Batman is dead. Yes, you read that right. Bruce Wayne, a.k.a. the Caped Crusader, is no more. Last week, DC Comics decided to kill off its franchise player.
It wasn't the first time that comic book publishers have decided to 86 a major character. Marvel Comics killed off Captain America a few years back, and DC nixed both Robin II and Superman during the late '80s and early '90s.
Of course, nobody in comics stays dead for long. Jason Todd, a.k.a. Robin II, is alive once more. The Man of Steel has long since returned from the grave. As for Captain America, he's still dead, but he's been replaced by his former sidekick, Bucky, who originally died in 1968. But Batman, yeah, he won't be coming back. Never ever ever. Honest.
And you know what, that explains a lot. Like last week's trouble along King Street.
On Black Friday, store owners made their way down to lower King to open their shops only to find out they couldn't open their doors. Why? Somebody had squeezed glue into the keyholes. In all, 70 stores were vandalized, and locksmiths were called in. Store openings were delayed.
Ten years ago, this might have been funny, back when the economy was still riding the dot-com bubble and anarchists were taking to the streets to protest rampant commercialism. But now's not the time for Project Mayhem.
The first rule of Project Mayhem is, you do not launch an attack on the fundamentals of capitalism during a recession. The second rule of Project Mayhem is, you do not target mom-and-pop businesses. There's a word for ass apes who break these rules, one that comes straight from the mouth of Tyler Durden; you guys are "tourists," fakers in the ad-busting revolution.
If Batman was still around, you'd all be sitting in Commissioner Gordon's office getting a lesson in bad cop, worse cop. At the very least, you'd be eyeing a future career in community service, with a focus on scraping the gum off of utility poles at the Market. But you're not. And that's because the Caped Crusader is not around.
Instead, what we've got is the Charleston Police Department. And while they're a capable lot worthy of our respect and praise, right now it seems like Chief Greg Mullen has more important things for them to do than fight crime. Like cracking down on wine-sipping art-walk attendees, beer-chugging tailgaters at the Joe, and college students blowing off steam at off-campus parties. Now, violating the state's open record laws can be added to the list of Mullen's misguided preoccupations.
According to The Post and Courier, "After years of releasing crime reports in their entirety, Charleston police recently began blacking out names, addresses, phone numbers, and other important details from the documents, claiming the information falls within privacy provisions of the state Freedom of Information Act."
The P&C adds, "With the change, Charleston police went from being one of the more open police departments in the Lowcountry to one of the more restrictive about releasing information. Most other area police departments provide unfettered access to their incident reports, redacting only information restricted by law, such as the names of rape victims or juveniles charged with crimes."
All of this redacted information is useful of course. Without open access, the press can't properly inform the public about crime in the area. It goes like this: the more information you have about your community, the safer you and your family are.
I don't know how it is for Chief Mullen, but if there's been a rash of sexual assaults in my neighborhood, I'd like to know as much about the incidents as possible — where they happened, what time of day they occurred, whether or not the attacker was targeting a particular segment of the population, like, let's say, college students.
Batman would have kept all that information to himself. After all, he's above the law. He's a vigilante.
But in case you haven't heard, Chief Mullen, Batman is dead. And you're not his replacement. Hell, you're not even Robin.