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Tuesday, December 25, 2012 

Why do comics writers who've worked on superheroes support gun control?

It's been nearly 2 weeks since the tragic horror in Newtown, Connecticut, where a mentally insane diablo named Adam Lanza slaughtered 26 people - the majority of them children - at a school his mother worked at. Since then, the left has gone to their predictable route of calling for gun control, without even considering that some criminals manage to get their weapons through the black market and not all violent crime is the result of firearms. William S. Burroughs (via Instapundit) summed up the problems well.

In the wake of this tragedy, even some leftist comics writers have been talking the liberal line about gun control and voicing hostility to the NRA, and here's a few examples:

Now to begin, I think it's important to note some facts:
  • For example, the realities on how gun control is really working "across the pond" in Britain, to name one example, since at least one of the comics tweeters mentioned or retweeted one item about them. As this Reason article from 2002, UK Daily Mail and UK Telegraph article from 2003 make clear, gun violence in Britain and crime as a whole only got worse after they regulated gun control. More recently in 2009, another study was done telling that crime went up 89 percent. In some parts of the UK the police didn't even carry their own firearms, making them more vulnerable to crime as well.
  • Although the mother was trying to get her son committed to a mental institution, she had been a weird "survivalist" who was collecting guns in large quantities. Why would someone with a lunatic in her care not only buy tons of weapons but also allow her son easy access to them and even teach him how to shoot? The sad irony is that it was the mother's fault for not taking proper responsibility for her disgusting son.
  • Why are some of these comics writers opposing appointment of guards at schools and attacking the NRA for suggesting it when back in 2000, former Democrat president Bill Clinton worked on developing a comprehensive program for providing armed police defense and child counseling at school systems in America? If they voted for Clinton back in the day, one could say they supported his local defense program for schools too. Even now, schools whose managements could be leftist are looking to hire armed guards, some part time police officials. Over here in Israel, plenty of schools, stores, malls, bus stations and other businesses can use armed guards and metal detectors because of the threat of jihadism.
  • And even if sales of firearms were banished, it's always possible for criminals to get them through the black market, and the one spoken about here certainly may have. Also in Britain, crime with knives has been a serious problem for years now, with as many as 14,000 victims a year.
With that told, let me now turn to the most puzzling query regarding the comics contributors who support gun control: if that's their standing, why would they even want to write about superheroes and other closely related adventure heroes? As I previously wrote, back in 1989, subjects like these were the focus of a Fantastic Four story where the NRA took the superheroes' side in a political debate on whether superheroes should register with the government, already something the X-Men dealt with too, and whether their own powers should be regulated.

Evidently, those kind of stories are lost on the writers of today, which only makes it all the more strange why they would want to write superhero and adventure stories at all. They may not realize it, but while many superheroes don't use guns, their superpowers serve a similar purpose: defense. If gun ownership should be restricted, then by that logic, all superpowers, both accidental and experimental should be too. If Marz, for example, thinks gun control is great, surely by that logic even the Green Lantern power ring his creation of Kyle Rayner wore should be regulated, and Sara Pezzini shouldn't be allowed to use the Witchblade. Even Spider-Man's web-shooters should be restricted, Wolverine shouldn't have his adamantium claws, Superman shouldn't be permitted his own powers, Hawkeye shouldn't use archery, Batman shouldn't be allowed to carry Batarangs and Daredevil shouldn't be allowed to use his billy clubs. Why, maybe Neil Gaiman's Sandman shouldn't be permitted to use his magic artifacts, and even dreams should be regulated! Is that really what the comics creators favoring gun regulation want?

So you see, I'm at a loss to understand how anybody writing about superheroes, sci-fi adventurers and the like wants to do that if they don't really approve of their vigilante careers for the purpose of protecting innocent people and battling to stop crooks, both powered and non-powered, from preying on the innocent and trying to conquer the earth. Plus, in most superhero stories of yesteryear, they could break a villain's gun, but you rarely saw them saying that guns in themselves were the problem and they didn't go around breaking law-abiding people's firearms. Because it's the color of the villain's brains that are. If public, private and parental education could be improved, the whole argument probably wouldn't be so important. What really needs to be done is teach kids that guns aren't really fun, and that they're dangerous. The same goes for knives.

While Stracynski may not be as severe in his take as some of the other writers whose tweets I pointed to here, he's worthy of mention because one of the first Spidey stories he wrote was a metaphor for Columbine. What ruined the story was that he reduced it to a watered down tale of a boy who was taking out his anger on the entire school because he'd been bullied by a handful (and where did he get the assault rifle from? I don't think that was ever explained). Like various other Hollywood dwellers, JMS also shouldered the inability to admit that the mediums he's worked in could or do have terrible influences, and most certainly if nobody parents their kids properly.

If education in general were better than it is in some western countries, all these queries about whether to regulate wouldn't be such a big deal. In Japan, they have real education, and that's why there, crime is so low. If western education experts could learn the secret of how Japan works out much of their own system, maybe they could make this all a much safer environment to live in. In fact, maybe that's something that today's comics creators might want to write about - metaphors for building better educational systems in schools. That way, we could all work towards making this a better world to live in.

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I totally agree. Why they'd support gun control in real life is beyond belief.

Of that Twitter listing, not sure who is more annoying to me: Pak or Simone. Feh. All of them.

Great post, Avi, as you do a great job of completing the thought. This is why I wish the comic book writers would stop the politics, as "what would happen if X or Y really did occur?" It's always standard feel-good liberalism or as Thomas Sowell aptly put it, "Stage One Thinking."

Or, if you want to go South Park:

Step 1: Remove guns.

Step 2: ?

Step 3: Peace and profit.

It's been going on for a while with Marvel, but it started with Civil War and all the Stage One Thinking throughout. Which is disconcerting as the premise had some merit. Oh, well.

It worked in Zimmerman's case, unless they think 'working' is allowing yourself to be beaten to death.

Good stuff, Avi. I react to it here.

Regardless of what Dan Slott thinks, we *cannot* all agree that arming teachers and/or placing guards in schools is bad. And it is not "the NRA's new idea." It has worked well in Israel for many years. (I do not advocate having untrained amateurs patrolling schools or anywhere else. Whether police officers, security guards, or volunteers, they should be trained and qualified. My understanding is that the civilian volunteers guarding Israeli schools are trained by the police or the Civil Guard.) But liberals would rather pass more ineffectual gun laws than try something that has actually been proven to work.

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  • I'm Avi Green
  • From Jerusalem, Israel
  • I was born in Pennsylvania in 1974, and moved to Israel in 1983. I also enjoyed reading a lot of comics when I was young, the first being Fantastic Four. I maintain a strong belief in the public's right to knowledge and accuracy in facts. I like to think of myself as a conservative-style version of Clark Kent. I don't expect to be perfect at the job, but I do my best.
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