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Poll
Question: Should Superman kill?  (Voting closed: March 04, 2003, 09:21:33 PM)
If he has NO other choice. - 5 (22.7%)
If it will save more lives. - 2 (9.1%)
If it's the only way to win. - 0 (0%)
Never ever no matter what. - 15 (68.2%)
Total Voters: 22

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Author Topic: Should superman kill? Should he intefere in politics?  (Read 18119 times)
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jasonred
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« on: March 05, 2003, 02:21:33 AM »

okay, two separate issues here. Which first, killing or politics...

Politics then. Firstly, what's his big problem? Sure, sometimes it's subjective and stuff. But in the comics, he carries this to EXTREMES sometimes. Take the Trade Paperback Peace on Earth... he meets a dictator who he KNOWS steals from the people, oppresses them ,and is perfectly willing to open fire on them, just so Superman will hand over all the food to him.
What's Superman do? Melt's the troops guns. Then when the guy points out he has more guns which he will use to shoot the civilians later, what does Supes do?
He flies off like a pansy. Seriously, this is probably the most extreme case where he wimped out. I mean, come on, depose the guy already! Sure, there are many situations which are so complicated, it's best for the Man of Steel to sit back and just await it resolving itself, but surely this wasn't one of them?
The worst part is, said dictator is so cock sure of himself, he tells his troops to open fire on the civilians in plain view of Supes, then acts all "so, what you gonna do about it, huh? Nothin, that's what! hahaha!"
Some clown should just walk in the bank with a gun and declare it the Independant nation of GunRuleia. Then Supes will just fly off again cause he don't take political inteference.


As for the killing bit... It's more of a personal code rather than actually worth much morally. Sorta like a personal challenge, ya know? I mean, he refuses to kill Mongul originally. Later on, Mongul kills millions in Coast City.  Superman refuses to kill Imperiex. Entire planets are destroyed. Superman refuses to kill Villian X, who later escapes and kills another couple of million.
Superman... your bloody personal honor code is costing billions of lives here. I know waking up every morning thinking "another fine day has gone by, and I haven't killed anyone, EVER. I ROCK!" is cool and all, but sooner or later, some kids are gonna come up to you and say, mr. superman, i heard that you could have stopped mongul years ago, but you didn't, and now my parents and family and teachers and friends and... everyone, they're all dead! wah!!!
Then whatcha gonna do, boy?

His logic is along the lines of someone  who spots a man eating tiger and says, "No, it would be a terrible thing to kill such a magnificent animal, or to even place it in captivity, such would break it's spirit!" HELLO! I think normal hunting is cruelty to animals, and perhaps killing a crop destroying animal is a bit overboard, but we're talking threat to innocent human lives here!

Face it, Supes, sometimes we just have to make choices. The life of ONE mass murderer, or the lives of millions of innocent happy care free people. I assure you, when a SWAT sniper pulls the trigger to stop a terrorist about to trigger a bomb which will kill everyone in the building, he doesn't do it because he doesn't value human lives. And I REALLY think that no one would prefer him to be thinking to himself about how he shouldn't kill, and just get on with the job.
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valdemar
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« Reply #1 on: March 05, 2003, 04:34:53 AM »

In your poll, one of the choices is missing:

"No."
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lastkryptonianhere
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« Reply #2 on: March 05, 2003, 04:46:17 AM »

Like the war  that seems to be around the corner I can not easily answer the question "Should Superman Kill?"  A war with Iraq is more than about ending the threat of Sadaam Husseen, it is more than just another front in the war on terrorism and it is more than to free the people of Iraq.  The effects of a war will linger for years and we could be facing the same questions 10 years from now if the process isn't handled properly.

This is the same situation I have over the question Should Superman Kill?  The easy answer is no however as we have learned in the war on Terrorism there are no easy answers.  Terrorists are like bullies sometimes the best thing to do is to knock a bully on their butt and bloody their nose.  Next time the bully will think twice.  Terrorists must be dealt with force not kid gloves otherwise we will continue to see more bombings, killings and senseless violence.  Should Superman kill to prove a point?   No but should the circumstances warrent it - I would actually say maybe and going back to the Supergirl Saga of years past - Superman did kill three ruthless murderers because what punishment could serve to balance out their crime?  None.

I perfer Superman not to kill but to find other means but there are times you have to bloody that bully's nose.
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The Starchild
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« Reply #3 on: March 05, 2003, 12:22:30 PM »

Should Superman kill?

Never.

Yes, times may get bad and things may sometimes seem ugly.  But there's always a better way.
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Bregh
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« Reply #4 on: March 05, 2003, 03:44:13 PM »

Never. Never. Never.
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nightwing
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« Reply #5 on: March 05, 2003, 04:21:14 PM »

I'm going to have to join the others here and write in a "NO" vote.

I think Superman's reasoning, at least with Earthly foes, is that he's got an unfair advantage against everybody else alive. Just as it's not okay for him to compete in sports against mere mortals, it's also not okay for him to use his mighty powers to kill beings so much more fragile than he.  He sees it as an abuse of power, really.  For you or me, it may be kill or be killed, for him it's not an even contest.

All this talk recently about the UN has revealed the new shape of the world: we're no longer looking so much at a group of superpowers, but rather one hyperpower with the potential to do whatever it wants.  Thanfully America (at least rank and file Americans) have never been comfortable with the idea of trying to rule the world, but lets face it, if certain other nations had as much power as we do, they'd have crushed us under their boots long ago.

Like America, Superman is in the position of being more powerful than anyone around him.  And also like our nation, he faces some hard questions: on the one hand, how can you despise the cruelty of foreign governments but not lift a hand to stop them?  On the other hand, once you remove one foreign leader by force, where do you stop?  And in trying to rid the world of what you see as bullies, at some point don't you just become the biggest bully of all, trying to remake the world in your image?  

Sometimes the greatest test of power is knowing when to use it and when not to.  It's a delicate balancing act for Superman, and for the nation.  Sure Supes may have a hard time answering the kid who says "why didn't you kill Mongul before he wiped out my planet?", but at the end of the day Superman has to live with himself.  Only he can decide where he will draw the line.  And frankly, killing a villain to prevent the possibility of a future crime is, for him, crossing the line.

Going back to one of your examples, yes the SWAT shooter does the right thing in killing the would-be bomber.  But he does it because there's no way to get close enough to the guy and disarm him before he pushes the plunger.  I'd like to believe most SWAT team members are good people willing to do a job not everyone would.  Yes, they pull the trigger, but at the end of the day, I'm betting they are troubled at having taken anyone's life.

The point is they do it because they have no other options.  Superman has vowed to himself that he will always find an option (and with all his powers, he usually can).  In this case, he can remove the bomb from the terrorist at super-speed before that button gets pushed.  I'm willing to bet any SWAT sharp-shooter, if given an option like that, would take it before shooting someone in the head.
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jasonred
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« Reply #6 on: March 05, 2003, 09:53:22 PM »

Oops. Right, I can't believe I forgot to add the never kill option on the poll. Anyone know how to edit the blasted thing?

Anyhow, back to discussion. Yeah, I have to agree on the SWAT example, putting Superman there instead. Actually, my view was, yeah, you should always try to find some other way. However, still on the SWAT issue, from what i hear, it's sometimes possible for them to shoot the guns out of their hands. However, this is so risky that, for the sake of the hostages, they go for headshots instead. And, yes, I am pretty sure even hardened snipers sometimes have sleepless nights, and need reassurance they did the right thing.
My question obviously isn't whether he should kill non-threats when there are obviously other better solutions for him. I mean like, if he's powerless from kryptonite, but there's a gun right next to him, should he shoot someone? Or, say, against enemies that have even more power than he does?

In mongul's case, we were dealing with someone who killed every day of his life. And who enjoyed it. And showed no remorse after being defeated, in fact more driven to slaughter than ever. Still... I guess there is SOME truth in the "future possible crimes" thing, but...

nightwing, you say America has no interest in ruling the world? heh heh... patriotic, aren't you? The truth is, America is too smart to want to actually conquer the world and have to be responsible for everything... no. America uses it's Economic and military power to get it's way, and get richer. Check out foreign trade policies sometime... America is an economic bully on an international scale. Military power, America makes the most fuss when smaller nations, even non-hostile ones, start researching new weaponry, or even old weaponry, like nuclear and poison gas and bio weapons. But you can bet your tax dollars are being spent on lots of the above, America just don't allow smaller nations to do it. So...

As for the wiping out of planets and living with himself, that's my point exactly. To Superman, it's not about the result of his actions, it's his own peace of mind. If he had killed Mongul with his bare hands, he would have the memories plague him for the rest of his life. As it is, he more or less has forgotten the fact that mongul killing millions had anything to do with him. Or ignores the connection on purpose. "See, it has nothing to do with Superme, I'm still pure!"

On the other hand, I have to disagree with lastkryptonianhere. I don't like the idea of killing used as a punishment. I see it more as a regretable action, but one that will prevent worse things in the future. I don't think Superman chose death by kryptonite because they deserved it, it was more because they pointed out to him that they WOULD somehow find a way to escape whatever jail or thing he put them in, and would destroy everything. Simply put, he didn't kill out of revenge or emotion or whatever, he killed cause he had NO CHOICE. This is what I'm trying to point out here. No matter how powerful you are, sometimes there's not that many options open to you.

As for terrorism... hmm, personally, I don't think killing terrorists is much of a deterrent in some cases. I mean, they're suicide bombers, they plan to go out in gory painful deaths. I really don't think that lethal injections are worse, but what do I know, I'm not a terrorist. Now, torturing them, that might inflict more than what they're willing to deal with, but I have to say that I REALLY don't approve of torture for any reason.

As for "bloodying the bullies nose"... hmmm... I don't think killing is EVER comparable to bloodying someone's nose, and shouldn't be the way to "teach someone a lesson". BUT, on the merits of JUST bloodying someone's nose... sometimes, yeah, just punching the school bully in the nose is more effective than all the "counselling" or "making friends" you can manage. Though if it works, the two latter solutions are far superior, of course. Unless making friends just means you get two bullies instead of one...

hmm, yeah, so someone tell me how to modify this forum, 'kay? Thanks.
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Kal-El10
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« Reply #7 on: March 06, 2003, 01:27:01 AM »

Superman did not kill the 3 criminals in the Supergirl saga because it wass the only punishment to fit the crime. He did so because he believed Zod's rant that they WOULD find a way to regain their powers and then find a way into Superman's universe and start the killing again.

Superman's code against killing can, and has, been stated relatively simply: There is ALWAYS an alternative to killing for one with the power of Superman. My temptation is to vote no based on that. Hoiwever some good poinst have been made as to on whose hands the blood is really on if Superman fails to kill a Mongul & he goes on to slaughter others. I have no easy answer. I guess that Superman should try harder to ensure that killers like Mongul are put away in a place where they can never escape. I would imagine that if Superman was real that he would do just that. However in the fictional world characters like Mongul, the Joker,. etc are just too good to not be brought back.
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