SFP

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  • Dr Rosenblum, dropping science colder than her tube of liquid nitrogen.

  • Ryan

    Pronouncements are always more dramatic when made while wearing a welding mask.

    In other words, someone’s going to kill/rape/assault someone no matter what, but we’re noticing now because the people at the top are no safer from biodynamics than anyone else. Shouldn’t we have been noticing before too? Biodynamics haven’t changed the murder rate, just the demographics. It’s like the old joke about Hitler killing 6 million Jews and one clown. Why worry about the clown first?

    As for biodynamics as a democratizing force, that’s likely true in the short run, but the pessimistic view would be that biodynamics would simply end up establishing themselves as a new ruling class. Just a reshuffling of power, not an equalization.

    • Subbak

      I guess the doctor’s point (I forget her name) is that for the first time in history, there will be a ruling class truly drawn at random from the entirety of humanity and not made in its vast majority of heirs of the previous ruling class. And because biodynamics individual presumably went through a standard childhood for their class, and have friend from the same class that are non-biodynamic, they will be as a group much more likely to know the plight of those at the bottom than every ruling class ever.

    • Tzivya

      Though that partly depends on inheritance. Family dynasties are a big part of lasting power bases, so if it continues to be a flat randomness, it will continue to primarily benefit the masses. I vaguely recall that powers don’t manifest until puberty, meaning most biodynamics will themselves have grown up with emotional attachments to their family and peers; they can’t even get them as young kids for easy brainwashing.

      This is a very conflicting storyline for me, as I honestly am not sure IRL if this kind of vigilantism is what will be needed to have any real effect on rape and sexism crimes. How many decades of things not changing does it take before ‘the legal process’ is written off as fundamentally broken and unfixable? Because honestly, it is fundamentally broken and unfixable.

      • Emmy

        I just had to log in to say: “omg! a stuffed cabbit!”

    • Zac Caslar

      Possibly, though for purposes of gender politics that equal statistical distribution should even things out.
      …no pun intended.
      There’s going to be an anti-rape crusading heroine. She probably won’t have a pro-rape distaff counterpart. And as for the rest of the world outside of the west…maybe.
      Like you pointed out the real change is the potential threat to the top, and, that applies to everyone. One uberpowered jackass camping Lebanon is vulnerable to three. Those three are vulnerable to five. Those five are still fried good and dead by a Hellfire missile strike.

      The difference ‘twixt now and SFP is that technology will have lost it’s edge as the dominance tool of choice. Armies, drones, JSOC, whatever -Suberman isn’t the default winner, but he is an equalizer. The countries that ran the world from behind a trillion-dollar arms budget won’t be toothless, but they won’t be nearly as omnipotent either.

      I see that impairing the possible formation of any would-be “Immortal God-King” dynastic types. Allison was able to defeat Cleaver. Both of them are probably vulnerable to diseases, starvation, and things like thermobaric weaponry. And given how unequally the utility of powers is distributed -Allison’s nearly unkillable, Sonar’s probably unemployable, it’s unlikely anyone’s going to be dealt the Royal Straight Flush of many perfectly effective, perfectly loyal biodynamics.

      Biodynamics won’t be any more pure of motive then anyone, but they make the untouchables -the insulated policy makers and mega-business kings, uniquely vulnerable. We worry about WMD’s now, but in SFP’s future I’d watch for someone who can fly deciding to hand-deliver the far less exotic 2000lbs bomb to, say, a global IMF conference.

      Taking the Initiative will always be king, and now the powerless need be no more ruthless and a whole lot more proactive to reshape their worlds. And that also potentially means that BD’s with defensive-utility powers could become quite the premium employee.

      • Markus

        Personally I don’t buy the whole “An even statistical distribution should even things out.” Even just looking at Alison and Cleaver, two bios with roughly similar power sets, socioeconomic status played a huge impact on how they turned out. Alison’s been given the luxury of a lot of training, money, and freedom purely by being a white and upper middle class.

        • Zac Caslar

          Sure, but I specifically referred to _loyalty_.
          Can they be mobilized for a cause? To protect an existing power structure?
          They’re two very different ends of the American experience.
          For contrast the Gaza Strip is the most densely populated area on the planet -yes, eclipsing Tokyo and Manhattan Island; I don’t think it’d be hard to get 3 Palestinian BD’s on the same page about something like Israel.
          I’m not saying “they all think alike,” but I am saying they could all be focused on a single greater objective like ejecting the Israeli Occupation.

          Individual BD’s can be very powerful and very dangerous, but the ones who really count like Allison or Patrick are the ones who intend to actually do something of consequence.

    • Liz

      I disagree. When people like Paladin come into wealth and power, they bring their families with them. That’s intrinsically going to make the face of wealth less white. And the randomness should also prevent the biodynamic ruling class scenario – nobody’s going to want to rule all biotypical people because those biotypical people include their families and communities, who in turn care more about their own biotypical friends and social networks. Well, some biodynamics without strong family or community structure might try, but they’re a minority and people like Allison can stop them.

      • Ryan

        Yes, you’re right for the first generation. But in the “worst case”, subsequent generations will gradually come not to see themselves as black, white, etc., but as biodynamic or not, and they will no longer care about the society or culture from which their ancestors came, but rather biodynamics will band together to rule over everyone else. Yes, the face of power will become less white, but at the same time skin color might simply become irrelevant, and not in a good way.

        • Verdant_Samuel

          Biodynamism is not about to dissolve culture, especially given that “people with powers” are assigned cultural value by most cultures – so a future where biodynamism becomes the primary form of cultural/social identification doesn’t make sense.

          A ‘worst case’ scenario would be the current ruling class murdering all the biodynamics that could cause a major shift in global power dynamics before things can get too democratized. Lucky we dodged that bullet, yeah?

          • Ryan

            Speaking of which, I wonder what the doctor would think of Patrick’s theory that someone is attempting to undermine her precious democratization via superpowers.

          • Verdant_Samuel

            I mean, Patrick is a liar and a manipulator. The question for me at the moment is “which parts of what he says to Allison are lies, exactly?” So I think she’d buy it, since it fits – but it’d mean someone knew about the Storm before it happened. Which might mean it could be made to happen again.

          • Mechwarrior

            There’s also the potential issue that he might not even need to lie to Allison to manipulate her. He just wouldn’t have to tell her the whole truth: for example, he could tell her that there’s a secret group that’s been killing different biodynamic individuals with potentially world-changing powers, and not tell her that he’s part of it.

          • Verdant_Samuel

            Forgetting to mention that you’re part of Those Who Foresaw The Storm is basically a lie as far as I’m concerned πŸ˜›

          • Mechwarrior

            Yes, it’s a lie by omission. But the point is that he could easily be manipulating her without telling her anything that’s untrue.

          • Verdant_Samuel

            I’m on board with that point, no worries ^_^

          • Someguy

            Sounds like something that’s already happening in the comic.

          • I refuse to believe that humanity is incapable of new forms of bigotry.
            Worst case scenario – biodynamics continue to be born, and biodynamics (as in, the majority of them) find out that they’re being killed off by some shady conspiracy. Being persecuted as a group helps to forge a cultural identity. That’s the kind of thing you need in order to wage war on humanity.

        • Philippe Saner

          The interesting question is, do biodynamics breed true?

          Because they’re a lot less democratizing if they do.

          • Dean

            Have we even seen any second generation biodynamics? Maybe Alison’s generation are the only superpeople that the world will ever see. At least until someone figures out how to artificially induce biodynamism, of course…

          • AlpineBob

            Well, Alison is a college kid, so any offspring of her generation wouldn’t be much more than toddlers. If their powers don’t kick in until puberty we probably won’t be hearing about them for a while.
            But I’d almost be surprised if the government didn’t have gene samples of all the biodynamics they’ve had access to, so a generation of clones might be on the horizon, which kind of gives me the shivers…

          • Liz

            I think they wouldn’t be going on about the biodynamic gene so much if it weren’t inheritable, but I suppose we’ll have to wait and see.

          • Zac Caslar

            VERY important question!
            Be funny if they didn’t.
            Superheroes for one generation..? How does that get recorded history?

      • Elaine Lee

        Just the fact that Biodynamics have increased power and status will change them. Inequality always has a bad effect on those with privilege (and probably on those without, as well). Take a look at this video about a study where one Monopoly Player is given more money and chances for advancement in the game than his/her opponent. The player very quickly becomes arrogant and self-centered.

        http://on.ted.com/Piff

        • Markus

          Game theory does a pretty good job of sussing out cognitive biases. Winners like to believe the game was fair.

      • Rens

        Until Paladin’s attempts to change the world end with a carefully arranged tragic accident and all her patents vanish into a nameless corporation’s maw.

  • Spongegirl Circleskirt

    Me neither.

  • Guest

    Dr. Rosenblum, dropping science colder than her liquid nitrogen.

  • Timothy O’Brien

    ….she’s helping Moonshadow, isn’t she?

  • Markus

    That justification for tolerating the slasher is really fatalistic, and honestly strikes me as a variant of the starving children in Africa argument. She’s effectively saying “Because we can’t immediately deal with this huge systemic problem with lots of difficult to fix roots, why would we ever bother with this immediately fixable individual actor.”

    Also, the idea that people actively condone sexual violence has always struck me as one of the most dishonest things that people claim. The people who blame victims, regardless of what those people are victims of, do so because they’ve fallen for the just-world fallacy. They would like to believe that the world is fair, so they choose to believe that bad stuff happens because people did something to deserve it. When a drunk driver t bones a parent driving home from the red eye shift they work to make sure their kid can have hot food and a roof, that sort of person thinks “Well that’s what they deserve for driving home so late at night.”

    • Zac Caslar

      Just World makes a lot more sense if you’ve got a foundation of Faith undergirding it.
      In that framework everything has meaning and everything makes sense; bad things happen to bad people because that’s divine Justice -and when bad things happen to good people that’s because they were bad and didn’t realize it.
      Or they could be bad, and needing testing.
      Or they were thinking bad things, and needed a reminder.
      I know it’s sketchy, but don’t worry -somewhere down the line the victim was actually the catalyst of their own suffering.

    • Mindsword2

      I don’t think she is condoning it. I think she is saying she expected it. Some Biodynamic would eventually be in a dangerous situation and would use violence. If they continue without the backing of the law, they are vigilantes. By now there must be tons of vigilantes running around and the authorities must be getting tired of dealing with them.

      The slasher as a vigilante is fairly simple. All the victims thus far have been those that sexually assaulted another. I can clearly see why someone would target people like that and Lord knows the authorities would be able to see the clues. While its certainly a problem, its not a problem that makes no sense nor is it one that people did not expect.

    • persephone_the_wanderer

      I agree that that’s a bad argument, but I don’t think it’s what the doctor is saying. She’s trying to change the terms of the debate – right now, everyone’s asking, who is the Invisible Slasher, why is she doing what she’s doing, is it right, etc. But this isn’t the right question – the right question is, why is something with this sort of shape happening (not why is this specific person doing it) – how can we respond to this larger social phenomenon of which this is only the first instance?

      • Paradoxius

        A room is on fire. One of the ten people in the room leaves. You don’t ask why one person left; you ask why nine stayed.

      • Markus

        You’re treating it as a zero-sum game though. Dealing with the Slasher as an individual is actually critically important for dealing with powered spree killers in the future. Getting a rough profile for powered killers and starting the theorycrafting of how power set and life experience affect MO and victim choice lay the groundwork for dealing with other powered killers, and better understanding her first kills and the events before them would lend itself to better knowing how to prevent people from heading down that path in the first place.

        • I don’t think dealing with the Slasher would give them much, if any, actual insight into other powered killers. I mean, what she’s doing has so little to do with her powers, except that her powers give her the opportunity to commit the murders unnoticed and get away clean. Theoretically, these murders could be carried out, with varying levels of success, by a non-biodynamic individual. She’s a spree-killer with vengeance for a motive, who feels like the justice system can’t be trusted (specifically in cases of rape) and so has taken it into her own hands. Recognizing that first gets you your profile, the fact that the Slasher is a biodynamic with invisibility powers gets you your actual perp.
          Other powered spree killers, if/when they emerge, would likely have wildly varying methodology, motive, victims, and, maybe most importantly, abilities.
          Not to mention, I can’t exactly see the Slasher cooperating with a psych eval and playing nice to help them understand her if she is caught. Dealing with the Slasher is only critically important in that it will keep rapists (okay, and I suppose potentially-innocent accused rapists) from being murdered.

        • MisterTeatime

          You’re right- it’s not a zero-sum game between treating the symptom (the Slasher) and the disease (gender bias in violence). That’s what Rosenblum is saying, too. She’s disappointed that /everyone/ is dogpiling the symptom topic, and no one is tracing it further and discussing the disease.
          There are loads of people employed, trained, and paid to profile, identify, locate, and apprehend individual criminals. Same for identifying and combating biodynamics.
          So when all this attention from people /outside/ those groups (the media, private citizens) is focused on these events… why is none of it progressing any further than that?

        • Random832

          “Dealing with the Slasher as an individual is actually critically important for dealing with powered spree killers in the future.” And if your rough profile includes “kills mostly people who deserve it”, then doesn’t that mean “leave them alone and let them continue killing” is one of the possible responses you should be considering?

    • Guest

      I don’t think that it is “we can’t do everything so let’s do nothing” – it is legitimate to claim that sometimes we wrongly perceive problems as greater than they are because of who the victim or the offender is.

      A few years ago where I live there was a court decision which arguably but not unambiguously gave Aboriginal people a right to trap lobster without a license. Local Aboriginal bands stuck about 500 traps in the water, which led to a huge outcry about how they would destroy the stock by overfishing it, enormous controversy, and threats of violence. But for years non-Aboriginals had unlawfully been sticking about 20,000 unlicensed traps in the water every year, and no-one had made much fuss about that. It was hard not to see it as a reaction based on *who* was doing it, not what they were doing.

    • motorfirebox

      I don’t agree about the “starving children in Africa” parallel. The people affected by the problem that Moonshadow is highlighting with her killing spree are not off in some distant land, they’re right there next to Moonshadow’s targets. The issue of sexual violence in the US can’t be separated from Moonshadow’s murders, because Moonshadow is pulling her targets directly from the pool of people who commit or enable sexual violence.

    • Verdant_Samuel

      That’s odd, since it’s not a dishonest claim. If people bend over backwards to avoid condemning people they like as rapists and/or participate in other forms of sexual violence as part of daily life (catcalling, online harassment, hitting on people in enclosed spaces when they can’t disengage), they’re condoning sexual violence. Denying a reality where people are harmed is condoning it (in the same way that colorblind ideology condones/supports racism).

      • Markus

        If anything, denying a reality where sexual violence happens to people implies that a person is more afraid of and offended by sexual violence than the average. Rape apologists don’t victim blame because they think sexual assault is totally fine, they victim blame because the idea of an awful thing happening to a blameless person, especially when either the victim or perpetrator is someone they know, is too cruel for them to psychologically handle.

        • That can be true, to an extent, but it isn’t a universal truth at all. People aren’t as naive as that. And even if they ARE, they have a responsibility not to be. Saying that a woman in a short skirt deserves to be raped isn’t okay, regardless of whether they actively think that every woman in a short skirt should expect rape or they are just trying to make sense of it. And whether they intend to or not, they ARE condoning rape. Out of ignorance or out of malice, it really makes no difference in the big picture.
          Good intentions, hell, you know the phrase.

        • Verdant_Samuel

          I don’t care to speculate about the hurt feelings of people that condone sexual violence. Which, as mentioned in my comment, is what denying a reality where people are harmed is.

          I’d suggest you do some research about why intent doesn’t matter when we’re talking about impacts. Here’s a place to start: http://everydayfeminism.com/2013/07/intentions-dont-really-matter/

          • Markus

            What you’ve done there is made a choice to not try and understand why it is that people do harmful things. I was never making a claim that the people who antagonize victims of sexual assault aren’t doing harm. They’re doing lots, and anyone who can’t see that is either an idiot or willfully ignorant. What I’m saying is that if you want to fix the problem of victim blaming, a good start is to understand specifically why the people who blame victims either consciously or unconsciously make that choice.

          • Lucy

            I think Markus has a point. As an advocate against violence myself, I’ve studied different anti-violence public health campaigns in my classes. One of the statistically most effective campaigns target bystanders (as opposed to potential rapists / violence perpetrators), giving them specific advice and instructions on what to do if they see some violent / dangerous behavior in public (stalking, abuse, harassment, trying to take advantage of someone drunk) and also advice on how to protect their friends (for instance, how to be a good “buddy” at parties by keeping tabs on a friend who could be taken advantage of).

            This campaign was phenomenally effective as far as local-level public health campaigns go, reducing rape and sexual assault by 11-15% in various cities. It worked because it appealed to people’s sense of responsibility and let people see themselves as good people who stand up to villains for their friends, as well as giving practical steps.

            Unfortunately, the campaign was highly criticized by some feminist groups because it was not aimed at perpetrators on violence, did not condemn them, and did not attempt to define rape or sexual violence on the posters or PSAs. Frustratingly, when it was pointed out that campaigns that targeted perpetrators and instructed them to not be violent were much less effective, and in some cities did not reduce the rate of rape / sexual assault at all, the effective campaign was *still* criticized.

            Obviously, there’s a limit to how much effect public health officials have in their community, and 11-15% reduction is not anywhere near 100%. But a campaign designed by social scientists who understand the underlying psychology of people involved in rape / sexual assault / abuse scenarios (including bystanders as well as victims and perpetrators) are going to be able to create a campaign that gets more results than political lobbyists who think underlying psychology doesn’t matter.

            I myself am a feminist, but I am first and foremost a scientist (in training; I’m still at school), and I am wary of anyone who is willing to dismiss data as irrelevant unless it was gotten by ill-means or is statistically insignificant (i.e. the *one* study out of a thousand that suggests climate change isn’t happening, the “study” that first suggested vaccines cause autism, etc).

    • Ryan

      It’s not fatalistic, it’s utilitarian. More people are affected by ordinary rapists and murderers than are affected by biodynamic vigilantes, and as a bonus, solving the former would eliminate the latter anyway.

  • Zac Caslar

    Note to self: Strong Female Protagonist is smarter then you are. =D

  • Keith

    Oh I love this so much

  • tygertyger

    Democritizing force indeed. Did anyone else notice that the most gifted engineer we’ve seen in the series thus far is both a minority and a woman? That’s got to rankle the Old Boy Network. I have to agree with Ryan about it being a short term thing, though. Existing power structures would be quick to co-opt such a potent new resource, and quicker still to punish any biodynamics who didn’t play ball. Note how our protagonist’s problems began with her breaking faith with the PTB.

    Still, I can’t help but wonder how something like this would play out in a country that had a small elite and an oppressed majority (say, South Africa during apartheid). I expect that the results would’ve been much bloodier than what you get with one invisible slasher.

    • Paradoxius

      I love Paladin. Not only is she a woman of color in engineering, she is innately a better engineer than anyone over 20, she’s an artist so to Hell with the false artistic/scientific dichotomy, and her personal views go sharply agains the worst and deepest vices in the tech industry. She wants longer battery life, not bigger screens. She wants progress, not profits. She spits in the face of the establishment in every way.

  • TheGonzoMD .

    Exactly, the fact that things like this are happening should be of surprise to no one. We can be morally indignant about it all we want, but all the tears in the world won’t change the fact that shit like this are the consequences of the flaws in our society, and the consequences are happening to people who might not have suffered consequences otherwise.

    Welcome to the new paradigm, baby! Is it nice? No. Is it impetus for change? I bet so.

    • Lostman

      I hate to break it to you but theses’ things tendency of going of the rails, if have notice our killer isn’t the most psychology sound person around. Her rampage is going to badly; most being gunned down polices officers with succeeding making a few dead bodies and opening the for others to walk her dark/hopeless path.
      There has to be a better way.

  • darius404

    The “1 in 4 women will be victims of attempted or completed rape” statistic is completely wrong, by the way. The only statistic even close to that is a 1 in 5 statistic from a self-report study of exactly 2 college universities in the United States. Aside from the small sample size of the study and the inherent issues with self-selection, claiming such a number is indicative of college campuses in general, let alone (presumably) the United States as a whole, is massively ignorant on the part of this character. It’s hard to have much confidence in her opinions or knowledge when she says something like this.

    • Liz

      Dude, if you read this comic and all you’re thinking is, “That statistic is inflated! It’s probably more like one in 10!” then I think you’re reading the wrong comic.

      • darius404

        That you think wanting accuracy in real-world references disqualifies someone from reading this comic is an insult to both the comic and it’s writer.

        • Liz

          My point was that the doctor’s viewpoint is valid: there’s an epidemic of violence against women around the globe. Whether it’s one in four or the probably more accurate figure of one in six, or even the grossly conservative one in ten – all of this is, for the most part, irrelevant, and usually people don’t bring it up unless they’re trying to discredit the whole idea that violence against women is a massive and systemic problem. I mentioned you might be reading the wrong comic because SFP doesn’t strike me as the type that discredits violence against women and systemic societal problems.

          At least, that’s been my experience in debating feminist issues. However, judging from your response to Mr. Samuel it seems like you really are just concerned with statistical accuracy, in which case I apologize for my presumption. Just remember this for the future – oppressed groups tend to get a LOT of people who quibble with minutia in statistics when what they actually want to do is discredit the idea that there are horrific systemic rights abuses. So for next time, maybe don’t say someone who cited a (very slightly) overestimating statistic is “massively ignorant” and “It’s hard to have much confidence in her opinions or knowledge when she says something like this”, and say instead that you wonder why she’s not using more accurate data to describe something that is still real and huge and horrific. Otherwise it sounds like you’re saying activists against systemic rape of women are making it all up.

    • Verdant_Samuel

      You may want to do more research about global statistics before getting heated about this. Here’s a start: http://www.un.org/en/globalissues/briefingpapers/endviol/

      • darius404

        Thanks for the info. I didn’t feel I was heated about it, though I guess some people will take it that way. I appreciate the response.

  • Cassandra

    ok, I love the comic, and its generally even handed approach to topics..
    But I have to ask, is she quoting false statistics on purpose, or, are you accidentally spreading false statistics, you didn’t fact check? RAINN lists 1 in 6, and even THAT number has questionable value as it was attained via a survey, with poor practices including, but not limited to (have you had sex after drinking” an affirmative equals sexual assault. 2% number is also WOEFULLY inaccurate, as it assumes a preponderance of guilt. meaning, all accused or non-accused are guilty. even proven innocent parties are “rapists who never serve jail time”. Additionally, it also assumes a unique guilty party for each case, instead of the more accurate, “serial rapist”.

    spreading myths is not helping anyone.

    • Verdant_Samuel

      I’m finding 1 in 5, since she’s referring to global statistics ( http://www.un.org/en/globalissues/briefingpapers/endviol/ ). Maybe be sure what “the truth” is before accusing people of propagating a myth?
      NOTE: this doesn’t include rape as a weapon of war, which is harder to track

      Not even gonna get into it with the “we can’t assume all accused rapists are actually rapists,” since I don’t want to get into a “you realize that’s saying all those women are liars, yeah?” argument this early. Maybe later.

      • Paradoxius

        I thought 1 in 5 was the statistic for American Universities, and was higher than the norm. I mean, it’s a shockingly high number for the US tertiary education system; I would be astounded if the global average was higher than one in 6 or 7.

        Then again, the Doc is human. It’s possible that she’s mistaken or is intentionally erring on the side of overestimation to make a point. If I was her, I wouldn’t be handicapping my own argument by weakining my statistics, even if they were dubiously sourced.

    • debfa

      I would argue the main problem is not the incorrect statistics, but how they’re used in the wild. In this case the doctor’s numbers might be wrong, but the point she’s making – that this is a statistically insignificant occurrence that is getting a disproportionate amount of attention due to the nature of the victims and the assailant – is still accurate.

      By contrast, when people use falsely inflated rape statistics as an excuse to call everyone they perceive as male to be a “potential rapist,” or use definitions of rape to exclude most male rape victims (e.g. rape defined solely as penetration), or just to create an atmosphere of panic for their own gain… that’s when we run into trouble. Personally I wish we could stop fixating on rape and instead focus on abuse as an umbrella term, because a) it will help give a voice to people suffering in ways just as bad (and sometimes worse) than rape survivors, and b) “but was it even rape?” is a minefield used to shut down victims. It will be much harder to rehabilitate that conversation than it would be to set up a new paradigm in a way that structures the discussion around permission and consent,
      instead of the baggage of the past.

    • Random832

      > meaning, all accused or non-accused are guilty.

      Or it merely assumes that in the vast majority of cases where an accusation is made, a crime has occurred. A “false accusation” that consists of pointing at the wrong person doesn’t actually change the numbers here.

  • motorfirebox

    Doc articulated my view of Moonshadow exactly, minus a few statistics (although I’ve never really understood why people get so upset when someone quotes the 1/4 statistic instead of the 1/6β€”it’s a difference of 39 million women alive today in the US experiencing sexual assault versus 26 million; regardless of which statistic you use, the situation is still horrible and needs to be addressed).

    And, interestingly, Moonshadow seems to view herself the same way, to at least some degree. “But put your knife to a good ol’ boy’s throat, and watch due process come roaring back into the conversation, just like that!”

    • dragonus45

      It might have something to do with both of those statistics being great exaggerations.

      • Johan Slov

        The problem is, they are not. πŸ™

        • dragonus45

          The problem is they are.

  • Adam McKinney Souza

    It’s worth noting that the good doctor likely doesn’t know about the true world-changing supers that were somehow quietly disposed of before anyone knew about them. Biodynamic peeps aren’t quite the balancing revelation she thinks they are, and if they could’ve been then they won’t be now.

    • Zac Caslar

      Hmm.
      Or it’s because of global security concerns.
      Weather Control? Heat the planet up, melt the icecaps, drown the coasts, then start a new Ice Age. Goodbye, Life On Earth (bigger then the amoeba).
      Disease Control? (Empathy? Influence?) Create The New AIDS: tough like Anthrax, slow like Herpes, and deadly like Ebola. Takes weeks to manifest and kills in days. Good luck, suckers.
      Super-Bricks like Allison are nothing to discount, but let’s not forget that all those potentially world-saving BD’s are potentially life-eradicating as well. To just assume that the Military-Industrial Complex/Dick Cheney murdered them for market share, while entirely plausible to me, is still to assume that it’s the only answer.

    • Markus

      If she did know that would ask more unnerving questions than it answers.

  • Adam McKinney Souza

    Do we even know if biodynamism is inheritable or not? Or if more kids are being born with powers at all? If this Storm is connected to powers, doesn’t that mean that no more biodynamics will be born EVER?

    • ampg

      Good point – all the biodynamics are about 20 or 21 right now, which means that statistically at least some of them should’ve had kids. So the Storm had some kind of link to the original appearance of biodynamism, but by now they should know whether the gene can be passed down.

      • Bob Roberts

        But the biodynamics’ kids wouldn’t be near puberty yet.

      • Dean

        Is biodynamism even a genetic trait that can be tested for? Maybe biodynamism isn’t a the result of genetics, or exclusively genetics. It might just be a matter of ‘wait and see’.

    • motorfirebox

      Actually, it just occurred to me that Doc specifically mentioned “the biodynamic gene”. Maybe she was just being imprecise, but that doesn’t seem like her.

  • Ryan

    Even if biodynamism is distributed randomly throughout each generation and not passed from parent to child, that still doesn’t guarantee democratization. One could imagine a ruling elite of biodynamics who abduct all biodynamic children and raise them as their own. Power would no longer be hereditary, but it would still be concentrated in a ruling elite.

    The point is, it’s very very hard to completely democratize society and have it “stick”.

    • motorfirebox

      Yeah. Nearly any societal model can work, if the people who comprise that society make it work. No societal model works if the people who comprise it don’t make it work.

      • Mechwarrior

        And the reason that a lot of societal models don’t work is because they operate under the assumption that people will stop behaving like people.

  • Ramsey Hong

    Dang. That was a *mic drop* moment if I’ve ever seen one. Awesome!

  • Anonymous

    It’s more like 1 in 20 women (in the U.S.) have been raped in their lifetimes and 1 in 21 for men. Although it is probably actually more than that because the majority of rapes go unreported, but still nowhere near 1 in 4 or 1 in 6

    • Verdant_Samuel
    • Matt Lopez

      About 1 in 5 women in the U.S. is raped during their life, according to data released Friday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). And another 40% experience another form of sexual violence.
      (as cited by Time)…

      I am not sure where you are getting your information but major/well funded/respected organizations who figure these kind of statistics out disagree with you.

      • Markus

        You mean the same study that refused to include being made to penetrate through coercive means or through physical force as a form of sexual assault perpetrated against men? Keeping in mind that that same study inflated phrased questions so that any surveyee who has had sex at any level of intoxication, regardless of whether they consented before imbibing, during, and after while sober, would be counted as a victim of sexual assault.

        Also, a quick google will give you a Time op-ed on either side of just about any issue: http://time.com/3393442/cdc-rape-numbers/

        • Matt Lopez

          The real question is why do you disagree? I agree with the CDC because I trust their research methods. Where is your information coming from? Why do you disagree?

          • person

            I’m not Markus but his information comes from the CDC study too. I know because I went through it to find out wtf people were talking about regarding sexual assault statistics.

            The gist is that men forced to penetrate women or men were classified under “other sexual assault”. Most people think being forced to have sex against your will is rape. I mean, I do and even women that say “but how can women rape men?” (or those I’ve talked to about it) agree that that would be rape. The researchers behind the CDC study did not consider it to be rape.

            The 12 month rate for rape, when the rape of men is actually classified as such, is nearly identical between men and women. The lifetime rate is off by a factor of 4 (iirc) but… lifetime rates are a poorer measure than 12 month rates because human memory is a total hack. Aside from some evidence that men are less likely than women to classify themselves as victims of sexual assault, it’s also suspicious that the lifetime and 12 month rates of victimization for men are so close in magnitude. It’s possible that nearly all male victims of rape will be victims their entire lives but that’s unlikely. Still, none of this is strong evidence that the lifetime rates of rape for men are women are actually similar. I wish someone would measure that but no one really cares about men’s victimization as much as women’s, even enough to measure it to see who actually suffers most often. (Sorry to be over-the-top cynical here but I feel I should say it anyway.)

            All of this is highly relevant to anyone that cares about rape because no one is asking how often men are raped! And if no one asks that question then people who genuinely care about reducing the incidence of rape are going to miss some portion of the total victims simply because male victims are hidden from view.

            It’s worth noting that the CDC study is a self-reported study of the general population. This means it’s got the usual self-reported-study biases but also that prison rape is only included when someone was in prison in the last <12 months. I don't know how common prison rape actually is though so this might not have much effect on the total.

            So, uh, in summary: Markus isn't disagreeing with the CDC's methods, he's disagreeing with their use of language. I also disagree with the CDC's use of language. Strongly, actually: I only slightly hesitate to call them bigots.

  • Arnaldo Iggi Roman

    Unggggnananana

  • Elaine Lee

    I dunno. I’m pretty much Faith-Free and, even without faith, it’s hard not to tell yourself stories that make sense out of the senseless. Humans are just wired to do that. Now, if someone were to call you on it, you might catch yourself and say, “Oh, yeah. Guess I was trying to make this story have a better outcome!” But all of us create these types of stories all the time.

    • Zac Caslar

      Using my extremely amateurish background in Evolutionary Psychology I see that as thinking that desires a pattern.
      Why did the people sicken and die? Because the water was bad.
      Why was the water bad? Witches. Strangers. Hexes, curses, or an angry god.
      It’s trying to find micro answers for events on a macro scale. The universe didn’t pick you because you’re you, it just threw some dice and bam! Mongol Invasion of your quiet Eastern European village, sucks to be you, re-roll and play again.

      It’s like vaccination. A vaccine is an injection of dead or near-dead viruses. “Inject me with the thing that makes me sick” is pretty damn counter-intuitive.
      But the key is right there in the word “intuition.” Intuition is limited and immediate. Intuition isn’t much use with regard to things that defy conventional perceptions.
      The proof is the in the negative, in the things that aren’t happening -ie millions dead from “The Flu.”

  • KatherineMW

    It’s a good point. Six men have been killed by the Invisible Slasher over the last few days. Statistically, at least that many women were killed by intimate partners in the same amout of time, and the same thing will continue every few days for the near future. Why should one get major media attention and action while the other is largely ignored? Why should Allison, or any other super, have a particular responsibility to deal specifically with the invisible slasher rather than with the deaths of many other people from other causes? Why should the invisible slasher be at the top of the priority list?

    • Damien S.

      What’s more urgent: reducing mass shootings, gun violence in general, or car accident deaths?
      (Numbers per year: a few hundred or less; 12,000; 30,000+)
      Some nut with a gun brings calls for either draconian or ineffective new gun laws; business as usual doesn’t lead to calls for lowering speed limits or increasing mass transit use.

  • all ice

    To everyone getting upset about the statistics used, keep in mind this is a fictional universe.

  • S.I. Rosenbaum

    Never let it be said that this comic doesn’t explore all possible points of view

  • Lostman

    It seems that major philosophy thoughts process so far have need; A) Fatalism B) nihilism or C) cynicism have showed up in the story so far in one form or another, this page right here has all three. Just think about the doctor faces under the masks.

    The world/society don’t reward idealist like Pintsize, it creates more invisible killers. Maybe the plan in killing the kids with world charging powers before they realize them was so when Biodynamics came about all they do is make thing worst as means to cripple humanity for some reason… then again who says you have to use your power to communicate with diseases for good?

  • TigerVi

    While I agree with the panel raising awareness and its overall
    message, false or misinformed statistics don’t really help in the long
    run, just like the invisible slasher. From more recent studies and statistics the rate was placed much closer to 1
    in 8 women will be a victim of sexual assault in their lifetime. It is something most women
    will worry about but never actually have to face. I had to sit my
    anxiety ridden mother down before I went off to college alone and explain this
    to her.

  • TigerVi

    While I agree with the panel raising awareness and its overall message, false or misinformed statistics don’t really help in the long run, just like the invisible slasher. From more recent studies and statistics the rate was placed much closer to 1 in 8 women will be a victim of sexual assault in their lifetime. It is something most women will worry about but never actually have to face. I had to sit my anxiety ridden mother down before I went off to college alone and explain this to her.

  • TigerVi

    While I agree with the panel raising awareness and its overall message, false or misinformed statistics don’t really help in the long run, just like the invisible slasher. From more recent studies and statistics the lifetime rate of sexual assault was placed much lower than 1 in 4 women, by half or more. It is something most women will worry about but never actually have to face. I had to sit my anxiety ridden mother down and explain this to her before I went off to college.

    (Sorry about the double post but the comment section from my phone butchered the last.)

    • Matt Lopez

      Posting this comment without research seems foolish in the supreme.

      Lets site the WHO (World health Organization):http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs239/en/

      Recent global prevalence figures indicate that 35% of women worldwide have experienced either intimate partner violence or non-partner sexual violence in their lifetime.

      On average, 30% of women who have been in a relationship report that they have experienced some form of physical or sexual violence by their partner.

      I’m not sure where you are getting your information but the WHO is a well researched & unbiased organization and they disagree with you.

  • Matt Lopez

    No way! (probably)

  • Jill

    *drops mic*
    This actually is a lot deeper than I thought. Usually, when we think of superheroes, they’re white, male, and if they grew up in a human atmosphere, middle class or above. However, that’s not how the world works if these superheroes are randomly chosen; a weird spider is more likely to bite a non-white/male/heterosexual/middle-to-upper-class person than one that’s all of those traits. And we know that the rape and sexual assault statistics are mind-boggling and disgusting. The only reason people are worried is that their white/male/heterosexual/middle-to-upper-class-ness isn’t going to help them from the slasher. It’s happened all through history: no one cares about all the stupid misfortunes that can befall others as long as having the upper hand prevents you from it. It’s like Ebola; hunger has killed more people than Ebola obviously, but people are just worried because Ebola doesn’t discriminate the wealthy or poor.

  • Shjade

    Between the previously affable doc’s cold approach to this topic and the alt-text of the comic…I couldn’t help thinking she’s quite familiar with violence in her own life as I read this.

    In unpleasant ways. 😐

  • Elena Pereira

    Vigilantism will only give way to eventually killing people who actually didn’t commit crimes. It’s already a huge problem in our justice system when people are given death penalties for misattributed crimes, because in many ways its brokenness IS vigilantism. It’s only concerned with revenge, and if no person appears they will pluck one from wherever to be the scapegoat. It only takes one person lying about a crime to ruin someone’s life, and the legal process is intended to curb that, even if it has failed. I am NOT saying that false accusations are in any way common or usual in rape cases, or that we should assume those who say they’ve been raped are lying. What I am saying is that ALL crimes will have people who level false accusations, from murder to theft to arson.

    Even if vigilantism like this would work, that doesn’t make it right. People can do horrible, evil things and then realize they did horrible, evil things and try to stop them from happening again. Even if someone is callous now, how do you know 5, 10, 50 years down the line they won’t realize what they did is wrong? Millions of people in Nazi Germany condoned the Holocaust and then subsequently realized what horrors they had visited upon people and tried to make sure it didn’t happen again. We shouldn’t let people off the hook for the things they did, but we shouldn’t assume they are utterly irredeemable and can contribute no good to the world.

    • Kid Chaos

      Vigilantes are always a problem…unless they’re Batman.

  • StClair

    Possibly late to the party, but:
    I now wonder if she was, or is, Moonshadow’s doctor also.

  • FactsInFiction

    Both statistics are horribly inaccurate anyway. If there were 1/4 or 1/6 women in America alone who were the victim of Attempted/Completed rape, it would be a rape epidemic. No men would be allowed on college campuses, they would likely be excised from any place they set foot on, with trackers.

    There are roughly 161 million women in America, using the USA Quickfacts (http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/00000.html).

    If 1/4 are being raped/attempted rape, that means 40 million women will be raped in their lifetime.

    If it’s 1/6, it’s 27 million. That’s absolutely ridiculous.

    According to the Department of Justice, we don’t have a rape epidemic. In fact, it’s dropping, and has been dropping for a good long time now.
    (http://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/fvsv9410.pdf)

    This includes sexual assault, not only rape, as well as completed, and attempted.

    Let’s do a simple experiment. How many rapes/sexual assaults a day will it take to reach 40 million?

    Let’s say 500 a day.

    Average lifespan of a human female is 82.2, according to wikipedia.

    365 days a year multiplied by 82.2.

    30,003*500=15,001,500

    That’s not enough sexual assault and rape. We’d need to up it by a significant margin.

    Why not try 800 a day?

    24,002,400 attempted/completed rapes. Not quite, but getting there.

    (By the way, it’s 900 rapes a day for the estimate of 1/6, and 1333 for 1/4.)

    That’s a heckuva lot of rape.

    Let’s see how those numbers match up to numbers in 2008.

    (https://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/2012/tables/12s0314.pdf)

    81,009 rapes in 2008. (Completed and Attempted)

    221 rapes a day.

    Huh.

    Okay, let’s try a different year. But those rapists are going to have to up the ante, if they’re going to meet that rapist quota.

    82,000 in 2007.

    So we can say that rapes aren’t actually reaching these epidemic proportions as they are purported to be, even if they were set up against an 80 year span. As far as characters go, I think that Moonshadow would be much better for tripe like this, not a supposed super-scientist, unless her name is “Doctor Mehmet Cengiz Γ–z”.

    If she wants to go for the nihilistic angle, I feel that a much better way of describing it would be that data points hit everything, could create hate speech or more actions vs biodynamics, there are so many ways of putting it, and with this short-sighted ‘oh good doesn’t exist honey, we’re all just points on an excel sheet’ when some points on that data board could destroy major continents doesn’t work very well.

    It is an infuriating portrayal of someone who should be all for the facts, who is instead picking social memetic myths and touting them as universal truth.

  • MrSing

    That’s some pretty blatant manipulating you’re doing there, doc.

  • N’Z

    I had a dream the other night where Moonshadow was in the room all along, waiting the right moment to kill the doctor.

    It didn’t make any sense but, weeeell, it was a dream.

    I wonder if Moonshadow would be willing to extend her targets to avoid being found or arrested – oh wait : she totally did ten pages ago.

    It has been long since I last dreamt about a webcomic. Funny.

  • So considering the inequality in society, we should logically be supporting the Invisible Slasher. Women are tragically underrepresented in crime. A future in which 3 men every day are murdered by an intimate partner may seem impossible, but I think we could make it there. We just need to take small steps, and glorify the right kind of violence. I think the Invisible Slasher could be the start of something!
    Or was that not the point?

  • Keith

    It depresses me to say it, but I imagine that the same forces that keep wealth and privilege focused where it is would work the same way when biodynamics are added to the milieu. The 1% of biodynamics who enjoyed wealth and privilege would would also enjoy 99% of the support from the legal and cultural system that put them in their privileged position in the first place.

  • Oren Leifer

    It’s interesting to compare SFP to Worm (by Wildbow), because of how often they agree or disagree on major points with really interesting result either way. Worm, which takes place about 30 years after powers started appearing (and has powers directly linked with trauma), actually has had this shift in power. While Worm’s setting has downsides, there are also upsides, like the abolition of anti-LGBT prejudice after one of the three most public heroes comes out as gay, and gender equality when a larger proportion of superhumans are female than male (for the reason’s the doctor cites). So, that could very well be the future ten or fifteen years down the road for SFP’s setting.

    • S.I. Rosenbaum

      ” the abolition of anti-LGBT prejudice after one of the three most public heroes comes out as gay”

      that doesn’t sound very realistic.

      • MrSing

        Should I make the obvious joke?

      • Oren Leifer

        Prejudice fades from a socio-cultural perspective rather than a particularly legal or political standpoint. The hero in question is the most personable of the three most powerful and well-know heroes in the world, and can turn himself into living lasers. Supervillains are still a thing in that setting, and when one of the most visible protectors of civilization says he wants to be able to marry his husband, it’s not good PR to argue that.

  • ChaosVortex

    Not trying to start ish on your comic. I really like it. BUT there’s a simple question to break down the doc’s argument. How do you know that the people who are not convicted(the 98% of the 2% she mentions) are rapists?! This always astounds me when I hear it. How are you getting a percentage for something you don’t know. How do you know these incidents were rape if there’s no conviction, which usually means there was no evidence. So how to you have a statistic for something without evidence? You don’t, you’re(or rather the people who came to that conclusion) guessing. And for it to be coming out of a scientists mouth(since they base what they do off of evidence) is kind of ridiculous.

    • Damien S.

      You seem to be assuming something like only 2% of rape trials end in conviction. Try a reading like “only 2% of crime survey-reported rapes result in conviction”. Many of those won’t be reported to police, those that are may not be prosecuted for legitimate or illegitimate reasons, those that are may not be convicted, likewise. You may not be sure who the rapists are, but if we measure N rapes and 0.02N convicted rapists, then there’s a huge mismatch.

  • ChaosVortex

    What?
    “2% of rapists will never see jail”
    How do you know that the other 98% are rapists?

  • Damien S.

    Well… http://www.vox.com/2014/12/11/7377055/campus-sexual-assault-statistics
    One widely cited “1 in 5” figure is from a study on two campuses, and lumps rape together with unwanted groping.

    • Sterling Ericsson

      Maybe we should be using sexual assault rather than rape then.

  • Very scientist attitude. I approve of the thought process, if not the conclusion.