Bad guys mostly are boring. Predictable. Sit in a courtroom for a few days, and see if you don't agree.
Something terrible was done to them, so they pass it along. They are corroded by bitterness, inspired to violence. Life deals them a bad hand, and they lose the game.
Goodness is a lot more complicated. Mysterious, really.
Take Jimmy Clark, age 17. He could have been bitter or sad. He could have retreated to a world of video games or chat rooms. He could have done many things with his young life - including sitting it out.
Nature provided an excuse.
Mary, his mom, says she noticed that at 9 months, Jimmy couldn't hold on to his bottle. He wasn't sitting up. Cerebral palsy, doctors told Mary and her husband, Don.
"It was a very black day," Mary says.
Probably not the last one, but you won't hear much about that from Jimmy. A junior at Newport High School, an Eagle Scout. A kid who at age 12 started a Christmas toy drive for disadvantaged children. A young man who gets out of his wheelchair every chance he has.
"Jimmy has drive. Things might take him longer, but he never gives up. I feel sorry for kids who take it for granted," Mary says.
"It" being walking, running, casually directing your arms and hands to do your bidding, speaking without effort, winning a very big prize.
Only about 2 percent of all the millions of Boy Scouts become Eagles. "At first, I didn't think I could make it," Jimmy says. He gives a lot of credit to the other scouts in Troop 751 of Southgate, Ky. And to his family.
Jimmy - he thinks maybe he'll start encouraging people to call him "Jim" in deference to his advanced age - says I'd probably get a better picture of his life if I watched his video.
"It's only 22 minutes," his mom said. "Jimmy did it all, picked out the pictures and music. A lot of it is our family. Hope you won't be bored."
The snapshots flash on screen, some with captions. "Learning to paint." A little boy with his father, big hand over small one. Elton John's voice: "It's the circle of life. It's the wheel of fortune."
Another photo. Somebody leaning casually on the back of Jimmy's wheelchair. A lake in the foreground. They're fishing to Louis Armstrong's incomparable mix of gravel and honey - "I think to myself, what a wonderful world."
So, why is it that this boy thinks to himself, "what a wonderful world''? His mom had promised that "a lot of it is our family," which is probably one answer. Along with some special teachers and friends. He's very independent, but sometimes somebody had to help hoist the chair up where wheelchairs aren't usually found. Rough campgrounds, riverbanks.
One photo shows Jim rappelling, flying down the rock face like the Eagle Scout he is as Garth Brooks sings, "Choose to chance the rapids, dare to dance the tide."
E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 768-9393.
TOP LOCAL HEADLINES
Limited staffing impeding city fire inspections
N.Ky. officials: Beverly Hills lessons not forgotten
Seven stars over Cleves: Boyhood buddies in military
Schools prepare for disasters
Across Ohio, schools prepare for the worst
Potholes waiting to eat your car
PULFER: What makes Jim fly?
BRONSON: Bush won't flinch
SMITH-AMOS: Over-the-Rhine needs more than face lift
AROUND THE TRISTATE
High-60s weather just a memory today
Tristate A.M. Report
Obituary: Richard Zoellner was Muralist of New Deal
Obituary: William Dolle Jr. led machine firm
Good News: School's adults keep bargain
Slaying happens in front of crowd
Woman says she wasn't abducted
Food service seeks ballpark workers
Bicentennial Moments: Anna's shaky past makes it quake capital
Bicentennial Notebook: Physician's contributions honored
Ohio eligible for $17.5 million to ready for terror
Laid-off engineer wins $7.8M in age-bias case
Ambulance heart monitors stolen
Taft announces process for filling high court seat
Canceled races cost Turfway $3 million
Big crowd expected for zoning hearing
Budget compromise includes eliminating runoff election
Jesus with tattoo? Artist explores his many facets
Teacher fired for criticism of blacks
Indiana crash kills woman