About this iReport
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    Posted March 21, 2014 by
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Ever want to be Batman?

    A role model where there were none.


    CNN PRODUCER NOTE     JPHawkins told me, Once in my adult life I was apart of a Sam Goody shoplifting attempt in Las Vegas. It was a scene just like the movies in which someone was trying to steal something and the store manager yelled "stop" and the perp ran away and I realized no one else could possibly stop this person from getting away and being as fast as I was ran him down and made him stop while security made it to the scene. That was one of my few Batman-like moments.'
    - hhanks, CNN iReport producer

    My name is Joshua Paul Hawkins and I could tell you about all my Batman comic books and about how I can answer any question you have about Batman and his history or anything else on the subject or even my massive action figure collection or about how I saw all 3 of the recent Batman films at midnight but what I really want to share with you is something probably very different than you going to get from fishing for these stories.

    What I want to do is give you a real view on what Batman means to me. Being a Batman fan and having his presence in my life through comics and the films and the animated series the character gave me perspective on what's right and wrong and how to channel feelings of regret, loss, guilt, and anger into becoming the best me I could be with the set of circumstances I was given as a child.

    I grew up in a very broken home. I would contend that if Batman had never been a part of my life I may have turned out a very different person. In all of the chaos that reigned within my household there was one constant for me. Whenever I felt unhappy or just wanted to feel better about things I would put on the 1989 Batman film. It was once taped for me but my mother accidentally taped over the entire film but the opening segment with Days Of Our Lives.

    There was a lot of anger and sadness in my household especially when I was 8 years old when my parents finally decided to divorce. Being a child that young and watching your parents split up is a very harrowing experience. And in my head the only way I could make any sense of it was likening it to being like Bruce Wayne when he lost his parents to something senseless and try to find something good to bring out of it. A lot of the time my parents thought I was incredibly angry but I was just serious about trying to contend with the various feelings I was forced to deal with every day after that was happening in my life even though they never really understood that sense of mission I had within me much like those around Bruce Wayne don't understand his mission as Batman. Coming home from school everyday and watching Batman: The Animated Series was a pure joy with me after every episode feeling inspired to keep going on the path I was going even if those around me didn't understand my way of doing things.

    At school I was always quiet but intelligent and got good grades and because of this I was often bullied by other kids even though for a kid my size I wasn't necessarily someone you would want to mess with especially having taken martial arts. Much like Batman I held a high regard for peace within chaos and would never abuse the power I had as a means to and end. I never hurt anyone else though often refusing to fight if it ever came to it simply because I figured violence would beget more violence and in the era of Columbine I didn't want to become something so lost that I would take extreme measures to rid myself of such unfortunate realities that I had to live through. I always felt that there was no justice within fighting people that I could probably easily dispatch. And that was the key. Whether or not there was Justice. Something that made sense within all the madness I would go through.

    I feel had Batman not given me the compass of Justice I may have been nothing more than a punk kid who bullied kids for how they looked or what they did or for whatever I fancied at the time. I probably would have stolen from grocery stores and from my friends because all of the kids I knew did and some that I hung out with weren't the greatest of influences but I knew better than to walk down that path. I would have fought and probably hurt a lot of kids just for the sake of fighting and being superior much like a lot of kids out there today do. I wouldn't have gotten such good grades because I wouldn't have cared about school. And I may have even fallen into that dark place of feeling so angry and taking an unsavory means of trying to end what plagued me.

    Batman really touched me. He inspired me. He helped me. And to this day I have again a sense of justice and decency that I feel a lot of the people in my generation lack simply because we see things differently.

    And as a hero no matter how insane he may sound in the real world the core qualities of the character are what I wish more people had within themselves. It just might create a better world.
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