This is how legends begin.
The linked article tells of how a mystery vigilante with a samurai sword turned up during an attempt by police in South Shields to disrupt a burglary, only to be met with a greater number of well armed crooks. After three criminals were apprehended and the plain clothes officers protected from serious injury, the mystery ronin1 then vanished into the night.
I, for one, am excited. Here at The Palace we applaud those who fight injustice with a sword2. We live in a world not too distant from the dystopian metropoleis3 where comic book superheroes ply their nocturnal trade. The injustices of Metropolis© and Gotham© are just those of any major city, writ large. The world is in dire need of a hero or two.
This is merely underscored by the proliferation of comic book characters who have made it to the big screen recently. Even those elder statemen – Superman, Spiderman and Batman – have all had their oevres reinvigorated. People recognise the parallels; how art imitates life. We are receptive to the idea of a hero who operates outside the law; above it, beyond it. We applaud the notion that there are people prepared to sacrifice their freedom to address the injustices of society, people over whom societys barriers have no hold.
In todays nanny states, we barely have the freedom to determine how to live our lives. It takes all our energy to scratch together an existence in a culture where all possible means of advancement have been culled to the point where our only option is to choose the padded, sanitised, government-approved Middle Road.
Our only secret door out of this reality is through the synthetic realities whose more proactive denizens take the James Kirk approach to the Kobayashi Maru4 test that is modern society; that is, to ignore its rules entirely and forge their own path.
The one element of this story about which I’m concerned is the reaction of “the authorities” to our nascent local superhero. There is of course the possibility that this is the act of a random, sword-wielding psycho, who may in future turn their attention to the ever-present busload of nuns / children; precisely the possibility that the Police are hoping to prevent. But I really hope that isn’t the case.
I hope that this person is called Dave, lives in a flat somewhere in Newcastle, works for a bank, has a burning hatred of injustice and, due to an fantastic and coincidental accounting problem at NatWest, has several billion pounds under his mattress and some spare time on his hands.
Keep it up, Samurai Dave! Britain Needs You!
1 One assumes there is no master. It does rather dilute a myth if the superhero is having their strings pulled.
2 Hang on, let me just check….Bugger! The Sword of Truth is missing! Mum!? Have you seen my Sword of Truth? No, it’s not under my bed…
3 Opinions vary on the correct plural, so I plumped for this one.
4 No-win situation.