When Bad Guys Do Good Things
I have said it in many of my essays and conversations: there are bad people in the world. There are people who perform unspeakable acts, and there are people who think unthinkably horrible things. We see it every day, thanks partly to the advancement of cellphone cameras and partly to a huge media monster who feeds us regular fatty portions of misery and mayhem.
I get annoyed with so much bad news, spread thickly over every avenue of social media; it’s in every newspaper, every program on television and YouTube is inundated with thousands of “OH MY GAWD LOOK WHAT WE CAUGHT ON CAMERA” videos.
This won’t ever end. You know it, and I know it. The main reason is that there will always be bad people in the world doing bad things to other people, and eventually the whole world will hear about it in some form or fashion.
So, I get it. Bad shit happens, and it gets caught on camera, and it goes viral.
I wish more of the good stuff would go viral. I wish that there was more exposure for the people who do good deeds just because it’s the right thing to do. That brings me to the whole point of my keyboard extravaganza tonight. I’ve met some bad guys that are out of this world, and while they are well known in some circles, I wish they were well known in every circle out there – these are the bad guys that do good things.
Until recently, I did not know there were that many “bad guys” in the world. With a little investigating, I discovered some shocking figures that may have grown even since the writing of this article…there are over 7900 bad guys in at least 47 countries, and I am confident the numbers will continue to grow.
When I say “bad guys” I’m really talking about 7900 men and women who suit up in some of the most amazing and realistic Star Wars costumes out there. I’m talking about the 501st Legion, the world’s definitive Imperial costuming organization, and I’ve had the tremendous fortune to volunteer several times with the Blue Sun Squad, the local group of Midsouth Garrison members. You can check them out HERE.
I can’t explain the breakdown of garrisons and squads, because I’m new to all of this and I don’t want to screw up my explanation. It’d be best if you just check out the links in this article, because not only does it explain the breakdown, it also explains the origins of the 501st as well as giving a comprehensive explanation of “the bad guys who do good.”
Here’s my story:
A couple of years ago, I became friends with a friend-of-a-friend. Brian was friends with one of my high school friends, and I just happened to see him comment on something on her Facebook wall one day. His profile picture was him dressed as a medieval knight and I thought, “Damn, that is really cool!” and, because I tend to be impulsive, I sent a friend request.
Little did I know that this friendship would turn out to be so amazing because, through Brian, I learned more about cosplay and then about the 501st and now here YOU sit, reading this because I want to convey to you what this whole other idea of giving is all about.
Brian and his wife Carol invited me to attend a convention a few months back, because I wanted to volunteer and work as handler for anyone in the group who might need me.
I went, but I still wasn’t really clear on exactly what it was that the 501st actually did, aside from cosplay. It took a few more conventions for me to understand that this wasn’t just a cosplay group.
The 501st combines doing something they absolutely love with volunteer/charity work. That’s the simplest way I can describe it. They dress up as accurate representations of characters from the Star Wars films and they automatically get attention, which then funnels directly into awareness for the charitable event they represent.
I also need to include another elite group of folks at this point, because they are just as stellar as the 501st and in fact, partner up with the Blue Sun Squad on a regular basis. They’re known as the Blue Moon Clan, a group of Madalorian Mercs, and their cosplay is every bit as intricate and amazing. You can learn more about them HERE.
Both of these groups are often found together at events and conventions. They march in parades, make trips to hospitals, and participate in other fundraisers where the purpose is helping the less fortunate. If this sounds like one big happy family, it might be because that’s exactly what it is.
I’ve met just over a dozen of these folks so far. Together they are a cohesive unit, working together for a greater good. Individually, they are genuinely amazing souls with sharp wit and an undeniable sense of humor.
The fact that these particular cosplay groups do it for the love of Star Wars and for the love of helping others makes me incredibly proud to volunteer with them. People see this group and they take notice. They ask questions. And sometimes those same people give money to some of the most worthy causes on the planet (click HERE for examples) all because they are impressed with the group and delighted with the costumes.
August 7th, 8th, and 9th was FandomFest in Louisville, Kentucky. The Blue Sun Squad and the Madalorian Mercs were there, resplendently represented.
I was there to help with suiting up, taking photos, and staying with the booth while the cosplayers wandered the floor. It seemed every two minutes, someone was stopping them for photos, and why not? I fangirl just a little bit every time I see everyone in character!
I don’t cosplay…at least, I don’t cosplay yet. I probably will, eventually, because it’s entirely TOO MUCH FUN to pass up. For now, I’m extremely happy to be a part of this group and to help in any way I can.
I hope word gets out even further than it already is about this particular avenue of cosplay. I hope you’ll share the link to this article – or any of the direct links – across your social media and spread the love. That’s literally what it’s about. If you love Star Wars, or if you love cosplay…or if you love helping others and being involved in a tangible source of giving, you might want to investigate a little further and get involved with your local chapter of the 501st or with the Madalorian Mercs.
These are, without a doubt, the kind of bad guys I could get used to seeing go viral all the time.
They make being bad look incredibly…
…wait for it…