There was a T-shirt I saw a few weekends ago. I was in Barnes and Noble, getting some coffee and browsing some trade paperbacks, as I often do. And that's when I saw it, worn by a big, muscular guy. Plain blue cotton, with a stylized five-pointed shield shape on the front, red letter on a yellow background. Sounds a bit familiar, doesn't it? Well, except for the letter it was. Instead of the familiar "S", there was a stylized "F". And then as the man wearing that shirt walked past me, I saw the back. It said in red print... "Firemen: The Real Supermen".
I don't think there is anyone who could argue against that statement after the events of September the 11th.
I believe in heroes. It may sound silly, but despite all the evidence I see on a daily basis to the contrary, I still think that most of the people on this planet are good and decent. And that they will do good when push comes to shove.
Thinking about it, I suppose that's a part of why I read comics. It's nice to see a place where it is easy to see the heroes. And to see the heroes get the recognition they deserve. Of course, heroes don't care if they get recognized or not. But I like to see people who try to do the good things be recognized for it, if only as an example to the rest of us of what we should be.
It's no secret that in real-life it's the villains who get the most focus in the media. Everyone knows who Charles Manson is, but can you name the police who risked their lives trying to capture him? Didn't think so.
One good thing has come of the last few weeks though. It's shown me that I'm right. The heroes really do outnumber the villains! And I don't mean just the ones who planned and orchestrated the attacks. I'm also talking about every person who selfishly tried to take advantage of this sad state of affairs to further their own agendas.
For every con artist who collected money for an emergency fund and then kept it, there were ten policemen working to clear the area around the Towers.
For every person looting bodies in the rubble, there were ten volunteers moving it off of the wounded.
For every vapid political pundit who said we should deport anyone of Arabic descent from the United States, invade the Middle-East, kill all the leaders and convert all the people to Christianity, there were a thousand people hugging someone in tears because they knew someone in New York who might have been in the WTC.
For every mindless bigot who went out and hurt someone over the color of their skin or their religious beliefs, there were about a million people who told a joke to get a depressed friend to smile.
For every evangelist with a microphone who tried to blame the crisis on some group or groups who angered God, there were a few million people who donated blood.
The villains are there. They're loud and they're grabbing for all the attention they can get right now. But the heroes... we all outnumber them.
My heart-felt thanks goes out to every fireman, police officer, medic, doctor, nurse and volunteer in New York who risked life and limb to help get people out of the wreckage of the World Trade Center and everyone who helped to heal them afterwards. Thank you to everyone who hugged someone, tried to get people around them to smile when things looked their worst. Thanks to everyone who gave blood, especially all the people at the donations centers I went to who had the place so overflowing with people wanting to help, that we had to be turned away and told to come back later in the week. You all were a shining example of heroism in a time when most people think that heroes are a thing of the past.
I still believe in heroes. And I like to think a few more of you do too.