Can We Learn Anything from Superheroes?

Dear Fellow Survivalist;

I have a confession to make. That is, like many other people, I’m a fan of superhero movies, especially those put out by Marvel. I’ve been waiting for every release, coming up with my own fan theories and going back to watch things over and over again.

But I recognize an inherent danger in watching those movies – the danger that I’ll take what I see in the movies too literally. I don’t know about you, but I’ve never managed to outgrow that desire to be a superhero myself. Or, if I can’t be a superhero, at least be a hero. With my gun by my side, that one might be a possibility, if the bad guys just cooperate a bit.

That’s where the danger comes in. We watch Captain American and Iron Man break the law with impunity on the silver screen, all in the name of justice. They manage to get away with it, because after all, they’re the good guys. Yet if any of the rest of us did even 1/100th of the destruction that’s common in those movies, we’d end up in jail for vandalism.

Of course, everyone somehow manages to recognize that they’re the good guys in the movies, except for a few who act as a foil for the main part. Then they’ve all got alias, which somehow they mostly manage to keep secret. Tony Stark blew that one when he told the press that he was Iron Man, but hey, he’s so rich that he can buy an army of lawyers to keep him out of jail. Besides, that’s Hollywood, not real life.

While it might be fun to daydream about being such a hero, that’s all it can be. None of us can really be what they are or do what they do. There’s no place in the world for superheroes, not even the more natural ones like Clint Barton and Natalie Romanoff.

Here’s the problem. Preparing to confront a criminal is largely a mental exercise. Yes, we need to go to the range and practice and it can also be helpful to do some tactical style training with an unloaded gun. But most of it is mental, thinking through how we would react to certain situations, so that when those situations come, we’re ready for them.

But we have to think that through in a logical way, leaving the superhero stuff out of it. We also have to make sure that we differentiate between that thinking and any fantasies about being a hero. When the time comes, we don’t need to find ourselves taking the wrong sort of action on autopilot, just because we’ve thought it through that way as part of a fun fantasy.

Actually, we’re not called to be heroes just because we carry a gun. The theory of concealed carry isn’t so that we can take on the mafia or the local gang and win; it’s so we can protect ourselves and our families. While the temptation might be there to run to the sound of the guns, that’s exactly the wrong thing to do. We should only become involved if the guns come to us, not because we’re actively seeking them out.

The other dangerous thought that superheroes gives us is that you can fight all day, without getting hurt. When I look at some of the blows those guys receive and falls that they take, I wonder how they ever manage to give up again. Granted, Cap is powered by the supersoldier syrum and Hulk is pretty much indestructible, but Hawkeye? How does he survive?

In reality, there’s a huge chance that we’ll end up being hurt if we find ourselves in a situation where we have to use arms to protect ourselves and our families. Granted, there’s a pretty good chance that the criminals will just turn tail and run, when they realize we’re armed. But what’s to say that they can’t snap an instinctive shot at us while they’re turning to run away? How can we have the audacity to think that such a shot couldn’t strike home? Sometimes, it’s amazing the shots that people land, shooting instinctively.

So, while all those superheroes are lots of fun, they’re not us; or more correctly, we’re not them. So it’s a good idea to avoid the fantasizing and think a bit more realistically. If you want to think about some scenario they’re in, think about what you could do, with the limitations that you have. Is there something you could do which would not be suicidal? Or would you be better off finding the nearest exit and getting out of there?

Let’s keep it real. That’s why it’s so important that we keep our powder dry and our survival gear close at hand. We might just need more than that gun strapped on our side.

Dr. Rich

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