Monday, July 23, 2012

Question for the Week of July 23 - July 29: Bruce "KickBoxer" Wayne?

How does a martial arts expert/civic-minded billionaire with a grudge decide he can't do better than fighting crime in person?
I've had some soft-ball Questions before. Sometimes brief responses are best, or I write something simple that occurred to me. However, click on the Question tag and look through my entries; no sign of laziness there, huh?

With this batsuit, I can - Wait, should I just invest in infrastructure?
I guess I'm trying to tell you that I've got a brief Question for the Week this time, but since The Dark Knight Rises came out last Friday, at least it's something topical.

In Christopher Nolan's Batman series, Christian Bale depicts a smart, savvy, brave, principled, and physically strong young billionaire. This one happens to be focused on (literally) stomping out violent crime in his city. So, for this week, I have to ask: based on the "real-life feel" established by Nolan for BB and TDK, does it make sense that a socially-inclined billionaire couldn't do better than fighting criminals in person?

It's not a petty question to ask. If I were that wealthy, I could buy businesses that pay protection money, then close them until the crime gangs were dealt with by cops. I could convince (or f' it, just bribe) politicians into putting resources towards the police force and criminal investigations. I could pay off judges, super-fund the police personally... Hell, I could hire a private army to execute/arrest every damn thug in a major metropolis.

Of course, that's not very "Batman," is it? I mean, the dude doesn't use corruption like that, and unless you're Tim Burton, you can't imagine Bruce Wayne as a straight-up intentional murderer. How about figuring out a way to add a ridiculous number of security cameras - or even a private army and paying them to do non-lethal recon - and record all the crime and get it to authorities?

I don't wanna get all lawyer-ey on you now, but I know this stuff, so simply put: you have no 4th Amendment right against some other person, it only works against The State. So long as the government isn't behind it, someone can videotape criminal acts and send that to police who can then use it. Why isn't Bruce Wayne a crime-fighter who's the greatest video voyeur of all time?

Are you telling me Steve Jobs couldn't kill organized crime in one city? 
The real problem is if you can start to imagine the resources that you have available when you're a billionaire. That's some heavy ----. You can use or influence or contact basically anyone on earth, and you can work through people who know people who know people who know people that you're maybe connected to. You should be able to make any of the above ideas happen without leaving any real trace to yourself.

Nolan is smart, and it's true that this weird little question runs throughout the whole Batman character. I love the idea, but I'll be damned if an everyday, real, bare-fisted hyper-wealthy crusader doesn't start to seem almost comically simple.


  1. It's funny that Alfred pretty much posits the same question--a little late, given that it might have been a nice topic of discussion when Bruce first became a masked vigilante--in the movie.

    Then again, I think the caption to your first pic (second pic's busted, BTW) gives a decent argument against, because Bruce's father tried to fight crime by investing in infrastructure (literally--he built a monorail and centralized the city's utilities), which didn't work out so well for him and Bruce's mom.

    1. Yeah, I sacrificed reality for a good joke. Should a gone with public ed..

      I don't even have to say that Bruce must fight crime peacefully or by proxy. I guess only that he could also do that, and not just by punching people in person. Batman's like a rogue Paul Revere.


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