"The Ends don't Justify the Means." [12/9/2009]

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Re: "The Ends don't Justify the Means." [12/9/2009]

Postby Sun tzu on Mon Jan 25, 2010 2:11 am

Have you seen The Dark Knight movie? I realize it is a work of fiction, but there is one instance in the movie that looks like a pretty clear-cut example. Remember the Chinese businessman dude (I think his name was Lao)? He was working with the mob in Gotham City. He had assured the mob that he would keep their money safe... and that what would prevent law enforcement from coming after him would be returning to Hong Kong. Since China is far, far outside the jurisdiction of the GCPD, Lao would have gotten away with his criminal activity... (while at the same time protecting the mob's assets, which would keep them safe in their illegal operations).

Batman, of course... is not a part of the GCPD ("Orders are to arrest the vigilante known as Batman on sight"). He doesn't have a jurisdiction. He doesn't have anyone to answer to. Yes... He essentially went to China and KIDNAPPED Lao... But he brought him back to the GCPD, so that he could face justice. In the process, it helped taking down the mob much easier.

Superheroes would be able to work where policemen couldn't. And if the superhero really is a superhero, this would be a good thing.


In the movie, that could reasonably be painted as a good move.
If Batman pulled a stunt like that in the real world, it would be a disaster. Diplomatic incident. China wouldn't exactly appreciate an American agent - even an unofficial one - kidnapping one of their citizens so that he can be imprisoned in America. And if the police start relying on superheroes to break the law, then that means superheroes have become a way for the police to bypass the very laws that exist to prevent them from abusing the system. At which point, society becomes a de facto police State.
You say it would be a good thing if the superhero really is a superhero. Well, duh. If every policeman was Jim Gordon, there would be no need to worry about police corruption. If every politician was honest, we wouldn't need laws against bribery. If every lawyer was Atticus Finch...But, they aren't. And again, the law cannot function on a case-by-case basis; it must account for the bad elements, and leave a safety margin.
If your system depends on all the superheroes (or even a majority of them!) being Clarck Kent or Peter Parker...it's going to fall apart real quick once real people get involved. Just because most of the superheroes in Marvel and DC are untouchable, that doesn't mean we should expect the same in a realistic world.
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Re: "The Ends don't Justify the Means." [12/9/2009]

Postby Celey on Mon Jan 25, 2010 7:39 am

China wouldn't appreciate an unofficial American agent, for sure... and there would be some diplomatic discussion involved on the issue (Probably something along the lines of a global response to handling the superhero vigilante problem)... But really, what could China say or do about the matter? Batman is recognized as a criminal, and he's hunted down... Can America be held responsible for the actions of one individual criminal? If an American criminal decides to make an escape to China (for whatever reason... It would be rather a stupid move on their part, though, in my opinion)... and stirs up some trouble... Is China going to start up a war with America over it?

Holding someone from another country would've caused a diplomatic incident anyway (to be sure, not as big of one... But from what I've seen most countries generally don't appear to appreciate when their own citizens are being imprisoned in another country and usually work to negotiate things so that the citizen can be returned to their own country to serve justice)

And if the police start relying on superheroes to break the law, then that means superheroes have become a way for the police to bypass the very laws that exist to prevent them from abusing the system. At which point, society becomes a de facto police State.


I'm not sure exactly what you mean here. If the superhero is a good superhero, I can hardly see them willing to allow policemen (that are willing to abuse the system) to abuse the system. And if the superhero is a bad super "hero" ... I can hardly see them wanting to get involved with the police at all... And again, because superheroes would be publicly acknowledged as criminals, I cannot see how the laws would not still remain in place (since obviously they're still considered important... otherwise, why would the superheroes need to be publicly acknowledged as criminals and hunted down?)

You say it would be a good thing if the superhero really is a superhero. Well, duh. If every policeman was Jim Gordon, there would be no need to worry about police corruption. If every politician was honest, we wouldn't need laws against bribery. If every lawyer was Atticus Finch...But, they aren't. And again, the law cannot function on a case-by-case basis; it must account for the bad elements, and leave a safety margin.


At no point did I say that every superhero would be a real superhero. I'm not so naive as to believe that there wouldn't be bad super "heroes" (Can't bring myself to call 'em real superheroes, really). And... because the law cannot function on a case-by-case basis.... It's just another reason why all superheroes would have to be acknowledged as criminals and hunted down... (And as I said, it might well be likely that a law enforcement agency would spring up just to deal with the threat posed by superheroes and supervillains)...

If your system depends on all the superheroes (or even a majority of them!) being Clarck Kent or Peter Parker...it's going to fall apart real quick once real people get involved. Just because most of the superheroes in Marvel and DC are untouchable, that doesn't mean we should expect the same in a realistic world.


I'd go with majority (as I said I KNOW not all the superheroes would be good). I really don't see it likely to fall apart once "real people" become involved. I mean... Let's look at people for a moment. Is the only reason people follow laws simply because they fear being punished if they don't? Is the only reason someone decides not to torture and kill that neighbor next door that annoys the hell out of them because of the law?

I think most people do want to do the right thing. Most people do want to be genuinely good. I think we could be surprised (if there was a sudden superpower boom) by how many superheroes that are genuine.
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Re: "The Ends don't Justify the Means." [12/9/2009]

Postby Sun tzu on Mon Jan 25, 2010 3:34 pm

China wouldn't appreciate an unofficial American agent, for sure... and there would be some diplomatic discussion involved on the issue (Probably something along the lines of a global response to handling the superhero vigilante problem)... But really, what could China say or do about the matter? Batman is recognized as a criminal, and he's hunted down... Can America be held responsible for the actions of one individual criminal? If an American criminal decides to make an escape to China (for whatever reason... It would be rather a stupid move on their part, though, in my opinion)... and stirs up some trouble... Is China going to start up a war with America over it?


As long as it's an isolated case - that one time a vigilante broke international law, and it happened to work to America's advantage - then, sure.
But if superheroes start to make a habit of it...and the authorities take advantage of it...it's another matter altogether.

I'm not sure exactly what you mean here. If the superhero is a good superhero, I can hardly see them willing to allow policemen (that are willing to abuse the system) to abuse the system. And if the superhero is a bad super "hero" ... I can hardly see them wanting to get involved with the police at all... And again, because superheroes would be publicly acknowledged as criminals, I cannot see how the laws would not still remain in place (since obviously they're still considered important... otherwise, why would the superheroes need to be publicly acknowledged as criminals and hunted down?)

Look. You've been saying, essentially, that since there are limits on what the police can do, superheroes should ignore those limits, get the job done by breaking the law, and thus help the police get the job done without the police having to personally break the rules...while declaring the superheroes to be outlaws.
Do I really need to point out that such a system would be one huge exercise in hypocrisy? "Why yes, we're trying to arrest Crime-Crusher. Horrible man, he is. Searched five places with no warrant, broke the arms of five guys suspected of being drug dealers, killed that one guy we couldn't find evidence to convict...Been making the job so much easier for us...Eh, I'm sure we'll catch him in a few decades."
What I'm trying to say is, those limits on what the police can and can't do are important. Vital, even. If the police breaks them? It's bad. If superheroes break them? It's bad. If the superheroes act as proxies that allow the police to break them? Hell yes that's bad. And if the police officially hunts them down, but still takes advantage of it? It's hypocrisy of the first order, and any evidence gathered in this manner ought to be inadmissible in court, for exactly the same reason it becomes inadmissible when the police directly breaks the rules.
And why would superheroes willing to get involved with the police necessarily be good? There are people willing to join the police who aren't good. What's to stop a superpowered guy from working with the police...and then taking bribes? Profitable, and safer than going out to commit crimes himself. For that matter, what about "superheroes" trying to advance political agendas in crooked ways? If it becomes commonplace for these guys to act above the law...You know it's not going to be long before The Teabagger illegally raids a Hawaiian hospital in search for evidence to the existence of a birth certificate falsification ring, while Eco-Warrior "mistakenly" takes apart the office of a logging company's CEO while investigating an unrelated affair (and don't get me started on the excessive force KKK-Man uses when he arrests illegal immigrants).

At no point did I say that every superhero would be a real superhero. I'm not so naive as to believe that there wouldn't be bad super "heroes" (Can't bring myself to call 'em real superheroes, really). And... because the law cannot function on a case-by-case basis.... It's just another reason why all superheroes would have to be acknowledged as criminals and hunted down... (And as I said, it might well be likely that a law enforcement agency would spring up just to deal with the threat posed by superheroes and supervillains)...

So, we have to hunt them all down...But they're a good thing?
I'm unconvinced. I say, let those who sincerely want to help join the police, and get those who break the law arrested, presto. Really arrested, with no "we'll look into them later, because they're kinda useful". They're undermining the rule of law, and that's BAD.

I think most people do want to do the right thing. Most people do want to be genuinely good. I think we could be surprised (if there was a sudden superpower boom) by how many superheroes that are genuine.

Again, the same can be said of the police. And we still require the police to do its job by the book.
I don't believe superheroes should benefit from a double standard there.
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Re: "The Ends don't Justify the Means." [12/9/2009]

Postby Celey on Mon Jan 25, 2010 4:21 pm

And why would superheroes willing to get involved with the police necessarily be good? There are people willing to join the police who aren't good. What's to stop a superpowered guy from working with the police...and then taking bribes? Profitable, and safer than going out to commit crimes himself. For that matter, what about "superheroes" trying to advance political agendas in crooked ways? If it becomes commonplace for these guys to act above the law...You know it's not going to be long before The Teabagger illegally raids a Hawaiian hospital in search for evidence to the existence of a birth certificate falsification ring, while Eco-Warrior "mistakenly" takes apart the office of a logging company's CEO while investigating an unrelated affair (and don't get me started on the excessive force KKK-Man uses when he arrests illegal immigrants).


Hmm... This is true. About... people willing to join the police who aren't good and all the rest of this quote. I forgot about that (as I said I can be quite scatter-brained, sometimes).

I also forgot about the courts... and their being picky about evidence and such... *Lawyers will take any loophole they can get, afterall* Even if a superhero does have the right guy... and the evidence is sound... If it isn't gathered the way the law dictates it should be gathered, then it's going to be thrown out and all the hero's efforts would've been wasted... (Major head-to-the-wall job there... I should've remembered that from the beginning. Oh well...)

Your other points are quite valid... and I can't find argument with them... Except for maybe the hypocrisy thing... (I don't see that as too important... If I have to be a hypocrite in order to put a mass murderer away or something of that ilk, then, so be it..)

Still, I really have to wonder... Like... If Batman hadn't gone to China to bring Lao back and everything... Then, Lao would've gotten away with his shady dealings, as well as the rest of the mob. Scenarios like that... Just doesn't seem like it'd be very heroic to let the bad guy get away...

I know the world isn't fair... But that doesn't mean I can't hope for the best...
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Re: "The Ends don't Justify the Means." [12/9/2009]

Postby Sun tzu on Wed Jan 27, 2010 1:29 am

I believe the famous quote from "A Man for all Seasons" is appropriate:

William Roper: So, now you give the Devil the benefit of law!
Sir Thomas More: Yes! What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil?
William Roper: Yes, I'd cut down every law in England to do that!
Sir Thomas More: Oh? And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned 'round on you, where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country is planted thick with laws, from coast to coast, Man's laws, not God's! And if you cut them down, and you're just the man to do it, do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake!
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Re: "The Ends don't Justify the Means." [12/9/2009]

Postby Celey on Wed Jan 27, 2010 9:48 am

Interesting quote. Hmm... Is this "A Man for All Seasons" a play? A movie? A book? Let me know...

... So, I guess we've established that... realistically, superhero vigilantes would not work. (Unless anyone else thinks that they can effectively argue the point. Although, I can't see how...)...

Hmm. Though, I think... How about superheroes that, while they don't work for law enforcement... don't go around breaking the law in order to stop crime? For instance, a superhero that focuses mostly on rescuing people from dangerous situations? That's not against the law... (as far as I know... There are some rather strange laws out there...)... Hmm... In fact... I don't think it would be against the law to stop a bank robbery in progress, either.

Or against the law to save the world from a supervillain with a Mega Death Ray...

Those superheroes couldn't technically be called vigilantes, then, could they? Since they're not taking the law in their own hands so much as... doing a public service? (There have been a few... non-superpowered people... in our world who have done much the same. I remember not too long ago seeing a video where there was a car chase... and the runaway driver's car finally gave out on him, so he tried to flee on foot... Someone pulled out on the side of the road and detained him until the police caught up with him. Of course, the person that detained the guy for the police was actually an off-duty policeman himself, but still...)

And going on that tangent... How about we discuss what laws Lightbringer has broken? I'll have to go back through the comic to pinpoint all of them... (I don't think there were very many)

Let's see... The one that sticks out the most to me is when Lightbringer was interrogating Serpant. I'm pretty sure the way he was interrogating him was illegal, and I can't think of any reasonable defense for that. Let's see... Lightbringer regularly beats up criminals... I suppose that could be counted as assault, but... he might have a defense for that. I mean... If he was protecting someone at the time...
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Re: "The Ends don't Justify the Means." [12/9/2009]

Postby Nifar on Wed Jan 27, 2010 11:48 pm

Depending on the state, county, etc. citizen's arrests are legal, and possible. There are a variety of ways such as that that a superhero could use to aid the police without breaking the laws. And if a superhero does break the law? They're pursued by the law, even if they broke it for the greater good.

Also, on the topic of the comic, am I the only one that thinks that LB has some major issues that he may want to see a therapist about? I mean, I dunno about you but I don't regularly talk to portraits of my dead loved ones, much less argue with them.
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Re: "The Ends don't Justify the Means." [12/9/2009]

Postby Sun tzu on Thu Jan 28, 2010 12:41 am

Interesting quote. Hmm... Is this "A Man for All Seasons" a play? A movie? A book? Let me know...


Play that was adapted into a few movies (according to Wikipedia, anyway).

Hmm. Though, I think... How about superheroes that, while they don't work for law enforcement... don't go around breaking the law in order to stop crime? For instance, a superhero that focuses mostly on rescuing people from dangerous situations? That's not against the law...

As far as I can tell, there's no problem with that. I mean, it might still be a good idea to get proper training like real firemen, but nobody will raise a fuss if you don't read a tornado its rights.

Hmm... In fact... I don't think it would be against the law to stop a bank robbery in progress, either.

It is a very different thing to stumble upon a crime in progress and then do a citizen arrest, and to actively hunt down criminals.

Or against the law to save the world from a supervillain with a Mega Death Ray...

Extraordinary circumstances can necessitate action, yes. (Though one wonders if it'll be possible to convict the supervillain afterwards...)

And going on that tangent... How about we discuss what laws Lightbringer has broken? I'll have to go back through the comic to pinpoint all of them... (I don't think there were very many)

Let's see... The one that sticks out the most to me is when Lightbringer was interrogating Serpant. I'm pretty sure the way he was interrogating him was illegal, and I can't think of any reasonable defense for that. Let's see... Lightbringer regularly beats up criminals... I suppose that could be counted as assault, but... he might have a defense for that. I mean... If he was protecting someone at the time...

Other than the way he dealt with the Slavers, I didn't have any major issue with Lightbringer...
...until the current issue, at least. What really bothers me is that when given a chance to work within a genuine law-enforcement agency - to do things the right way - he rejects it, saying "no, my ability to uphold the law without having to take orders from anyone is more important than me actually respecting the law myself".


Also, on the topic of the comic, am I the only one that thinks that LB has some major issues that he may want to see a therapist about? I mean, I dunno about you but I don't regularly talk to portraits of my dead loved ones, much less argue with them.

Carter has issues, no doubt. But it might be a bit hard to explain them to a therapist without revealing his secrets, so for now, he'll have to settle for Hanna.
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Re: "The Ends don't Justify the Means." [12/9/2009]

Postby Celey on Thu Jan 28, 2010 9:30 am

Other than the way he dealt with the Slavers, I didn't have any major issue with Lightbringer...
...until the current issue, at least. What really bothers me is that when given a chance to work within a genuine law-enforcement agency - to do things the right way - he rejects it, saying "no, my ability to uphold the law without having to take orders from anyone is more important than me actually respecting the law myself".


Thought about the Serpant bit a little more... If no one witnessed what Lightbringer had done, then there's a good chance it won't become an issue. I don't think there's too much visible damage from the way Lightbringer handled Serpant... If Serpant tried to make a case of it, it'd most likely turn into a 'he said, she said' sort of thing...

Anyway, about the current issue... Given that Lightbringer has hardly broken any laws, he does seem to have a respect for it... I think it's more than just an issue of not having to take orders from anyone. (I think that bit is kind of important. I mean... Law enforcement might make an exception of him by letting him work without compromising his identity... but he still has his furniture store job. He can't be a full-time police officer (taking orders when he's supposed to be tending shop) and a furniture store owner at the same time...) I mean... I can see a lot of things Lightbringer would have issue with if he were made a police officer... (I can go further in detail, but I'm a bit rushed for time right now)

Also, on the topic of the comic, am I the only one that thinks that LB has some major issues that he may want to see a therapist about? I mean, I dunno about you but I don't regularly talk to portraits of my dead loved ones, much less argue with them.


Carter has issues, no doubt. But it might be a bit hard to explain them to a therapist without revealing his secrets, so for now, he'll have to settle for Hanna.


I've always thought that the "talking to the portrait" thing might be a bit therapeutic. Sort of like... writing a letter to your dead loved one. However, the fact that it's carried on for such a long time does indicate there's an issue. There's several other things that come to mind when I think of Lightbringer's psychology, too. Counseling could really do him some good.

He's not the only hero it would do good for. I've always thought to myself that there oughtta be a psychologist who specializes in superhero psychology. //^_^\\'
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Re: "The Ends don't Justify the Means." [12/9/2009]

Postby Gear001 on Tue Jun 29, 2010 11:28 am

Lightbringer doesn´t work outside the law, nor inside it. He works with it in the spirit of the law. The point of laws is to keep society safe from certain harms, but that doesn´t mean that the law must be held to the letter. Lightbringer sees what the law is trying to do and does it, even if the letter of the law can´t itself. The idea behind the laws, not the laws themselves, are the important part. I really can´t give a good example of this, and my argument sounds weak, but its true. The laws of the world don´t have to be followed so strictly!

And also dont forget that laws can become outdated (there is a law that states that you can´t park your horse infront of City Hall in Southern States)

Edit: Example - Speed limits. It is the letter of the law that you go the exact speed or slower. However, emergency vehicles are aloud to go full speed down busy roads to save people in danger.
I see the world around me. I capture it, I decypher it, analyze it. I can adapt, more than any man, more than any monster, more than any machine. I have ascended to a point where the world is a simple series of calculations and figments. I have become more than a man, less than a god, and much less humane. I have become infinite, and I have become nothing. I have become the Infinite Void, and you will be analyzed!
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