Superhero movies are maybe my favourite genre. I think anyone can understand why they’re captivating. Most children spend a large chunk of their time daydreaming about flying or having super-speed or being invulnerable. Some of us never grow out of that phase and continue imagining gaining that awesome power in real life. But reality with superpowers would be quite a dystopia.
There’s this story about a woman who can’t feel pain. She was born with a genetic mutation that she didn’t know she had until 65. She went through birth, surgery and her entire life completely without pain before realizing how special she was. My first thought upon reading this article? “This would have never happened to a man.” By the time I was 13, pain endurance was an established competition for a lot of the boys in my class. Who can withstand more slaps on the hand without wincing - even hitting each other in the nuts for some of my dumber mates. A guy who was invulnerable to pain would have been dead by the age he was 20. And this is without thinking about becoming a superhero, which happens to be the plot of the Kick-Ass Movie.
Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely. Superpowers? Well… We all like to think we’d use our superpowers for good. But people aren’t all good or bad. They’re flawed. They have good days and bad days. They hold grudges, and sometimes do things they regret. When people are jerks in traffic, I fantasize about crushing their car with my telekinesis. But if I really had a superpower, and fell to that dark instinct, that would be a dead person for the simple reason that they were a jerk for a second, and I a power-crazed lunatic. If everyone had superpowers, the world would be madness. A true dystopia.
So, what’s up with the long rant? Well, in some parts of the world people do have a kind of deadly superpower - guns. Some may argue that they’re not really a super power. But does it really matter if the laser beam that kills you comes from Superman or Iron Man? It still kills you. It’s technological, yes, but on the level of a superpower no less. Same with a gun. Click, you’re dead.
Now, if only superheroes had guns, that would be OK. Even if a very small number of bad people had guns, that wouldn’t wreck society - just stay away from those bad people, while the good people come and put them in jail. But a lot of people with guns really screws with how society functions. If anyone could have a gun, that means at any time you might be in danger. Not even from a truly evil person, but just someone having a bad day who happens to own a gun. So you might be inclined to get a gun for yourself. That still doesn’t make you safe. Just having a gun doesn’t protect you from danger; what might protect you is being the first one to shoot at the first hint of danger, even if you’re not sure the other person has a gun. But now, you’re also a person with a gun, and all that fear makes you a big part of the problem. Any conflict with anyone can turn into a tragedy.
I only see one solution for this. Take away the guns. All of them? Sure, if possible. But most of them would do. You’d end up with a society of people that need to use words to solve their conflicts. A society that doesn’t fear “the other”. Wouldn’t that be a sight to behold?