Brave New World - History (Ben Urich)

Opinion – Urich’s Corner

Safety in the Streets

The Big Apple – Breeding Heroes or Madness?

by Ben Urich

Escalative warfare – that seems to be the name of the game in New York City these days. The streets of Clinton start unsafe, a Daredevil rises to watch them – then a Kingpin makes himself known to try to bring down the Devil. Criminals get uppity on the upper West Side, and a ‘Spider’ comes to stop them, and some kind of giant lizard arrives to fight him. And of course, the supposed ‘mutant menace’ – rumors have been around since the sixties, but all of a sudden, rumors of a mutant team are heard a few years back, and the Statue of Liberty is attacked by the Brotherhood of Mutants.

And of course, three weeks ago, an alien invasion is stopped by a group of so-called ‘Avengers’, under the auspices of a new group known as S.H.I.E.L.D.

So, lately, the question has come up more and more in the editorial room – is the Big Apple a breeding ground for heroes, or madness?

There are those at this newspaper who believe that these mutants and Spiders and Devils are all mayhem and no brains; endangering the populace without regard for civil safety. But is there grounds for such a stance? (Please note that Ben Urich’s opinions are not reflected by the management of this newspaper – these creatures are a menace! —Ed)

Let’s face it – we’ve all been on edge since the Chitauri Invasion. Rumor has it that even Tony Stark, the world’s most unflappable man, has been acting a little (more) strangely since aliens invaded – and who can blame him?

According to the reports, a nuke nearly went off in the city, and Tony Stark damn near died for our sins – not to swell his head anymore, but we’re grateful. I seriously doubt a rich guy like Tony reads this rather extremely leftist column, but if you do, we owe you our lives, and that’s not something this reporter takes lightly.

Thank you.

Right now, investigations are going on at the highest level to determine who made that call – S.H.I.E.L.D., though just being revealed to the public as an enforcement arm of the U.N. – has never been in more jeapordy since its management made a snap decision to throw a nuclear bomb at New York City without Presidential oversight.

But more important than Presidential Oversight of nukes, necessary though it might be, right now, in Congress, is the question of lawful oversight of these – to use Tony’s words again – Super Heroes.

Obviously, many people besides the Editorial Staff of the Bugle don’t like these ‘Heroes’ taking the law into their own hands. The government already hates Stark for running the Iron Man without their permission. Only by ‘stealing’ another suit did Colonel Rhodes put that issue to bed – restlessly. But what about the rest of the media-labelled Avengers? Or the Spider?

And what’s worse – How will this impact the Mutants? The Registration Act was shot down three years ago when Senator Kelly mysteriously reversed his decision, and the Presidential Investigation Team discovered that the Military had a secret program for hunting and killing mutants. Going near it again so soon would be political suicide – but this so-called Avengers Initiative has allowed politicians to bring this all to light without the Mutants being specifically mentioned – all the better.

Certainly, innocents have been hurt from time to time. The incident with the Lizard and the Spider killed two civilians who could not cope with the temporary mutations. The DareDevil has killed in the past, too, and countless police have been injured tracking these heroes down.

On the other side of the argument, however, the Spider saved countless lives by stopping that device on the top of Oscorp. The Devil is praised as saving lives more than taking them. And the Avengers may have collectively saved the entire world’s bacon. The potential benefits seem to outweigh the negatives.

The People of New York have all mostly come out in favor of the Spider, the Devil, and the Avengers. Congress certainly has not, though. Law taken into the hands of the citizen has always scared those in power. But even beyond that, eventually something will go wrong, as it always does, and the lawmakers will come out of the woodwork looking for ‘justice’ and ‘accountability’.

But ultimately, an Act like this is going to eventually involve Mutants. Some of them are just as bad as the Iron Man in their dangerous abilities and versatility. How can one make Mutants accountable for their powers, earned simply by being born? It’s going to come up, and Congress is going t have to deal with it.

The only thing tipping Congress against passing the bill right now is S.H.I.E.L.D. — even though they’ve undergone serious revamps from the U.N. Security council since the nuke, but the very event that led to the solution of the Chitauri problem seems to be rendering Congress unsure if walking nuclear weapons like the Iron Man belong in anyone’s hands. The debate is raging very, very hotly – just as it did during the last cataclysmic event in our history – 9/11.

This Act is taking shape faster than HomeSec, and that Act remains the most controversial set of laws we’ve ever passed.

Whichever way you feel about it, it’s time to write your Congressman or Senator, and make your opinion known now.

Brave New World - History (Ben Urich)

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