America’s new pastime: Stomping on the underdog

By Daniel Silverman . . . For those who are not into the comic book genre of films, you may not know the name James Gunn. He has recently been fired as director of Guardians of the Galaxy, a very popular series in that genre . The circumstances are incredibly troubling.

Ten or so years ago he wrote some tweets that were in the worst possible taste, dealing with rape and abusive child situations. He was admittedly trying to be offensive and provocative, and he certainly accomplished that.

However, six years ago, Mr. Gunn apologized for those tweets (and others), indicating that he was no longer that person, denounced his previous horrible judgment, and had moved on with his life. He then went on to direct and give life to two great Marvel films, Guardians of the Galaxy 1 and 2. This brought quite a bit of fame and attention to Mr. Gunn, who is also outspoken against our current president. As a result of Gunn’s personal views, a conservative source began to do research, where they found Mr. Gunn’s tweets from 10 years in the past (again, tweets that he had publicly apologized for years ago ) and brought them to light once again. This resulted in Mr. Gunn being fired by Disney despite the work he had done on the Guardians of the Galaxy movies and the money he had made them.

I see in this a strong parallel to what many sex offenders suffer. We currently live in a day and age where you can never atone for past wrongs. Concerning Mr. Gunn, one commenter stated, “We used to celebrate those who had done something bad in their pasts, moved past it, and became productive members of society.” This is no longer the case. Instead of leaving the past in the past and looking at the person Mr. Gunn is today, he is condemned for his past.

It is the same for those of us who are on the sex offender registry. It does not matter if we’ve done all we can to move on from our pasts; society will not let us forget … ever! It does not matter if we try to become productive members of society; we eventually seem to upset someone who will look up our pasts and use it to condemn our present and, indeed, our futures. As a society, we are no longer forgiving but seem hell bent on vilifying and condemning everyone we possibly can. It’s as if our culture gets a rush, a high from crushing people. “How dare you try to be better than what you were!” is the cry of today.

I do not support the statements Mr. Gunn made a decade ago. I do not know him personally, but every indication is that he is not the man he once was, that he saw the error of his ways and made a course correction for the better. This makes it doubly sad when people dig up the past to destroy a person. You eventually get to the point where you say, what’s the use? Why change? It doesn’t matter what you do. If you’ve made a mistake, if you’ve done something bad, then there is no hope for you. None at all. You must pay the price for all time. What, then, is the incentive for those of us who have failed in the past to even make the attempt to stand again?

I am saddened and sickened by our society, to be frank. And it’s not because of people on the registry or because of comments made a decade ago by Mr. Gunn. No, I am sickened by the average people in this country who feel they are better and take pleasure in beating the rest of us down. We used to cheer on the underdog. Now? Now we stomp on him until there is nothing left but a stain to remind us of how superior we  are.

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Dan Silverman is a freelance artist specializing in 3D design and digital painting. He is also a veteran, having served in the Marines during Desert Storm. He is engaged to a wonderful woman who makes his life worth the living and is also a registered citizen who is doing all he can just to get by despite the hardship that being on the registry causes.

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