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There is an idea being fostered lately on television shows that it takes super powers to be a hero.

It doesn’t take super powers.

It takes only one power. That one power is a power each of us was born with.

That power is the power to stand up.

That is the only power that is needed.

One day while out posting flyers for my programs I saw a couple of men grab an older man on the other side of the road. They jostled him. Then they moved on.

The older man was very disturbed. His disturbance disturbed people passing by. A police car stopped. The two officers got out. They roughly put the older man in the back of their car. He was in trouble. They thought he was out of control.

I shouted,”Can I speak with you?”

One officer said, “Mind your own business.”

I replied, “I am minding my own business. I saw what happened.”

“You saw what happened?”


After I had spoken to them the two officers said, “Thank you.”

They then got the older man out of the back of their car. They took him into a coffee shop.

I could have done what everyone else did. I could have walked on by.

But that’s not me.

I don’t walk by.

One day a fellow came up to me on the street. “Thank you,” he said. “What did I do for you?” I asked. He said, “You saved my life.”

I have no recollection of it.

“Reg, you are the only person in Toronto who stands up,” said Ed Keenan of The Toronto Star when he came by here to interview me:   .

Ed Keenan is one of the best journalists on the planet. Praise from him is a badge to be worn with pride.

The first thing we discover when we stand up is that most people do not listen. For this reason Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Worse than the words of our enemies is the silence of our friends.” Albert Einstein said, “Those who see evil and do nothing empower evil.” Such are the true evil people.

For years I have watched myself and others being vilified and slandered with street posters designed to bring violence down upon us. I filmed videos of this. I took pictures. I alerted city officials. THE GLOBE AND MAIL, the country’s paper of record did a story which it has kept alive:  .

People describe this as a feud over street poster space between myself and this person.

It’s not. It is one man doing harm to many with one witness standing up.

I enjoy those TV super hero shows. Not only are they well done they are doing well with the choice of themes and with the ideas they are fostering.

You don’t need a cape, tights and super powers to be a hero, though.

You just need to standup.

When we see something wrong being done or a person being harmed or in danger of being harmed a part of us dies when we do nothing.

When we stand up we become stronger. We become stronger each time we do it. In time we become super strong defenders of truth and justice. Right now, according to Ed, I’m the only one.

I’m not, of course.

There are a few more. We need more. Join the legion of those who stand up instead of passing by.

When you stand up you are very likely to find yourself standing alone. You will find that people won’t listen. They will laugh. They will look for ways to ignore you. Let them. One person standing up for what is right is the majority.

In THE BHAGAVAD  GITA two forces are at war. The destructive powers are told by Krishna, “You can have me or my armies. If you take me I won’t fight for you.”

The destructive forces say,”What good are you then? I will take your armies.”

Yudhisthira, leader of the creative forces, says, “If I have you I don’t need your armies. I don’t need you to fight for me. I can fight for myself.”

So to can I and you.–Reg Hartt 1/29/2018.

Jane Jacobs is most famous for her book THE DEATH AND LIFE OF GREAT AMERICAN CITIES. Her last book, DARK AGE AHEAD, is must reading. She was my friend from her arrival in Toronto in 1968. Her children say to me when we meet, “Our mother loved you.” I love her.

The atheist gets what those who call themselves believers are blind to.

The atheist gets what those who call themselves believers are blind to.

Cities need old buildings so badly it is probably impossible for vigorous streets and districts to grow without them…. for really new ideas of any kind–no matter how ultimately profitable or otherwise successful some of them might prove to be–there is no leeway for such chancy trial, error and experimentation in the high-overhead economy of new construction. Old ideas can sometimes use new buildings. New ideas must use old buildings.
–Jane Jacobs. THE CINEFORUM is located in Reg Hartt’s home. THE LONELY PLANET places it among the top places to see in Ontario. It is an old building.


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