When we were little kids we were taught to identify the villain in our favorite cartoon or TV shows. All the bad guys wore black masks, were unshaven, and often wore black knit caps. Consider the bad guys that Ralphie shoots with his BB gun in “A Christmas Story.” As we matured and were educated by Hollywood action-hero and thriller movies, we knew the villain was on screen because of the ominous, menacing music that began to play when they appeared.
Unfortunately, most good citizens carry over the Hollywood or television versions of what they perceive to be a threat or a bad guy. Numerous target makers sell “bad guy” paper targets with realistic pictures of a masked robber or terrorist. For decades we’ve ingrained these images into our subconscious. We train ourselves to look for that menacing character skulking around in the shadows with a ski-mask and switchblade knife.
Unless you live in a particularly terrible neighborhood or are a police officer by trade, you don’t likely encounter villains and vermin on a daily basis. Any veteran law enforcement officer will tell you that most of the bad guys they arrest don’t look at all like the typical Hollywood stereo-type.