The world could use a few more real-life superheroes

Originally posted:
By Olivia Wright
Ben Franklin Freshman Academy

Photo by Peter Tangen
Photo by Peter Tangen

The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing.”
There’s an Einstein quote for you. Maybe something you’d find on a daily calendar, or during any basic late-night boredom Google exploration. It’s also how the HBO documentary “Superheroes” starts out.
For those of you out there who know me on any level, you’re probably thinking something along the lines of “dear mother of God, here she goes with that comic book stuff again.” I promise you, this time, there’s more to it than that.
I’m not a huge documentary fan, only when the subject interests me, or if it presses that little “I read psychology journals for fun” button in my head. “Superheroes” manages to tickle both of those fancies, but I’m not writing this article, suddenly inspired at precisely 1:44 in the morning (Wait! It’s a weekend!), to talk about me. Shocking, I know.
Getting to the point, the film’s about real-life superheroes.
And just like any comic-verse, these guys vary in just about every sense imaginable. Some look like they’d be taken pretty seriously. They’ve got their gear, they’ve got the masks that could make you flinch if you ran into them in a dark alley, not to mention seriously legit training and strategy. Their reasons for fighting the good fight tend toward a chance to redeem their past criminal lifestyles, or as an outlet for rage and violence. Coincidentally, most of those types happen to operate in New York City.
Mixed in are those whose appearance happens to be, to put it kindly, less than intimidating. Not much threat goin’ on. Motivation ranges from comic-hero inspiration to being wronged themselves. Most of the time, these “novelty heroes” seem to be more of a photo op for passersby than a scourge to crime.
Please, do not get me wrong here.
All of the superheroes featured in this documentary, every single one of them, could teach us a little something about society.
They aren’t sitting by and letting, for lack of a better term, evil get the best of us all. Refusing to ignore the injustice in the world is a common theme across the board, be it kicking some drug dealer/mugger/rapist butt and getting them locked up, or simply helping out those who need it with a donation of food, maybe just being someone to talk to.
Further research shows that Harrisburg even has its own super-team, the Keystone Crusaders, who at one point had lived with next to nothing and still found the will to help out the city.
That’s selflessness at its best.
It kind of makes you wonder how much of a pit humanity has dug itself into that we need to actually have people wearing masks and worrying about getting attacked themselves in order to do what any decent person should.
This is what the Justice League does, guys. In comics. Fiction. But nowadays, people seem to find it necessary to translate it to reality.
That’s sad.
That’s sad that, to some members of planet Earth, that’s what things have come to.
I commend these guys. They’re doing what quite a few of us ignore, and that’s something I like a lot.
No, I’m not saying you need to toss on your Six Flags Batman cape and go out to destroy neighborhood crime. There’s serious personal risk to that, and I’m pretty sure it’s illegal to an extent, unless you’re in law enforcement (again, I commend you).
Real-life superheroes are trained in self-defense, but just as that. Defense. It’s a matter of being aware of the law, abiding by it, and helping to deter crime, not being the criminal in the first place.
But don’t turn the other way when you see something that could end badly if let go. I’m a girl who would say that’s something Superman would frown upon.
Speaking of the guy . . . is this a job for Superman? I don’t think so. Sadly, he’s not real. But the rest of us . . . we could stand to let ourselves have a superhero moment every now and then. Really, we could. No need for patrols. Or alter egos.
Just what society seems to dangerously lack anymore.
Simple human decency.
Currently, an organized group of these heroes is helping deliver clean water to Liberia. If you’d like to find out how to donate, or just get more information on these men and women themselves, go to