The Society explored one of the world’s greatest superheroes as we discussed Resolved: Batman should have killed the Joker. Mr. Mouch, making his induction into the Society, began by warning that the symbol of the Joker, which is death and destruction, will attract followers because of the importance of symbols. He furthered his case for the death of the Joker by pointing out the extreme difficulties in killing a symbol, and all of the horrible acts of chaos and destruction the Joker has committed including the murder of Robin. Furthermore, the Joker’s actions get worse as his story continues when he ultimately sells a nuke to terrorists in the Lebanese Civil War and attempts to switch medicine for the poor for a deadly neuro-toxin. Mr. Mouch concluded by stating that the longer the Joker lives, the more death he and his followers will create. Mr. Wooster, also joining the Society, responded with the fact that what separates Batman from everyone else is that he is the ideal because he does not kill people and that this ideal is more important for the city of Gotham than safety. Furthermore, the Batman humanizes people because of this vow that he takes while the Joker seeks to dehumanize. The Joker is willing to go so far as to ask Batman to kill him, knowing that the destruction of the symbol of Batman is worth more for destruction and chaos than anything the Joker can do. Mr. Wooster finished his keynote by asking if it worth compromising our beliefs to be safe a little longer.
Mr. Petallides, now acting as the new district attorney of Gotham after the tragic death of Harvey Dent, began by telling of how Batman let Gotham believe that he killed Dent and that the corruption in the courts would let Joker get out of the system. In addition, Batman has killed before and after he saves the Joker and cited John Stuart Mill and utilitarianism to support the notion of how greater happiness will be reduced if the Joker lives. Finally, he concluded that the antiquated morality of Batman helps crime. Mr. RisCassi replied that there are long terms cost to Batman if he breaks his moral code especially considering his precarious mental state and that all the good he fought for would be lost. In addition, this would be the first time that Batman killed someone directly which in direct opposition to his moral code. To conclude his keynote, Mr. RisCassi showed how Batman needs to work with others and that this act would erode that capability.
Mr. Edgar opened the floor portion of the debate by saying that Batman could kill the Joker in private which keeps his image perfectly untouched. Mr. Spagnuolo argued that Batman is a symbol for pure good and that he needs to be greater for the people of Gotham. Ms. Wynter replied that the symbol of good conquering evil and Bruce Wayne’s theory cannot be applied in real life combine to push the case for the killing of the Joker. Mr. Askonas brought up the parallels to the death of Osama Bin Laden to argue that the Batman’s power comes from his being a symbol. I, Mr. DiMisa, responded that the only way for evil to be truly destroyed is by having good conquer it in the real world. Ms. Melendez talked about about scary the Batman looks and how he is dangerously close to replacing fear with fear. Ted Murphy (COL ’16) utilized the trolley situation of killing five innocents or one guilty depending on which track the trolley is set to argue for the Joker’s death. Dimitra Rallis (COL ’15) pointed out that Batman would degrade his symbol if he violates his moral code. Nick Walker (SFS ’16) compared Batman to a god to show that he has no rules to follow and should kill the Joker. Andrea Cohen (SFS ’15) showed how the people of Gotham would not kill the Joker by telling of the ferry scene where both criminals and civilians refused to blow the other group up risking their own lives. Anna Mastryukova (COL ’16) argued that one should be killed to save the city of Gotham. Mr. Prindiville argued that if the Joker stoops to the level of the Joker then he is no better than the Joker. Mr. Wooten argued that Batman creates incentives for crime with his no killing moral code. Mr. Donovan brought up the fact that Batman is responsible for the Joker because he dropped him into a chemical vat and that Batman would be taking the same path to destruction as the Joker. Mr. Bade, satirically, talked of the importance of retribution in justice. Ms. Cleary told of how her friend showed her that the superpower of Batman is his moral code. Mr. Wilson used Kant’s theories as well as supplemental information on them to show that when the foundation of humanity is threatened then the Joker can be killed. Ms. Coccia went to the story of Harry Potter and how he refused to use the killing curse on he who shall not be named to show that Batman should not kill the Joker. Ms. Muldavin asked why Batman should not just end his troubles and kill the Joker. Mr. Snow referenced the comic when Batman killed the Joker and how Superman fought him because of that to argue that our superheros must be united. Ms. Miller closed the floor section by talking about hope and how Batman would bring hope to people by killing the Joker.
Mr. RisCassi defended that negation by pointing out that there will always be a number two to replace the Joker and that we must overcome our fears. He concluded his arguments by saying that we need a hero to stand firm in the face of evil and that Batman is greater than murder. Mr. Petallides, while also giving frighteningly amazing renditions of the Joker, told of how he could have ended evil by ending the Joker. Furthermore, he asked if anyone of us would have actively saved the Joker when he fell knowing that it would cost innocent lives. Mr. Wooster responded that Batman is better than someone who simply kills for safety as ideas are bulletproof. Batman inspires people, and for his symbol to work he must be able to inspire people by doing the right thing. Mr. Mouch argued that the Joker would be able to expand chaos if he was left alive and used a family of four moving to Gotham desiring safety by death of the Joker to further his case. He concluded by saying that we all want the influence of the Joker to be stopped even if the Batman doesn’t stick by his morals.
The Society voted 38-1-37 to affirm with President Marsh breaking the tie.
The Society inducted Mr. Mouch and Mr. Wooster! Huzzah!