Monday, December 10, 2012

Why Batman is Stupid (by someone who loves Batman)


After Bruce Wayne's parents were gunned down in front of him in Crime Alley he becomes The Batman and wages a one man war against crime (presumably regretting not taking Ice Cream Alley instead). This is a worse long term strategy than hoping your new pet bear "just warms up to you". In every integral  part of Batman's plan, there is a gaping flaw in logic. First...

The Numbers Don't Add Up

Bruce Wayne traveled the world training his body and mind to perfection for his mission. He uses the deductive reasoning of Sherlock Holmes combined with the marital arts skill of...Sherlock Holmes since 2009. Yet I'm reasonably sure he stopped doing math around the time teachers told him their were letters in it. It's really basic you see, THERE IS ONE OF HIM AND THOUSANDS OF THEM. Using the animated series episode "Harlequinade" as evidence, Gotham has a population of ten million people. This makes it more populated than any American City and over one hundred countries. Bruce Wayne is "pretty sure" he can handle that.

Gotham has a comparable population to New York so let's assume it has comparable crime data too. According to the Division of Criminal Justice Services,  in New York City (2011) there were nine thousand and twenty one violent crimes. That's roughly twenty five violent crimes per day, not counting what Batman's rouges gallery usually cooks up for him. You might think that it sounds like a lot, but surely Batman can do it! He's Batman right!? Which brings me too...

He's Not Batman All the Time

Lets now look at something that sounds a lot more obvious than it is. Bruce Wayne isn't Batman twenty four hours per day. He's CEO of Wayne industries and despite whatever stigmas come with the word CEO nowadays (A lazy version of The Monopoly guy is most common in my approximation) that would actually be a lot of work. In the current, awesome Scott Snyder run on the book Bruce Wayne is using his fortune on an initiative to change Gotham for the better. He's redesigning buildings, making long term plans and all the other stuff he didn't seem terribly interested in in the Christopher Nolan movies.

Let's say Wayne puts in an honest 9:00am - 5:00pm every day. This means that he is (at best) out as Batman for twelve hours per day. This gives him four hours to sleep, so he can do all that rebuilding the next morning and recover from his twelve hour Batman session. The big draw of Batman's character is that he doesn't have any powers, namely a healing factor. The human body, no matter how well trained, couldn't heal from the punishment Bruce puts on it with any less sleep than that (and even that's pushing it). So those twenty five crimes per day become twenty five crimes per twelve hours. This will get even more ridiculous when Batman looks into the drug trade or human trafficking but it doesn't really matter because...

He Doesn't Actually Stop Crime

So, lets say Bruce understands all of this and goes through with it anyway. Hopefully nobody at the company he runs needs him for anything after five o'clock but his company be damned, he has to try! He has overlooked the seemingly important fact that he is incapable of actually deterring anything. It's psychologically proven that the severity of a proposed punishment doesn't matter in terms of behavior modification. Put more simply; Batman giving a crook a beat down registers the same as the threat of being caught by the police in that crooks mind, when he considers if he should commit the crime or not.

Furthermore, people don't rob a bank, kill a man or burn a house down because they don't know that they could be hurt.  Think about it, have you ever heard of a criminal saying something like: "Ya, I got this great job we can pull. It's a three man job and we're all qualified to do it know, someone could stop us and put us in prison. Never mind guys, that's stupid". The threat of Batman showing up is no more of a crime deterrent than a regular cop. Not to mention if Batman beats you up and leaves you tied to something, you can't actually get arrested. What will they book you for, is it illegal to get tied up by an animal fetishist in your state? A decent lawyer could write Batman off as a raving lunatic who assaulted his client. It's not like Batman could defend himself in court! Batman could never have a practical relationship with the law...wait...

The Batman/Gordon Dynamic Makes No Sense

Batman and Commissioner Gordon have a more one sided relationship than Micheal Moore and a nearby birthday cake. Batman can't arrest people, any criminals he apprehends will always walk because the police have no legal right to detain them and The Joker commits countless crimes in Batman's name. What does Jim Gordon get out of allying himself with a masked vigilante? Batman gets police resources and a free clean up crew but Gordon gets nothing but an eventually paralyzed (then miraculously cured for some reason) daughter. Wow, it's starting to feel like...

The Whole Damn Plan Doesn't Make Sense 

Step 1: Train body and mind to their respective peaks. Step 2: Create a symbol the criminal element will know and fear in Gotham. Step 3: Um...all crime will stop or something. Seriously, what is Batman's goal!? Does he simply hope he'll break enough criminal noses that they'll all stop being criminals out of the need to continue smelling. Criminals already know they might get hurt when they commit a crime, they don't need Batman for that. Is Batman instead more intent on showing the good people it's okay to stand up for themselves? Obviously not since he avoids being seen at all costs and hides in the shadows. What kind of message would that be anyway? "Stand up for your city, provided you have a limitless supply of money and super cool ninja training".

You know who has a better plan? The constantly unappreciated Jim Gordon. He came to Gotham at the same time as Batman and managed to clean up the police force from the inside out. It seems the only reasons Bruce doesn't just help Gordon from within the system are: no cool toys, you have to do paperwork every time you hurt someone and getting told what to do. Bruce is just wasting his time and resources out there and frankly, I'm shocked by the worlds greatest detective's stunning lack of foresight.

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