New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly has had to walk back even further his eye-opening claim on 60 Minutes last month that the NYPD has the authority and technology to shoot down an aircraft in the event of an emergency. Yes, the police could shoot a sniper rifle at a small plane but they would need the mayor's authorization first. Seems like a lot of red tape to shoot a gun! Interestingly, when Kelly explained this to the City Council, he also referenced an NYPD contingency plan that sounds strikingly similar to a Batman plot-line. The New York Daily News, reports:
"What we didn't want to be is totally helpless, at 2 o'clock in the morning, [with] a small plane disseminating anthrax over Manhattan and waiting for somebody to come from an Air Force base in Massachusetts," Kelly said.
Spreading poison via an airplane? Is Kelly a fan of Batman: The Long Halloween #4? Because that just so happens to be the plot the Joker hatches to kill off scores of Gotham dwellers. As Comics.org explains in its synopsis, "Batman stops Joker from trying to kill everyone in Gotham Square in an attempt to stop the Holiday Killer." In a scene that seems to come straight from Commissioner Kelly's nightmares, the Joker mounts a crop duster plane to spread poisonous gas over Gotham Square. Fortunately, he's thwarted, as comic book and graphic novel enthusiast Steve Higgins explains:
On New Year's Eve the Joker intends to release his gas on Gotham Square at midnight, killing the crowd and hopefully Holiday [a mysterious killer haunting Gotham]. To that end the Joker has hijacked a plane and killed the flight crew. Batman arrives just as the Joker is taking off and hitches onto the plane...
High above the city, just as the clock strikes midnight, Batman pummels the Joker and aims the plane toward the harbor. At the last possible moment he grabs the Joker and leaps to the nearby clock atop a skyscraper. The plane harmlessly splashes down into the water and Gotham is saved.
In lieu of Batman, we suppose a sniper rifle will have to make due. Good luck, commish!
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.