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Revision as of 09:17, 28 June 2008

Mike Engel: Crime. It's as common to a modern-day society as air and water, and as there are a group of people who live in want, there will always be individuals willing to do anything they can - rob, cheat, or kill - to satisfy their needs. But in Gotham, crime is starting to emanate from a different place. Over the last few weeks, there's been a rise in crimes without motive, that are so demented, none of us can understand why they were committed. I'm Mike Engel, and tonight we delve into the city's underground to get a status report on just how bad it is on our streets. Now we do this not to frighten you; we do this only to inform you of a growing problem that threatens our city. The last thing we want is for you to be in a situation similar to what Steve and Andrea Otis found themselves in with their 17-year-old son.

[Segment: Swallowed up into Hell: The Tim Otis Story. Produced by Laura Wright]

Steve Otis: The police said um, he took something they call ecstasy. It's supposed to give you a feeling of euphoria. It's still hard for us to uh, believe what happened...especially to a boy like Tim.

Mike Engel: Did he ever use drugs before, or was that night the first time?

Steve Otis: As far as we know -

Andrea Otis: [adamant] It's the only time he ever took drugs. Ever.

Mike Engel: [voiceover] Steve and Andrea's son. Tim, graduated high school last May and was on his way to a top university, when he and his friends celebrated the night away here. [Photo of the Spotlight club] Known for its lax underage drinking enforcement and an abundance of recreational drugs, teenagers of all kinds came here to experiment with the life that their parents tried so hard to keep them from. That night, it was Tim Otis's turn. Upon ingesting the drug called Ecstasy, Tim collapsed to the floor and immediately went into a violent seizure. His friends called an ambulance, fearing that he was suffering from an overdose or a bad reaction. Neither was the case.

Andrea Otis: After they called us, we rushed to the hospital and there he was, screaming at the top of his lungs tied to the gurney. The doctors had to restrain him because Tim kept trying to tear his own eyes out. You couldn't control him. He was terrified.

Engel: [voiceover] The family's nightmare was unending, alarming Tim's doctors and the other medical examiners that this was something more than just a bad trip. Theorizing that the drugs may have been laced with a malicious substance, Tim's blood was tested for traces of foreign chemicals. What they found frightened everyone. Tim's bloodstream was laden with the chemical compound used by Dr. Jonathan Crane to produce his lethal Fear Toxin. The same toxin that nearly destroyed all of Gotham.

[in studio with James Levine] James Levine writes the police beat for The Gotham Times; he's also written two books on the history of organized crime in Gotham, and is writing a third on the terrorist attack that occurred in the Narrows. James, this is some scary stuff.

James Levine: Scary indeed.

Engel: Now before we get into this further, let's discuss whether Dr. Jonathan Crane is behind it all. Let's start off with where organized crime stands these days. Harvey Dent recently indicted Sal Maroni. Maroni is allegedly the heir to Carmine Falcone, who was incarcerated and later suffered debilitating psychological damage at the hands of Dr. Crane.

Levine: Well, you know Mike, what's really interesting about all this is that...Falcone's removal from power provoked other criminal factions in Gotham to go after pieces of Falcone's empire. Now, Sal Maroni made it clear that this wasn't a good idea. However - Maroni, who prides himself on being a charmer when he's more of a schemer, has reportedly embraced these other criminal organizations rather than declaring war against them.

Engel: Embrace them how?

Levine: Well, reports suggest that Maroni and the rest of Gotham's criminal factions have uh - banded together, and statistics support this. There's been absolutely no instances of violence between these factions for the last couple of months, which is - remarkable, given the uh, vicious history of organized crime within this city.

Engel: Now wait a second. What you're saying is, this is some sort of d'etat....

Levine: No, what I'm saying is, it's some kind of conglomeration. The various factions have joined together to form a larger syndicate, which - to be blunt - is far worse than having them kill each other. Now what you have is uh, mob on steroids, with their hands in every pocket and their fists in every face. Essentially, it's an impenetrable force of highly organized crime...impenetrable even to Batman.

Engel: Okay, now - now, hold on. Let me - let me stop you right there. This is what gets me mad, okay? Now - to me, the biggest problem we have facing Gotham right now is that the public is embracing a vigilante as their protector.

Levine: [dubiously] You mean the Batman.

Engel: Yes, the Batman! I mean, a man who refuses to reveal his identity, a man who isn't even voted upon by the public, a man - we don't even know if he's human, James!

Levine: [chuckles] What, Mike, you think he's a bat?

Engel: Look, I'd never buy - one of these accounts puts him at different places at the exact same time. I mean, how do you explain that to the people of Gotham?

Levine: Now - Mike, Mike, you're being ridiculous...

Engel: Let me make my point, let me make my point. The point is, this mega-mob, that you are telling us, is such a threat, my feeling is that the Batman is worse, because before you know it, he's gonna inspire the entire city to take the law into their own hands. And what we do we have? We have anarchy. Complete and utter chaos.

Levine: You ever think where we'd be without Batman? Now that would be chaos. Our government has broken its social contract with its citizens, Mike, one that promises justice, order, and security. When that contract is violated, someone needs to rise up and repair it - Batman has.

Engel: Now what about Harvey Dent, James? Can he do that for the city of Gotham?

Levine: Harvey Dent will play a big part in this, but he can't do it alone. This city is facing some major threats. What happened to the Otis kid - tip of the iceberg.

Engel: You bring up a good point. Now what about this case, James? The police say that Dr. Crane is, in fact, dead. The situation with these spiked drugs speaks to a very different situation.

Levine: Well, what we know is that Dr. Jonathan Crane was in fact involved in the Fear Toxin assault on the Narrows 9 months ago.

Engel: Now, come on. Everyone knows that Crane is dead...

Levine: Mike, his body was never recovered, and there are hundreds of Arkham inmates that escaped from the asylum and disappeared during the attack.

Engel: Now what happened to them?

Levine: No one knows. But, there have been several sightings of a man who fits Crane's description, leading an army of what is described as truly disturbed people. Now - what leads me to believe that these sightings are indeed valid is one recurring detail in them all.

Engel: Which is?

Levine: The man leading the pack leads a burlap sack over his head, which was part of the scare tactic the doctor implemented on his inmates.

Engel: This is certainly some very strange stuff.

Levine: [guffaws] A man with six fingers is strange, Mike. This...this is alarming. My only hope is that it doesn't get any worse, but - when you hear stories like the large ship of ammonium nitrate that was stolen off the docks last week by a perpetrator who was crazy enough to smile into the surveillance camera...I started thinking it was time to move to another city. You have any idea what a lunatic could do with that much ammonium nitrate, Mike?

Engel: Well, build a bomb, potentially.

Levine: No, no. Build a big bomb.

Engel: Lemme ask you this is our remaining 30 seconds, James. There is, to me, no doubt here that there is a growing trend of deranged crimes that have been perpetrated by equally deranged individuals, for motives that are unknown to us all. Meanwhile, we have a man who is dressed up like a bat, who is literally waging war on the city streets. I mean, you don't think one has to do with the other? That is to say, Batman - whether he's a hero or a nutcase - is encouraging, actually inspiring, other nutcases to do what? To stop him or top him?

Levine: Well I haven't thought about it like that. Potentially...yes.

Engel: That's why Batman's gotta be stopped. I mean, he's gotta be brought to justice, to stop the escalation. James, we thank you for being with us today. And thank you for watching. Please join me in two weeks for an interview with the head of the Falcone crime family, Sal Maroni, who claims Commissioner Loeb and the Gotham PD should be the real defendants in Harvey Dent's case against him. And next week, tune into Lydia Filingeri's profile on the rising star within Gotham's police department, Lt. Jim Gordon. Will Lt. Gordon be the man to turn this city around, or does Gordon's rumored association to the Batman cast a shadow of doubt on him that Harvey Dent should be concerned about? I'm Mike Engel. Good evening, and this is Gotham Tonight.

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