No capes — just Kevlar
Wednesday, October 25, 2017
As a self-professed nerd, I chafe at the thought of ordinary people who, through some random and unplanned event, are suddenly awarded supernatural powers. It is the ultimate participation trophy. The real heroes are those mortal beings who risk it all to make a difference.
Take, for example, Christian Bale's Batman in "The Dark Knight Trilogy" — arguably one of the better iterations of the character (sorry, Ben Affleck). Every time he puts on his respective gear and goes to face the night, there is the risk that he may not come back. Even when Batman "wins" a fight, there is a personal cost in the form of physical injury or mental trauma.
As you follow Batman through the trilogy, you see that he has to adapt as his enemies change, because he cannot always use force to solve the issue. When he fights Bane, who breaks him, Batman must rehabilitate his damaged body and spirit to ensure justice is served.
In comparison, some superheroes draw their power from the Sun, their anger or were simply born Viking demigods. These folks show up and are "super" due to their luck in the universal lottery; they know nothing of the strife mortal heroes must endure to accomplish the mission.
As much as I enjoy reading about these intriguing fictional characters, I take personal pride that I get to walk among the real heroes in civil society. I am referring to my brothers and sisters who walk the thin blue line. These men and women risk it all to hold back the evil that so many in society pretend does not exist.
What other name is there to call the folks who take what they are given in life and decide to risk it all to serve others? Individuals from all different walks of life, with all different beliefs, who dedicate ourselves to be a master of our tradecraft.
Peace officers come in all shapes in sizes, from all the strata of the socioeconomic ladder, and from some of the most difficult backgrounds humans have to grow up in. One of the unique things about humans is that we can choose who we become. A turtle can never become a lion, a wolf can never become a duck, and a honey badger just doesn't care.
However, humans can choose to be a hero or a villain, or tread in the gray area somewhere in between. For those of us who chose to carry society's shield, we make the conscious decision every day to confront our own mortality and overcome that fear to effectively protect the citizens we serve. Every day we methodically put on our 15-35 pounds of gear, close the front door of our homes and leave everyone behind to face the darkness that is in all of us. Every day we choose to become heroes.
Like Batman, we choose to place all others above ourselves. We choose to dedicate our lives to our profession, knowing that although we may become a master of our domain, it does not guarantee a return home to those we love.
So unlike Superman, Thor and the Hulk, we strap on our Kevlar, our shield and our tool belt and risk it all. To quote Edna from "The Incredibles": "No capes!" ... just Kevlar.
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