Hero. Victim. Villain. Any story needs all three, but who claims which title varies based on perspective. The thing is, you can only be one of them. And if you’re claiming to be both Hero and Victim, it’s most likely you’re actually the villain.
Take the example of Kyle Rittenhouse. He created a dangerous situation, bringing an assault rifle to a protest he has no business being at. He was afraid the protesters would take away his gun and use it against him. That was the basis of his self defence claim. That he felt threatened. And apparently it was easier to kill people than to flee the situation. Because “Heroes” don’t run. He wanted to play hero on the street, then play the victim in court. But if he hadn’t been in Wisconsin that night, two people would still be alive. Kyle Rittenhouse made the bad things happen. He is the villain of the piece
I think sometimes people do the worst things when they are trying to play the hero. The men who killed Ahmaud Arbery were full of righteous fervour. They were going to protect their neighbourhood from…some crime; they weren’t sure what, but they were gonna catch him. He must have done something because why was he running if he hadn’t done anything? (Based on appearance, I don’t think they were familiar with the concept of jogging, or of exercise in general). They thought they were heroes, defending the neighbourhood, never recognising that they were the danger.
The problem with heroes is that they want to be Heroes. Their primary goal isn’t to help people or fix a problem. They want to be perceived as a Hero. They want the title, and the adulation; they don’t want to do the actual work.
It’s a problem I see in politicians these days. They want to be the Leader, but they don’t want to lead. Boris Johnson, for example. In December 2019, he achieved the goal of his life in becoming Prime Minister. Everything he’d done in his career: the columns, the tv shows, Mayor of London, the Brexit campaign; all of these were steps towards 10 Downing at. And he did it. Mission accomplished.
Except then he actually had to lead the country in a time of crisis. Becoming Prime Minister was the goal; being Prime Minister was a lot of hard work and everyone complaining to him and about him. He likes to give stirring speeches full of soaring rhetoric catchy slogans, but very little substance. What exactly is “levelling up”? “Keep life moving” when he was still working from home. The supply crisis is a “Turning Point”. No indication as to what we’re turning to. Great slogans, all a bit sketchy on the details.
Boris doesn’t want to lead. He prefers to “Trust the common sense of the British People.” Leading means telling people what to do. It means people disagreeing with him. Leading means he won’t be universally loved.
Kyle Rittenhouse has to live with the fact he killed two people and half the country hates because he tried to play hero.
The McMichaels have to live with a murder conviction and jail sentence because they tried to play hero.
Boris Johnson has driven the U.K. into a ditch with his faulty or nonexistent leadership on Brexit and Covid, because he wanted to be Prime Minister.
They all did exactly what they wanted to do. They’ve got no one to blame but themselves.