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

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

Postby Sun tzu on Wed Dec 09, 2009 1:18 pm

Huh. Well, we knew the mayor was out to end Lightbringer...
...What surprises me is that she actually has a pretty valid point.
Lightbringer isn't Superman. The power divide between him and the police isn't that big, really. I don't think he can actually makes that much of a difference directly (I mean, c'mon. A guy with his power patrolling the streets is gonna be, what, as effective as two beat cops? Three? Four? Not any significant amount in a city as large as Pharos, anyway). He is a symbol, simply because his modus operandi and powers make him more visible than normal policemen...But then, what? He's acting as a vigilante. Taking the law into his own hands (granted, he has so far had the approval of the police, so it's not that bad, but still...). I mean, if he was actually part of the police, or deputized by them...If he had to work within the legal framework...that would be OK. But as is, his actions may be undermining the rule of law in the long run, and setting up a conflict not too dissimilar from the one in Watchmen.
Hm. I'm curious to see how this one will work out. Given its overall tone, I doubt this comic can really work without the premise that "superheroes are a good thing"...
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Re: "The Ends don't Justify the Means." [12/9/2009]

Postby Wandering Observer on Sun Dec 13, 2009 1:56 pm

To her credit, they Mayor's in a bind. She doesn't know LB will be the perfect White Knight; if he gets the public on his side doing questionable things then he's tearing the government authority and infrastructure apart. Real life effective superheroes could get messy as all hell; there's just no check and balance for them.

The best part? If LB actually gets some REAL power, beyond his current 2-cop equivalence, then the powers that be just get bigger. Who's to say that the county, state, and national authorities will like him better? They certainly have no reason to.
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Re: "The Ends don't Justify the Means." [12/9/2009]

Postby Isa on Tue Dec 22, 2009 9:17 am

I'm going to have to disagree about Lightbringer undermining the rule of law in Pharos. The way I read the archives, there wasn't much rule of law to undermine. Unless robbery, racketeering, and kidnapping are legally protected activities, anyway.

Actually, that brings me to my only real gripe about this comic: The lack of corrupt cops. I can't imagine an organization as powerful as the Slavers forming if there is a vigilant police force, and even if they did form, I can't imagine them failing to turn at least a few officers over the years. Mind you, cynical as I am, I'd expect most of the police to have been turned at the start of the comic, not just a few.
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Re: "The Ends don't Justify the Means." [12/9/2009]

Postby Wandering Observer on Wed Dec 23, 2009 11:58 pm

I dunno. The lack of real law in the city makes Lightbringer more dangerous, if anything. Lightbringer just being there is poking holes in the little government structure that exists in Pharos. The Mayor has a lot more authority to lose, because there's a lot less to go around.
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Re: "The Ends don't Justify the Means." [12/9/2009]

Postby Core on Thu Dec 31, 2009 10:23 pm

Isa wrote:I'm going to have to disagree about Lightbringer undermining the rule of law in Pharos. The way I read the archives, there wasn't much rule of law to undermine. Unless robbery, racketeering, and kidnapping are legally protected activities, anyway.

Actually, that brings me to my only real gripe about this comic: The lack of corrupt cops. I can't imagine an organization as powerful as the Slavers forming if there is a vigilant police force, and even if they did form, I can't imagine them failing to turn at least a few officers over the years. Mind you, cynical as I am, I'd expect most of the police to have been turned at the start of the comic, not just a few.


I don't think the cops were corrupt as much as they were afraid of reprisal from the Slavers. There was a character, Bruiser in Legacy of Chains part 2, who was a former police officer in the Pharos Police Department. His children were killed in front of him because of the actions he took to bring law and order to the city. The other police officers in the department most likely had the same fear of reprisal and so did the bare minimum or next to nothing with the problems caused by the Slavers.

Then you have all the wheels that General Werres greased with the money he made, which bought him a great deal of power and protection. There isn't much that a detective or other officer of the law can do if someone higher up tells them to pull the plug on an investigation. With that kind of pull and power, there doesn't have to be that much corruption in the police force.
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Re: "The Ends don't Justify the Means." [12/9/2009]

Postby Sun tzu on Fri Jan 01, 2010 1:18 am

Aaaaaand with this week's update, Carter's actually turning down the opportunity for an official position, because he feels he needs to work outside the law.
Way to lose my sympathy, Lightbringer. You're now downgrading yourself from a genuine superhero to a mere vigilante.
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Re: "The Ends don't Justify the Means." [12/9/2009]

Postby Core on Fri Jan 01, 2010 3:52 am

I think that I have to disagree with you Sun tzu, the move done by Lightbringer is actually pretty smart if you look at it at another point of view. By not taking the position as a field agent for the FBI he would keep himself free from government oversight, and being used by the higher ups to do something against his morals. If he had taken the position it might start a sort of Super Powers Arms Race, where other nations and governments will want to have or fill their agencies with super powered beings. Lightbringer is also influential in his current position, inspiring others with super powers to come forward in the way that he has and fight crime. If he had taken a position as a government agent, it could cause others to do the same or make some unwilling "volunteers".

One example that I can think of is that of Captain America and the Red Skull. Buying into the propaganda of the Nazi government that the Red Skull is a super human, the United States put into motion a project to create their own, creating Captain America. We've already seen hints of such an arms race starting, with the arrival of Lady Analemma ( created by Doublemint ) in "Legacy of Chains" where Lady Analemma confessed she was created by those in power to make someone with super powers. If Lightbringer had accepted the position, and started working with a government agency, it would have lead to an escalation and eventually a conflict between nations as they try to employ their own super beings.

There is always the possibility that other super heroes or beings will be influenced by Lightbringer to join a government agency, following in his footsteps once more. There is also the possibility that other governments might round up those with super powers, forcing them to work for them. Such a hunt would also make things dangerous, and harder on those with super powers as they will have to deal with not only the police but also the federal agencies after them or those they care about.

So you can see that the path Lightbringer is taking isn't exactly a dumb move on his part. It is easier for him to deal with one city's mayor and a now sympathetic police force that could aide him in "eluding" capture, then to deal with the possible global repercussions of working as a federal agent.
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Re: "The Ends don't Justify the Means." [12/9/2009]

Postby Sun tzu on Fri Jan 01, 2010 10:49 am

I understand the logic behind Lightbringer's actions. But if he choses to act outside the law, he's actively undermining it. There are reasons viglinates are discouraged; when people on the street take the law into their own hands, things like "due process" and "innocent until proven guilty" are quickly forgotten. Soon enough, you have mob rule.
The reason the police doesn't "operate outside the law" like Lightbringer is trying to is because the law is freaking important.
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Re: "The Ends don't Justify the Means." [12/9/2009]

Postby Core on Fri Jan 01, 2010 7:36 pm

You do raise some very valid points. On page 4 ( April 18, 2006 ) of "Let There Be Light: Part 2" issue 2, Police Chief Eddie Crane did state that the official standing was that deplore and do not condone the actions of any vigilante, meaning Lightbringer, but opted to inform the police force not to take actions to stop him, only to observe and report. But Eddie Crane, even as the chief of police, doesn't have a squeaky clean past. There are also some indications that those in other official positions might not be abiding by the law as well, such as the meeting the Mayor had with "The Seven".

In issue 11, "Legacy of Chains: Part 3" page 7 ( March 26, 2008 ), Eddie Crane is hinted as to have taken measure of his own to deal with the people that killed his family. It is not gone into further detail, but apparently it was something dark enough that he allowed a prisoner to escape so that the word wouldn't get out as to what he did. Which suggests that it was something so severe it would call into question the other actions he has done, and put any or all arrests that he put under review, potentially letting out a lot more criminals if he is found guilty of his actions. This kind of sets a stage that the police of Pharos City have operated outside of the law in the way that Lightbringer has in order to exact some justice or vengeance.

Issue 12 further presses the issue as to weather or not those in official positions are abiding by the laws. In "The Darkness and the Light" ( page 24, October 15, 2008 ) we see Mayor Hafferty meeting with seven businessmen and women in what looks like a closed door meeting to discuss the problem of Lightbringer. These seven individuals are simply known as "The Seven", the creators or founders of Pharos City. Now, it is normal for a person in such a standing to get the support of local businessmen and women in order to get a bill or measure passed, but to have a closed door meeting with these individuals in order to get their permission calls into question who truly oversees the city of Pharos.

There is another subject that we haven't touched on either, and that is that up till now the public opinion of Lightbringer has been of that of a hero to Pharos City. I think that he has become accustomed to this outlook, and is now having renewed doubts as he is being called out by Mayor Hafferty. It is obvious to see that Hannah was upset at the press conference, and it is hard to take a fall from grace like that. One day you are heralded as a hero, and the next as a criminal. It could be that in his meeting with Chief Crane that Lightbringer is still weighing his options. After all, he was just told of the Code Poet's pushing to get him into the FBI. So now he has his own moral dilemma, as well as the consideration of what he represents not only to Pharos City but to the world community as well. Putting him into a true Cornelian dilemma.
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Re: "The Ends don't Justify the Means." [12/9/2009]

Postby Linkara on Sat Jan 02, 2010 9:27 am

I love this spirited debate. =3 You both are bringing up excellent points. Keep it up! ^_^
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Re: "The Ends don't Justify the Means." [12/9/2009]

Postby Wandering Observer on Wed Jan 06, 2010 6:51 am

Wait, what? Lightbringer doesn't want to be chained to a government organization, so he asks to join a different government organization? At least with the FBI he would be above the mayor, so she couldn't do much to him? Seriously, what the hell just happened?
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Re: "The Ends don't Justify the Means." [12/9/2009]

Postby GabrielWingue on Wed Jan 06, 2010 8:34 am

I would say something here about "Question not the mind of the artist", etc. But legitimately, this confuses me too. Lightbringer has no reason to work within the law at all, or even contemplate it. He's read comic books, most of the great heroes are above or outside the law. This living in or out of the law thing just reminds me the Civil War argument.

You're with the government, and made public. Or you're against the government and you get hunted.

I have no problem with the concept but I don't really like the road that this is going down. You can only have so many morality tales...
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Re: "The Ends don't Justify the Means." [12/9/2009]

Postby Linkara on Wed Jan 06, 2010 1:28 pm

This is the problem with weekly comics. XD Crane's going to reject the deputizing idea for the exact same reason LB just stated.
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Re: "The Ends don't Justify the Means." [12/9/2009]

Postby GabrielWingue on Wed Jan 06, 2010 3:44 pm

The comic is good Linkara. I'm just saying, this law thing doesn't fit the story.

Lightbringer's morality tale is honouring the memory of his parents while embracing the potential of Violence to do good. After setting the tone with a morality tale like that, and then REINFORCING your tone with the "argument" between him and Hannah (in which she really questions him as a hero) and his morally ambiguous relationship with Sandy from #13: Masks... you've covered all the angles of moral ambiguity you need (at least for now).

Making him morally ambiguous with the law, after establishing a good relationship between The Police and Him... is just... unnecessary. Not trying to sound unoriginal, but vigilanteism by itself has never really been enough to warrant an ambiguous law story in comics.

Now! If the focus of this morality tale were on the police per se (eg: Crane against the mayor, the Police Force against Crane, etc. etc.), then the scenario changes a bit.
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Re: "The Ends don't Justify the Means." [12/9/2009]

Postby Core on Wed Jan 06, 2010 4:22 pm

Hmm, the question that Lightbringer just brought up about being deputized caught me off guard for a moment, till I read everything over again. The answer is simple, since it would result in some similar or identical actions that I have already posted about.

If Crane did deputize Lightbringer it would bring all of his actions into review, and it would open a window for those that he brought in to exploit. He would have to submit himself to oversight of the local government, and the Mayor ( or whom ever is even above her ) can have him do what ever they want. That would include only investigating certain cases, or show favoritism towards someone. The police force a lot of times has to work closely with the city government, such as the case with the Mayor and Police Chief of Washington D.C. recently.

For those of you that do not know what I am talking about, I am talking about the "All Hands On Deck" project that has been implemented in parts of Washington D.C. in order to bring crime rates down in certain areas. It is a joint project headed by the Mayor of D.C. ( Adrian Fenty ) and Chief of Police Cathy Lanier where they bring all available police officers and resources into play. They set up road blocks, check points, and mount patrols in the areas where crime has been on the rise or where a violent crime had recently taken place. The only people allowed to enter the area's were those that could prove they lived there, meaning that you couldn't even walk or drive through the neighborhood unless you lived there. There was also a set curfew that the residents had to follow at that time. This did lead to a drop in crime, and some small charges being brought against people trying to get home after visiting a local bar or having a drink before heading home.

This is just one of the things that would happen if Lightbringer was made a deputy in the Pharos Police force. Granted it would be amusing to be preforming a DUI test on someone, or checking to see if their pupils were dialated. "Please follow this light with your eyes sir." ;)
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Re: "The Ends don't Justify the Means." [12/9/2009]

Postby Linkara on Thu Jan 07, 2010 9:38 am

GabrielWingue wrote:The comic is good Linkara. I'm just saying, this law thing doesn't fit the story.

Lightbringer's morality tale is honouring the memory of his parents while embracing the potential of Violence to do good. After setting the tone with a morality tale like that, and then REINFORCING your tone with the "argument" between him and Hannah (in which she really questions him as a hero) and his morally ambiguous relationship with Sandy from #13: Masks... you've covered all the angles of moral ambiguity you need (at least for now).

Making him morally ambiguous with the law, after establishing a good relationship between The Police and Him... is just... unnecessary. Not trying to sound unoriginal, but vigilanteism by itself has never really been enough to warrant an ambiguous law story in comics.

Now! If the focus of this morality tale were on the police per se (eg: Crane against the mayor, the Police Force against Crane, etc. etc.), then the scenario changes a bit.

For now, Carter has resolved his ethical dilemma about being Lightbringer against the will of his parents. This story is building on the other premise of the series - the world's first superhero. While ultimately Lightbringer is purely scifi-fantasy, in a real world environment if there were serious superpowered individuals running around, there would be considerable concern and a desire to control or at least curb their efforts by people who disliked vigilantism. It also allows for character building and is leading to further development several issues down the way.
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Re: "The Ends don't Justify the Means." [12/9/2009]

Postby Sun tzu on Thu Jan 07, 2010 2:31 pm

Some further thoughts:

I could be wrong, but I've generally gotten the impression that "superheroes are a good thing" is one of the core assumptions of this comic.
That in itself is not surprising. Unless they're intended as deconstructions, most superhero comics assume that.
After all...most of the comic is seen from the perspective of Carter and his friends. So far, when something went against Carter's superheroic impulses, it was either his own insecurities (and it's not like his parents' extreme form of pacifism came off as reasonable), or the villains (who, all too often, are basically strawmen). And when Carter actually considers superheroes in the grand scale, he seems to take a very...messianic view of them. To hear him speak of it, superheroes exist to be symbols, models to inspire the rest of mankind to his own ideals; superheroes, to Carter, are a GOOD thing.
But are they?
Idealistic series (say...The DC universe more often than not) assume so. Deconstructions such as Watchmen question it. Now, trying to look at it logically...What do superpowered individuals mean to the modern world?
Well, for one thing, it means supervillains. Now, assuming that the power levels are high enough to stomp conventional forces, but too low for isolated nutcases to threaten the entire planet (otherwise, the world is always doomed, and the exercise borders on pointlessness)...well, civilization can only survive supervillaindom if there are superhumans to protect it. That can mean superheroes, supercops...or, in some situations, just plain superhumans becoming the god-kings of the world, for good or ill.
Thing is...how are "superheroes" directed? Do they work for the police? Do they operate as lawless vigilantes? In some series it amounts to the same thing. In a more realistic world, not so much. In the real world...In order for society to work, you need the rule of law. Which you cannot have unless the law enforcers adhere to it strictly. That's why allowing vigilantes to act freely is a horrible idea in a realistic universe, and why we need the police in this one. But if you have superhumans...Well, what's the police to do? They can't regulate superheroes unless they have superhumans in their own ranks, or the superheroes are very, very willing to follow the law. And the latter won't happen if vigilantism becomes the norm. And if your superheroes consider themselves to be above the law...Well then, you're not that far from a Light Yagami scenario.
So, back to Carter. As Lightbringer, he has tried to work with the police. So far, it has worked, even if some of his actions have been somewhat shady (I'm thinking of how he fought the Slavers. He got results, yes, but...). But what happens if the law comes down on him, and he refuses to work with official law enforcement?
Well then, he's essentially telling the world that as a superhuman, he is above the law, and can do whatever he deems right. And that is not a good thing - at least, if you believe in democracy and in equality before the law.
I could be completely off-base here, but this latest storyline feels, to me, like the comic is questioning the whole premise that superheroes are a good thing. But since I don't really see this comic continuing without that premise (Linkara's writing is made of idealism), I'm not certain how it'll get away with it (I mean, possibly this arc will conclude by showing that the "superhero = good" premise is actually correct, but I'm uncertain how to achieve that).
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Re: "The Ends don't Justify the Means." [12/9/2009]

Postby Celey on Thu Jan 21, 2010 8:59 pm

Hmmm, Sun Tzu... You're make quite a big assumption...

That's why allowing vigilantes to act freely is a horrible idea in a realistic universe, and why we need the police in this one. But if you have superhumans...Well, what's the police to do? They can't regulate superheroes unless they have superhumans in their own ranks, or the superheroes are very, very willing to follow the law. And the latter won't happen if vigilantism becomes the norm.


Can you really say that superheroes enlisted in law enforcement wouldn't happen if vigilantism becomes the norm? I mean... We have such a wonderful diversity on this planet... Personalities, backgrounds... All sorts of little factors that go into making a person a person. I'm sure there would be some superheroes that would work within the law and try to help officials keep vigilante superheroes in line. Besides that, even if there was the highly improbable chance that there were no superheroes in law enforcement... Well... Some superheroes do have weaknesses (not all, true, but some) and some weaknesses are capable of being exploited by normal individuals. (I'm sure a superhero would do their best not to put themselves in that situation, so the normal individual would probably have to be quite clever.)

I do believe you are right about society needing laws in order to function. However, there's no denying that law enforcement is limited to the actions that they can take because of said laws. Then, there's also the fact that... pretty much every public institution has policies that limit their actions in order to prevent from being sued. Well... If they're in a particularly sue-happy country... That's another thing, though. Countries. Laws differ from country to country... I mean, obviously, there are laws that are universal, but then sometimes matters of culture or political systems dictate laws that you might not find elsewhere. Also, we cannot forget that corruption exists pretty much everywhere.

I think superheroes, not involved in law enforcement, would be a good thing. Superheroes can work without having their hands tied by all the... well... red tape, if you will. If the superhero really is a hero... Someone who strives to do the right thing... Then, this would actually contribute to making the world a better place because less people would be able to take advantage of the fact that the law operates with one-hand tied behind its back.

Yes, there is a very real chance of a Light Yagami scenario... as I said, corruption is everywhere. However, once someone begins reaching that status, they can no longer be called a hero because they would be making a descent into villainy. A hero must never allow himself/herself to believe that they are more important than the people they strive to protect. The hero's job is to protect, serve, and enforce those universal laws... The fact that they have powers is simply the means to carry out those duties. Also, a good hero holds himself/herself accountable. There's one particular scenario that comes to mind when I think of heroes that hold themselves accountable.

The scenario goes like this... The hero is charged with a crime (it's usually a set-up by some villain who makes it look like the hero actually did it)... The crime is usually murder, but I'm sure other crimes could fit the bill as well... Like being charged with rape (I haven't seen that, though). The hero who holds himself/herself accountable won't try to escape the authorities. In this scenario, the hero allows himself/herself to be arrested and stand trial... Because not only do they want to prove that they are innocent without a shadow of a doubt, but they also want to show that they are accountable. In all the cases I've seen of this scenario, the hero is always proven to be innocent and released... (It would be interesting as to whether the hero would continue to be noble in this manner if the court ruled that he/she was guilty).

Of course, sometimes circumstances might warrant an exception... I'm thinking about that Public Enemies movie. Superman was accused of murder and didn't turn himself in... but then, considering that the whole freaking planet was in danger of being demolished by a giant kryptonite meteor (and that the whole world was degenerating into lawlessness and panic and chaos so much so that holding court probably would've been impossible, anyway), he could probably be forgiven. (And it doesn't show what happened after everything was said and done, so I could always fill-in-the-blanks and pretend that Superman did stand trial and was proven innocent)...

Now as for whether or not Lightbringer would succumb to the Light Yagami scenario, I'd say the answer is not likely, even if you ignore the fact that he has a "no killing" policy. The major reason for this is... Lightbringer does not work on a global-scale. Lightbringer doesn't have the capabilities to work on a global-scale (Light Yagami did, which only served to fuel his god complex). He's also very much aware of this fact... which is why he sticks to protecting his city or wherever he happens to be at the time. Being aware of his limits will help to keep him honest.

There are a couple of things that could subvert this... I'll start with the smallest risk that could lead Lightbringer to a Yagami-like scenario. Lightbringer, for the most part, does not play The Judge (this is another thing that will prevent him from that scenario. As long as he avoids believing its his job to determine how criminals should be punished, he will stay away from the Yagami scenario). He leaves the criminals for the authorities to pick up, and then those criminals are subjected to the justice system of Pharos City. Now... There is one incident (that I recall, I can't think of anymore) where Lightbringer played Judge (thus, the small risk). When he found out his girlfriend was engaging in criminal activity...

He gave her a chance to leave town and never show her face again. He passed judgement there precisely because he was allowing her to escape punishment from the Pharos City justice system. This incident did highlight that Lightbringer is not perfect, that he can't always "do the right thing, no matter what." This is something that Lightbringer will need to work on... He needs to realize that he has to be impartial when he enforces the law (he can't let his feelings for a particular person interfere with that). If he doesn't learn this lesson... Passing judgement could become a habit and could eventually lead up to thoughts where... "On the off chance that this guy manages to get back out on the streets again, I need to make sure he won't be able to hurt anyone." Lightbringer has qualms about killing people, but severely disabling them (after the fight has already been won) is probably a whole other story. And the next thing you know, Lightbringer will start thinking too highly of himself... And that will spell trouble.

However, as I said, this is a small risk. Lightbringer has a good head on his shoulders and a very strong sense of justice... I think, the next time he sees his girlfriend, he will skip the judging and go straight to trying to capture her so that justice can be served.

I think the greatest risk for Lightbringer becoming involved in a Light Yagami scenario is his persistence with being right (There's a difference in being right and doing right. His persistence in doing what is right is not going to cause him to make the descent towards villainy.) This persistence that Lightbringer has with being right... or, if you wish to look at it another way... proving others wrong (his mom and dad's pacifism philosophy, various villains "for the greater good" speech)... has the potential to blind him from doing what is right.

I read some of that Crossoverlord comic not too long ago... and I can see one clear instance of this. Lightbringer finds out that MindMistress has killed someone in order to save a life. This, of course, goes against all of Lightbringer's principles... and he makes it a point to tell her so... and how if he had known, he would've insisted that she go back to where she came from like she wanted to do in the first place. In this case, he's letting his own philosophy get in the way of doing what is right. They're imprisoned... He needs to be trying to think of a plan to escape (One of the other characters remarks that the arguing isn't helping)... And regardless of how he feels, MindMistress can still be an asset in playing a role in that escape. (Besides, it would not be right to leave her imprisoned, either. That's passing judgement again)

This sort of thing can ultimately lead to Lightbringer's undoing as a hero and to that descent into villainy. If he allows his philosophy to blind him that much, he will become no better than the villains that he fights against. I remember something... vague... It was something from Rurouni Kenshin... it was after the fight with that Shishio character (the one with the burns and whatnot)... Yahiko (I think... the kid) says something about how Shishio's view of the world was evil and that Kenshin's view of the world was good... Kenshin stops him and tells him something along the lines of how it's important not to fall prey to that sort of thinking... Oh, it's been so long since I've seen Rurouni Kenshin. I can't remember hardly anything... I remember that it was deep and meaningful...

I think it might have been a warning about radicalism or something... and how anything can become twisted...

At any rate, I hope that sort of thing does not happen to Lightbringer... He's quite a likable character, and I think I would be rather crushed if he fell like that... I dunno about anyone else, but I think Lightbringer is a great hero to look up to...
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Re: "The Ends don't Justify the Means." [12/9/2009]

Postby Sun tzu on Sun Jan 24, 2010 3:02 am

I do believe you are right about society needing laws in order to function. However, there's no denying that law enforcement is limited to the actions that they can take because of said laws. Then, there's also the fact that... pretty much every public institution has policies that limit their actions in order to prevent from being sued. Well... If they're in a particularly sue-happy country... That's another thing, though. Countries. Laws differ from country to country... I mean, obviously, there are laws that are universal, but then sometimes matters of culture or political systems dictate laws that you might not find elsewhere. Also, we cannot forget that corruption exists pretty much everywhere.

I think superheroes, not involved in law enforcement, would be a good thing. Superheroes can work without having their hands tied by all the... well... red tape, if you will. If the superhero really is a hero... Someone who strives to do the right thing... Then, this would actually contribute to making the world a better place because less people would be able to take advantage of the fact that the law operates with one-hand tied behind its back.


See, the thing is, all that "red tape" and "limits" don't exist to prevent law enforcement agencies from getting sued (given that they essentially establish what they can get sued for). They exist to prevent the law enforcers from easily taking advantage of their position.
Why do policemen need to read people their rights? Because if the arrested don't know their rights, abuse becomes all too likely.
Why does the police need special warrants to search a place, or to put someone under electronic surveillance? Because otherwise, corrupt policemen could effortlessly ruin people's lives, blackmail almost anyone - either for their own profit, or for the profit of the politicians the police works for.
The "red tape" and "limitations" aren't bugs. They're features, and important ones at that. They're what keeps the police from turning into the ultimate mafia, and to keep democracy from becoming a sham. We don't trust the police to operate without them, and see no reason to trust superheroes to do so either.

Now as for whether or not Lightbringer would succumb to the Light Yagami scenario, I'd say the answer is not likely, even if you ignore the fact that he has a "no killing" policy. The major reason for this is... Lightbringer does not work on a global-scale. Lightbringer doesn't have the capabilities to work on a global-scale (Light Yagami did, which only served to fuel his god complex). He's also very much aware of this fact... which is why he sticks to protecting his city or wherever he happens to be at the time. Being aware of his limits will help to keep him honest.

Carter is unlikely to go bad. Crane understands this, and that's why he's been eager to work with him so far.
But will the same apply to every superpowered "hero" who rises up?
One of the most important aspects of the law is that it doesn't work on a case-by-case basis - simply because if you let it do that, then you put too much easily-abused power in the hands of the judges.

I read some of that Crossoverlord comic not too long ago... and I can see one clear instance of this. Lightbringer finds out that MindMistress has killed someone in order to save a life. This, of course, goes against all of Lightbringer's principles... and he makes it a point to tell her so... and how if he had known, he would've insisted that she go back to where she came from like she wanted to do in the first place. In this case, he's letting his own philosophy get in the way of doing what is right. They're imprisoned... He needs to be trying to think of a plan to escape (One of the other characters remarks that the arguing isn't helping)... And regardless of how he feels, MindMistress can still be an asset in playing a role in that escape. (Besides, it would not be right to leave her imprisoned, either. That's passing judgement again)

I do think Lightbringer's been mostly making an ass of himself where Mindmistress is concerned. But of course, Lightbringer, for all of his issues, is a very idealistic character.

This sort of thing can ultimately lead to Lightbringer's undoing as a hero and to that descent into villainy. If he allows his philosophy to blind him that much, he will become no better than the villains that he fights against. I remember something... vague... It was something from Rurouni Kenshin... it was after the fight with that Shishio character (the one with the burns and whatnot)... Yahiko (I think... the kid) says something about how Shishio's view of the world was evil and that Kenshin's view of the world was good... Kenshin stops him and tells him something along the lines of how it's important not to fall prey to that sort of thinking... Oh, it's been so long since I've seen Rurouni Kenshin. I can't remember hardly anything... I remember that it was deep and meaningful...

Actually, Yahiko was wondering if their defeat of Shishio meant that they were right and he was wrong. Kenshin pointed out that this way of thinking was dangerously close to Shishio's (whose philosophy was basically "the strong eat the weak"). Kenshin's point was, "might doesn't make right". For that matter, right doesn't make might.

At any rate, I hope that sort of thing does not happen to Lightbringer... He's quite a likable character, and I think I would be rather crushed if he fell like that... I dunno about anyone else, but I think Lightbringer is a great hero to look up to...

I don't believe he will. That just doesn't sound to me like the kind of story Lewis wants to tell.
Saga of Soul: Not your typical magical girl.
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Re: "The Ends don't Justify the Means." [12/9/2009]

Postby Celey on Sun Jan 24, 2010 12:20 pm

Wow... You must have a really good memory... (Or maybe you looked it up somewhere...) But thanks for bringing it up! :) I could not remember what had been said in Rurouni Kenshin for the life of me... I was close, though! :D... You gotta give me that. Now, then...

See, the thing is, all that "red tape" and "limits" don't exist to prevent law enforcement agencies from getting sued (given that they essentially establish what they can get sued for). They exist to prevent the law enforcers from easily taking advantage of their position.
Why do policemen need to read people their rights? Because if the arrested don't know their rights, abuse becomes all too likely.
Why does the police need special warrants to search a place, or to put someone under electronic surveillance? Because otherwise, corrupt policemen could effortlessly ruin people's lives, blackmail almost anyone - either for their own profit, or for the profit of the politicians the police works for.
The "red tape" and "limitations" aren't bugs. They're features, and important ones at that. They're what keeps the police from turning into the ultimate mafia, and to keep democracy from becoming a sham.


I didn't say that the only reason for the red tape and limits were just to avoid getting sued (It is a reason, though. You admit yourself that they establish what they can get sued for, which means there are things that they can't do BECAUSE they could get sued for it.)... But since it was the only thing I mentioned (I can be rather scatter-brained sometimes, forgive me... //^_^\\)... I can't blame you for addressing it.

Yes. Red tape and limits are needed to prevent law enforcement from taking advantage of their position. They're needed to help maintain order to society. They're needed to give at least a little reassurance to the public that they're not going to be taken advantage of (many people still have little to no trust or faith in our law enforcement agencies, though). I want to make it clear that... if we ever were to get superheroes in this world... I would not advocate getting rid of our current law enforcement or removing those limits on them. I don't think superheroes should replace the law enforcement that we have right now. I think it should be more that... superheroes would supplement law enforcement.

Those features on law enforcement are not perfect. Even with them in place, there are still corrupt policemen (Much fewer than there would be if those limits weren't in place, I'm sure.) And as I was saying before, the features DO limit what policemen can do in regards to carrying out the law (in a variety of ways). I'm sure you don't need me to tell you that... But just in case, I will give you an example.

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.

We don't trust the police to operate without them, and see no reason to trust superheroes to do so either.


I'll give you this... In the real world, we wouldn't trust superheroes to do so, either. Because superheroes would be working outside of the law, because superheroes wouldn't have anyone to answer to (except for themselves)... Everyone would consider them to be dangerous (except for perhaps the people they've saved, of course). Besides that, publicly condoning their activities could undo what laws we already have. Or... publicly condoning their activities would make the superhero's actions (including their illegal ones) the responsibility of whoever is condoning their activities. Either of those would spell trouble for everyone.

So, superheroes (at least, those that didn't work in law enforcement) would be hunted by law enforcement agencies. It would be necessary. In fact, it wouldn't surprise me if an entirely new law enforcement agency sprung up just to deal with super-powered vigilantes and supervillains.

It'd be unfortunate for the true superheroes, like Lightbringer, to be hunted like that, but it couldn't be helped. As you said, the law doesn't work on a case-by-case basis (which can also be unfortunate, in some cases). I think, though, if the superhero does enough good work (especially as the years add up)... That superhero probably would not be considered "Priority 1" to whichever law enforcement agency is hunting him/her down at the time, especially if there's a wanna-be hero out there that isn't very heroic at all. (I suppose it'd be kind of like a most wanted list... with the real superheroes at the very, very bottom... and the wanna-bes at the top... sort of like someone who has shoplifted vs. someone who has killed ten people. They'd both be wanted by the police, but one of them would be more wanted than the other.)

At any rate, because superheroes would not be publicly condoned or acknowledged as heroes instead of vigilantes... Does this mean that superheroes would be a BAD thing for society? I don't think so.... Regardless of whether the superhero (a real superhero... like Lightbringer or Batman or Superman) works in law enforcement or not, their fight for justice sounds like the only thing it could be is good.

...

Hmm... I don't think I made my post very clear... But if you have any questions, please feel free to ask them, so that I could possibly clear things up. It took me a good deal of time trying to think of a response... (A good thing... Thought-provoking discussions are my favorite! :D)

On a slightly different note... If you ignore all of the possible effects and implications a superhero could have on society...

You have to admit that seeing a real live superhero (with superpowers or with all of the cool gadgets and awesomeness Batman has) would be totally awesome! :D
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