The People vs. Bruce Wayne

Perp walk or cakewalk for billionaire Wayne?

Your honor, ladies and gentleman of the jury, your patience during this trial has been truly remarkable. I will not tax it any further by a long closing statement, but will instead restrict myself to a simple summary of the facts, for those will be more than enough to prove the case against the defendant.

The papers have long enjoyed detailing the more salacious nocturnal details of the playboy who sits before you. They certainly haven’t slackened their pace during this trial, where an even more amazing hidden life has emerged.  You or I may not be able to understand why a man with so many obvious advantages chooses to spend his early morning hours in the throes of what appears to be a variety of heroic cross-dressing with an animal theme, but let me be clear: his lifestyle choices as a Bat-Man are not what are on trial today.

What is on trial is the singular arrogance of one of the city’s most wealthy men.  To Mr. Wayne’s mind,  the rules, regulations and customs of our social contract simply do not apply to those of substantial means. At every level of local, state and federal government, Mr. Wayne has seen fit to thumb his nose at the rules that govern every other citizen’s life.

You will recall our story and this trial  began when an employee of Gotham Power and Light — in investigating why a collection of buildings as large as Wayne Manor could be consuming so few billable kilowatt hours — was astonished during a routine meter inspection to find what amounted to an unlicensed nuclear reactor in Mr. Wayne’s basement, powering a mixed-used facility totally in violation of all relevant zoning laws. In sworn testimony, GP&L inspectors refuted the premise that this was some sort of Green energy prototype,  pointing out that the reactor was in no way “off the grid” — allowing Mr. Wayne to potentially release unchecked an amount of energy into residential power lines that could literally burn Gotham City to the ground. Counsel’s suggestion that in fact Mr. Wayne required access to the city’s grid for additional power to complete certain “alternate universe” experiments strike many as an ad hoc justification with no credible scientific basis.

The reactor, of course, was not the only thing that was  discovered underneath Wayne Manor.

In the interest of time, I will not review the photographs and videos that were exhibited and entered into evidence earlier in this trial. Nor will I speculate on what sort of cold war mindset must have motivated Mr. Wayne to create over the last few decades what amounts to his own personal Greenbriar Bunker. The cave discovered beneath Wayne Manor is  a modern day King Tut’s tomb, with the exception being the King still walks among us. Or sits directly in the dock to your left. Instead of filling his cave with gold, however, Mr. Wayne chose to create a bizarre, high-tech, end-of-days warehouse, replete with planes, helicopters, boats, rich-boy souvenirs and even a tony English butler to bring him his tea and toast when a busy night of “crime fighting” left him too taxed to open the fridge himself. Too tired, ladies and gentleman? What sort of  crimes was this orphaned son of a society doctor fighting ? Outbreaks of Starlet Fever?  Or were there perhaps other reasons Mr. Wayne couldn’t rise from his seat?

These are excellent questions that Mr. Wayne refuses to answer. Alfred Pennyworth, the putative butler, could probably answer them as he was presumably more lucid than Mr. Wayne during this period. What does the butler know? This court  can’t ask him, of course, because we can’t find him! This is a familiar problem with illegal aliens serving in a domestic capacity for the very wealthy. Rest assured, like his master, Alfred will eventually be brought to justice.

The Gotham Registry of Motor Vehicles spent several days with us, confirming the lack of licensing for any of the vehicles located within Mr. Wayne’s man cave − I’m sorry, your honor, point taken − his Bat Cave − or any sort of regular safety inspection of said vehicles.  Admittedly, the statutes governing what Mr. Wayne describes as the BatBoat and BatWaterSki are open to interpretation, but the concerns surrounding the BatCopter, BatPlane and BatJetpack − all apparently homemade aviation projects involving turbines, jet fuel and a variety of jerry-rigged controls − are currently the subject of an FAA investigation. Yet despite the danger to innocent citizens, Mr. Wayne repeatedly saw fit to fly and occasionally crash these contraptions within city limits without so much as a learner’s permit. Or a clean-up, after the fact. I guess Mr. Wayne was too used to the butler taking care of this sort of detail.

It goes without saying that the storage and launch of these devices next to a home-made fuel dump within the cave is − on its own — a substantial violation of federal law. The EPA has also weighed in on the non-standard storage of aviation fuel, marine-grade diesel and a variety of industrial grade heavy machine lubricants in said subterranean bunker. There is no record of any inspection ever having taken place at this facility.

Considerable discussion was also held during this trial by experts over the advisability of grafting a recycled jet engine on a 1955 Lincoln Futura for the purposes of personal transportation. While we can all admire the technical skill it took to do so, this is not “street legal” − as Mr. Wayne’s counsel posits −  just because there is no regulation prohibiting jet-powered crime cars on Gotham streets.  There is a place for driving such “Franken-cars”, and that is the Gotham Speedway, where ambulances and firetrucks stand by to rescue daredevils and the spoiled rich from their four-wheeled follies. Additionally, the prosecution has entered into evidence a careful review of the 911 dispatch records for the last ten years which reveal a disproportionate number of calls to the Gotham Fire Department to extinguish brush fires on the road leading to the entrance of Mr. Wayne’s estate. The cost of every trip out there was of course borne by the taxpayer.

Counsel maintains that much of the extensive iron and electrical work in the man cave − I’m sorry, your honor, BATcave − is grandfathered in requiring no permits be presented. Suffice it to say that the various Gotham trade unions have a very different take on the matter, and are pursuing additional detail regarding the use of non-union labor with apparently no payroll, health care or workman’s comp benefits recorded by Mr. Wayne. In fact, no record whatsoever of their existence can be found. Perhaps the workman are vacationing with Mr. Pennyworth.

I’m sure everyone in this room has seen the speculation in the tabloids about the trophy room Mr. Wayne maintains. While no one can fault a man of Mr. Wayne’s means for maintaining what amounts to a private museum of curiosities under his home, the EPA has serious concerns about his adherence to existing watershed and wildlife protection acts in the cave. Gotham’s trade unions have also pointed out that the transport of gigantic robotic dinosaurs, car-sized pennies and playing cards scaled to fit highway billboards would likely require a first-class crane operator’s license, which Mr. Wayne also has failed to produce.

The Gotham Department of Youth Services was kind enough to share with us their thoughts around the extralegal adoption of circus orphans, and as you all recall, were not at all happy with Mr. Wayne on several fronts. You have heard from Mr. Wayne’s ward, Dick Grayson, about the constant physical activity he was compelled to undertake on a nightly basis — ludicrously described as “training exercises” by Mr. Wayne — while forced to wear motion-restricting tights in a dank, guano-laden underground  “gymnasium” with inadequate ventilation. This would hardly be an appropriate  place for an incarcerated individual to be held, never mind a young man in the full flower of his youth.

Finally, I think many of us will be forever haunted by Mr. Wayne’s bizarre description of his adoption of Mr. Grayson at this hearing, a version of which I am told he is fond of telling whenever he introduces his ward at social functions and charity fundraisers.  If I may quote from the record:

“… he fell off of his trapeze and into my arms. I have not let go of him since …”

which struck our court-appointed psychologist in expert testimony here as:

“… far too dismissive of the homicide that was the direct antecedent of Mr. Grayson living under Mr. Wayne’s roof and patronage and not without a large creep factor in its own right. I am additionally concerned with the long-term impact of repeatedly referring to Mr. Grayson as the ‘boy wonder’. The constant juvenilizing of Mr. Grayson at the same time he is being repeatedly exposed to dangerous and adult situations cannot fail to impact his normal growth and understanding of what it is to be a man.”

We come now to the subject of the Cray Super computer, currently impounded by the National Security Agency. This will be the subject of its own legal action, but I point out to those who feel Mr. Wayne’s activities were eccentric but essentially a victimless crime,  that Mr. Wayne’s arrogance extended to the ambitious hacking of every level of police agency in this country. His contention that he “did a better job” than traditional law enforcement agencies in sifting through that data to catch “criminal master minds” does not seem to be born out in practice. Does it in fact take gigflops worth of processing to capture a man who thinks he is a penguin, a sad circus clown or an individual who prances around in a body stocking decorated with question marks?  Are you comfortable with him having access to all of your personal information  as a byproduct of this “crime-fighting?” These are not super villains, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, these are emotionally compromised individuals who are nevertheless entitled to the same rights as any citizen. The right to a fair trial, the right to be judged by a jury of their peers and the right to not be stored in close proximity to what amounts to a likely superfund hazard site should not be a judgement call made by one man with unlimited resources.

Officials at Gotham’s Arkham Asylum have also pointed out − thanks to a Freedom of Information Act request − that the rate of recidivism of those individuals successfully imprisoned as a result of Mr. Wayne’s vigilantilism is shockingly high. In fact, it amounts to something of a revolving door. It is hard to prosecute based on the methodology of his citizen’s arrest.  The courts have been quite clear on whether Miranda rights are “optional” as the defendant puts it; they are  not something to be thrown out the window just because you or your target or both are wearing what amounts to feety pajamas.

The preponderance of evidence against Mr. Wayne is extensive, crossing multiple jurisdictions; his actions are consistently dangerous, potentially impacting many, many lives. If he were a poor man — roaring through the night in a halloween costume in his uninsured, unregistered vehicle, forcing a minor to perform circus tricks in a darkened cellar where he kept all manner of home-made go-karts and explosive devices, providing energy to his home with illegal and dangerous wiring — rather than a well-heeled, prominent society toff,  we would not be hesitating one moment to get him the help he deserves. Do not hesitate to use the same standards of judgement, justice and compassion against one who was so fortunately gifted. If we allow him to walk out that door into the dark night,  we will be encouraging a world where anyone can don a mask, slip on an opera cape and swing from our highest buildings in an outfit more befitting a fashion runway than an officer of the law, dispensing justice as they see fit. Do you really want to live in a society like that?

The prosecution rests, your honor.

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2 Responses to The People vs. Bruce Wayne

  1. Bruce Wayne can’t just choose to have a nuclear reactor in his basement. Of course I would like to build a nuclear reactor in my basement to save on my energy bills, but we live in a society and I can’t choose that risk for other people. Plus, I already tried building one and it didn’t work.

    • It turns out, not all Uranium is created equal (I know, go figure, right?). It makes a big difference which one you use for home improvement projects. According to Niehls Jr., one of the many helpful former Nuclear Engineers who work at my local Home Depot, many homeowners make the classic mistake of confusing the fission and fusion aisles. The choice of Uranium 235 over 238 can have a big impact on home heating efficiency and performance, as does the concentration (hi-test, at 85% is best). Although I thought this was just marketing hype, this would explain your results. Sadly the choice is not cost-neutral; Wealth has its prerogatives, as Mr. Wayne would likely point out.

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