This is a guest column from an Anonymous contributor.
Sometimes people may wonder why I let the Commissioner Gordon’s men handle some of these criminals that I catch. Seems like they always end up getting loose again one way or another.
How many times has the Joker broken out of Gordon’s custody? And how many countless others have gone along with him? A few corrupt guards here and there, and we’re back at it on the streets.
Certainly, it would be easier for me to take care of these criminals personally, if you know what I mean.
But that is not the way things should be done. When fighting the monster, when staring into the abyss, you yourself cannot become the monster.
No one, not even some of the worst that Gotham has to offer, should be subject to more than what’s fair to them. While institutions like Arkham has had its problems, they are more than enough.
One person who knows that more than anyone is Larry Lawton.
A jewel thief that eventually got caught, Larry now out of prison works alongside law enforcement and has renounced his criminal past. He talks about a great deal, especially his experience in prison. Ever heard of someone who had a heart attack and was left on the floor by guards? Or deadly fights within prison? Larry has seen them all.
There is no need for me to handle mobsters myself, if this is the way Gordon already deals with them.
Larry has many stories of what goes on behind those barbed wires. People willing to fight over the smallest of things to preserve their status in the cell block. Prison guards themselves, withholding access to mail from him, because of his constant letters to outsiders trying to shine a light on living conditions.
He has hours of discussion on these topics, and almost the animal instincts that are required to survive in such an environment.
It’s not a wonder that he came out of that place a changed man. People are already face far worse in these prisons than what I would ever do to them.
When Larry first came out from behind bars, he couldn’t even order a sandwich by himself. Despite living his entire life up to that point as a free man, just a couple years in the hole had done that to him. Although he managed to pull himself back together, it’s easy to see how someone can fall back into the system that they just emerged from. To come out of a vicious environment with little training and skills in the modern world, the normal society around them is almost an alien concept.
Larry brings a good conversation to the table. In a world built by rules and laws, these should be fair to all, including those we may not want to give it to. That’s something that’s sometimes hard to keep in mind, which is also why the Joker frequently tries to say we are like him. That we have the same cynical approach to the world as he does.
But he doesn’t have to be right. We can try to make our institutions work better and prove him wrong. That justice is not just about vengeance, but what is right.