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Re: US Government's reaction to superhumans

 

Cynical response. It will be one of the stupidest responses possible. Something so dumb we can't even conceive of it that will create enormous problems where there were none.

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Re: US Government's reaction to superhumans

 

In my campaign the US has forcibly registered supers since the Reagan era and has shipped Supers off to fight in Afghanistan and Iraq, breaking the UN rules of the post second world war tribunal. Powered supers have fled to Canada and Mexico or have gone totally underground and are hunted by government forces like fugitives.

In Canada Supers have been registered since the 1930s and carefully monitored and investigated. Most are pretty much left alone and thanks to underfunding in the 1970s and 1980s many have slipped through the cracks and are ignored to this day. The bureaucracy has been streamlined in the 1990s and seems to be working the best it ever has. What this means for supers is that there is a database out there on each and every Canadian super and agents are actively monitoring their activities, calling them in for interviews and updating their files. Underground supers are actively investigated by official supers and reigned in by hook or by crook. There was even a government program (a 1990s campaign ANGST) designed to groom super powered teens for active government service.

I really had ignored the US in my campaign in the 80s so I had to back up and explain why there are so few American supers in my campaign's adventures and popular culture. One was that America's main super team was killed in a Chernobyl/Three Mile Island nuclear terrorism act in the late 1980s. That sort of kept things quiet.

I am currently running two campaigns in the US. The supers have to keep things on the down-low or deal with the authorities in some way.

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Re: US Government's reaction to superhumans

 

Off-hand dismissal. Eventually, when it becomes absolutely impossible to pretend any more that nothing is happening, investigation and eventually recruitment. Recruitment is much more likely to be through ample offers of financial and medical assistance than threats, but the threats both indirect and later direct will come if the Super in question refuses to either take the offer or fails to get the services of a very smart legal and public relations team. Think the kind of recruiter who shows up on college campuses, with a much better budget.

 

The tricky part will be the public reaction. If the public chooses to embrace one or more new supers, the government will play very nice, especially if the Supers are smart enough to go to their congressmen and senators along with a lawyer. If the public panics, the government can play hard ball. Of course, until a major Super battle is carried live on multiple news stations, almost everyone in or out of the government will think its a hoax.

 

For an interesting take on how the government has dealt with real people who claim to have Super Powers, see Jon Ronson's book "The Man who Stared at Goats". Well documented, hilariously funny, and proof that you can't make up much sillier than what the American government will actually spend money on.

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Re: US Government's reaction to superhumans

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Men_Who_Stare_at_Goats

 

Ronson's second book The Men Who Stare at Goats deals with the secret New Age unit within the US Army called the First Earth Battalion. Ronson investigates people such as Major General Albert Stubblebine III, former head of intelligence, who believe that people can walk through walls with the right mental preparation, and that goats can be killed simply by staring at them. Much was based on the ideas of Lt. Col. Jim Channon, ret., who wrote the First Earth Battalion Operations Manual in 1979, inspired by the emerging human potential movement of California. The book tells how these New Age military ideas mutated over the decades to influence interrogation techniques at Guantanamo Bay.

 

The Men Who Stare at Goats is a 2004 non-fiction book by Jon Ronson about the US Army's exploration of New Age concepts and the potential military applications of the paranormal. The title refers to attempts to kill goats by staring at them.

 

The book also examines connections between these military programs and psychological techniques being used for interrogation in the War on Terror.

 

It accompanies a TV series that was broadcast on channel 4 in the United Kingdom called "Crazy Rulers of the World" and was in three parts, part one being subtitled as "The Men Who Stare at Goats", the second "Funny Torture" and the third "Psychic Footsoldiers". The idea of the project was to explore "the apparent madness at the heart of US military intelligence." The series discusses and includes members of Psychological operations, First Earth Battalion, and also discusses Project MKULTRA and Frank Olson, including interviews with his son, Eric Olson.

 

A movie based on the book, starring George Clooney, is under production with Winchester, BBC Films and Mandate Pictures.

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Re: US Government's reaction to superhumans

 

I've long since come to the conclusion that much of the time someone's answers to threads like this tell allot more about them than the situation.

 

As, for example, that said someone has dealt, extensively, with governmental "security"?

 

Please, do not make assumptions about responders' mentality, biases, etc., until you know somewhat of their experiences.

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Re: US Government's reaction to superhumans

 

As, for example, that said someone has dealt, extensively, with governmental "security"?

 

*shrug*

 

When the posts include long diatribes about innately corrupt and abusive nature of humanity, politics and how society is a power flicker away from collapse.. yeah I tend to draw some conclusions about the person making those posts.Usually the turn out to be correct, alleged "experience" or no. Specifically those people are overly cynical and have a poor faith in human nature. Quite often this comes out by their own admission. Exceptions are quite rare.

 

Please, do not make assumptions about responders' mentality, biases, etc., until you know somewhat of their experiences.

 

Please note I didn't refer to anyone in this thread but specifically the "Oh it's the world!!! and there no other thing that can happen!" post I've read elsewhere (If you'd like a link, ask). Please also note that I said it's human nature for bias to slip in to some degree or another. MY experiences have taught me that it's usually correct and that's really the only experience you can put 100 percent faith in online.

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Re: US Government's reaction to superhumans

 

Sounds interesting

 

Definitely going to be part of my own "realistic" supers settings. No guide to how the government would react to Supers better than the actions of those few people in the real world government who (apparently) were convinced that psychic powers actually existed. :)

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Re: US Government's reaction to superhumans

 

Definitely going to be part of my own "realistic" supers settings. No guide to how the government would react to Supers better than the actions of those few people in the real world government who (apparently) were convinced that psychic powers actually existed. :)

 

I'll see if the local library has a copy. Thanks again. :)

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  • 3 weeks later...

Re: US Government's reaction to superhumans

 

The United States government makes sure Pablo gets a complete physical, looking into his health, and pulling him out of duty for a moment until things are ok. They offer him a chance to talk to a psychologist on how he might feel about his powers, and how, if anything, his opinions and life direction may have changed. They offer him a new position as the United States' first superhero, and yes, Public Relations will be a factor into that. Pablo, understandably, may want to protect his identity. The government sees his point, so gives him a full face mask and a bright and colorful costume. In private, he will be Pablo Gutierrez , but to the world? He will forever be "Enduring Freedom!" symbol of Western Democracy and the force it can muster.

 

Heartening the troops, he will prove to be a true morale boost that even the press can't ignore.

 

His first serious mission? IF the lady got away, is to track down the Iraqi woman who is taking the lives of so many innocents. Fortunately, he's been given some very durable gear, and a good team to back him up to do just that. She maybe invulnerable, but she's not unrestrainable.

 

Other supers, with different powers, maybe discovered. A new form of Arms race will arise, but where as autocratic governments give their 'gifted' citizens no choice, the United States recognizes they are still citizens, and still have certain rights...court battles may occur, but in the end, the system ends up working. Taking the approach of the carrot instead of the stick, all gifted supers in the United States are offered special jobs at high pay where their unique talents can do the most good. If they decline, so be it, though a file will be kept. Other Western style democracies follow this example, some even improving on it.

 

As a result, many supers from autocratic nations, the ones NOT eager to serve the state, head towards America, Canada, and other democracies in record numbers to offer their services and seek out new lives in a place where they aren't just seen as living weapons.

 

Eventually, the first super team will form up, appropriately enough, in New York City. Life has imitated art.

 

 

............

 

There you go. ;) At least I think it's original compared to some of the darker speculations

 

I thought you might get a little kick out of knowing that I decided to go pretty close to this in regards to Pablo, Hermit.

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Re: US Government's reaction to superhumans

 

Originally Posted by Hermit

Let us simply say that I believe some folks confuse cynicism for realism, and so I feel if I must err in setting/gaming, I'll err on the side of optimism if only for novelty's sake

 

Let´s consider first what cynicism is:

 

 

  1. An attitude of scornful or jaded negativity, especially a general distrust of the integrity or professed motives of others: the public cynicism aroused by governmental scandals.
  2. A scornfully or jadedly negative comment or act: “She arrived at a philosophy of her own, all made up of her private notations and cynicisms” (Henry James).
  3. Cynicism The beliefs of the ancient Cynics.

I suppose that Hermit meant first definition. So…

 

Originally Posted by nexus

 

This has been more the tone of other responses.

 

http://forum.rpg.net/showpost.php?p=9279426&postcount=32

 

I do not consider it cynical because cynicism is about ATTITUDE and that article is a prediction of what would happen if superhumans existed.

 

How did nations came into existence ?

 

By David Meir-Levi

 

All nations throughout the world and across history came into existence by virtue of their ability to conquer some other country or people or tribe or indigenous inhabitants. Violence, murder, war, rapine, conquest, massacres, burning, looting, pillaging, and sometimes even genocide: those are the costs of nation creation in the real world, throughout all of history.

 

And why nations have a right to exist ?

 

By David Meir-Levi

 

No country in the world and throughout all of history has a right to exist. No country in the world exists today by virtue of its 'right'. All countries exist today by virtue of their ability to defend themselves against those who seek their destruction.

Let`s assume that there is say 10 000 powerful superhumans in the world. 99 % of them choose to have ordinary jobs and lives. That 1 % would at least try to change things. At least some governments would collapse.

 

Four Color fans want superhumans to be superheroes (follows Comics Code rules, respects the law, etc) or supervillains (pretty much the opposite). That`s OK.

 

But in a “realistic” setting there would be no “superheroes” or “supervillains”, just people furthering their own agendas.

 

In the modern era, the most important form of political organisation is the nation-state.It is a political association with effective sovereignty over a geographic area and representing a population, organization that "(successfully) claims a monopoly on the legitimate use of physical force within a given territory,"

 

In a world with powerful superhumans, nation-states may well lose importance,even to the extent superhumans start treating them as if they were the equivalent of street gangs.

 

People who act with anything resembling real world psychology are not automatically sociopaths but they will not be Four Color boyscouts either.

 

Originally Posted by nexus

 

When the posts include long diatribes about innately corrupt and abusive nature of humanity, politics and how society is a power flicker away from collapse.. yeah I tend to draw some conclusions about the person making those posts.Usually the turn out to be correct, alleged "experience" or no. Specifically those people are overly cynical and have a poor faith in human nature. Quite often this comes out by their own admission. Exceptions are quite rare.

Nope. But in comic book setting heroes win and governments survive because of Script Immunity.

 

In a "realistic setting" superhuman might rob a bank or kill public official and get away before anyone would be there to stop him.

 

Besides if "realistic" equivalent to General Zod existed, there would be NO equivalent to Superman.

 

"Lets see, if I fight him, I risk death or at least serious injuries if I lose; If I win and defeat him, people will blame for anyone who gets killed in crossfire, all destroyed properties, Government will try to arrest me for vigilantism and then there will be lawsuits."

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Re: US Government's reaction to superhumans

 

Cool' date=' it certainly puffs up my ego :)[/quote']

 

So THAT explains the unscheduled full solar eclipse. ;)

 

He's going to end up with codename: Unbreakable in game eventually and a player has written Pablo into his character's background as a sibling. Should be interesting when they meet up.

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Re: US Government's reaction to superhumans

 

Let´s consider first what cynicism is:

 

 

  1. An attitude of scornful or jaded negativity, especially a general distrust of the integrity or professed motives of others: the public cynicism aroused by governmental scandals.
  2. A scornfully or jadedly negative comment or act: “She arrived at a philosophy of her own, all made up of her private notations and cynicisms” (Henry James).
  3. Cynicism The beliefs of the ancient Cynics.

I suppose that Hermit meant first definition. So…

Try closer to this one

Cynicism

cynical character, attitude, or quality ; also : an expression of such quality

Which will, no doubt, cause you to look up cynical:

having or showing the attitude or temper of a cynic: as a: contemptuously distrustful of human nature and motives b: based on or reflecting a belief that human conduct is motivated primarily by self-interest

 

I do not consider it cynical because cynicism is about ATTITUDE and that article is a prediction of what would happen if superhumans existed.

It is speculation and guesswork which appears to be influenced by a cynical attitude. Obviously you disagree, but that doesn't change how it is perceived by me.

 

 

Four Color fans want superhumans to be superheroes (follows Comics Code rules, respects the law, etc) or supervillains (pretty much the opposite). That`s OK.

Except my example isn't four color.

Pablo still gets used a propaganda tool, pressure is still put on superhumans to work for the government, and the government still keeps data on them. It's being benevolent in my example, not stupid.

 

But in a “realistic” setting there would be no “superheroes” or “supervillains”, just people furthering their own agendas.

 

I quote the definition of cynical above again " b: based on or reflecting a belief that human conduct is motivated primarily by self-interest "

 

Sorry, not everyone has an agenda, not everyone is out for #1, and not everyone who has an agenda will push it at the expense of another.

 

Nevermind the fact that my example has Pablo getting a paycheck, and the governments of the Western Democracies essentially trying to bribe superhumans with perks, so again, it isn't four color, it's just -less- cynical.

 

You're acting like my example is 'black and white' it's not. It is SHADES of gray, with some shades lighter or darker than others. The problem with some settings is that too many people confuse a lack of absolutes with being ALL the same shade. Because there is no absolute good or evil, they assume all must be the same muddled gray; a false moral equivilency is created, one that is as simplistic as assuming things are black and white.

 

 

In a world with powerful superhumans, nation-states may well lose importance,even to the extent superhumans start treating them as if they were the equivalent of street gangs.

 

People who act with anything resembling real world psychology are not automatically sociopaths but they will not be Four Color boyscouts either.

Who said they were?

 

In a "realistic setting" superhuman might rob a bank or kill public official and get away before anyone would be there to stop him.

And then be hunted down by Pablo and the other supers

And eventually superhuman secret service will come into being.

 

Besides if "realistic" equivalent to General Zod existed, there would be NO equivalent to Superman.

 

"Lets see, if I fight him, I risk death or at least serious injuries if I lose; If I win and defeat him, people will blame for anyone who gets killed in crossfire, all destroyed properties, Government will try to arrest me for vigilantism and then there will be lawsuits."

 

Putting aside that government paid superhumans would likely have legal protection, medical insurance, and costs covered as part of their perks ....

 

While we have no true real life examples of superheros, we do have real life examples of heroism everyday. Some brave souls have risked their lives to rescue total strangers from natural disasters, crimes, and more without recompense. Others make a living at dangerous activities, and do get paid, but some firemen, police, and soldiers still get called heroes and whether you consider them worthy of the definition or not; their courage is impressive.

 

You say there would be Zod, but out the billions of people on this planet, no Superman would arise, not ONE Person with powers would eventually show up who would try to do the right thing? Out of billions?

 

Sounds cynical to me.

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Re: US Government's reaction to superhumans

 

Sorry, not everyone has an agenda, not everyone is out for #1, and not everyone who has an agenda will push it at the expense of another.
I DID state that for 99 % of superhumans it would life as usual.

 

It is remaining 1 % you have to worry about.

 

You say there would be Zod
Real world equivalents definitely exist, no powers of course, but with similar mentality.

 

Check out this link.

 

http://www.moreorless.au.com/killers/

 

Sounds cynical to me.
I suppose so. But not totally unjustified.
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Re: US Government's reaction to superhumans

 

Real world equivalents definitely exist, no powers of course, but with similar mentality.

Yes, there are some sick people out there.

But you can search the internet for news of guys rescuing people of out of recent floods, and the like as well. Random Acts of Kindness do occur every day, and heroic types are not unknown to us in the 'real world'.

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Re: US Government's reaction to superhumans

 

 

"Lets see, if I fight him, I risk death or at least serious injuries if I lose; If I win and defeat him, people will blame for anyone who gets killed in crossfire, all destroyed properties, Government will try to arrest me for vigilantism and then there will be lawsuits."

 

After all, let's face it, nobody becomes a cop.

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Re: US Government's reaction to superhumans

 

Yes, there are some sick people out there.

But you can search the internet for news of guys rescuing people of out of recent floods, and the like as well. Random Acts of Kindness do occur every day, and heroic types are not unknown to us in the 'real world'.

 

The key issue is: How many of EACH do we get that have superpowers? Is there going to be a 50/50 split? And if not, what will happen when one side outweighs the other?

 

Although I mostly agree with SilentMan, there's a few things that I don't.

 

Like the Superman to the General Zod. There might very well be a nice guy who wants to make the world a better place and will probably step up to face the Zod-Wannabe. And let's make him a guy who believes in the U.S. Army/Navy/Air Force/Marine commercials about how being a soldier HELPS people.

 

Now, first off, he's not likely to think of what may happen, like death or injury, because we as a people are STUPID. We are. We believe that nothing truly 'Bad' will ever happen to us because the truly terrible stuff happens 'Out There', or to 'The Other Guy', never realizing that to SOMEONE ELSE, EVEN YOUR BEST FRIEND, you ARE that 'Other Guy'.

 

And frankly, no one is going to think a situation through, not at the beginning, it's always AFTER THE FACT. Hindsight being 20/20 and all that. It's a gamer fallacy, just because something is a good idea, doesn't mean we'll do it. Like medieval knights and helmets. Yes, a helm is a good idea, but although we got cyclists here who WON'T were a helm or pads for protection because "They look stupid", "I'm too careful to need them" or a myriad of other idiotic reasons, I have a hard time believing that people before us were somehow smarter about their safety.

 

So what's likely going to happen is one of two things: First, Zod wins and kills/hurts the would be Hero. And gloats over his invulnerability. Second, the Hero wins, Zod's dead or defeated, and Hero finds out that no one is entirely trusting of his motives. No one believes that he would do this out of the goodness of his heart. Although he would be praised for his acts at the beginning.

 

And worse, imagine his shock when opportunists decide to sue him for all he's worth because of damages. Or that the Government wants to know how he ticks, and make sure he's on THEIR side, using EVERY trick to make it so. Including threatening his family for cooperation.

 

Even IF humanity isn't this dark or mean, the NEWS and T.V. shows and movies and all other Media shows us examples of how TO BE that bad. So why wouldn't we use those ideas?

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Re: US Government's reaction to superhumans

 

After all' date=' let's face it, nobody becomes a cop.[/quote']

 

Or a soldier, or a Fireman, or an Emergency Technician.

 

Most of don't think things through, others don't bother because they believe in helping others.

 

It's everyone ELSE you need to worry about.

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Re: US Government's reaction to superhumans

 

The key issue is: How many of EACH do we get that have superpowers? Is there going to be a 50/50 split? And if not, what will happen when one side outweighs the other?

That would be for the GM to decide it would seem. I don't know Nexus' break down on who gets powers, and who doesn't, so it's all speculation there.

 

Like the Superman to the General Zod. There might very well be a nice guy who wants to make the world a better place and will probably step up to face the Zod-Wannabe. And let's make him a guy who believes in the U.S. Army/Navy/Air Force/Marine commercials about how being a soldier HELPS people.

 

Now, first off, he's not likely to think of what may happen, like death or injury, because we as a people are STUPID. We are. We believe that nothing truly 'Bad' will ever happen to us because the truly terrible stuff happens 'Out There', or to 'The Other Guy', never realizing that to SOMEONE ELSE, EVEN YOUR BEST FRIEND, you ARE that 'Other Guy'.

 

I imagine by now, that Pablo (And he -is- the example here) , having been in battles as a soldier, is quite aware of risk. Now, he might get cocky about his powers, but when he realizes there are others out there with them to, it should sober him and help prevent that.

 

So Hindsight is already provided.

 

 

 

So what's likely going to happen is one of two things: First, Zod wins and kills/hurts the would be Hero. And gloats over his invulnerability. Second, the Hero wins, Zod's dead or defeated, and Hero finds out that no one is entirely trusting of his motives. No one believes that he would do this out of the goodness of his heart. Although he would be praised for his acts at the beginning.

 

WHo said Pablo would be entirely trusted? Closest thing I came to saying that was that even the media had to admit he was doing some good.

 

And worse, imagine his shock when opportunists decide to sue him for all he's worth because of damages. Or that the Government wants to know how he ticks, and make sure he's on THEIR side, using EVERY trick to make it so. Including threatening his family for cooperation.

Again, Pablo works for the government. They already can study him at their leisure. The government would provide legal protection. His identity is a matter of national security. His family has government protection arranged, or would logically. The last thing the US govt would want would be a superpowered agent who ends up serving others because his family gets kidnapped.

 

Such things are still a possibility, but "realistically" he'd have some advantages to fall back on provided by his job.

 

Even IF humanity isn't this dark or mean, the NEWS and T.V. shows and movies and all other Media shows us examples of how TO BE that bad. So why wouldn't we use those ideas?

Who said you couldn't?

Counter question

Why limit yourself to just them?

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