[AKidsRight.Org] Keep the HERO in Superhero / Thoughts from F4J members - yours?

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From: John Murtari (jmurtari@AKidsRight.org)
Date: Wed Mar 21 2007 - 11:33:22 EDT

Good People & People of Faith,

Being a Superhero for reform gained notoriety in the UK with David
Chick as Spiderman, <dave@leedsfc.fsnet.co.uk>,

More followed, Superman, the Hulk, Batman, and others, in the UK and
Canada -- don't think we've had any costumed Superheros in the United
States yet?  Recently, as part of an F4J web vote, people were asked
about participating in 'stunts' -- more on that and their remarks
farther below.

I recently saw some photos from a US rally where a LOT of people were
dressed up.  Some had Superhero costumes, some had what looked like
war paint on their faces -- but they didn't do anything really heroic?
Just stood there and read a few statements, waved a sign.  What about
that?  Our cause is Family Law reform, and dressing up as a children's
character can be useful -- but do we need to keep the HERO in
Superhero?  As always, your FEEDBACK is welcome!

I was recently talking to someone who was very media-savvy.  He told me
his friends in TV thought that the costumes for reform (at least here
in the US) were silly (I couldn't help but think of the folks I saw
wearing war paint). 

How about some definitions of a hero:

   "... of distinguished courage or ability, admired for brave deeds
   and noble qualities."

   "... brave is the most comprehensive: it is especially used of that
   confident fortitude or daring that actively faces and endures
   anything threatening."

Wow, what about that!  One key part, the hero doesn't always win, but
they endure, they try. Don't you want to be one of those?  Actually,
probably not....but shouldn't it still be more than just wearing a

I don't think Superheroes are silly and I deeply feel we need more of
them before reform becomes a reality. When I think of Superman, its a
little more than using his super speed to run down to the court house
and file a legal challenge!  Don't get me wrong, those 'low risk'
efforts that many of us do, are both useful and valuable in the reform

But do I think REAL reform will happen without heroes, no way. I hope
the history of NonViolent Action, http://www.AKidsRight.Org/civil.htm,
can show us all how it should be done for maximum effectiveness.

As you read the F4J comments below, I think we need to acknowledge
that maybe being a 'hero' is not for me -- but that we need people
willing to take the risks involved (all the folks below risked jail
and their very livelihood in their actions).  Let's give them our
support, a simple email of appreciation & encouragement means a lot!

Superhero actions
This is NOT a complete list, if you've dressed as a Superhero and
risked sacrificing your freedom to bring reform for others & for the
love of your kids, let me know and I will add your story:

A diary of the UK Hulk, thrown in jail:

How about from Canada, the Burnaby Batman, his story:

And, don't forget the original Spiderman from the UK:

F4J Vote and Remarks
[What follows below is an excerpt.  I wish the wording had been a
little better in describing the action as more than just illegal
'stunts'.  But the remarks are useful.]

Complete Final Results at: http://www1.sztaki.hu/servlets/voting/F4JUS

Question: Would you be willing to participate in illegal stunts?

No	127	
Yes	55	

Remarks made (each paragraph below represents an individual):

It's worked for every organization since Thoreau. Civil disobedience
worked for PETA, NOW, NAACP....

I have never approved of them. I think they put us in a bad light and
do more harm than good. We need to force the enforcement of the laws
we have, not pass more to be ignored Ignorant antics do not improve
our status. I do not like sell outs.

what they are doing to us is illegal-if it takes illegal stunts to
bring attention to the cause then I say do it because they sure are
not hearing us now

I am Kindergarten teacher and I can not set that sort of example for
my son, even if he is not living with me.

fight fire with fire! Yes to illegal activity to a degree. I would be
OK with a prank but no one should ever be hurt. Any prank/stunt should
be done so as to better make the cause more obvious. Lets put F4J on
the front page of the news.

Civil disobedience is as far as I will go as an F4J member.

Perhaps I'm too much of a coward, perhaps I'm to conservative, but I
take my hat off to anyone willing to engage in non-violent civil
disobedience for the cause. I'm not sure illegal stunts are necessary,
even. Consider the marketing of PETA. They do a great job. Smart
marketing can do a great deal of good. Have a contest where
contestants have to upload entries to YouTube. Best online Father's
Day card contest or something. That sort of thing can lead to millions
of impressions for very little cost per impression. I think O'Connor
succeeded through brilliant marketing. F4J should work to find a
marketer even more brilliant than O'Connor (and it won't be hard to
find one with more character). There must be one out there somewhere
who has been screwed by the system. I think F4J should try to find him
(or her).

I'm seven months away from having my children move back in with me and
wouldn't jeopardize that now with an illegal activity. If you had
asked me several years ago when my children were being withheld from
me I wouldn't have hesitated.

No...I am raising my son to do what is right. What is right is to
follow the laws until we can get them changed. How can I teach my son
to follow the rules if I'm always breaking them because I don't like

Only if it didn't put my job in jeopardy

At this point, illegal is not in my agenda.

politicians, lawyers, ministers, and officeholders, serve the State
chiefly with their heads; and, as they rarely make any moral
distinctions, they are as likely to serve the devil, without intending
it, as God. A very few, as heroes, patriots, martyrs, reformers in the
great sense, and men, serve the State with their consciences also, and
so necessarily resist it for the most part; and they are commonly
treated by it as enemies." "Under a government which imprisons any
unjustly, the true place for a just man is also a prison." "I do not
wish to quarrel with any man or nation, I do not wish to split hairs,
to make fine distinctions, or set myself up as better than my
neighbors. I seek rather, I may say, even an excuse for conforming to
the laws of the land. I am but too ready to conform to them." 

define illegal. kidnap = no. non-violent protest = yes. Walt Whitman-
How beggarly appear arguments before a defiant deed!

Illegal Stunts do nothing to help any cause.

Only as an individual, not sponsored by F4J. Sadly, one of the points
I feel is missed by many is that in order to make an omelet you must
break a few eggs. We are rightly viewed as wimps.

'illegal' is a very broad term that covers all ground from sit ins to
assassinations and fire bombings. I'm more than willing to attend a
protest without permits. Am I willing to do violence to another? Hell
no. Civil disobedience has a long, effective history in the US, and
should be considered.

um...I have a job. From the look of the TV and Newspaper articles on
your web site, Judi and her band of camouflaged troops stirred up
enough trouble with old fashioned Yankee style protests and didn't'
seem to need to break the law. I assume this was a joke question,
because how do you expect to get corporate or government sponsorship
(which I assume is a must if you plan to grow ) or to get actual
lawmakers with the power to change laws to work with a group that does
illegal stunts. Isn't that the reason F4J in the UK died out, because
nobody took them serious? They made TV alright but nobody changed any
laws, they just called them kooks.

I've spent a total of 9 months in jail since 1990 for civil
disobedience to illegal court orders. I don't want to spend more time
in jail and I don't thinks its necessary. The First Amendment should
be our guideline. We want to re-establish the law thru legal, peaceful
activity. Its a numbers game. Until we get sufficient numbers of human
beings on our side we will not succeed.

The are enough pathways in the USA without using demeaning or illegal
stunts. Justice for fathers is a SERIOUS matter - there are much
better ways of getting a solid profile.

Absolutely not for any reason. This is the UK and these stunts will
only label the group as nuts who'll receive no respect
whatsoever. Here in the US respectable groups gain respect of the
public at large not hooligan acts.

What's the point? To loose out on more of what little time our
children get with us? Stupid, just stupid.

WITH UK IS SO DANGEROUS. ABSOLUTELY NOT!!! and if f4j US starts to do
so I will not participate in any further rallies.

Civil disobedience - absolutely. Dressing up as Superman and climbing
a bridge - absolutely. Kidnapping the President's children - HELL NO!

                                       John Murtari
Coordinator                            AKidsRight.Org
jmurtari@AKidsRight.Org                "A Kid's Right to BOTH parents"
Toll Free (877) 635-1968(x-211)        http://www.AKidsRight.Org/
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