In today's society, one does not need to wear a cape or be able to fly to be a hero. Someone does not need to wear black and have an evil laugh to be a villain either. Today, an ordinary, everyday person can be transformed into a hero or villain almost instantly.
A catalyst is definitely needed to perform this transformation. An event usually has to pull out the heroic traits of a person. For instance a person who witnesses a car accident and this person runs to the scene of the burning car and pulls the occupant(s) out risking his own life in doing so. If this accident had not had happened, this person would never have been considered a hero of any sort.
Another example of this is Stuart Diver. He was buried in a landslide in 1997. After 3 days and against all odds, Stuart was pulled alive from the ruble.
The media labeled him as a hero. One day Stuart was skiing in Threadbo, the next he was fighting for his like under his house and the next he was a household name and a hero.
To become a villain there is a different 'procedure'. A person must perform an evil act to be considered a villain. Suicide bombers are instantly classified as villains the second they detonate their bomb. 2 minutes before the detonation, the bomber was an ordinary person who looked like he was minding his own business, no one could have suspected he was a soon-to-be villain.
But people must remember that these are martyrs for their cause. They feel they are doing the right thing by killing people and their people idolize and label them as heroes. Another example of this is 'chopper' Reed. He went around the streets killing many...