The Good, The Bad, & This Kid: “Killing Factor”
By Josh Stone
Last week I wrote about the ego and self-identity, which led me to other topics that run along the same line. One topic that sticks out the most, and to which myself and Brian McCoy (a reviewer for SBC) have been discussing, is free will. Is a person free to make his or her own choices or are the choices we make instilled in us by our environment? Mr. McCoy and I have been going back and forth trying to determine what makes up a person’s free will or is there even such a creature. I believe that a person is free to do what they want, a person can choose their acts on their own and forgo all that has been programmed into them by society, and that is free will. If a person chooses to kill another person, that was their decision, no matter their upbringing or what society tells them, they chose to take that step. That person could have been raised by either a loving and supportive family or could have been beaten and molested as a child, either way the choice was ultimately theirs to make. Society is very quick to assume that just because a child is raised in violence or poverty, that the child will grow up being belligerent. I don’t, further more, I can’t believe that is the case. I know that a person is not defined by the elements surrounding them, they can break through the stereotypes that bind them, they can be and do whatever they want. When I witness someone playing the hand they’ve been dealt, I realize how weak people can be, and I want out.
Since the past couple of weeks have been pretty much comic book free, I’m going to tie in certain comic characters to illustrate the importance of free will. Three comic characters come to mind when I think of characters that are defined by their past. Every action they take is directly related to one incident as a child. Batman saw his mother and father gunned down by a mugger and has spent every day of his life haunted by this, so now night after night he tries to avenge their deaths and make his city a safe place. Spider-Man gained incredible powers as a teenager and opted to make some quick cash, but when he failed to stop a burglar, it cost him the life of his beloved Uncle Ben. He is constantly haunted by the fact that he is somewhat responsible for the death of his Uncle, so now he tries to make his city a safe place. Finally, Daredevil, who was raised by a father who, in order to make some extra money worked for the wrong people and got himself killed. Now Daredevil, who made a promise to his father to make something better of himself spends his days as a lawyer defending people who have been accused of crimes, by night he is a vigilante who fights to keep crime out of his city. These three run along parallel paths, never straying from the moment that made them. Story after story, the case remains the same, only the villains change. I grew up reading their stories and it’s probably because of these characters that comics play such a prominent role in my life, but after so many years, things need to change. These characters don’t make choices, they are controlled by one single moment and are forever playing it out in their heads. It seems to me, that the writers have taken away the main ingredient to human nature, and that is the ability to think for yourself. They treat these great characters as though they are being controlled, which I realize they are, but it takes away from the realness of the characters. A real person wouldn’t mindless continue the same path for their entire life, after awhile you wake from your stupor and start making choices. These characters have made one choice, and that is to fight crime. They are created by one single moment, and every other moment in every other day is nothing, time is wasted on them. A human isn’t made of one moment, but rather of a series of days and years, and even then the person is free to determine who and what they are.
Now, a lot of people would argue that Batman, Spider-Man, and Daredevil are exploits into the human psyche, and I can’t say I disagree with that, but even people as disturbed as Batman have moments where they act outside of their “nature.” Then again, if some ass of a writer took over Batman and made him happy go lucky, I’d be pissed off, so I’m not trying to say that these characters need that much of a change. Simply take that one singular moment, and make something more of it. Show that they have free will, and are not acting out of pure habit, acting out of a habit only lasts so long. In order to grow as characters they need to be treated as humans, and that means they have to have more layers then they are given now.
As stated before I believe that humans are free to do what they want when they want, they are not controlled by what goes on around them. I don’t subscribe to the notion that every decision we make is based on something going on around us or something that has happened in our past. We are more than just mindless sponges soaking up the world around us and falling in line. We soak up what’s around us, interpret that world, and then respond the way we want to respond, that is, if we choose to respond at all. When people just fall into stereotypes and do what they think it is they have to do, it is their choice to do so. They have chosen to be weak and have others think for them, but it is still a choice nonetheless. It’s not that they are forced into doing certain things, it’s that they are to weak and scared to think for themselves and make up their own minds. You’re not boxed into anything, unless you box yourself in.
I have made the choice to not include anything in this week’s “The Good.” I’m doing this to show that people can do what they want, it’s not because I’ve been really tight on cash and haven’t bought any cool comics as of late. I swear.
That about wraps it up for this week, I promise next week I’ll talk about something more comic book related. ‘Til next time…
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