It is really hard to find any “heroes” on The Gifted. In this fictional world, the United States has enacted harsh anti-mutant laws after a mass fatality incident known as “7-15.” The event was a mutant rights protest that devolved into a riot with thousands killed in Dallas on July 15, 2013. Flash forward to present day where the X-Men are in hiding and the following events are transpiring:
The United States hunts and imprisons mutants based more on their DNA than on their actual crimes with an agency known as Sentinel Services;
The Inner Circle is executing a violent conspiracy to overthrow of the US Government to establish a Mutant Homeland;
A hate group known as the Purifiers call themselves patriots, while marching yelling “You will not replace us,” and engaging in domestic terrorism and armed attacks against mutants; and
The Mutant Underground has gone from a group trying to keep mutants safe to kidnapping and torturing people in order to stop the Inner Circle.
There are no heroes, just those who are committing the least Constitutional violations, crimes, or torts.
The United States Government
Any agency with the initials “SS” will never be on the right side of history. Arresting people for their race and not because of any actual crimes, is a big jump into tyranny. The theme since the first episode is that Mutants were called dangerous and immediately lost their rights. Laws in this world are designed to protect humans from Mutants, automatically removing any sense of humanity from those being persecuted.
Mutants arrested wear collars that inflict pain if the mutant attempts to use their powers. There is a good question on how to imprison someone who has super-human abilities, but pain compliance easily invokes issues of torture.
The exact legal arguments are not clearly stated, but there is the undercurrent that Mutants are not human. If that position was taken beyond racism to enacting laws, the Government could argue that Mutants are not “persons” under the 14th Amendment, thus have no legal rights. Provided that human beings and Mutants can have children together, claiming they are two separate species runs into big scientific challenges.
The Government’s treatment of Mutants on its face is race-based discrimination because of the Mutants’ DNA, not because of any actions they have committed. These sorts of laws should not survive strict scrutiny. Moreover, imprisoning Mutants based on race would be a gross violation of the 14th and 5th Amendment Rights to not deprive any of their life without due process of law; a violation of the 4th Amendment warrant requirement for probable cause; a violation of the 6th Amendment right to a trial in any criminal prosecution; and the use of shock collars a violation of the 8th Amendment right against cruel and unusual punishment.
The Inner Circle
The Inner Circle’s superpower is proving every negative thing said about them by their enemies right.
Magneto’s influence is heavily seen in the Inner Circle. The Inner Circle had an impressive body count that took a very public increase when one teenage mutant went rogue and killed 37 people. By turning the victims inside out. The Inner Circle was playing a PR game with a forced video confession to expose a discriminatory bank. Unfortunately, that message was totally lost when an angry child soldier put human beings through a blender.
Mass murder aside, the Inner Circle is planning to overthrow the US Government. Every member of that group could be charged with Treason 18 USCS § 2381; Domestic Terrorism 18 USCS § 2331(5); Murder 18 USCS § 1111; Rebellion or Insurrection 18 USCS § 2383; and Enlistment to Serve Against the United States 18 USCS § 2390.
These are not the good guys.
These guys are REALY not the good guys. The Purifiers are a heartbeat away from chanting with Tiki Torches and wearing white hoods. Ironically, the Purifiers and Inner Circle are committing murder in the name of self-preservation. The Purifiers are racists who attack others, deploy Klan-style tactics to instill fear, and engage in open hostilities against US Citizens because they do not think law enforcement is protecting the human race. The FBI should be hunting these guys down, because they are the monsters of the story.
The Mutant Underground
These are supposed to be the good guys, who have turned from helping people escape oppression to kidnapping and torture. These actions are the definition of “means justify the ends” in order to stop both the Purifiers and Inner Circle.
The Mutant Underground kidnapped a security expert with physical force, teleportation, and then a getaway car. Prosecuting them for these crimes would test the issue of how teleportation would apply to the definition of kidnapping. The Federal law is broad and includes seizes, confines, inveigles, decoys, abducts, or carries away in the definition. Forcing someone through a teleportation portal would meet the definition of kidnapping as a form of carrying someone away or abduction. See, 18 U.S.C.S. § 1201(a). Physically restraining the detainee and threatening him for compliance would be torture.
With all of these bad acts, who should the audience cheer for? Who isn’t a “bad guy” in this series?
The lesson from The Gifted is how cruelty and discrimination is fundamentally wrong. Those who are persecuted naturally want to protect themselves from those who will do them harm. This raises the immediate issue of two wrongs do not make a right. Moreover, might does not make right. What this fictional world needs is Professor X, because where everyone is going is down a dark path.