However, this thesis seems mostly sensible. I think the crucial answer is that the "Skillz" of Batman are attainable, and there is a reasonable proportion of people in the world with potential to attain them, BUT the problem of being Batman is not in the technology.
The problem, as highlighted, is that there is no role for Batman in our current society. Vigilantism is frowned on, and, practically speaking, having a secret alter ego that lasts only happens in the movies.
But the real problem is that Batman exists to solve a problem; Gotham has a massive crime problem, way beyond what we see in any major city in the world. And it is a city where number of crime bosses, criminal geniuses and psychopaths exist, and where they can act fairly freely.
Given a real life city with that setup, yes, Batman would stand a better chance.
Gotham was created for batman IMHO and not vice-versa. If someday batman dies, spiderman won't come from New York for load balancing. Why is that almost all the super-heroes have their arch-enemy in their nearby locality. They also share the same trait. For example spiderman villains are mostly mutants and nagraj villains are mostly snake which takes humanoid form.
Dude, you can't cross the streams! (Marvel & DC)
Well, it would be silly to have an arch-nemesis that lives on the other side of the planet where you are never going to bump into them...
> They also share the same trait.
Well, it would be silly if a character with super powers was battling a mere-mortal, or a god. I guess that is why I always had a problem with Superman vs. Lex.
I suppose it could work if you switched into more of a commando style hero; taking out the head bad guys of your own volition.
Frank Miller directly addressed that point in "The Dark Knight" comic series. At one point Superman is remembering a past argument with Batman, and (semi-quote from memory):
"And then you laughed that scary laugh of yours. 'Of course we're criminals', you said. 'We have to be criminals to do what we do.'"
Then on the practical aspect he works at night or in the dark and has technological advantages (as well as ranged non-lethal weapons) over his enemies.
Speculating you could imagine he is pretty good at reading people and their reactions, and so has a rudimentary ability to avoid (not quite dodge) gunfire.
Sure, I think it is unrealistic that in, say, the films he avoids all the gunfire period. But it seems reasonable that he can avoid most of it with these advantages.
Such things are all possible in real life, but I expect you are right - you would end up shot.
"A retired Indian Gorkha soldier recently revisited those glory days when he thwarted 40 robbers, killing three of them and injuring eight others, with his khukuri during a train journey. He is in line to receive three gallantry awards from the Indian government."
It's starting to sound eerily like Anonymous, actually.
"Is he the original Batman?"
"No way, he'd be a hundred years old!"
"Maybe he's immortal..."
The Dark Knight had an interesting take on this with the impostor Batmen in the beginning using guns, and the real Batman showing up to stop them. (There's something to be said about culture and intellectual property in there too, but that's for another day). I'm sure there are plenty of other good examples as well, but my knowledge of superheros is rather sparse as I was unfortunately never that big into comics.
So you got a number of the main points right.
Zero Hedge's Tyler Durden.
Really? How did you get your estimate for the number of people with long lasting alter egos that nobody knows about, for comparison?
Banksy is the Batman of the New Generation.
I like this quote:
How many of us do you think could become a Batman?
If you found the percentage of billionaires and multiply
that by the percentage of people who become Olympic
decathletes, you could probably get a close estimate.
Apparently there should have been approximately 2 dinosaur Batmans (Batmen?)
(Man, that's an ugly URL)
EDIT: Found it. She calls herself Zora. (Which is the name of a character in Powers.)
None of them have magical superpowers that let them control the tides or have Adamantium skeletons, but hell, it's something. My particular favourite is Life: http://reallifesuperheroes.org/wiki/index.php?title=Life
She sounds amazing; having achieved an amazing amount (academically a PHD by age 21!). The rest of "The List" is mad.. weapons, vehicle training, politics, history, herbology, various extreme sports.
"Until a man is twenty-five, he still thinks, every so often, that under the right circumstances he could be the baddest motherfucker in the world. If I moved to a martial-arts monastery in China and studied real hard for ten years. If my family was wiped out by Colombian drug dealers and I swore myself to revenge. If I got a fatal disease, had one year to live, and devoted it to wiping out street crime. If I just dropped out and devoted my life to being bad."
— Neal Stephenson (Snow Crash)
Ironically, I think I'd already come to the realisation that I couldn't (which is where that quote is heading in the book) much earlier than 25 as a result of martial arts training!
I wonder if there are cases of people leading batman style lives. Or even maybe Dexter style lives (going about dishing out illegal justice in their spare time).
One thing that comes to mind is from a movie I saw (maybe smoke signals?), where the native american tribe (living in modern times) had a traditional role of some people disguising and teaching other people a lesson.
As for the signalling problem, maybe something could be built with modern technologie (SMS, mobile internet, social networks).
In fact today I had this thought, fueled by paranoia: what if your child was abducted, but could send one last distress call. I suppose police wouldn't be able to block the roads in time to catch the abductor, but what if by a snowballing flash mob effect, all people would take to the street and blocked all roads until police would arrive? It would be a kind of distributed batman effect...
So a real Batman in real world, where criminals are not all competent in many fields (except crime OFC - at least when Batman is around) could get by with lots lower skills.
Also a lot of skills overlap... Take this guy for instance (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QnClWxkcS4g) I guess that he has quite some of necessary skills to be a batman. Come to think of it - MOSSAD operatives probably are quite a representation of actual "batmen" - with tech and all :).
Asking him to give up Batman would be like asking a city to give up their Police Force and just rely on schools to teach kids good morals.
But I think the biggest problem is when he's on the road. The batmobile gets noticed and it's easy to get blocked in traffic, or have a crowd around the batmobile when he finds a parking spot.
The green hornet solution is a much more practical. Get a vanilla-looking car, then add high-tech sensors, weapons, and defensive solutions in the car.
Moreover, in this scenario, our real-life Batman fails to become buddy-buddy with the police chief. That's a critical step.
OTOH, I guess since the common opinion is that most bad guys are boring drug dealers, it's fair to say that if there are people inquiring about how to be Batman, there probably are ones interested in becoming one of his arch-enemies (which is probably less difficult, too :)
Law enforcement would hate being made into fools, they'd seize your assets and put you in Gitmo as an example (I wonder how many more presidencies that will be kept open).