Archive Opinion The Orion

America’s values on life support after Captain sniped

January 1, 2007

On his way into a courthouse for his date with justice about a controversial law, a sniper’s bullet fell Captain America.

While early speculation had him dead at the scene, there is hope Captain America might be alive and recovering in hiding. The values he represented are the same way.

Captain America started more than 60 years ago as a young Steve Rogers who wanted to get into the army to fight Adolf Hitler’s Nazi forces. Rogers was so patriotic that his birthday was July 4. The artist is rejected because of his scrawny frame despite his eagerness to fight overseas.

However, before he leaves, he’s offered a chance to take part in a top-secret defense program called Operation: Rebirth. Through this, he would receive “Super Soldier” treatments orally and through injections while also being exposed to “Vita Rays.” Whether this was a forerunner to BALCO is a debate for another day.

The important thing is that he stood up for America. He knocked off the Nazis and confounded the communists. Outside his perfectly manipulated frame, he was an average person with no superpowers who rose to prominence from humble beginnings.

Captain America’s death has striking similarities to real events. He surrendered to police after defying the Superhero Registration Act. The controversial piece of legislation came after an accident during the filming of a reality TV show, where a bad guy blew up and took hundreds of lives with him.

Lawmakers and citizens in the Marvel world pushed hard to get a law passed in the aftermath, no matter what sacrifices had to be made.

This sounds an awful lot like the Patriot Act. It’s a well-intentioned piece of legislation. It was passed after a time of great sorrow. It places burdens on a specific group of the population in an unquestioning manner. Instead of superheroes being added to a list, the Patriot Act forces American citizens to forgo some of their civil liberties.

While it may make sense to trust those in power to protect you, this trust can be easily violated.

The Justice Department announced Friday that the FBI has been using the Patriot Act to illegally get citizens’ information. The bureau repeatedly sidestepped the processes in place and demanded that businesses turn over customer data.

All of this has the same feeling of paranoia the Cold War inspired. As if the shooting of Captain America isn’t ironic enough, it gets better because the Red Skull somehow has a hand in this.

The Red Skull was a Nazi- and Communist-themed villain – depending on when issues were published – who hated Captain America and everything he stood for. Skull has been presumed dead on numerous occasions only to come back again.

Now from beyond the grave, the Skull managed to possess a second shooter who followed the sniper’s bullet with three more to Captain America’s stomach.

If this is the end of Captain America, this is truly a sad irony that lives in reality today. The first bullet came as he tried to resolve the panic and fear that inspired the Superhero Registration Act. The other three came from that panic and fear overwhelming an otherwise innocent person.

We can only hope he pulls through his secret recovery. Then we might be able to find at least some small piece of hope for the nation we live in.