of my other blog posts, the Protectors are a mixed bag, at best. The levels of extreme violence demonstrated by members such as Glitch and Sirocco seem to be only mildly tempered by the team’s leader Proteus, a mysterious figure who’s powers are largely unknown to us at this point, and by Doppler, a man reputed to have control over sound waves but seems to spend most of the battles he’s been in simply getting shot.
There is no denying that on several occasions now, the Protectors have indeed saved lives, and stopped the bad guys, but the method they do it in is just as questionable as and objectionable as when white cops shoot black men. In their wake, the Protectors leave big questions: How do we judge guilt in the people they “apprehend”? What is an acceptable level of violence necessary to stop these crimes? How will they deal with the inevitable escalation of weapons and violence used by their enemies? At what point is having a group of so-called superheroes no longer worth it?
This morning while I was sitting down to enjoy my morning coffee, I got an alert on my phone. Like many members of the Pacifica City populous, I have receive these alerts when ever there is Protectors activity in the city; not just simple “hey look, they’re out on patrol again,” but serious stuff, like the Chinatown fight several days ago, and the warehouse shoot out that bled over into the streets last week. Only this time, there was something new.
Early this morning Glitch and Doppler, nearing the end of their evening patrol, faced down a villain with a embarrassing name of Doctor Frost. But they apparently had some unwanted help. A woman, dressed in some sort of green armor, broke windows and apparently went to town on Doctor Frost well after the Protectors had (largely without this woman’s help) taken the man down. Footage uploaded from a user known as FunnyFahsad01 shows the whole fight from the user’s phone, clearly indicating this mysterious new vigilante pummeling Doctor Frost in the midst of the Protectors trying to read him his rights. Moments later, the Protectors have hauled this woman off of the Doctor, and speaking as though he wanted to be heard (and for a man with sound powers, I can’t believe this is an accident) Doppler then proceeds to tell the woman off, giving her a “stern” warning before the Ptotectors send her on her merry way to do damage somewhere else.
I finished watching this, and I’m thinking to myself ‘this is just the start’. This my friends and readers is just the beginning. Because the moment we tell people with powers it’s okay to beat people up, is the moment we have lost this war. By enabling the Protectors to do what they do, we are saying to others with powers, either mutants or just really smart people, that it’s okay for them to do this too. The only line that stops them now is other people with powers who, we can only hope, are on our side. Worse, our outdated legal system has only a handful of prisons even remotely capable of keeping these powered individuals in check, and since using powers to assault someone else, or commit any kind of crime, simply counts as adding a weapons charge, many of these powered criminals will get only mild to moderate jail time, if they get any, and be back on ours streets again in a matter of months.
Personally, I strongly believe that we need to strike down the UN resolution banning experimentation on these powered people. We should take them out of our prisons and be figuring out how to cure cancer, grow food, or hell, even just make better arms and armor for our troops overseas. We should be using these men and women as tools and opportunities, not simply locking them away and waiting for them to get back out onto our streets to wreak more havoc on our citizens, and certainly not so they can be punched out by more so-called superheroes, legit or not.
This new vigilante, some are calling her the Green Goddess, others call her the Glass Cannon, isn’t Pacifica City’s first. The vigilante known as Blackjack has been prowling the streets of Bowden Island for months, where Pacifica City’s highest density of mutants is. Thus far, the police have been helpless to find or stop this man, and I’ve heard that even the Protectors are looking for him now, to no avail. Having the Protectors on hand in the city was meant to discourage the kind of vendetta justice that vigilantism is about, driving folks like Blackjack off the scene. However, if today is any indication, it would seem as though the Protectors have done entirely the opposite.
Congrats heroes, you’ve just made things worse.
(Howie Benson is a private journalist blogger at BensonAroundTown.com. He reports mostly on city hall meetings and new civic projects, as well as changes to Bylaws and city events.)