Good News: There are Heroes in your Child’s School

I work at a school when I’m not working behind my keyboard. Schools are important places for the present and future health of a country. Lucky for us, there are heroes there.

During the ten years I worked full-time at the middle school, we fielded tons of questions when a school shooting happened. Think Sandy Hook Elementary. Or even the Boston Marathon bombing.

A local law enforcement official died in the line of duty trying to subdue an armed man in a town a few miles from where we lived. His death, funeral and the dedication of a section of our highway in his name all provided in-class opportunity to discuss important safety issues with our students.

Another shooting happened on September 29 in South Carolina. A 14-year-old took a gun into an elementary school and shot two students and a teacher.

You know what, no matter what reason comes to light from this teenage gunman, I’ll never understand the compulsion to gun down defenseless children. (Thinking of the Jedi temple scene in Episode III – when Anakin Skywalker became irredeemable in my eyes.)

But I’m thankful for the everyday heroes who worked at the Townville school and who volunteered for their fire department. Those people are worthy of admiration.

In Townville, an unarmed volunteer fireman, Jamie Brock, searched the grounds for the shooter. When he saw him hiding in the grass, he confronted and subdued him. It didn’t matter that the shooter had a gun aimed at him and Brock had only a determination for right.

You know what else I admire about this everyday hero? He knows who the real heroes are in that school building and so many others around the world.

“The true heroes of (this) senseless tragedy are the teachers that put their lives on the line to protect their students, the principal who through fears of her own (did) what was right to ensure the safety of the school,” Brock said via statement at a September 30 press conference.

Brock contends that his reaction to search for the gunman is no different than what any fire or law enforcement personnel would do. After all, they put their lives on the line daily to protect their communities.

It’s nice to see teachers heralded as heroes. Most are overworked and underpaid as they pour all of their talents and passion into teaching children, preparing them for life.

As the teacher I worked with and I told our students, it is our job to protect them. From bullies. From their own ignorance. And, yes, most definitely from an armed assailant.

Do you know a heroic educator? Brag on them in the comments. Then go and tell them how much you appreciate all they do.

Do Good Girls make lousy Superheroes?

I’ve been watching Arrow for many months now. It’s the “thing” my husband and I do on Sunday evenings. We’ve finished the third season now and WOW, talk about tying things in a pretty bow. All this to say: I’ve come to the conclusion that nice girls (and guys) make lousy superheroes.

Wait! What?

Isn’t Captain America the ultimate nice guy? *nods head*

Image from Marvel-movies
Image from Marvel-movies

Hasn’t this writer said he is her favorite superhero-right on this blog? *nods again and shares link*

So am I going back on everything I’ve said before. Nope. Well, maybe. You’ll get to decide once you read my thoughts.

Vigilante or Superhero?

I talked about this issue before in a post about Captain America: Civil War. I don’t want to rehash all those details. If you want, you can read them here.

The Arrow and his alter ego Oliver Queen aren’t your run-of-the-mill nice guys. In fact, when I first met Mr. Queen I didn’t really like him.

Hero or Vigilante?
Hero or Vigilante?

But if a guy wants to go outside the law to make his hometown a better place, and uses skills attained during five years of hell, he grows on you. Or he did me. The guy has so many demons – most of which come back to haunt him on a daily basis – that it’s hard not to feel for him.

In the end of season three, the Arrow is destroyed by carefully constructed plans of the League of Assassins. Bodies pile up – most of them blamed on the Arrow, who has spent two of his three years in the green hood NOT killing anyone.

There are twists galore in every episode of this season. A few of them made me roll my eyes. Others were threaded in so seamlessly that my jaw dropped. I may even have screamed a little, scaring my cat away from his cuddling spot.

Depending on who you ask, the Arrow is a vigilante. Or a superhero. And it seems like the line between them is blurred beyond visibility.

A vigilante is NOT a nice guy. Even if he helps the good guys-namely the police-to apprehend the really bad guys. There are laws in place. He’s breaking them by shooting arrows at people and leaving them strung up for the police to book into the system.

Who Decides the Bar for “Nice”?

So, is the Arrow a vigilante or a superhero?

Once upon a time, Captain Lance was persuaded from his vigilante stance because the Arrow saved his life. And his own daughter Sara teamed up with the vigilante to clean up the streets after a huge infrastructure breakdown.

So really, Lance only accepted the Arrow because of Sara.

This is totally evident when he turns on not only the Arrow but his other daughter once he discovers that Sara’s death has been kept from him. Because that’s a totally unforgivable lie. *rolls eyes*

What would it have changed if he knew?

Apparently, his view on vigilantism.

Because even though Laurel is trying to step into the Black Canary leathers, her siding with the vigilante doesn’t carry the same weight as it did for Sara. Huh? This is one of many weak links in this reasoning on the TV series.

Does the law decide the standard for nice? If you keep the law, you’re a good person.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve met plenty of folks who keep most laws but I don’t consider them nice and wouldn’t want to be their friend.

If not the law, then does the media decide who’s good or bad? If you read this earlier post, you know my thoughts on the media. They only care about what will make the biggest story: truth is optional.

So it’s the general public who determines what makes someone nice?

D203

And let me tell you, every person’s definition and ideal is as different as a unicorn and an elephant.

Being a Good Girl who doesn’t finish Last

Good girls finish last.

Have you found this old adage to be true in your life?

For me, it depends on what/who determines the finish line.

If the finish line is wealth, I’ll gladly claim I’m too nice and that’s why I’m not rich. But if someone thinks having a comfortable lifestyle is the finish line, then I’ve suddenly become not at all a good girl.

Just like being “nice” and “good” is subjective and depends on who you ask, so is the finish line for this idiom.

Perhaps this saying means that if you’re good, you’ll finish last in EVERY race you enter in life. Your career will find you at the bottom of the pay scale. Your friends will wipe their feet on your loyalty. And your family will take advantage of your good nature at every turn.

Last place-again.

But that’s not true. Because this idiom is a generalization based on ONE set of standards. I believe the saying was created for the competitive world of business and adapted for use on the dating scene.

I can be nice and come in first. My win didn’t cost me integrity. I played fair and won the day.

Is the same true for a superhero? If a hero is always good and nice, will they be able to beat the villains?

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Why our World isn’t ready for Superheroes

No_Superheroes

In a world where people cry over dead gorillas and ignore starving or abused children, we need heroes. Now more than ever. But the world isn’t ready for superheroes.

Thanks to my new site tagline (thanks Social Media Jedi Kristen Lamb), Holding out for a Hero, there is likely to be more posts about what it means to be a hero, heroes in real life and so on.

If you don’t like Captain America, I promise not to make it all about him. If you prefer the anti-hero character type, I’m happy to direct you to some other site.

In my world, good and evil have distinct lines. Evil is never based on personal opinion or preference but by the clear and present danger it causes.

Now, to get this post back on track. There are three major reasons it’s obvious our world isn’t ready for superheroes. I will be using film and real-world examples to reinforce my points. (There will be Captain America references – so sue me!)

Media Inflammation

Everyone is plugged in to the internet. Our phones notify us of updates to social media or our news sites. If we want to know the score for the big game, it’s a click or two away. (And there’s an app for that!)

There’s nothing wrong with being informed, but how well should we trust our sources of information? After all, who didn’t see the posts claiming Jackie Chan died a few months back. Some things are pure hype.

And other posts are an attempt to get a reaction. When I wrote this post, various articles about the Stanford University rapist bogged down my Facebook news feed.  Oh, and the gorilla incident I mentioned in the opening paragraph.

The articles became memes touting personal opinions – and calls for crucifixion of the criminal and the judge who gave him a “light” sentence. Whether I agree with these sentiments or not, the fact that a crime like this can blow up to become a worldwide discussion topic illustrates my point. (According to statistics, 300,000 rapes occur on US university campuses every year, but we’re only hearing about this ONE.)

The Fear of Power

With great power comes great responsibility – Uncle Joe Parker

People who have power fear people who might gain more power. And governments tend to be the biggest fraidy cats of all. This is the reason why information is controlled in so many parts of the world.

Because knowledge is power. If you know the truth, you can act upon it. If the truth can be concealed or packaged as a falsehood, then knowledge loses its edge.

Image from Marvel-movies
Image from Marvel-movies

In Captain America: Civil War, this truth was clearly demonstrated. After an accident during the apprehension of a terrorist, the United Nations met in an uproar. How dare The Avengers have collateral damage during their mission! Who even gave them permission to go into an African country anyway?

The governments feared the power of The Avengers (and they should). However, their fear wasn’t based in reality. If the team hadn’t stopped the terrorists, biological warfare would have been unleashed elsewhere in the world. Thousands of innocents would have suffered and died.

The UN didn’t care about the outcome, they wanted to control the power. What if The Avengers decided to step into the UN’s business? Who could stop them? But if the UN controlled their missions, the balance of power shifted into their favor.

Don’t be fooled. I used a fictitious example to prove this point, but the news headlines talk about dictators, warlords and plenty of others who exemplify this truth.

Just call us Sue-Happy

Think about some of the amazing rescues you’ve seen in superhero movies or the comics. These are when average people are saved from fires, explosions, criminals and accidents.

Now imagine this scenario. Spiderman sweeps into a burning building and removes two children, an elderly couple and even a cat from the flames. Just in time, too. The building collapses.

What if there was another unconscious person inside? Their family is incensed that Spidey discriminated against them by rescuing a stupid cat instead of their uncle.

And they sue him. Or the fire department. Or whoever they think they can get the money from.

You get burns from HOT liquid?

If you think I’m exaggerating, let me remind you that McDonald’s paid millions to a woman who burned herself on their coffee. Why did she win such a silly lawsuit? Because there was nothing WARNING her that the coffee was hot.

Seriously? Because even a two-year-old understands that something on an electrical burner is HOT.

Perhaps these lawsuits wouldn’t happen because who knows who Spiderman really is. But there would be even more pressure to discover his identity. Would it keep him from making his nightly runs stopping crime and rescuing victims?

Maybe. Maybe not.

In any case, these are only three reasons that screamed out when this topic jumped to the forefront of my mind.

What other reasons are there that might hold superheroes back? What do you see in our world that deters heroics more than it encourages them?

Why Captain America is the Perfect Superhero

Perfect in every way

I’m not saying Captain America is perfect because I was him on the Zimbio “What avenger you?” Quiz. Nor is it because I recently watched the two films bearing his name.

No, Captain America ranks as a perfect hero because he’s uncompromising, principled, and unencumbered by personal baggage. It doesn’t hurt that he’s handsome with sculpted muscles, either.

Of course, those exterior qualities grace every so-called Superhero. Beauty is only skin deep, after all, so we must go deeper to find a hero to acclaim perfect.

His Principles

Every hero fights for cause. Why do they call them The Justice League? They uphold justice using the might makes right principle.

Cap doesn’t believe might makes right. Just because he’s strong enough to dominate most people doesn’t excuse such an action. In fact, his biggest problem is with people and organizations who want to force those who are weaker into submission.

He’s a patriot. He believes America is the “land of the free and the home of the brave.” He dons that red, white and blue uniform with purpose.

He believes the truth is for everyone. In fact, his major issue with S.H.I.E.L.D. is the secrecy and deception. An honorable man is honest. Always.

 A Stand-up Guy

Cap doesn’t care who gives an order if it is wrong. This guy isn’t the peon soldier not “paid enough to think” and who must obey without question.

In the newest movie, Cap faces down his best friend. Decades encased in ice haven’t dimmed his loyalty. Bucky stood beside Steve when things were at their worst. Even if his brain has been tampered with, Bucky is Steve’s buddy.

Rather than save himself at the expense of Bucky’s life, Steve surrenders. The iron fist pounds his face and it looks like the end of the line. Doesn’t matter. His life isn’t worth betraying friendship. Bucky might not remember but Steve does. If he compromises his belief in loyalty first, what will life be worth?

This is a rare quality. Stand up and perish instead of shut-up and compromise. Cap is uncompromising in his core ideals and that makes him rise above the other superheroes – not to mention us regular folk.

Free from Entanglements

Superman Loves Lois Lane. Spiderman laves Mary Jane Watson. Wolverine dreams of Jean Grey.

These emotional entanglements hinder their ability to see the bigger picture. It also gives their enemies leverage against them. In fact, in their series they are all forced to choose between their love and the wider world.

In The Winter Soldier, Black Widow is constantly trying to set Captain America up with one girl or another. The irony in this wasn’t lost on me. She has no personal entanglements, either, but feels like he isn’t really living because he doesn’t date.

When the world needs saving, the perfect superhero rises to the challenge. He doesn’t safeguard his own family first. Since this will always be a temptation, it’s best for him to forgo these institutions.

Who thinks Captain America’s life is meaningless? He saves the world from domination by evil forces bent on selfish pursuits. His unselfish nature crowns his hero-hood.

When push comes to shove, I want Cap on my side. Facing a choice, he will never compromise his principles and favors no individual as more redeemable than another.

What’s your idea of a perfect superhero? Maybe you think they’re all flawed. Speak out. Cap would.