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Old 02-28-2016, 08:55 AM
Pantastic Pantastic is offline
Join Date: Sep 2015
Posts: 3,226
Law and the multiverse is a fun read. They hit on the flight question, for example, and concludes that under current law the FAA has no authority to regulate flight if it doesn't involve a device of some sort. So Iron Man and Bat Man would have to worry about their suit and batcopter, but superman wouldn't. (This and everything else is based on US law, I don't know enough about other countries to look at that).

Generally you can use force in self defense or to stop a felony (especially murder) from being committed, so trying to stop a villain is probably OK. There's no 'only the police deal with crime' law, and the legal system actually has a lot of structure that still fits older times when most of what we consider police work was handled by private individuals. In all states there's some provision for a citizen's arrest or detention, so there's even provision for holding the criminal until the cops show up or taking him to the police station. OTOH, you run into problems if you try to keep crime fighting, since you start touching on areas that are usually regulated like running a bodyguard or PI business. And you will have a really hard time getting any petty criminals off the street, because you've likely tainted the evidence against them and might end up being treated as a police operative acting without a warrant.

Also, there's huge civil liability for damaged caused if you start getting into super-fights, and criminal liability if anyone gets hurt. If you stop the bad guy from blowing up the whole town you probably have a good argument that whatever you did was justified. But if you end up breaking a wall out of a building, smashing a dozen cars, and smashing up the display aisles in a few stores to stop a half million dollar bank robbery, there's a good argument that you acted recklessly, that society would be better off with the bank robbery than the damage you caused trying to prevent it. And you would have to come into court to argue that or end up with warrants out for failure to appear, no one just says 'he had a mask so we can't ever catch him'.

Also, realistically super powered people just wouldn't play out anything like the comic books. Keeping identities secret for anyone who doesn't switch bodies (like the hulk), shapeshift, or otherwise radically alter their appearance wouldn't work. The military have access to a lot of high-powered weaponry and the police would rapidly get that access if supers were causing lots of problems, without even looking into the various comic book tech. (For example, making a man portable laser strong enough to permanently blind most super heroes is well within today's tech). Lots of big fights with high property damage and lives lost would lead to police and/or military trying to hunt down and kill the terrorists, not a cycle of 'wait for a hero to catch him, lock him up, he escapes again, blows up a hospital, wait for a hero...'.