In this episode, Ethan speaks with AIER's Harwood Visiting Fellow, Marcos Falcone, about Friedrich Hayek's ideas on foreign relations. Falcone's notable research on the topic includes writing an award-winning paper on Hayek's vision for a liberal international community. Although the noble laureate is best known for his economic ideas, he also applied his insights toward imagining a framework for defending liberty on the world stage. Hayek fuses two important but competing ideas, the limitations of central planning and the need for a strong military, economic, and diplomatic capacity to contain autocratic actors. His vision hopes to create a new international institution that is more effective than the United Nations, less bureaucratic than the European Union, and more comprehensive than NATO. Falcone hails from Argentina, where he is deeply involved in advocating for classical liberal ideas in Latin America. He received his undergraduate degree from Torcuato Di Tella University and a Masters in Social Science from the University of Chicago.
In today's Podcast episode, Todd Falcone shares …Many network marketers ask the question, do leads actually work? In this training you'll discover the answer to this question, along with tips on filling your pipeline today.
Jax Falcone @DynoGameTheory of The Undroppables joins Dan & Theo to talk Week 2, waivers, buys, sells and everything in between! -------------------- Thanks for Tuning iN SMASH The LiKE BUTTON To SUPPORT The SHOW! DO NOT Forget to SUBSCRIBE so you don't miss a show.
Em mais um episódio do podcast Praticando o Bem Viver, para a série especial Ser Long Life Learning, Marcia de Luca conversa com Roseli Falcone Ramos. Roseli é empreendedora em bem-estar e educação financeira, consultora de negócios e palestrante. Diretora da empresa SD Group e da plataforma SD Positivo. Membro do Comitê de Estudos e Pesquisas da ABRH-SP, facilitadora de grupos de estudos e possui vivência de 30 anos em empresa multinacional do segmento químico e agronegócio, encerrando este ciclo como gerente de processos e sistemas RH LatAm. Graduada em matemática pela PUC-SP, pós-graduação em sistemas de informação pelo IMT e MBA em gestão empresarial pela FGV.
Don Luigi Ciotti guida due importantissime associazioni, il Gruppo Abele per "dar voce a chi non a voce" e Libera, contro le mafie e per la giustizia sociale. A trent'anni dalla morte dei giudici Falcone e Borsellino ricorda quei mesi e riflette su quanto c'è ancora da fare.
In today's Podcast episode, Todd Falcone talks about prospecting confidence… If you'd like to make more money in your network marketing business watch this training. You'll discover how to develop prospecting confidence.
Every time I link up with Jax Falcone (@DynoGameTheory) it's like a mirror match. He and I share so many commonalities as content creators and dynasty analysts -- I knew this one would crush. So I convinced Jax to join me in a "cold water" episode. The goal? Find the fact based WORST CASE scenario outcome for some of the leagues most hyped fantasy assets entering 2022... and I think we delivered in a big way. I even force him into an early debate with a Ja'Marr chase trade I saw in a dynasty league... Just some of the topics that came up: Is the Justin Fields breakout coming? Deebo Samuel's 2021 season was definitely an outlier. Does Leonard Fournette has zero risk? As always if you enjoy the show please rate and review to help me keep climbing these charts! TO JOIN AND SUPPORT MY PROJECTS. Want to support Nate Liss and the podcast? Visit patreon.com/IMOUTRAGED to get exclusive dynasty content extras and special discord features for supporting. Come join the FREE DynastyRankings Discord Server and its 700+ members today! https://discord.gg/BVffAtkHRX
On this episode of “Nerding Out with Nic Bodiford”, Nic mines the dynasty-brain of Jax Falcone, co-founder of The Undroppables, to get you ahead of fantasy football Week 1's breakouts. Cut the Week 2 waiver wire-line and add one of these potential stars before kickoff instead. Follow on Twitter: @nerdballff Join our Patreon: pateron.com/nerdballff --- This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. https://anchor.fm/app --- Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/nerdballff/message Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/nerdballff/support
El catedrático de Teoría de la Señal y Comunicaciones en la UPNA Francisco Falcone, explica las razones de la escasez mundial de microchips. Le preguntamos si sería posible producir en Navarra estos semiconductores que tantas empresas necesitan actualmente para salir adelante.
Host Bill Donohue welcomes two former New York Mets pitchers beginning with 4x All-Star and 1987 World Series champion Jeff Reardon, followed by Brooklyn native, the great Pete Falcone who both share some great stories and memories of their time in New York.
Mais do que um papo sobre cerveja, uma conversa capaz de gerar milhões de casos de buteco. Através da narrativa do Mestre Falcone você vai ficar informado à fundo sobre várias marcas, expressões ou história da cerveja do seu dia. SOBRE MARCO FALCONE @marcofalconefalke Algumas das qualificações do mestre Falcone são: Mestre Cervejeiro Fundador da Falke Bier Vice-presidente do Sindbebidas Presidente da Febracerva – Federação Brasileira da Cerveja Artesanal Presidente da Câmara Setorial da Cerveja no Ministério da Agricultura TRADIÇÃO EM FAMÍLIA Além de todas as qualificações possíveis, Marco Falcone é pai de mestres cervejeiros e foi professor do nosso apresentador durante o curso de Sommelier de Cerveja. PROPRIEDADE PRA FALAR Muitas pessoas podem falar sobre a cerveja, mais ainda, a cerveja artesanal, mas a conversa com Marco Falcone ganha proporções épicas quando ele começa a relatar casos do mundo da cerveja. Desde o encontro entre Santos Dumont e Louis Pasteur, passando pela explicação da expressão salvo pelo gongo, a criação da cerveja Kaiser em Minas Gerais, nascimento do estilo India Pale Ale a IPA e vários outros Diferenciais da Cerveja Feita no Brasil BOATOS: Cerveja Escura Fazia Mulher Produzir Mais Leite? Como A Cerveja Chegou Em Belo Horizonte EUA: Wall Street foi Cervejaria KAISER: Nasceu Em Minas Gerais A origem da expressão: "Salvo Pelo Gongo" FALKE BIER Se você quer saber mais sobre a cervejaria Falke Bier, consulte a playlist dedicada a ela no Youtube do Tomei Gosto. São vídeos que contam desde a história da fundação da cervejaria, a transição pros mais jovens, os estilos produzidos na casa e muito mais. Instagram Falke Bier Site Falke Bier YOUTUBE: Série do Tomei Gosto + Falke Bier MAIS CERVEJEIROS POR AQUI No nosso podcast em áudio você encontra mais episódios sobre cerveja, como a nossa entrevista com o mestre Sady Homirch e várias outras pessoas.
In today's Podcast episode, Todd Falcone talks about… Facebook lives and how they are great for building trust with your audience. Here's tips for high quality Facebook lives for building trust faster with your people.
TESTO DELL'ARTICOLO ➜ www.bastabugie.it/it/articoli.php?id=7118PERCHE' CI SONO POLITICI E PARTITI CHE VOGLIONO LIBERALIZZARE LA DROGA? di Roberto MarchesiniDi droga se ne parla fin dagli anni Settanta; e non si è mai venuto a capo di niente. Quindi perché dedicare a questo argomento un nuovo articolo? Per tentare di affrontare l'argomento da un punto di vista insolito; dall'idea, cioè, che la droga non sia altro che la continuazione della politica con altri mezzi (parafrasando, ovviamente, von Clausewitz).Partiamo da un romanzo celeberrimo che i gentili Lettori avranno sicuramente in mente: Il mondo nuovo, di Huxley. Nella distopia dell'elitista britannico, le persone erano tenute schiave tramite una droga, il Soma, distribuita dal governo; ogni volta che una persona "pensava" o mostrava irritazione o scontentezza per una situazione, interveniva il Soma a ridare serenità e docilità al potere. Curiosamente ma non troppo, Soma era anche il nome di una bevanda sacrificale che, secondo le religioni vediche, aveva il potere di unire alle divinità. Fatto sta che Huxley ha dedicato gran parte della sua vita a studiare e diffondere sostanze psicotrope che, nelle sue intenzioni, avrebbero permesso all'umanità di compiere un ulteriore salto evolutivo. Tra i suoi interessi, ad esempio c'era l'uso dell'Lsd, la sostanza che mise fine al Free Speech Movement statunitense, ossia al movimento che contestava il potere politico e la guerra del Vietnam. Forse qualcuno ancora non sa che fu sicuramente la Cia a inondare di questa sostanza le comunità universitarie americana; era infatti l'agenzia a detenere il monopolio di fatto sull'Lsd.LA PRODUZIONE DI OPPIOAbbiamo citato il Vietnam: forse giova ricordare che la produzione di oppio in questo paese aumentò vertiginosamente dopo che l'Inghilterra ne assunse il controllo nel 1886, esercitando il monopolio della sostanza dal 1910, con l'Opium Act. Nel secondo dopoguerra, la situazione del sud-est asiatico divenne incandescente proprio per il controllo del traffico di droga; in quel contesto, si inserirono gli Stati Uniti. Ma cosa se ne facevano gli inglesi (e chi gli succedette, tra francesi e statunitensi) di tutto quell'oppio? Beh, ad esempio serviva a inondare di droga gli stati che volevano depredare, per esempio la Cina. Se qualcuno ha sentito parlare di "Guerre dell'Oppio" dell'Ottocento, sa che ci riferiamo esattamente a questo: la Cina imperiale si oppose alla depredazione economica e alla riduzione in schiavitù (per dipendenza dall'oppio) della maggior parte della popolazione da parte dei britannici; gli inglesi reagirono brutalmente (seguiti da Francia e Stati Uniti) ed ecco le guerre. In seguito a questi conflitti, Hong Kong divenne una colonia britannica fino al 1997.Nel nuovo millennio la produzione di oppio si è spostata dal Triangolo d'Oro (Myanmar, Laos e Tailandia) alla Mezzaluna d'Oro (Afghanistan, Iran e Pakistan). Da quando, di preciso? Casualmente, da quando gli Stati Uniti hanno occupato l'Afghanistan. Nel 2001, quando i primi soldati americani misero piede in quel paese, la produzione di oppio si estendeva su circa 8.000 ettari; vent'anni dopo, quando gli ultimi di loro se ne andarono, era di 224.000. A proposito: come mai, dopo vent'anni di guerra per esportare la democrazia in quel paese così straordinariamente vocato per la produzione di eroina, gli americani se ne sono andati? Forse perché l'ossicodone (nome commerciale OxyContin), ufficialmente un miracoloso antidolorifico, è stato soppiantato da una nuova droga, il Fentanyl. L'OxyContin è un oppiaceo prodotto dalla casa farmaceutica Purdue Pharma, della famiglia Sakler (patrimonio stimato: 13 miliardi di dollari); il Fentanyl, invece, prodotto in Cina, è completamente sintetico. A voler pensare male, si direbbe che, a questo punto, non vale più la pena di occupare militarmente l'Afghanistan, visto che si può produrre ottima droga senza oppio... Ah, mi sono dimenticato di citare l'ultima coincidenza: la Purdue ha annunciato la chiusura proprio nel 2020.E vogliamo parlare dello scandalo Iran-Contra [lo scambio di armi con ostaggi che ha coinvolto gli Usa, l'Iran e i Contras in Nicaragua, NdR]? No, rischieremmo di diventare noiosi.UNA MAREA DI HIPPY SBALLATIMa torniamo un attimo alla morte del Free Speech Movement quando, cioè, giovani intellettuali contestatori sono stati soppiantati da una marea di hippy sballati e completamente innocui dal punto di vista politico. Facile, governare i movimenti politici. Basti pensare a ciò che è rimasto al movimento per i diritti civili dei neri dopo le morti (per mano di pazzi isolati, ovviamente) di Malcolm X e Martin Luther King. Dopo la loro morte ci pensò Hollywood a fornire ai giovani neri un nuovo modello: il pappone, che sfrutta le donne nere (ma ha una fidanzata bianca), consuma e spaccia droga, ascolta disco-music, si veste in modo sgargiante e kitsch, si muove ciondolando e adora la auto veloci. Questo è, infatti, il ritratto dei protagonisti delle serie cinematografiche Shaft e Superfly, che rappresentano l'inizio e il vertice più alto (o più basso) della cosiddetta blaxploitation. Terminato questo fenomeno cinematografico, verso la fine degli anni Settanta, la comunità nera fu sommersa da un'ondata di crack, una droga pericolosa e di bassa qualità, derivata dalla cocaina, particolarmente accessibile ai giovani neri. Incidentalmente: almeno di quest'ultima calamità che si abbatté sulla comunità nera la responsabilità ricade sull'Fbi e sulla sua operazione Cointelpro (Counter Intelligence Program).E la marea di eroina che si diffuse in Italia negli anni Settanta, e che fu la pietra tombale del cosiddetto Sessantotto? Secondo un documentario RaiStoria, anche questa era un'operazione targata Usa: operazione Bluemoon. Il documentario completo è disponibile su YouTube.Restiamo in Italia, dove, da anni, i radicali si battono per liberalizzare la droga. Lascio al lettore ricostruire genesi e ascendenze del Partito Radicale; per ora occupiamoci di questa loro campagna. L'argomento principale (oltre a quello filosofico-liberale, per cui non esistono né bene né male e ognuno è libero di fare ciò che gli pare e piace) è questo: liberalizzando (attenzione alle parole...) la droga si toglie quel monopolio alla malavita organizzata. E chi si prenderebbe questa fetta di mercato che vale decine di miliardi di euro? Le aziende farmaceutiche, non sazie dei guadagni dei vaccini? Almeno pagherebbero le tasse, si risponde. Beh, non in Italia, certamente. E poi... cosa cambierebbe, per la società? A proposito di mafie... chi ricorda che Falcone e Borsellino furono uccisi quando cominciarono a capire che la mafia non era un fenomeno locale ma con moltissimi collegamenti internazionali e guidato da «menti raffinatissime»?In somma e in conclusione: molti danno una lettura della storia moderna e contemporanea alla luce della ricerca e controllo delle risorse energetiche, petrolio in primis. Forse è il caso di ampliare quella visione introducendo anche il mercato della droga e il suo uso politico. Perché la droga è certamente un male; ma, forse, è anche una «struttura di peccato», secondo la definizione che ne ha dato Giovanni Paolo II nell'enciclica Sollicitudo Rei Socialis (30 dicembre 1987).
In today's Podcast episode, Todd Falcone shares about recruiting on Social Media… In order to recruit effectively on social media, we must first start with the social media recruiting fundamentals. Listen to this training to learn more...
The Dark Knight has a reputation for being one of the great superhero movies, and it is completely deserved. Revisiting this movie for the first time after my initial viewing I was blown away by the writing. This is a masterpiece of thematic story-telling. With fantastic performances, especially from Heath Ledger as The Joker. So let's see what Batman is up to this time as we discuss The Dark Knight. ----more---- Transcript Welcome to Nerd Heaven. I'm Adam David Collings The author of Jewel of The Stars. And I am a nerd. This is episode 93 of the podcast. Today, we're talking about the movie The Dark Knight The description on IMDB reads When the menace known as the Joker wreaks havoc and chaos on the people of Gotham, Batman must accept one of the greatest psychological and physical tests of his ability to fight injustice. The screenplay was written by Christopher Nolan and Jonathan Nolan (who are brothers) With story by Christopher Nolan and David S Goyer It was directed by Christopher Nolan And it was first released on the 14th of July 2008 In 2008 I was raising a very young family. I had just bought my first house or was shortly about to. I wasn't made of money. Consequently, instead of buying this movie on DVD as I did with Batman Begins, I hired it from the local video rental place because that was cheaper. And forget the cinema. I didn't go to the cinema for years when my kids were little. So I've only ever seen this movie once. I remember continuing to enjoy the serious tone, but it didn't have that origin backstory element that I loved so much in the first movie. So I was really interested to see how I'd react to a rewatch after all these years. The movie has a very silent beginning. So much so I had to keep checking that the sound was working on my computer. We know from the ending scene of Batman Begins that this movie would introduce The Joker as its villain. The Joker is well known as the most famous, most iconic Batman villain. And this in large part thanks to the Adam West TV show, I believe. I think it was smart to use lesser-known villains in the first movie, like Falcone, Scarecrow, Ra's Al Ghul and Even Victor Zzazz. It expanded the world for those not familiar with the comics and gave Batman room to really shine as he came into his own. But this was the time to introduce his famous arch-nemesis. When we first see a criminal wearing a clown mask our natural inclination is to think, this has got to be the joker, or someone who works for him, right? Turns out these guys are working for him, but it's not a close association. He planned this heist, and he wants a cut. He calls himself The Joker because he wears makeup to scare people, like war paint. We'll come back to this. It's a shock when one robber is killed by another as soon as he's finished his work on the security system. And it would seem to make sense at first. One less person to split the money with, and these are hardly moral people. Unless something goes wrong and you need that guy again, or if you get a bad reputation for killing your team members and nobody wants to join your crew for future endeavours. Turns out, this is a mob bank. One of the workers has a shotgun. I have to admit, the idea of the mob owning a bank is a concept I'm struggling to get my head around. Looks like none of these crooks really know the full plan. Half of them are instructed to kill the other half. The mob guy makes a good point. If you work for someone like the joker, who orders his own people dead, he'll only do the same to you. Except the guy he's talking to ends up being the joker. In the end, he doesn't have to share the money with anyone. But who's gonna want to work with him? So taking a more active role than it appeared. He definitely has a flair for the dramatic in the way he kills people. Using the school bus as a getaway vehicle to blend in with all the other school buses is clever, but it would require expert timing, and wouldn't the back of his bus be banged up from crashing through the wall? I was surprised to see someone wearing the scarecrow mask from the last movie. It's not surprising, however, that there would be a copycat batman or two. But this guy doesn't compare to the real thing. And It seems it's actually Doctor Crane himself. Has he escaped from jail? And why would he now be playing vigilante? That's a bit weird. There's a story-telling reason to do this. The idea is you show the villain who was such a threat last time as being ineffectual compared to the new villain, thus emphasising how powerful and threatening the new villain is. Except, Doctor Crane was never much of a threat to Batman. Ra's al Ghul was the main threat. The big difference, of course, between Batman and these fakes, is competence. He's got the skills, the experience, and the equipment. They don't. Bruce has obviously affected some upgrades to the tumbler. It has some auto-drive features, which are not so unbelievable in 2022, but were still science fiction 2008. Batman doesn't always come when Gordon turns on the signal, because he's busy. But Gordon likes to do it anyway, to remind people that Batman is out there. That one scene when Alfred brings breakfast into an empty bedroom speaks volumes without a line of dialogue. Of course, the next scene has the dialogue which is almost redundant. Bruce has set himself up with a temporary batcave under a Wayne Enterprises facility while the mansion is being rebuilt. It's a massive empty area with white ceiling. It looks somewhat unreal. Alfred warns Bruce that he needs to know his limits. Bruce says Batman doesn't have any, and Alfred points out that Bruce does. What's going to happen on the day when he realises them. And that's a clear ominous warning about a coming theme in this movie. And while Bruce likes to think that Batman has no limits, he clearly does, because even as a symbol, he's portrayed by a human being. Batman is built on the flaws of that human. We meet the exciting new DA. Harvey Dent. And for those who haven't picked up on it, we see him making decisions by flipping a coin. Rachel is not only working for Dent, she is apparently dating him. She gave Bruce a little sliver of hope that maybe they could be together someday when Gotham no longer needs Batman, but at the same time, it doesn't seem that she's willing to wait for him. I'm not saying that she should, but by dating someone else it makes her offer kinda hollow. So now we have to talk about Katie Holmes. Because Rachel has mysteriously changed her face like a timelord. Katie Holmes didn't return for this movie. And we don't know exactly why. We probably never will. We know that Christopher Nolan wanted her to return and was reportedly a bit upset that she didn't. She was quite busy at the time and has said publicly that it was a decision that was right for her at that moment but would love to work with Nolan again someday. I was disappointed when I learned that the character had been recast. I quite liked Katie Holmes in Batman Begins. The role went to Maggie Gyllenhaal. And I have to say, having just re-watched this movie, she did a fantastic job. It can't be easy to come in and portray a character previously played by someone else, especially if you're supposed to be in the same continuity as the previous. But Maggie made me believe. And while I really liked Holmes in Batman Begins, I think I can say that Maggie Gyllenhaal gave a better performance in The Dark Night. She plays Rachel as a little older, a little wiser. And I really enjoyed what she did. The new head of Falcone's crime organisation, Maroni, who's played by Eric Roberts, an actor I quite like, has apparently got a fall guy to admit to being in charge, much to the amusement of everyone in the audience. I'm sure that's not what they're called in a court case, but you know what I'm talking about. This guy has smuggled a gun right into the courtroom, even up to the witness stand, which is a little hard to swallow, but at least this movie gives an explanation. It's made of carbon fibre, which I'm guessing doesn't set off metal detectors? Last movie, both Bruce and one of Falcone's men got guns into the courtroom and that was never explained. Dent comes across as very cocky, but also very capable. He disarms the witness without a single hint of anxiety. Gordon and Batman are trying to cripple the mob by depriving them of their money. They plan to raid the mob banks before the Joker and rob them. The Joker is a side-problem at present. Bruce is falling asleep in board meetings because he's out all night being Batman, but that doesn't mean he's neglecting the company. He's keeping a tight eye on things, more so than appears. I like that. This is his father's legacy, after all. The rivalry between Bruce and Harvey over Rachel is kind of embarrassing to observe. I guess I can't blame him. Bruce and Rachel are not together, but not by Bruce's choice. Often in Superhero stories, you'll have the hero tell his love interest that they can't be together but then get all moody and belligerent when the woman pursues something with someone else. I believe Smallville did this once or twice. But you can't have it both ways. Anyway, nothing quite so angsty is going on here. Bruce would have Rachel in a second if she'd have him, and Harvey is in the way of that. This is a point we'll connect back to later when we talk about character goals. As far as we know, Harvey has no beef with Bruce, but when another guy puffs out his chest at you in a passive-aggressive kinda way, you're gonna puff back. That's just how it works, right. So there's this mutual ribbing that's going on during the conversation. I mean, it was quite rude of Bruce to intrude on their date the way he does. But he doesn't really care. They begin debating the merits of Batman. Ironically, Harvey is in defence, and Bruce against. I like how Bruce's date isn't just portrayed as a bimbo. She has considered opinions and she's the one who brings up the topic. Rachel points out the example of Cesar, who was appointed by the people to defend them but then never gave up his power. Could the same end up being true of Batman? Harvey's answer is important. This is his thematic sentence. “You either die a hero, or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain.” Let's see how this particular theory plays out with our main characters throughout the story. But Harvey thinks Batman doesn't want to do this forever. He's looking for someone to take up his mantle. Maybe even somebody like him. And he'd be shocked to learn just how right he is about this. Bruce is sold. He wants to throw his financial support behind Dent. But he has his own ulterior motives. What if Harvey Dent is the hero that can solve Gotham's problems in a more ‘by the book' kind of way? What if he could take over the mantle from Batman? That would then leave Bruce free to pursue a relationship with Rachel - one she claims she'd be interested in once Batman is a thing of the past. Ultimately, Batman is thinking more about his own personal wants and needs here than about what's best for the city. It's hard to blame him. He's an imperfect person who does have wants of his own. But we'll have to see what he ultimately puts priority on when the time comes. That will determine what kind of man he is. So surprise, Lau, the guy that Wayne Enterprises was thinking of doing business with, the guy that Bruce decided not to work with, is involved with the Gotham Mob. The Joker has stolen a few million dollars from them. But Maroni isn't convinced that the Joker is the real problem. The cops are the bigger issue. They're trying to seize the rest of their cash. Lau hides the money for them so when Gordon gets in there, there's nothing to find. And that's when the Joker barges into their little meeting. This scene is the first introduction we really get to Heath Ledger's Joker. His first act is to kill one of the mob guys who tries to throw him out, using a pencil. Now, this whole pencil in the eye stunt really disturbed me the first time I saw it, and it really stuck in my memory. I remember cringing in revulsion. That wasn't something I needed to see. This time around, it didn't affect me as much, possibly because I knew it was coming. That first time, when it happened, I really thought through the implications. Really disturbing. It's clear to the Joker that the mob are afraid of Batman. Despite what they say, they're not having their meetings in broad daylight because of Harvey Dent. The Joker makes an offer. I'll kill the Batman, but not for free. That's why he's here. But can they take him seriously? He's shown he's clever. He's shown he can pull off a heist. He's demonstrated his competence and his boldness by stealing some of their money. But does that mean he's capable of killing Batman? That's quite a different task than stealing money from a mob bank. The outspoken gangster, Gambol, isn't impressed and says he's putting a price on the Joker's head, but I think their new leader is seriously thinking about it all. So let's talk about this version of The Joker. I see Heath Ledger as the definitive on-screen version of The Joker. I know a lot of people will point to Mark Hamill, but I'm just not really into a lot of animated stuff. So to me, Ledger was the ultimate portrayal of what I traditionally thought of as The Joker. His personality is creepy. He comes across as somewhat unhinged, but at the same time capable, and a worthy adversary for Batman. The make-up is dishevelled and badly done, and he has big scars on his cheeks, extending into a sickening smile, covered crudely with lipstick. It gives a wonderfully creepy vibe that works wonderfully for me. If the makeup was applied better, it would lose all its power. Incidentally, that's why I didn't like Joaquim Phoenix's look for the Joker in the trailers, although when I watched the movie and understood the character's backstory, I realised that it worked for that version of the character. But some people took issue with the whole make-up idea. I know a friend of mine has talked at length about how he didn't want a joker wearing makeup. He wanted a joke with chemical-bleached skin. Now because I don't have much of a comics history in my youth, I was simply unaware of this aspect of the character. I'm bingeing on DC comics now, but that didn't help me in the past. You see, I always thought The Joker wore makeup. My main previous exposures to the character were Ceasar Romero, who wore makeup right over his moustache, and Jack Nicholson. As I explained last time, I completely misinterpreted what was going on in the 1989 Batman movie. I thought that Nicholson's Joker wore makeup to cover his disfigurement from landing in the chemicals. It was only very recently that I learned that the natural skin tone was in fact the makeup, and the clown face was his real skin. And I'm sorry, but I just find that kind of silly. Especially the hair. I can buy the idea of bleached skin from chemicals, but not if it just looks like white makeup. And green hair from landing in chemicals. No. That doesn't work for me at all. So to me, The Joker has always been, and probably always will be, a creepy guy who wears clown makeup. I'm sorry, but I didn't know any different before, and now that idea is solidified in me. Anyway, it goes without saying that Heath Ledger's performance in this movie is outstanding. He won an oscar for it. It's just such a tragedy that he died before even receiving it. So Dent and Gordon meet Batman on the rooftop. There's a lot of blame going around for what happened, but what really matters is they need to get Lau back. He's fled to Hong Kong. Harvey can get him to talk if Batman can get him back somehow. Is it just me or are all the actors in this movie really young? When Bruce goes to Lucious for help. The scene always plays like a Bond film, where 007 gets his latest gadgets from Q. But somehow, that works. The Joker comes to see Gambol, but his method of arrival is suitably theatrical. He arrives in a body bag, pretending to have been killed. And that's when we hear his question for the first time. “Do you want to know how I got these scars?” It's not the last time he'll ask somebody that question, and each time, he'll give a completely different story, each as dark and twisted as the last. Of course, at this point in the movie, we don't realise that, so we take the story about his wife-beating mother at face value. Ah, so that's why The Joker is so messed up. But that's too easy. Too trite. Does a tragic childhood justify the person The Joker is? It certainly doesn't excuse it. Does it explain it? Plenty of people have had horrible childhoods like the story he tells, but they don't grow up to be psychotic serial killers. Ultimately, I think the reason the writers had him give all these conflicting stories is that they're showing that no one incident really truly explains or justifies what he is. He's just insane. Normally, I don't like it when explanations are not fully given, when stuff like this is left hanging as a mystery that's never resolved. Often, it's done badly so it leaves me feeling unsatisfied. But here, it works wonderfully. So I'm with it. The Joker is slowly taking over the criminal underworld in Gotham. But he's doing it in such a Joker way. He has Gambol and some other goons fight it out, to the death, for the privilege of joining his team. This guy really is sick. Fox has a clever way of getting into the interior of Lau's building and planting another jamming device in there. I quite like seeing these two working in the field together. This part of the movie really does feel like a spy thriller. Batman usually confines himself to Gotham. I think this is the first time I've seen him operating in another country on screen. The method of extracting Bruce and Lau from the building into the plane looks awesome, but man it would be terrifying. It seems strange to me that Rachel - a lawyer for the DA's office, is interrogating Lau, not a police officer. Is that normal in America? Because here, it's the police who interview people. Then, when they think they have sufficient evidence, they charge the suspect. Then they appear in court. Although, interestingly, we don't have District Attorneys, like in America. As far as I understand, it's actually the police themselves that prosecute criminal cases. You hear the term police prosecutor. Gordon makes mass arrests. Rachael and Dent have worked out some legal options where if you get a conviction on one, you can get a conviction on a bunch of their accomplices. I don't fully understand, but it's looking pretty nice for the good guys at the moment. Until the Judge finds a playing card, a joker, amongst her papers. The Joker makes a direct challenge to Batman by dumping the dead body, in Joker makeup, of one of the copycat batmen into the Mayor's window. The Joker wants Batman to step up and take off the mask. Every night he doesn't, people will die. Despite the jokes and ribbing, Bruce is genuine when he says he believes in Harvey Dent. Yeah, he's got his ulterior motives, but he genuinely believes Harvey is what the city needs, maybe even more than it news Batman. Gotham needs a hero with a face. Bruce opens up to Rachel. He believes that day is coming very soon when Batman won't be needed. And when that day comes, he's asking her to be there for him. The people The Joker plans to kill tonight are quite important. The judge and Commissioner Loeb are among them. Harvey Dent may be another. The Joker crashes Bruce's fundraiser for Dent. Rachel stands up to him and that's when he tells his second scar story. This one is about a wife who was disfigured. He disfigured himself to be like her, and she left him. When Batman shows up, The Joker throws Rachel out the window. Batman has to jump out, catch her, and reach the ground safely. His cape barely opens as he's seconds from crashing into a car uncountable stories below. This is even more unbelievable than the fall out the window in Batman Begins. It's laughable to expect us to believe that Batman and Rachel are still alive. That's a real problem for me. Alfred seems to have a greater understanding of The Joker. This is not a man with a rational goal. He's not after the things that most criminals are after. Some men just want to watch the world burn. So how do you understand a man like that? How do you defeat him? Batman has been called the world's greatest detective. We get to see him doing a little detective work. Specifically, some forensic work, analysing gunshots into brick. I really like how the movie acknowledges that somebody in Wayne Enterprises is going to notice their own tech from applied sciences being used out there by Batman. That's only logical. But Lucious is quite capable of dealing with that. What's harder for me to swallow is that Bruce gets a fingerprint of the shooter off the hundreds of shards that were once a bullet. The Joker's next target is the mayor, who is giving a speech at Loeb's funeral. It's interesting to see the Joker out of makeup as he pretends to be one of the cops giving a rifle salute. Gordon has been shot, but we know he can't die because he hasn't become commissioner yet. Still, they play it for real. And they portray the emotion of it very well. Rachel is the next target. Harvey needs someone he can trust, and Rachel suggests Bruce Wayne. So, you know the trope, where the vigilante holds the crook out a window, threatening to drop them. We know they won't. The crook knows they won't. In this case, Batman has specifically chosen a height that won't kill Maroni, so that he can make good on his threat when Maroni calls his bluff. Maroni makes a good point. Batman has rules. The joker has no rules. Nobody is gonna cross The Joker for Batman. The only way to find him is to take off his mask and let the Joker come to him. Or he could just let more people die while he makes up his mind. Harsh truth. Dent is trying a different tactic. Putting a gun to the mobster's head. But Maroni was right. This guy won't talk. Dent offers a toss of the coin. But is he really gonna kill the guy? I know he's worried about Rachel being the next target, but is the DA really ready to take a life in cold blood? Turns out, this guy is a paranoid schizophrenic. There's not a lot Dent is gonna learn from him. Batman has some words for Harvey. He is a legitimate voice standing against the crime in Gotham. Doing it by the book. That's the first ray of light this city has seen in decades. What would happen if people saw their white knight holding a gun to a man's head? Bruce is convinced that the people need someone better than a vigilante in a bat mask. They need somebody working on the correct side of the law with his face uncovered. That's something Batman can never be. I love how all of this is building toward the conclusion of this movie. It's like a tapestry where all the threads are coming together to make something greater. There really is some great writing in this one. It's all very thematic. Bruce is ready to pass on the torch. Right now. He's going to unmask himself so nobody else dies on his behalf. Dent considers giving up. Even Rachel isn't convinced that this will keep The Joker from killing people. But it may flush him out and allow somebody to stop him. I understand Bruce's perspective. What choice does he have? He can't just keep watching while people die. Is protecting his secret identity really more important than all those lives? I think he's making the only call he can under the circumstances. Rachel admits she meant what she said to him at the end of Batman Begins. If he ends Batman, she'll be with him. But she believes that if Bruce turns himself in, they won't let them be together. “They” could refer to a lot of people. The Joker, any criminal with a grudge against Batman. The police. Bruce is destroying any evidence that could lead back to Lucious or Rachel. Today, Bruce has found out what Batman can't do, but as predicted, Alfred doesn't want to say “I told you so.” At a press conference, Dent debates whether Batman should be turned in with the crowd. They all want his head, so he gives in. As Bruce begins to step forward, Dent falls on his sword. “I am the Batman,” he says. Bruce hesitates. He doesn't turn himself in. What should he do? Rachel isn't impressed. Dent reveals how he makes his own luck - both sides of his coin are heads. The Joker makes his move to capture Dent from the prison transport. But Batman makes his move as well, essentially proving that Dent is not Batman by appearing in the tumbler. Action scenes with The Tumbler are always fun. But sadly, it's been damaged beyond immediate repair. So…..Bruce ejects in a motorbike. This is a problem. I can't believe that the bridging vehicle was designed to come apart and partially transform into a motorbike. Clearly, Bruce and Lucious have made a lot of alterations. But I just can't buy that. I mean, the bike with the massive wheels looks cool and all, but this breaks the believability a bit too much for me. This is no ordinary bike, though. It can do some really cool things. Despite all he has done, Bruce still holds to his rule. He doesn't kill The Joker. Just when all hope looks gone, who should show up but Jim Gordon. Alive and well. Now they have The Joker in custody. Gordon says he couldn't risk his family's safety, which is why he went through this ruse. But he still put them through the heartbreak of thinking he was dead. And that's pretty bad. And they haven't even found out the truth yet. Gordon is on his way home to tell his wife he's alive now. She gives him the slap that I think he deserves. But in all the commission, one thing that I missed in my first watching all those years ago. The mayor names Gordon Commissioner. So he's finally reached the position he's known for. They've found no Id on him. No idea what The Joker's true identity is. His name. How do you charge someone without knowing their name? It's not like they can just call him “The Joker.” But there's some bad news. Dent didn't make it home. So who has him? Gordon lets Batman do the interrogation. This is where we see the beginning of the nemesis relationship. The Joker doesn't want Batman dead. What would he do without Batman? Go back to knocking off mob bosses? The Joker needs a worthy adversary. Batman completes him. The Joker tells Batman he's going to have to break his one rule tonight - his rule against killing. And he's already been considering it. But it seems the Joker knows who Batman is, or at least, he knows there is a connection between Batman and Rachel. Batman is going to have to choose between Dent and Rachel. One life or another. The Joker tells Batman where each of them are. Batman's decision is made without even thinking. He's going after Rachel. The police will go for Dent. It's a sick setup. They're both wired to bombs, but there's a speakerphone between them, so they can talk to each other. Hear each other's screams. The Joker's method of escaping is clever, but disturbing. Rachel doesn't want to live with Harvey, so he finally gives him the answer he's been waiting for. The question is obvious. Her answer - yes. So…seems she's not willing to wait for Bruce after all. She'd already decided that, as we'll learn from her letter. She's convinced a day will never come when Bruce doesn't need Batman. And now comes the real tragedy of this whole thing. Batman bursts into the location where he was told Rachel would be. But it's Harvey. The Joker gave him the wrong addresses. He switched them. So that by thinking he saved the one he chose, he'd actually be killing them. Harvey is not happy that Batman came for him instead of Rachel - which of course he didn't mean to do. And Rachel has to calmly accept it. It's that moment when you realise you're about to die and there's nothing you can do to stop it, so there's no use struggling. But at least the one you love is safe. And then it happens. The buildings explode. Harvey is saved, but Rachel is not. Rachel is dead. And Batman unknowingly killed her. This is a heart-breaking tragic moment. It was a gutsy move. It was not normal, especially at the time, for a superhero to actually kill off the love interest like this. That was dark. Of course, I'm not against tragedy or darkness in stories. But ouch. This hurts. But sometimes stories are supposed to hurt. That's what makes them powerful. Before she died, Rachel gave Alred a letter for Bruce, telling him she'd decided not to wait for him. She was gonna marry Harvey Dent. Alfred ultimately decides to destroy this letter rather than give it to Bruce. I think he reasons that the rejection on top of the death is just another level of grief he doesn't need. He'll at least let Bruce keep the hope that Rachel was going to be with him. It's hard to say which would be more painful, knowing that you could have been with her if only she'd survived, or knowing that no matter what, you'd never have been able to be with her. Harvey's face is half-burned in the explosion. We know what that means. When I first saw this movie, I was embarrassingly unfamiliar with Harvey Dent, and who he was destined to become. I think the coin gave me some hints but I remember being surprised when I realised where this was going. So…..Two Face is born. The makeup effects are very well done. But….it looks really gross. Not something I actually want to look at. Harvey is not accepting skin grafts. I'm no doctor, but I don't think he's going to be able to just walk around with a big hold in his cheek, with his eyeball all exposed like that, without getting some serious infection. Maroni claims he can tell Gordon where the Joker will be tonight. The Joker proves he's a different kind of criminal when he burns all the money. He's an agent of chaos. Then he calls the talkback show that's about to reveal Batman's identity and threatens more chaos unless someone called “Coleman Reese” isn't dead within the hour. It wasn't entirely clear to me at the time, but Coleman Reese is the guy who has figured out Batman's identity. Rese is not dead, so true to his word, The Joker sets off a bomb destroying the entire hospital. They managed to clear it, fortunately. Bruce has developed a system where he can use every mobile phone in the city to listen in and pinpoint people of interest. As Lucious points out, it's a clear violation of privacy and potentially gives too much power to one person, even though the only person Bruce trusts to use it, over even himself, is Lucious. It's an interesting dilemma. It may help Bruce find The Joker, and Lucious is willing to help him this one time, after which, he'll resign. Batman is a vigilante. He operates outside the law. It's interesting that this is the line that Lucious feels so strongly about. What do you think? Has Bruce crossed a line here? And if it helps him stop The Joker, is it worth it? Havey is after the people that took Rachel. Moles within the police department. The Joker has threatened more chaos and death in the city, and half the population are evacuating Gotham via ferry. The joker is running a sick social experiment. Two boats. One full of criminals. Another full of evacuating civilians. Each rigged with a bomb. Each with a detonator to destroy the other boat. At midnight he blows both boats up, unless someone on one of the boats pushes their button - destroying the other. The Joker will let that boat live. So by sacrificing (murdering) the people on the other boat, they'll save themselves. The civilian boat is taking a vote. The guards on the criminal boat are desperately trying to stop the prisoners from rioting and pushing the button. This kind of sick game is exactly the kind of thing that The Joker delights in. Meanwhile, Harvey has taken Gordon's family. It's all happening. There's lots of fantastic drama as the crews of the boat try to make their decisions. It's really interesting how it all develops. Thanks to his invention, Batman has found The Joker. And so begins their epic showdown. In the end, neither crew destroys the other. Likewise, Batman and the Joker won't kill each other, Batman because of his morals, and the Joker because fighting Batman is too much fun. The joker is fighting for the soul of Gotham. That's not gonna be won with a fistfight. Much like Lex in Batman V Superman, he's trying to make a philosophical point about morality. But the people in those barges have just proven that the city is full of people willing to do good. But for how long? The Joker has taken the white knight - Harvey Dent, and transformed him into something ugly. I'm not talking about his face. He's turned Dent into a killer. The beacon of hope that Bruce so believed in. When people see that, their idealism, their hope in good, will evaporate. THAT is the joker's victory. But the Gotham police arrive and arrest him. He'll spend the rest of his life in a cell, and that's the last we see of him in this movie. But there's still a good 20 minutes left of the film. How can you have a climax without your primary villain? Isn't that The Joker? Well, he may in fact be the primary villain, but putting aside that word, he's not the primary antagonist. Harvey Dent is the primary antagonist. The antagonist is the one who stands opposed to the protagonist's goal in the story. Our protagonist is Bruce Wayne. And what does he want? Ultimately his goal in this movie is to stop being Batman, so he can be with Rachel. He wants to raise up Harvey Dent as a different kind of hero, a better hero, a white knight who can do the things Batman can't. Harvey opposes Bruce's goals the whole way through. First, simply by being with Rachel, keeping her from a relationship with Bruce. But ultimately, by becoming bad. By failing to be the hero Bruce wanted him to be. By constantly making bad choices, proving that he's not the good person Bruce so desperately wants him to be. And that's what we're about to see play out in this final sequence as Harvey threatens Gordon's family. So if the Joker isn't the antagonist, what role does he place in this movie? I learned this from an old episode of the Writing Excuses podcast about the Hollywood Formula with a guy named Lou Anders. The Joker is what is referred to as the relationship character. The relationship character is the embodiment of the story's theme. The Joker is constantly trying to convince Batman that he's more like The Joker than he is like the idealised hero he wants Dent to be. “You're a freak - just like me.” In the end, Batman fulfils this by accepting his role as The Dark Knight. This is fascinating stuff to me. It's interesting to me that Harvey has chosen Gordon as the target of all his rage. I understand he failed to save Rachel, but there are bigger targets. The Joker is the most obvious, of course, but he has his reasons why he wants to go for someone more directly connected to the failure. Batman is a more logical target. Batman was the one who went to the wrong place and saved Harvey instead of Rachel. I could totally understand Harvey targeting Batman, but Gordon? I guess the difference is, Gordon is tangible. Gordon is a real person with an identity and a family. What is Batman? A persona. How do you hurt Batman? Who are his loved ones? You can't know that without knowing who is behind the mask. And Harvey's approach is very Joker-like. He's playing games. He's gonna pick one of Gordon's family, the one he decides Gordon loves the most. That's the life he's going to take. One for one. He doesn't even want to escape from this, and that makes him especially dangerous. Batman shows up, mercifully. Harvey feels betrayed not just on a personal level because of Rachel but on a larger leve., “You lied to me. You said we could be decent men, in an indecent time. You were wrong. The world is cruel. And the only morality in a cruel world is change.” In his mind, that's fair. The Joker chose Harvey because he was the best of them. Joker wanted to prove that even a man like Harvey Dent could fall. Sadly, Harvey has proven him right. That's the tragedy of this whole story. The heavy drama here is powerful. Doubly so because I'm a parent. So Batman rescues the boy, and Harvey dies in the struggle, leaving Gordon and Batman with a dilemma. The Joker has won. Any hope for saving Gotham dies with Harvey's reputation. So Bruce does the only thing he can. There is only one way left to defeat the Joker, and he can't let the Joker win. Batman claims responsibility for Harvey's crimes. “Tell them I did it,” he says to Gordon. Batman takes the fall for Harvey so that Harvey's reputation can remain untarnished, thus preserving hope for the people of Gotham. Batman calls back to something Harvey Dent said early in the movie. He has now grown old enough to see himself become the villain. But not in the way anyone expected. As Bruce rides off on his bike, Gordon's son says “But he didn't do anything wrong.” I can't help but see strong Christ parallels here. An innocent man taking on the crimes of the guilty, for the good of others. And Christ parallels always hit me right in the heart, because of my own personal beliefs. This is a tragic but beautiful ending. So Bruce has now become The Dark Knight. The hero Gotham deserves, but not the one it needs. The name takes on so much new significance at the end. It wasn't just a case of “well, we can't call it Batman, so what's another name for Batman?” No. The Dark Knight has deep meaning, especially when contrasted with Harvey Dent as the White Knight. Love it. Critics of DC films, particularly the ones that get a reputation for being dark, tend to say that the movies are without hope, without optimism. Nothing could be further from the truth. This movie is dripping with hope. It's all about hope. I feel the same way about Man of Steel and Batman V Superman. I love this movie. It's so well written. It all fits together so nicely. Events are foreshadowed. Themes are set up and then paid off satisfactorily. It's almost poetic. So, having now re-watched both Batman Begins and The Dark Knight, I might still say that Batman Begins is my favourite because I really like the origin story aspect, but I think I might have to say that The Dark Knight is actually the better film. But we're talking about the difference between two awesome movies, so what does it really matter? The point is, they're both fantastic. Next time, we'll conclude our look at this trilogy by watching The Dark Knight Rises, which I've also only seen once. And then after that, we launch into our new series on Star Trek Continues. Have a great two weeks Live long and prosper Make it so
"Solo è il coraggio. Giovanni Falcone, il romanzo" è l'ultimo libro di Roberto Saviano (Bompiani). Si racconta una parte della vita di Giovanni Falcone, soprattutto gli ultimi dieci anni, dal 1982 alla strage di Capaci del 23 maggio del 1992. A trent'anni dalla morte del magistrato per mano della mafia, Saviano decide di raccontare una storia che in parte è già nota, ma ha una serie di episodi che l'autore ricostruisce attraverso le carte e i diari di persone che avevano lavorato con Falcone. Ne emerge un ritratto di uomini e donne di legge (Falcone, la moglie Francesca Morvillo, Rocco Chinnici e altri) caratterizzati dall'aver scelto il coraggio. Coraggio che non impediva la paura. Nella seconda parte parliamo di "Il cielo sbagliato" di Silvia Truzzi (Longanesi), un romanzo ambientato a Mantova fra il 1918 e il '45, anni in cui le vicende dei personaggi di fantasia, che restano comunque in primo piano, si intrecciano con fatti e personaggi reali. Tutto inizia l'11 novembre 1918, giorno dell'armistizio e giorno in cui nascono due bambine dal destino molto diverso. Dora nasce in una famiglia poverissima, la madre muore di parto e lei resta insieme a una nonna crudele, ossessionata dalla fame e dalla miseria. Irene nasce in una famiglia nobile e ricca. Bambine molto diverse le cui vite si intrecceranno in modo inaspettato.
In today's Podcast episode, Todd Falcone asks… Would you like to become a better closer in your network marketing business? Watch this training to discover my 7-word question for closing sales with ease.
Giuseppe Lo Bianco, Sandra Rizza"L'agenda rossa di Paolo Borsellino"Gli ultimi 56 giorni nel racconto di familiari, colleghi, magistrati, investigatori e pentitiPrefazione di Marco TravaglioChiareletterehttps://www.chiarelettere.it/ “Questo non è soltanto un libro su un'agenda scomparsa. Questo è soprattutto un libro su una storia scomparsa: la storia degli ultimi giorni di Paolo Borsellino.”Dalla prefazione di Marco Travaglio“Senza agenda, e senza i tormenti segreti affidati a quelle pagine, per trent'anni una parte consistente dello Stato ha visto impresso sulla strage un timbro esclusivamente mafioso. Ora per la prima volta una sentenza mette nero su bianco la responsabilità delle istituzioni nel depistaggio di via D'Amelio.”Dalla premessa degli autori alla nuova edizione“Ho capito tutto” ripeteva Borsellino negli ultimi giorni della sua vita, mentre lavorava disperatamente alla verità sulla strage di Capaci. Cinquantasei giorni dopo l'esecuzione di Falcone, arrivò la sua.Giuseppe Lo Bianco e Sandra Rizza ricostruiscono quei momenti drammatici con il supporto delle carte giudiziarie, le testimonianze di pentiti ed ex colleghi magistrati, le confidenze di amici e familiari. E ci restituiscono le pagine dell'agenda scomparsa nell'inferno di via D'Amelio, in cui Borsellino annotava minuziosamente appuntamenti e intuizioni investigative. Qualcuno si affrettò a requisirla: troppo scottante ciò che il magistrato vi aveva scritto nella sua corsa contro il tempo. Chi incontrava? Chi intralciava il suo lavoro in procura? Quali verità aveva scoperto? E perché, lasciato solo negli ultimi giorni della sua vita, disse: “Mi uccideranno, ma non sarà una vendetta della mafia... Forse saranno mafiosi quelli che materialmente mi uccideranno, ma quelli che avranno voluto la mia morte saranno altri”?Nella premessa a questa nuova edizione, pubblicata a trent'anni dalla strage, gli autori riannodano le fila delle azioni investigative e giudiziarie che da lucidi cronisti documentano con ostinazione fin da quel tragico 1992. Oggi sappiamo che dietro il “più colossale depistaggio della storia d'Italia” c'è la mano dello Stato, una verità che non può più essere taciuta.Giuseppe Lo Bianco, cronista di giudiziaria, ha lavorato al giornale “L'Ora” di Palermo e all'agenzia Ansa, ha collaborato con “L'Espresso” e oggi è corrispondente dalla Sicilia per “il Fatto Quotidiano”. È autore di The Truman Boss (con Vincenzo Balli, Castelvecchi 2017) e La Repubblica delle stragi (a cura di Salvatore Borsellino, PaperFIRST 2018), ed è tra i fondatori dell'Associazione Memoria e Futuro.Sandra Rizza ha imparato il mestiere di giornalista negli stanzoni de “L'Ora” di Palermo, negli anni caldi della guerra di mafia, passando presto alla cronaca nera e giudiziaria. Ha collaborato con “il manifesto” e con “La Stampa”, ed è stata corrispondente dalla Sicilia del settimanale “Panorama” negli anni delle stragi 1992-93. Per un decennio redattrice giudiziaria dell'Ansa di Palermo, oggi collabora con “il Fatto Quotidiano”.IL POSTO DELLE PAROLEascoltare fa pensarehttps://ilpostodelleparole.it/
In today's Podcast episode, Todd Falcone talks about…Overcoming and handling objections is one of the most important things you can do when mastering prospecting. Watch this training to see more.
Batman Begins is my favourite standalone Batman movie. It set a precedent for the kind of grounded serious superhero movie that I would love going forward. So let's dig in an talk about it. Over the next three episodes, I'll be covering the Dark Knight Trilogy, but it all begins here with Christopher Nolan's Batman Begins. ----more---- (Player control to listen to this podcast at bottom of page) Transcript Welcome to Nerd Heaven. I'm Adam David Collings The author of Jewel of The Stars. And I am a nerd. This is episode 92 of the podcast. Today, we're talking about the movie Batman Begins. The description on IMDB reads After training with his mentor, Batman begins his fight to free crime-ridden Gotham City from corruption. The story for this movie was written by David S. Goyer The screenplay was written by Christopher Nolan. It was directed by Christopher Nolan And it first released in June 2005 In order to share my thoughts and reactions to Batman Begins, I need to very briefly talk about my past experience with Batman. Much like Superman, Batman has always been a part of my consciousness. I can't remember a time in my life before I knew about Batman. He was just always there. The first version of the character that I actively remember engaging with was the 60s TV series, although I'm sure there was awareness before that. I wasn't alive in the 60s, of course, but I saw the show on repeats. Remember Saturday morning cartoons in the 80s? Our local TV station did their own Saturday morning show, and amongst all the cartoons, they always showed one live action show. At one point they showed the Beverly Hillbillies. At another point, it was Adam West Batman. I enjoyed the show, but I think even at the time, I was aware that it was incredibly cheesy and silly. But to me, Superheroes were not silly. I took them very seriously. When news of the 1989 Tim Burton movie came out, my ears pricked up. I didn't see the movie at the cinema. We just didn't really go to the cinema much when I was a kid. We watched everything on Video. And that's how I eventually saw this movie. But I remember seeing the marketing. And I had a hardcover book about the making of the movie. I remember looking at the darker aesthetic and thinking, wow. This is a gritter, more serious take on Batman. I was VERY interested. Would this movie take the character as seriously as I did? When I finally saw the movie, I enjoyed it. It was more grounded. I liked how they explained the Joker's smile. He had to have his skin stretched after his accident, so he used makeup to make it less weird. At least, that's how I interpreted it. It wasn't until a few years ago that I realised that the normal skin tone was actually the makeup, and the white skin was real. This movie was much closer to the kind of Batman I wanted, but it still had more campiness than I expected. Most of that came from the Joker. Seeing him prance about with his goons spray painting the museum, it felt like I was right back in Adam West land. But it was more than that. There was a thick veneer of un-realness over them, especially the second. It was the architecture, the people, the 1930s cameras, Penguin's father's monocle. And the movies in that series got progressively more and more silly. I don't want to speak too disparagingly about that series, because there's lots of good stuff to like. But when they announced that the Batman movies were getting rebooted, I was very interested once again. And this time, they really were taking it seriously. Batman Begins was a more serious grounded Batman. This was a movie that took the character as seriously as I did. It treated him like a person and really fleshed out Bruce Wayne as much as it did Batman. This was EXACTLY what I'd been looking for. And to this day, Batman Begins is still my favourite stand-alone Batman movie. It'll be interesting to see if that still holds after I re-watch The Dark Knight, which I've only ever seen once. I say standalone because Batman V Superman was a multi-hero movie. But Batman Begins primed me for Zack Snyder's work. Batman Begins made me fall in love with the grounded serious Superhero movie. And I've never looked back. So let's dig in and talk about it. So the movie begins with a shot of the sky with bats flying everywhere, and Batman's logo revealed in the background. That logo is so recognisable that you really don't need any text. That's something the marketers knew even back in 1989. Bruce is running around his garden as a child. Most Batman stories begin with Bruce walking through the alley with his parents at night, but this is a different take. This is Bruce before the tragedy. It's all bright colours and sunny. Bruce has a big smile on his face as he plays with his childhood friend Rachel. But he's a bit of a little ratbag. Rachel has found something cool, it's an old arrowhead, and he snatches it from her. It seems that child Bruce has developed a sense of, I can have what I want, because I'm rich. Not exactly the lesson his parents would want him to pick up, we'll see later that they're really good people. But this is an attitude that could easily develop in a child raised in an environment like this, unless much care was taken to help him unlearn that kind of stuff. As Rachel chases him, Bruce falls through a hole into an old boarded up well. rachel runs to get help from her Mum, who is in Wayne Manor, which looks really cool. I'm surprised they didn't take more care to fence it off or something. This well connects to a cave system underground, and it is filled with bats. Young Bruce freaks out as they flap around his face, giving him a life-time fear of bats. This is an important element that will come back later in a way that I thought was really cool. That's when we cut to Bruce waking up as an adult. Now I've heard from some sources, some criticisms of this movie and it's realistic take. Pointing out that there are things in it that are far from realistic. Bruce's fall without apparent injury could be classed as one. Although we'll later learn that he did break his leg, but a bit more visible pain on his face would have helped. For me, when I say I love this movie for its realistic take, it's not about every little moment being perfectly realistic. It's about the realistic take on the characters. It's about the world feeling like ours, rather than having that thick veneer of fakeness plastered over it like the previous movie series. As I said before, it's about this movie taking itself seriously. This is a Bruce Wayne we've never seen. He's got a beard. He's lying in a foreign prison. Okay, What is going on here? Most Batman stories do the parents' death and then cut straight to Batman fully costumed and operating in Gotham. But there's a big jump between those. How do you get from one to the other? That was the big promise of this movie. They were going to delve more deeply into Batman's origin story, a story that had never really been told on screen before. We see how Bruce as a young man goes off in search of his destiny, and finally finds it. Finds a way to deal with the pain of his parent's death, and ultimately, becomes the Batman we know. This was a story that was completely new to me, and I loved it. We don't yet know what Bruce is in here for, but another of the prisoners has it out for him. Is bullying him. I quite like it when the bully refers to himself as the devil, and Bruce says, “you're not the devil. You're practice.” That tells you so much about Bruce's mindset here. He's using everything around him, every experience, to learn and develop. To become what he wants to become. And that's very Batman. We get to see a nicely done fight scene. It's fierce and brutal. When the guards drag Bruce away “for protection” and then reveal it's not for him, it's for all the thugs he beat up, I audibly laughed. A little humour, but not the kind of humour that pulls you out of the seriousness of the scene. Somebody is waiting for him in his cell. A well-dressed Liam Neeson calling himself Ducard. He says something very interesting. “Are you so desperate to fight criminals that you get yourself locked up so you can take them on one at a time.” This gives us a lot of insight into who Bruce is at the moment, and what's going on in his head. Did he deliberately get himself locked up in here? I wouldn't put it past this version of Bruce Wayne. Of course, Ducard has figured out exactly who Bruce is. And he says he works for Ra's al Ghul, a name I hadn't heard before I watched this movie the first time. Bruce has been exploring the criminal underworld, but in the process, he's become lost. Rotting in a foreign prison. He may be learning about criminals here, but he's certainly not going to do anybody any good. Ra's al Ghul can offer him a path. Something he needs but isn't yet convinced about. The path of the League of Shadows. Ra's al Ghul shared Bruce's hatred of evil. He can provide a way to serve true justice. So a vigilante. Bruce isn't sure that's what he wants to be. But Ducard sees al Ghul differently. A vigilante is just a man lost in the scramble for his own gratification. He can be destroyed or locked up. Kinda like Bruce right now. But if you make yourself more than just a man, if you devote yourself to an ideal, and if they can't stop you, then you become something else entirely. A legend. There's some good dialog in this film. And now he's got Bruce's attention. Because he's offering a concrete way to become what Bruce really wants. A way to truly make a difference against the kind of evil, so rampant in his home city, that destroyed his life. This is as good a time as any to talk about a theory I have. You see, the whole idea of a man dressing up as a bat to fight crime is absurd. It's ridiculous. You might even say, it's pretty stupid. So why does it work? How do you make it work? When you're adapting a comic book to a movie, and you come across something in the comics that's silly, there's two main ways you can deal with it. The first is to basically hang a lantern on it. This has become quite popular in recent time, but has been for a long while. The MCU did this when Hawkeye says “I'm fighting robots with a bow and arrow. None of this makes any sense.” I really don't like this approach. It's the acknowledgement, of, this is silly, we know it's silly, but let's just go with it, yeah? Even Zack Snyder's Justice League does this a little bit, when Aquaman derides Bruce for “dressing up like a bat” and later says “I dig it.” At the other extreme, you've got the approach that Batman Begins takes. When you find something that's silly, you either find a way to make it work, to make it less silly, or you eject it. An example of this is the penguin. I believe Christopher Nolan has been quited as saying that The Penguin would never have worked in his trilogy because the character just wouldn't fit with the more realistic take he'd developed. But right here, in this scene, we're seeing that Batman Begins is going to try to explain why an orphaned boy grows into a man who eventually wears a bat costume, in a way that doesn't feel silly. And for me, personally, it works really well. Ducard has arranged for Bruce to be released from prison tomorrow. He's instructed to find a rare flower that grows on the mountain. If he can pick one, and bring it to the top of the mountain, he may find what he's been looking for all this time. I'm liking the character development they're already doing with Bruce. He knows he's looking for something, and he's been stumbling around the world trying to find it, but so far he's failed. This is exactly the kind of person that Ra'as al Ghul would try to recruit. And yes, Bruce may have finally found what he's been searching for. The scenery in this next sequence is quite beautiful. The grassy plains and the snowy mountains. He makes his way up the mountain, past villages. They warn him to turn back. I guess there are stories about the questionable people who live up at the top. Bruce is being put through a physical challenge to reach his destination. It's one thing to want to fight injustice, but it's another to have the strength of body and will to do so. Bruce first has to prove himself capable. Which he does. Bruce finds an old asian man sitting in a chair when he finally reaches his destination. “Ra'as al Ghul?” he asks. And you'll notice the man doesn't answer. He speaks in another language, and Duard translates. I'm not sure exactly what country this is. I get the impression it's somewhere like Tibet or maybe Nepal. Bruce is asked “What are you seeking?” “A means to fight injustice. To turn fear against those who prey on the fearful.” Bruce sounds like somebody who has already given a great deal of thought to the answer to that question. We know he's been seeking this for some time. He presents the flower to Ducard. “To manipulate fears in others, you must first learn to control your own.” Which seems to make sense. Bruce can barely stand after his climb, but is still expected to defend himself. Ducard is testing him. He learns that Bruce is afraid, but not of him. Bruce has been in fights with thugs so many times before. He used to that. When Ducard asks him what he fears, we cut back to that childhood memory. Being rescued from that cave full of bats. We learn here but Bruce did indeed break a bone, so points back for the realism thing. We also see that Rachel's mother works for Wayne as a maid. Importantly, we see Bruce hand the rock back to Rachel as they go past. It seems he's learned a lesson of sorts through this experience. Maybe life isn't all about having everything you want, and taking the things you desire from others. His father is trying to impart an important lesson to Bruce. “Why do we fall? So we can pick ourselves back up.” That's a lesson that adult Bruce has really taken to heart, which is how he's survived so long in this lifestyle. But he'll have to re-learn it later. In this scene, we get our first glimpse of Michael Caine as Alfred. Superhero movies are usually cast with unknowns. That makes a lot of sense, especially for the titular heroes. But Christopher Nolan deliberately cast a lot of big name stars in this movie. Michael Caine, Liam Neeson, Morgan Freeman, Katie Holmes. Nolan's thinking was, why shouldn't a superhero movie deserve to have the very best actors available. Of ourse, star power isn't always directly equal to acting ability, but these actors all do amazing jobs in their roles in this movie. I was a little sceptical about someone as famous as Michael Cain playing Alfred. Would I really be able to see the character through the famous face? But it absolutely worked for me. All these actors sold me on their characters, and after this, I couldn't imagine anybody else ever playing Alfred. Who could possibly top Michael Cain? Of course, then Jeremy Irons blew me away in Batman V Superman, but that's another story. Bruce is having recurring nightmares about the bats. They've really scared him. His father explains that they attacked him because they were afraid of him. All creatures feel fear - especially the scary ones. This conversation will really shape who and what Bruce will become. And then his father shows him a pearl necklace he plans to give Bruce's mother. That's ominous. We know what those pearls mean. Right? The next scnene gives us some great insight into who Thomas Wayne is. He's not only a good father, he's a good man. The people of Gotham have been going through hard times. He's used his money to provide cheap transport for the city, and he's not above using it himself, by the way. He owns Wayne Enterprises, a big successfully company, but he doesn't take an active role in running it. Instead, he chooses to spend his time working in a hospital as a doctor. In his own way, Thomas Wayne is a hero. He instilled a lot of values into his son. There's been one or two interpretations of Thomas Wayne where he's a corrupt businessman. Not a nice guy at all. And while I appreciate the grittiness of that approach, I prefer this version of Thomas. The idealistic nice guy who established a legacy for Bruce to follow. And notice that Thomas is wearing a tuxedo, and Martha is wearing the pearls. We know what's coming. The actors in the opera seem to be dressed as bats. It's freaking poor Bruce out. There's a little exchange between father and son. First of all, he says “Can we go?” And that just comes across as any restless child who is bored and wants to leave. My response to that would be a quiet firm “No.” But his face shifts and he says “please” in a pleading kind of way. And Thomas sees what's really going on inside Bruce. And being the good father he is, Thomas leaves the show, something he probably spent good money on, something he was probably enjoying himself. But for the sake of his child, there's no question. Martha hasn't picked up on it the way Thomas did. She asks what is wrong, and Thomas covers for him. I'm not sure exactly why he felt the need to do that. Maybe so as not to embarrass Bruce over his fears. I got another chuckle when Thomas said “A little opera goes a long way, right Bruce.” So they've left early and are walking through the alley, and that's when it happens. The inevitable moment that defines Bruce's life. When the mugger appears, Thomas is calm. He's willing to hand over whatever this guy wants. Again this shows the man's values. He cares about his family far more than money. And he's trying to calm the mugger. But when the wallet drops, the mugger gets jumpy. The mugger wants the jewelly as well. He raises his gun toward Martha. And suddenly it all happens so fast. The previously calm Thomas reacts on instinct. It's not about the pearls. Somebody is pointing a gun at my wife. I must protect her. He stands in front of her. The sudden movement spooks the mugger and he fires. It's all so tragic. They were so close to getting out of this without anybody getting hurt. Somewhere along the way Martha is shot as well. And the poor kid is left there in an ally all alone, next to the dead bodies of his parents. And it's all because they left early. It's all because Bruce was afraid of the bats. That's got to hurt. This is a good addition to the mythology because it drives that knife even deeper into Bruce's heart. And it's that pain that pushes him to become Batman. The death scene is done pretty well here, but I have to say, after seeing the version Zack Snyder did in Batman V Superman, well, this just can't compare to that. That haunting music! And the lack of blood seems to detract from the realism somewhat. We get our first look at Commissioner Gordon, although he won't be a commissioner at all during this movie. Right now, he's just a uniform cop. Probably a constable. I don't know exactly how police ranks work in America. You can tell right away he's a good cop. He shows a lot of compassion and empathy for Bruce. The detective delivers the good news. They got the guy who did this. But that's got to be very little comfort to a child who has just lost his parents. One of the Wayne Enterprise executives promises they'll be watching over the empire until he's ready. Again, that's the last thing that Bruce cares about. Bruce breaks down and admits the guilt he's feeling to Alfred. And we see the beginnings of the father figure that Alfred will be from now on. That's a dynamic that I really like. Back in the present, Ducard asks Bruce if he still blames himself for his parent's death. He says that his anger outweighs his guilt. Honestly, I'm not sure which is healthier. Bruce has buried his guilt with that anger, but Ducard is going to help him confront it and face the truth. Next we get something of a training montage. Not quite a montage because there's snippets of dialogue through it. Bruce has come a long way with his own training, but Ducard will take what he can do and take it to new levels. There are a lot of similarities between Batman, the way he operates, and a ninja. Both use stealth. This movie digs into that and outright makes ninja training a part of Batman's background. I imagine a lot of this is drawn from comics, but I'm not familiar enough to know exactly what. I'm still pretty early the comics-reading journey I recently started. But it's all good stuff. One little detail that I love is that during their sword fight, Ducard is wearing armoured spikes on his arms, these are a famous part of Batman's costume. There is an emphasis on theatricality and deception. These also lead very naturally into what Batman will be and lend believability to the whole thing that I really appreciate. When Bruce is shown a criminal in a cage, we get some insight into the zero-tolerance that the league of shadows have for crime. Ducard says “criminals thrive in the indulgence of society's understanding.” We'll see shortly the kind of justice that they believe in. The next conversation explores this idea of guilt and blame. Ducards says “Your parents' death was not your fault. It was your father's. He failed to act.” Bruce defends his father. “The man had a gun.” “Would that stop you?” “I've had training.” “The training is nothing. Will is everything. The will to act.” So Ducard is placing the blame firmly on Thomas, for not having the strength of body and will to stop the mugger. This is a very interesting perspective. The truth is, there are a thousand different things that contributed to them being there at that moment. Bruce's desire to leave early, their decision to go to the opera, Thomas's gift of jewellery to his wife, probably many factors that lead the mugger to choose that particular night, that particular alley. But ultimately, the blame for his crime, in my opinion, has to fall on the mugger. He made the moral choice to steal from these people, and he made the moral choice to kill them. The responsibility for that crime rests on him. There's another nice quiet character scene with Bruce and Ducard around a campfire. Ducard displays a keen insight into the kind of pain Bruce has at the centre of his life. The anger he has wrapped around the guilt. The way it has affected him. He shares a little of his own story. He knows Bruce's pain because he shares it, because of the death of his wife. Then he says something important. “Your anger gives you power, but if you let it, it will destroy you.” And isn't that the truth! When Bruce asks what helped Ducard, he says vengeance. And I'm going to have to dispute that one. From what I've observed, Vengeance rarely makes people feel better. It doesn't take away the pain. We talked about this in Stargate Universe when Rush took revenge on Simeon for killing Amanda Perry and Ginn. Bruce says vengeance is no help to him. He asks why Bruce never took revence for his parents. And that leads us to another flashback. Bruce is now a young man, probably just out of his teens. He's been attending Princeton, which I believe is a pretty high profile university, but he's back home with Alfred for a hearing. Related to the man who killed his parents. Justice works very slowly. But that's probably a good thing. If there's one thing where you don't want to risk making a mistake, it's the justice system. Sadly, of course, no matter how slow and careful they are, there are still mistakes made. Bruce is not returning to Princeton. Apparently, he hasn't ingratiated himself to the staff there. But he can't see Wayne Manor as his home either. This is his father's house. A mausoleum. Alfred doesn't see it that way. This house has been home to six generations of the Wayne family. Many times, it has passed from parent to child. The child becoming the new master of the home. Moving into the master bedroom is symbolic of that. The only difference is, Thomas's death happened so young, and so tragically. Bruce doesn't understand why Alfred cares so much. But Alfred cares very much about this family, and thinks of it as his own. We see the same thing with Jeremy Irons' Alfred too. Thomas made Alfred responsible for that which was most precious to him. Bruce. Alfred takes that responsibility very seriously. And then we find out why Bruce has little regard for his future. We see what Bruce plans to do. He has a hand gun. But there's a lot more to it than just wanting revenge for killing his parents. We learn that Rachel works for the DA, and the DA is letting the mugger, Chill, go free. He shared a cell with Carmine Falcone. He's testifying against that crime boss in exchange for early parole. So this isn't the sentencing after all. I Guess justice doesn't move THAT slowly. This is hard one. I understand why the justice system needs to make deals like this. You reward the small fish for helping you catch the big fish. The truth is, Carmine Falcone is a much greater threat to the safety of the people of Gotham than Chill is. If they can bring down Falcone, then a lot of lives can be saved. A lot of crime can be prevented. But what about Bruce? What about his parents? Where is the justice for them? That's why Bruce feels somebody should be there to represent his parents at this hearing. To remind the world that Chill's crime had consequences. That his crime broke Bruce's life in a way that can never be repaired. And this is also why he's planning to take justice into his own hands with that gun. I'm not sure I noticed this when the movie first came out, but watching it now, as a 44 year old, Rachel almost looks too young to be a lawyer. Katie Holmes was famous as a teenage actor in the TV show Dawson's Creek. I didn't watch that show at the time, but I saw a little of it with my wife some time later. I'm still very much seeing that teenager in her face here in this movie. Of course, this movie came out in 2005. It feels like it was just yesterday, but that's actually 17 years ago. My first child was born in 2005. Anyway, I guess the moral of that, which I'm trying to say is that Katie Holmes retained her youthful look, so good on her, and … well….I'm getting kind of old. As the DA, makes his case, he mentions a depression. To my knoweldge, the only depression that has occured in the last few centuries, was the great depression between the two world wars. We've had a number of recessions, but that's a lesser thing, right? And depression isn't something that just affects one city. A depression affects nations. Multiple nations. So that's a departure from real-world history. Chill speaks of his regret for his crime. Yes, he was desperate, but that doesn't change what he did. I believe his remorse. It comes across as genuine. After 14 years of paying for the crime, how could you not come to regret it? We all know regret right. I've been torn up by regret over all sorts of things. But none of them close to the severity of what Chill did. When the judge announces that a member of the Wayne family is present, and invites Bruce to speak, the actor playing Chill does some great stuff with his face, showing the emotion that the character is feeling in that moment. The shame and guilt. The regret. How do you face the living victim of your murder? But Bruce doesn't speak. He stands and walks out. And gets his gun ready. Bruce walks toward Chill, gun hidden in his sleeve, but he never gets the chance. Somebody else shoots Chill dead. No doubt somebody working for Falcone. Bruce and Rachel talk about the difference between justice and revenge. Bruce posits that sometimes they are the same thing. Rachel says that justice is about harmony. Revenge is about making you feel better. But Bruce points out her impartial system is broken, which, it is. We talked about that, the imperfection of humans. So Rachel decides to give him a real lesson. She takes him into the slums. She shows him the people living in poverty. Falcone floods the streets with violence and drugs. He makes these people desperate. The real villain in Bruce's story may not be the man who pulled the trigger. It's Falcone, who made Chill desperate enough to want to steal. (Which obviously doesn't exonerate Chill for his terrible crime). Rachel knows exactly where Falcone hangs out. He's there in that bar every night. But through corruption and threats, he keeps the police at bay. Nobody will touch him. They're all too afraid. This scene is foundational to Bruce becoming Batman. This movie shows there's so much more to it than just the death of his parents and training to be a ninja. There's some real depth to the story in Batman Begins, and I love it. Bruce admits to Rachel that he's not one of her good people. Shows her the gun. She gives him the slap he deserves. And she's right. His father would be ashamed of him right now. So Bruce storms right into Falcone's bar and walks up to the crime boss. I like how the first half of this movie uses Falcone as its primary antagonist. In the grand scheme of things, he turns out to be a minor foe for Batman, but at this point in his life, Falcone is an untouchable, insurmountable foe to Bruce. The conversation between Falcone and Bruce is fantastic. More great dialog. Falcone has the kind of power where he wouldn't hesitate to shoot Bruce in the head, right here, in front of cops and judges. That's power. The power of fear. In a few quick sentences, he reminds Bruce how much he actually does have to lose. Rachel, his butler. He thinks he knows pain, but he knows nothing of desperation. It's ironic that Falcone is the cause of so much desperation in this city, but he understands it. He lives amongst it. Bruce doesn't yet comprehend that type of desperation. But as we've seen earlier in the movie - he will. This encounter with Falcone is the impetus he needs to go and start learning about desperation and fear. To begin his long training toward becoming Batman. So he can be one of Rachel's good people. A good person who won't just do nothing. I don't know if Bruce will ever think of himself as good. He's too morally gray. But he's going to stand against the evil that has infested his city. Like his father did before him, in a very different way. As soon as he's thrown out of the bar, Bruce begins to shed the trappings of his privileged life. His wallet, his cards. His fancy clothes. He sells his nice coat to a homeless man, exchanging it for a ratty old one. His journey has begun. During this training, he lost a lot of assumptions about the simple nature of right and wrong. But he never fully gave in to it all. He didn't become one of them. He stole, but technically, the things he stole belonged to his company anyway. He still had a moral line. So back in the present, Ducard is using drugs to teach Bruce a lesson. He must become more than a man. He must become an idea. He must use fear against his enemies. The drug is from that purple flower that grows on the mountain. It has hallucinogenic properties. Ra's Al Ghul is satisfied that Bruce has overcome his fear. He's ready to join the league of Shadows and lead these men. But first, he has to prove his commitment to justice. He has to behead a criminal in front of them all. But this is one of those lines Bruce has set. He's not an executioner. He won't kill this man. That's not justice. That's what Rachel tried to teach him. This is where he differs from the League of Shadows. He'll fight men like this in Gotham. But he won't kill them. Ducard brings up a classic objection. “You compassion is a weakness your enemies will not share.” And Bruce has a good comeback. “That's why it's so important. It separates us from them.” Ducard makes a point that Bruce knows well. Legal systems are corrupt. They are often not fit to dispense true justice. Bruce has seen this first hand in Gotham. The League has turned their sights on Gotham. That city has become so corrupt, it's time for it to die. And Bruce, as their “Prince” as Falcone called him, “is the perfect one to deliver that justice.” They plan to destroy the entire city. As they believe, this is necessary. And so is born this Batman's no-kill rule. I have no problem with this Batman having a no-kill rule. I quite like it. This Bruce still has some idealism left. I like idealism. I also have no issue with Ben Affleck's Batman having no such rule. That's Bruce at a very different time of his life, in a very different situation. Batman has certainly killed before, in comics, and in other movies. Remember that time when Michael Keaton's Batman casually murdered a minor goon and then cracked a joke over his corpse? Bruce attacks the league to make his escape, burning the temple, and saving Ducard's life. Because he's still a good person. Now Bruce is ready to be Batman. It's time to go home. Alfred is very happy to see him as he arrives in a private jet. People need a powerful symbol to shake them up. He can't do that as Bruce Wayne. As a man, he can be ignored and destroyed, but as a symbol, he can be indestructible. We get a nice little moment of humour as Alfred expresses some concern over his safety with Bruce's new endeavour. We also learn that Bruce was declared legally dead by the Wayne Enterprise shareholders. They wanted his majority share, but luckily, he left everything to Alfred, who is now a wealthy man in his own right. The overhead view of the Gotham skyline shows us a very realistic looking city. A place we can well believe exists. A far cry from the gothic cartoonish Gotham we've seen in previous Batman movies. This was a breath of fresh air to me. I could never really connect with the setting of the previous movies. The city just felt so overwhelmingly fake and non-real. Now, before we see the birth of Batman, we need to meet a new character, One who will be an important villain in this movie going forward. Doctor Crane. The psychologist that gets all of Falcone's thugs declared insane, and transferred to his care, rather than facing criminal justice. Rachel is onto him, of course, as probably everyone else is. But she's the only one with the courage to do something about it. Interestingly, Rachel seems to be taking on something of the role that Jim Gordon generally fills in the comics. The one brave good person who is willing to stand up when everyone else just looks away, either for money, or out of fear. Of course, we see Jim Gordon doing that as well in this movie, but so far, he's been largely absent. Rachel is warned to back off by one of her colleagues. You can't take on somebody like that. You just have to pretend it's not happening. Bruce's first step is research. And that's a very Batman quality. Preparation. He needs to know if he'll have any allies out there. He finds some newspaper clippings about Gordon. And that's when he sees the bat. And after all that Ducard taught him, he has an idea. He goes down the well that he fell into as a child, and finds the cave. The cave is very rustic. It's not a habitable place, as caves generally aren't. I love the waterfall. As Bruce stands up, allowing the bats to flap all around him, he finds that he has overcome his fear of them. Now that he has it under control, it's time to share that fear with his enemies. Despite his bravado, Rachel actually has Crane a little spooked. He has a deal with Falcone. He gets his thugs off the hook, and Falcone brings in a shipment of something for Crane. Falcone is more interested in favours than money, and for somebody like him, that makes a lot of sense. Falcone has plenty of money, but it's the favours, the connections, that make him who he is. That's the basis of his power. Other people doing what he wants so he remains untouchable. Anyway, Falcone is gonna take care of Rachel for him. We see in the board meeting, that they are wrestling with the idea of going against the kinds of business practices that Thomas Wayne believed in. One of them argues that after 20 years they should be able to stop thinking about what Thomas Wayne would have done. And …. In part….. I think he does have a point. Thomas is no longer alive and hasn't been involved in this company for two decades. They're the ones running this business. They need the freedom to take it in their own direction. But, in terms of values, that's a little different. Thomas Wayne clearly set precedent for the kinds of moral and ethical values that Wayne Enterprises stands for. And those values are something that perhaps should endure. Especially when you're carrying on the legacy of your founder. Bruce says he's not here to interfere with the company. He just wants a job to get to know the company his father built. He's interested in the applied science division. Of course, he has something of an ulterior motive here. And this is where we get to meet Lucias Fox. Now as I understand it, this character was created for the movie, and he became so beloved, that they actually added him into the comics. This kind of thing has happened before. Batgirl was first created by the Adam West TV show, and later became part of the comics. Harley Quinn, as well. I think it was an animated series for her. Anyway, I like Lucias Fox, and it's hard not to when he's played so warmly by the one and only Morgan Freeman. Fox is surprised Bruce would want to be here. This division is a dead end, to keep Fox from causing any trouble for the board. A whole bunch of prototype technologies, not in production. Exactly what a young Billionaire needs when he wants to come a superhero vigilante. This scene is great because it legitimises all of Batman gadgets. His suit is an advanced body armour, not used in active duty by the military because it's too expensive. But perfect for a vigilante who only needs one or two. I've often heard the criticism that Batman can't have body armour any more advanced than what the US Military use in real life because they always have the best that has been invented. I think this scene goes some way to help address that. This is what I was talking about earlier. You find something that's kind of silly in a superhero's story. In a movie like this, you either make it feel believable, or you dump it. And that's the key. Making it feel believable, even if it's not strictly 100% realistic. That's not the point. It needs to feel sensible, not silly. It needs to give you enough to help you suspend your disbelief. And for me, Batman Begins does that perfectly. I love how Fox sees completely through Bruce's excuse. But all this stuff belongs to him. If he wants to use it, why not? Alfred gives us another nice little bit of texture. Back in the civil war, Bruce's great-great-grandfather was involved in the secret railroad, helping free slaves. The caves under the mansion came in handy. There is already a passage down into them. Another nice touch that adds an extra veneer of believability to this whole thing. Bruce is now making his suit. Painting the body armour and adding the arm spikes he learned about with Ducard. Alfred helps him figure out the logistics of ordering the materials he needs to assemble everything without raising suspicion. We check back in with Jim Gordon. He's in an interesting situation. He's not that courageous good man standing against corruption yet. He refuses to take bribes himself, but he does sit idly by while his partner Flass collects his money. He even assures Flass that he's no rat. He won't tell anyone about the bribes. He's resigned to the fact that there's nobody to rat to. Gordon is in a small way still part of the problem. He's definitely not yet a part of the solution. But Bruce pays him a little visit. I like how on Bruce's first time out, he doesn't have the full cowl. He's just wearing a balaclava. I kind of like it when origin stories do that. The slow build-up to the real suit. Jim needs a little push. It's not until Bruce tells him about Rachel that he really considers taking a stand himself. Bruce wants to take Falcone down for the drug shipments he brings in each week. The shipments that nobody does anything about. Bruce definitely lacks the elegance we'll come to expect from Batman as he clumsily falls and crashes around the city. He's gonna need more stuff from Fox. The memory cloth that will form the basis for Batman's cape is pure science fiction. But couching it in science fiction terms once again gives it that sensible believability to me. I like the exchange between Bruce and Fox. Fox is happy with the plausible deniability of it all. He knows Bruce is up to something. Bruce knows he knows. They don't have to keep pretending otherwise. And that's when Bruce notices the tumbler. I love the tumbler. Designed as a bridging vehicle. They could never get the bridge to work, but the vehicle itself is fine. Perfect for Bruce's needs. I love how they introduce the batmobile in this way. I love how you first see it in Army cammo colours, but Bruce asks if it comes in black. I love everything about the tumbler. The batmobile is one of the silliest things about batman. That name especially. Thank goodness that term is never spoken aloud in this movie, or in the Synder movies. You don't need to call it that on screen, it just needs to be present. I always thought the idea of Batman driving around in a car was pretty silly. But this thing? Now you're talking! Now, there are some issues with the tumbler in the second movie, which we'll get to. But just looking at Batman Begins in isolation, this is absolutely perfect. You can see a defined difference between the way Bruce is approaching Falcone now, as opposed to how he did it as a young man. Back then, he was hot-headed. He burst into Falcone's bar armed with nothing but anger and emotion. And he was humiliated. Now, he's taking his time. Doing surveillance. No longer a child, Bruce has become a man. There's still a lot of emotion driving him, of course, but that emotion is no longer in the driver's seat. Bruce has learned to control it. In reality, this isn't just a drug shipment. There are drugs, but there's also something special for Crane. Flass is actively helping Falcone protect the shipment. And he's all but offered to kill Rachel. And this is where we first see Batman in action. I love this scene. It takes all the tropes of a horror movie and inverts them. It's the bad guys that are being terrorised, and Batman is the monster. In a lot of ways, this scene defined for me, who and what Batman is. I remember playing the Arkham Asylum game. This scene was in my mind as I played that. It impacted how I played the game. The crooks are vanishing one by one. Being taken by something in the shadows. It's creepy and it's cool. Possibly the best scene in the movie. I love when the crook screams “where are you you?” And then we hear that gravelling voice behind him, as an upside-down Batman says “here.” They actually use the “hide the monster” trope here, but in the way I like, not in the way I hate. Because the crooks don't get a good glimpse of Batman. Not until right at the end, we finally see Batman in all his glory, as he pulls Falcone out of the car. Bruce saves Rachel's life, and gives her the leverage she needs to get the judge to do the right thing. It seems everything is all wrapped up. In one night, Batman has taken down Carmine Falcone, something the police in Gotham haven't been able to do in 20 years. So Falcone is strapped to a massive floodlight. Making the image of a bat on the clouds. It's this movie's take on the bat signal. This is a moment that gets criticism. Those floodlights get extremely hot. In reality, Falcone would be burned to a very dead crisp. And I can't argue against that. First of all, I'll point out that this light is hardly at full strength. You can tell just by looking at it that the light is pretty dim. But then, there's no way it'd be able to project that image up into the sky to be visible like that. This scene is a cheat. I'll admit that. I always found the bat signal pretty silly. I never liked the idea that Gotham police had Batman on speed dial. Gordon, sure. But he needs a much more subtle way of getting in touch with him. I'll admit this moment doesn't quite work, but given the overall tone of the rest of this movie, I kinda don't care. The point is, we've established just how powerful Bruce has become, in his new persona. Up until this point, Falcone has been the big bad of the movie. He was the primary villain. And he seemed a very powerful, very intimidating villain. How can one man bring down somebody like that? But Batman has done what that young Bruce could never have conceived of. He's brought down Falcone, and it feels kind of effortless. Bruce Wayne has come of age. But they've already laid the seeds of a greater challenge that Batman will face. This movie actually has an escalating scale of villains, three different levels. Bruce has just cleared level 1. And the way the movie has done it, taking all of this time to establish Bruce's journey, it convinces me. The idea of a man dressing up as a bat and running around with a cape at night no longer feels ridiculous and preposterous. The journey has sold it. That's really important to me. I've always been primarily a Superman fan, but looking back, while I'd always liked Batman, I think it was this movie that really made me love Batman. This movie gave me a version I could believe in. This movie finally delivered on the promise that I first saw when they started advertising the 1989 movie on TV. Rachel has a rock-solid case. Batman has given her everything she needs. But the police chief wants Batman off the streets. This is the tension I like. Batman is doing the right thing, he's getting the job done, and Gordon sees the value in that, but officially speaking, Batman is a criminal, pursued by the police just as much as any of his rogues are. That's what Batman was designed to be. Alfred has some good advice for Bruce. If he's going to live this double life, he's going to have to put some effort into his Bruce Wayne persona as well. Just as Supermam cultivates an akward nerdy Clark Kent, Batman needs to cultivate a frivolous playboy Bruce Wayne to throw people off his scent. Now we introduce a new but important element. A microwave generator has been stolen from Wayne Enterprises. Designed for desert warfare, it vaporises an enemy's water supply. This is more science fiction. But again, I'm okay with science fiction. This is still a superhero movie, after all. And that's what this movie does so right. You establish the silly elements of the story in a believable sensible way, and then you have room to suspect disbelief over things like this. I don't mind a little science fiction, in fact, I welcome it. What I don't want is silliness and cheese. That's why when people criticise the realism of elements like this, I think they're missing the point. Bruce's appearance at the hotel, with the weird skinny-dipping ladies goes a good way to establishing Bruce as a frivolous playboy, the last person you'd expect to be Batman. Why those women decided to get naked and hop in the water feature I'll never comprehend. Maybe Bruce paid them to do so. Bruce is willing to be seen in this light in order to protect his true self. But there's one person whose good opinion he doesn't want to lose. Rachel. He tries to tell her, without telling her. “Inside, I am more.” But she's not buying it. “It's not what you are underneath, it's what you do that defines you.” And this is a very thematic statement for the whole movie. I partially agree with what Rachel says here. While, I think we are defined by more than just what we do, What she's getting at is the whole idea of putting your money where your mouth is. You can have the best of intentions inside, but if your actions don't match your intentions, then those intentions aren't worth much, are they? It actually reminds me of James chapter 2 in the Bible. Faith without actions is dead. Falcone wants Crane to get him off on the insanity plea, just as he has with his goons. But more than that. He wants in one whatever Crane and his mysterious boss are up to. But this is the moment that Crane replaces Falcone as the primary villain. Crane gases Falcone and Falcone goes genuinely insane from whatever is in that gas. It's obvious at this point, that Crane is the Batman villain Scarecrow. And this is the moment it really becomes a comic book movie. Weird gas that makes people go crazy? But because everything has been established in such a grounded sensible way up until now, I'm willing to buy it, I mean fully buy into it. We won't be seeing Falcone again. He's done with. But we've learned how sinister Crane is. He's doing experiments with his patients, using whatever was in that shipment Falcone brought him. Bruce already knows some of the shipments went elsewhere. He wants to know where. He'll get it out of Flass. Which he does. Batman is a pretty effective interrogator. And Flass is a coward. So he tracks the shipment to Crane. The shipment is what he uses to make that gas, not to mention the microwave generator. We see that the gas amplifies people's fears. Makes them see what they're afraid of. Bruce jumps out of a window many stories up, while on fire. And miraculously survives the fall without even a broken bone. That's not realistic. I call valid criticisms on this moment. But the funny thing is, they have their explanation for that. The memory cloth can turn his cape into a glider. Why didn't this scene use that device? Under the influence of the gas, Bruce becomes that scared helpless little boy again. He cries out to Alfred for help. And of course, Alfred is there for him. Bruce recognises the hallucinogen. He's felt it before, but this is more concentrated. Weaponised. Fox has invented an antidote. Bruce is supposed to have a birthday party tonight, but Rachel is heading to Arkham Asylum to figure out what's going on with Falcone. And she's gonna need backup from Batman to keep her safe. Why does Crane show Rachel the truth of his whole operation? I know he drugs her afterwards, but why show her what he's doing? He's pouring that hallucinogen into the city water supply. Batman crashes the party and uses Crane's own gas on him. I love how he sees Batman as a weird human/bat hybrid creature. The gas allows this movie to do some crazy sci-fi/fantasy looking stuff that would otherwise not fit in a movie like this at all. And we learn that Crane's mysterious boss is none other than Ra's Al Ghul. But isn't he dead? Didn't he die when that temple turned? Bruce calls in the bats presumably using pheremons to attract them, so he can get away wtih Racel, to give her the antidote. Not sure the bats would smell the pheromones from that distance, though. This is when we first get to see the Tumbler in action. Bruce uses the bridging vehicle's ability to jump to his advantage. There are a couple of moments of humour that work for me in the chase. It's a pretty cool action scene. Anyway, he gets Rachel to the cave in time to the cave, where Fox has left the antidote waiting. Crane has dumped his entire supply of this stuff into the water supply. Been doing it for weeks. But it hasn't affected anyone because it needs to be absorbed through the lungs. So why dump it in the water? Crane is in custody. Bruce uses Rachel to get the antidote to Gordon so he can protect himself and mass produce it. Level 2 cleared. The final ultimate villain will soon be fully revealed. Alfred is concerned that Bruce is losing himself in this monster. Bruce argues he's using the monster to help others. But this can't be personal or else he's just a vigilante. The mansion is full of guests. Bruce wants to get rid of them. There's too much going on right now. Alfred doesn't want Bruce to destroy his father's name. It's all that's left of him. The playboy persona is one thing. But Thomas's legacy is important and shouldn't be tarnished. And, Bruce agrees, for now. Fox figures it out. The microwave emitter would allow somebody to disperse the toxin into the air supply. He's just been fired for asking too many questions about it. And now we meet the final boss. The true villain of this entire movie. Bruce is introduced to a Mr. Ra's Al Ghul. It's Ducard. He was Ra's all along. The man Bruce watched die was just a decoy. Bruce wants Ra's to let the guests go. They're innocent. His only reply “You can explain the situation to them.” And so, in order to save their lives, he must offend them. Dragging his father's name through the mud. They'll never know what he sacrificed to save their lives. Crane's toxin was derived from the blue flowers on the mountain. He wasn't a member of the league of shadows, just a pawn. Ra's plans to vaporise the toxin and watch Gotham tear itself apart. He said near the start of the movie that he planned to destroy Gotham. He was serious. The League of Shadows has been a check against human corruption for thousands of years. They sacked rome, released plague rats, and burned London to the ground. When a civilisation reaches the peak of decadence, they come in to return the balance. But you can't fight evil with evil. They may think they're the good guys, but they've murdered billions of innocent people along the way. Bruce believes Gotham isn't worth saving. He wants more time. Ra's rgues the very fact they've been able to do what they're doing is proof of its corruption. We're seeing here that everything from the start of the movie is coming full circle. It's almost poetic. I love it. As his goons burn the mansion to the ground, Ra's drops another bombshell. They tried to destroy Gotham in the past, through economics. Create so much hunger that everyone becomes a criminal. See them rip themselves apart. But Bruce's parents got in the way of that plan, by helping alleviate the poverty where they could. It was Ra's al Ghul who created the circumstances that lead to his parent's death. Falcone was only a piece of that. We see here how alike Bruce and his father are. Both, in Ra's opinion, are misguided idealists trying to save the city that deserves to be destroyed. There's a lot of symmetry in this movie, and I love it. Alfred saves Bruce from the burning house. Bruce feels he's destroyed everything his father left behind, but Alred reminds us what we've just learned. The Wayne legacy isn't bricks and mortar. It's that idealism that tries to save Gotham. Ultimately, Thomas failed, and now so has Bruce. And then that line from his childhood returns. “Why do we fall?” “So that we can learn to pick ourselves up.” I think Thomas would be proud to see what a fine father figure Alfred has become. Ra's activates the microwave generator and the gas bursts out of the ground. Right under the narrows - the worst part of Gotham. Fortunately, Gordon has the antidote. Everything has gone to hell. All the riot cops are on the island already, and they've been affected by the gas. There's nobody left to send. And just as Commissioner Loeb says that, the tumbler bursts through the air behind him. That's a very effective shot. Love it. The monorail follows the path of the water mains. They're gonna load the generator on the train and infect the entire city. Batman is going into battle. He may die. Rachel at least wants to know his name. He replies with that same line “It's not what I am underneath, but what I do that defines me.” And this, of course, has a double meaning. In one sense, it means, it doesn't matter what my identity is under this suit. It only matters that I'm trying to help. But, of course, by using that phrase, he's letting her know exactly who he is. The shot of Batman gliding in like a giant bat and landing is awesome. A lot of people are getting infected while Bruce struggles to catch the train. More with every metre. This brings us to the climactic fight scene. It's suitably tense. I like it. Gordon uses the tumbler to take out part of the monorail. It's interesting that ultimately he's the one that saves the day. Bruce is there to make sure Ra's doesn't go on to cause havoc another day. And now we reach that controversial moment. Has Bruce finally learned to let go of his compassion? Ra's asks. “I won't kill you, but I don't have to save you.” Many people feel this is a betrayal of the “no-kill” rule that Bruce established for himself early in the movie. And strictly speaking, it is. Bruce is cutting that moral hair mighty thin. But I don't see this as a negative to the movie. Bruce is a morally gray character. This is when he really steps into that. This is why he and Superman never get on, because they are different. Yes, Batman may be an idealist compared to the likes of Ra's al ghul, but he's not as cut and dry as Superman. And even Superman is forced into some of those gray areas, which I'm also fine with. The train is stopped, and Ra's al ghul is finally dead. But there's still a lot of people out there who will need that antidote. A lot are gonna get hurt and killed before they get it. It's Batman. It's messy. The next scene is very satisfying. The company went public, but Bruce bought up most of the shares through various charities and trusts. He's placed Lucious Fox in charge as the new CEO, the previous one, who fired Fox, is out. Rachel comes to see Bruce, who she has newfound respect for. Bruce thanks her for giving him that first lesson that started him on his journey of transformation. Now that she knows the type of man Bruce truly is, she's started to hope. They grew up as childhood friends, but there's a lot more between them than just friendship. They've loved each other for years, in some form. The movie probably could have done a better job of portraying that romantic undercurrent of their relationship, though. But there's a problem. Bruce has changed. He's a good man, but the real Bruce that she remembered is gone. Maybe he'll come back someday when Gotham no longer needs the Batman. And that line perfectly sets up the primary conflict of the next movie. Bruce is going to rebuild his father's house, but it might be a good opportunity to do some work on the foundations. The bat signal re-appears at the end. Gordon is going to use it when he wants to summon Batman. There's a lot of trouble still out there. Gordon teases the villain of the next movie by mentioning a thief and murdurer who leaves a calling card - a joker. And the credits roll. This movie changed everything. It created a new era for DC comics movies, and started the journey that would eventually lead us to the Snyder Cut. Without Batman Begins, there would be no Man of Steel. No Batman V Superman. This movie presented a new way of portraying superheroes. They were no longer something to laugh at or make fun of. They were something to take seriously. This movie made realistic, those things it could, which made the speculative elements all the more easy to accept. It was a perfect balance. It's like Christpher Nolan reached into my soul and said “Let's create the perfect Batman movie for Adam Collings.” There was a lot in this movie. Heaps to talk about. And there'll be plenty more to talk about next time, in a movie I've actually only ever seen once. The Dark Knight. Have a great two weeks, Live long and prosper, Make it so.
In today's Podcast episode, Todd Falcone says… If you'd like to get more people returning your calls, this training video is for you. In this training you'll discover my 3 Strikes And You're Out Rule.
In questo episodio vi parlo di: Chi sono Giovanni Falcone e Paolo Borsellino? Breve storia della “lotta alla mafia” in Italia Perché Falcone e Borsellino sono stati così importanti Per le parole utili e i consigli di film e libri su questo tema CLICCA QUI. Link al blog: https://italianoconamore.com/italiano/lotta-alla-mafia…one-e-borsellino/
www.patreon.com/accidentaldads for bonus content and to support the show AND The Save The Music Foundation! Top police stings A sting operation is a deceitful operation used by law enforcement to apprehend criminals in the act of trying to commit a crime. In order to obtain proof of a suspect's misconduct, a typical sting involves an undercover law enforcement officer, investigator, or cooperative member of the public acting as a criminal partner or prospective victim and cooperating with a suspect's activities. Journalists for the mass media occasionally use sting operations to film and disseminate footage of illegal conduct. Sting procedures are prevalent in many nations, including the United States, but are prohibited in others, like Sweden and France. Certain sting operations are prohibited, such as those carried out in the Philippines where it is against the law for police enforcement to act as drug traffickers in order to catch purchasers of illegal substances. Examples Offering free sports or airline tickets to lure fugitives out of hiding. Deploying a bait car (also called a honey trap) to catch a car thief Setting up a seemingly vulnerable honeypot computer to lure and gain information about hackers Arranging for someone under the legal drinking age to ask an adult to buy an alcoholic beverage or tobacco products for them Passing off weapons or explosives (whether fake or real), to a would-be terrorist Posing as: someone who is seeking illegal drugs, contraband, or child pornography, to catch a supplier (or as a supplier to catch a customer) a child in a chat room to identify a potential online child predator a potential customer of illegal prostitution, or as a prostitute to catch a would-be customer a hitman to catch customers and solicitors of murder-for-hire; or as a customer to catch a hitman a spectator of an illegal dogfighting ring a documentary film crew to lure a pirate to the country where a crime was committed. Whether sting operations constitute entrapment raises ethical questions. Law enforcement might have to be careful not to incite someone who wouldn't have otherwise committed a crime to do so. Additionally, while conducting such operations, the police frequently commit the same crimes, like purchasing or selling narcotics, enticing prostitutes, etc. The defendant may raise the entrapment defense in common law jurisdictions. Contrary to common belief, however, laws against entrapment do not forbid undercover police personnel from pretending to be criminals or deny that they are police officers. Entrapment is normally only a defense when suspects are coerced into confessing to a crime they probably would not have otherwise committed. However, the legal meaning of this coercion differs widely from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Entrapment might be used as a defense, for instance, if undercover agents forced a possible suspect to manufacture illicit narcotics in order to sell them. Entrapment has often not taken place if a suspect is already producing narcotics and authorities pretend as purchasers to apprehend them. Operation Entebbe The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) commandos successfully carried out Operation Entebbe or Operation Thunderbolt, a counterterrorism hostage-rescue mission, at Entebbe Airport in Uganda on July 4, 1976. A week earlier, on June 27, two members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine - External Operations (PFLP-EO) (who had previously split from the PFLP of George Habash) and two members of the German Revolutionary Cells hijacked an Air France Airbus A300 jet airliner carrying 248 passengers. The declared goal of the hijackers was to trade the hostages for the release of 13 detainees in four other countries and the release of 40 Palestinian terrorists and related prisoners who were detained in Israel. The flight, which had left Tel Aviv for Paris, was rerouted after a stopover in Athens through Benghazi to Entebbe, the country of Uganda's principal airport. The ruler Idi Amin, who had been made aware of the hijacking from the start, encouraged the hijackers and personally greeted them. The hijackers confined all Israelis and a few non-Israeli Jews into a separate room after transferring all captives from the plane to a deserted airport facility. 148 captives who were not Israelis were freed and taken to Paris over the course of the next two days. Ninety-four passengers—mostly Israelis—and the 12-person Air France crew were held captive and threatened with execution. Based on information from the Israeli intelligence service Mossad, the IDF took action. If the demands for the release of the prisoners were not granted, the hijackers threatened to murder the hostages. The preparation of the rescue effort was prompted by this threat. These strategies included getting ready for armed opposition from the Uganda Army. It was a nighttime operation. For the rescue mission, Israeli transport planes flew 100 commandos to Uganda over a distance of 4,000 kilometers (2,500 miles). The operation took 90 minutes to complete after a week of planning. Out of the 106 captives still held, 102 were freed, and three were murdered. In a hospital, the second captive was later slain. Lt. Col. Yonatan Netanyahu, the unit leader, was one of the five injured Israeli commandos. Netanyahu was Benjamin Netanyahu's elder sibling and the future Israeli prime minister. Eleven Soviet-built MiG-17s and MiG-21s of the Ugandan air force were destroyed, and all five hijackers and forty-five Ugandan troops were killed. Idi Amin gave the command to attack and kill Kenyans living in Uganda after the operation because Kenyan sources supported Israel. 245 Kenyans in Uganda were killed as a consequence, and 3,000 left the nation. In honor of Yonatan Netanyahu, the commander of the force, Operation Entebbe, which had the military codename Operation Thunderbolt, is occasionally referred to retroactively as Operation Jonathan. Operation Valkyrie Senior Nazi military officers and Adolf Hitler convened in the Wolf's Lair in Rastenburg, Eastern Prussia, on July 20, 1944. Hitler's body was discovered scattered across the table as the Nazi military chiefs sat down to plan troop deployments on the Eastern Front when an explosion burst through the steamy meeting room. With the Führer's death, the Nazi threat to Europe could have been lifted. or so it seems at first. Claus von Stauffenberg and his accomplices believed they had turned the course of World War II and maybe saved thousands of extra lives for a brief period of time in history. The July Plot, also known as Operation Valkyrie, was the most famous attempt to have Hitler killed, although it was ultimately unsuccessful for a variety of reasons, some of which are still unknown to this day. The July Plot Is Hatched Many Germans, including some of the country's top military figures, had begun to lose faith in Germany's ability to win the war by the summer of 1944. Hitler was widely held responsible for ruining Germany. The Wolfsschanze was one of Hitler's military headquarters. A number of prominent politicians and senior military figures devised a plan to murder the Führer by detonating a bomb at a conference there in order to spark political unification and a coup. Operation Valkyrie was the name of the strategy. The plan was that after Hitler's death, the military would assert that the murder was the result of a Nazi Party coup attempt, and the Reserve Army would take significant buildings in Berlin and detain senior Nazi figures. Carl Friedrich Goerdeler would become Germany's new chancellor, and Ludwig Beck would become its first president. The new administration wanted to negotiate a peaceful conclusion to the war, ideally with benefits for Germany. The main conspirators' motives varied, according to Philipp Freiherr Von Boeselager, one of the last remaining participants in the July Plot. Many of them only saw it as a means of avoiding military defeat, while others hoped to at least partially restore some of the nation's morals. They chose Claus von Stauffenberg, a young colonel in the German army, to carry out the assassination. Despite not being a member of the Nazi party in the traditional sense, Stauffenberg was a devoted German patriot. In the end, he came to think that if Germany was to be saved, it was his patriotic duty to expel Adolf Hitler. Hitler, though, had experienced assassination attempts before. Assassination attempts against Hitler had been more frequent since his spectacular ascent to the top of Germany's political scene in the late 1930s. Hitler, who was becoming more and more paranoid, frequently altered his plans without warning and at the last minute. What Went Wrong Stauffenberg entered the bunker at Wolfsschanze on July 20, 1944. The conference was planned to take place in a concrete, windowless subterranean bunker that was closed off by a large steel door. By making sure it happened within one of these facilities, the detonation would be confined and anyone nearby the explosive device would die quickly from the shrapnel. The conference was moved to an above-ground wooden bunker with better air circulation on July 20 due to the oppressively hot weather, according to Pierre Galante's Operation Valkyrie: The German Generals' Plot Against Hitler. Numerous windows, a wooden table, and other beautiful furniture were all present in the area, which meant that the potential explosion would be much diminished since the energy of the blast would be absorbed and diffused. Stauffenberg was aware that this was the case, but he nonetheless proceeded, assuming that two explosives would be sufficient to destroy the room and kill everyone within. Stauffenberg excused himself when he arrived, saying that he needed to change his clothing, and went to a private room. The two explosives needed to be armed and primed. However, he only had time to arm one of the two devices due to an unexpected phone call and a quick knock at his door. Thus, the possibility of a greater blast was cut in half. Stauffenberg realized that in order to cause any kind of harm, the explosive device needed to be placed as near to Hitler as possible. He was able to get a seat as near to Hitler as possible with only one other person between them by claiming that his hearing was impaired due to his wounds. Placing the bag as near to Hitler as possible, Stauffenberg then left the room pretending to take a personal call. The briefcase was accidentally shifted to the opposite side of a large wooden leg that was supporting the meeting room table as another official was taking a seat. The Aftermath Panic broke out after the device exploded at precisely 12:42 pm. Twenty individuals were hurt, including three cops who subsequently died from their injuries, and a stenographer was instantaneously murdered. Stauffenberg and his assistant Werner von Haeften leapt into a staff car and bluffed their way past three different military checkpoints to flee the mayhem at the Wolfsschanze complex because they believed that Hitler was indeed dead. Hitler, however, along with everyone else who was protected by the large wooden table leg, only suffered a few minor cuts and an eardrum perforation. He had fully torn-up pants, and the Nazi leadership would subsequently utilize pictures of them in a propaganda effort. Ian Kershaw, a historian, claims that during the explosion, contradictory news concerning Hitler's fate came. In spite of the disarray, the Reserve Army started detaining senior Nazi officials in Berlin. The entire scheme, however, was eventually thwarted by delays, unclear communication, and the announcement that Hitler was still alive. The conspirators were all given the death penalty in a hastily called court martial the same evening by General Friedrich Fromm. In the courtyard of the Bendlerblock, a makeshift firing squad murdered Stauffenberg, von Haeften, Olbricht, and another officer, Albrecht Mertz von Quirnheim, while Ludwig Beck committed himself. At Berlin's Plötzensee jail, Berthold Stauffenberg was gently strangled while the incident was being recorded for Hitler to see. Hitler's life was ultimately saved that day by a number of interrelated reasons, but the conspirators were right that Germany was headed for disaster. Less than a year later, the Nazi leader and his closest advisers committed suicide. Operation Iceman Ever wonder what its like working undercover with an alleged murderer? Well, let's just say it's not hard to get a stuffy nose around this case… In fact, serial killer Richard Kuklinski's preferred method of murder involved using a nasal spray bottle to spritz cyanide into the faces of his victims. As a result, undercover agent Dominick Polifrone was never more on guard than during the 18 months he spent building a case against the so-called Iceman. “No matter where I went with him, I wore this leather jacket with a pocket sewn inside containing a small-caliber weapon,” recalls Polifrone, who gained his target's confidence and taped dozens of their conversations. “I knew that I was somewhere on his hit list. If he'd pulled out that nasal spray, I'd have to protect myself.” The streetwise New Jersey officer acquired enough proof before Kuklinski had suspicions, preventing that situation from occurring. Finally, the enormous 6-foot-4 gangland killer was apprehended thanks to his evidence. “I've met hundreds of bad guys, but Kuklinski was a totally different type of individual,” he tells The Post. “He was coldhearted — ice-cold like the devil. He had no remorse about anything.” Kuklinski was captured by Polifrone in a combined operation between the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms and the office of the New Jersey attorney general. The criminal, who was a leading suspect in the murder of a mobster whose body was found two years after his disappearance, was posing as a respectable businessman residing in suburban Dumont, New Jersey. The reason the medical examiners discovered ice in the muscle tissue was because Kuklinski, who earned his notoriety for frequently freezing the bodies of his victims and then defrosting them, erred that time. Police made an indirect connection between the deceased man and Kuklinski, who was charged with a number of previous homicides. “We had to get something nobody knew,” recalls Polifrone. The sting only appears briefly on screen in the film. In order to gain Kuklinski's trust, Polifrone, a resident of Hackensack, New Jersey, pretended to be a "bad person" for a whole year and a half. They met in parks and rest areas along highways and discussed the horrific killings Kuklinski had carried out, including a Mafia hit in Detroit for which he was paid $65,000. Additionally, there were "statement killings." To put a dead canary in the mouth of a victim as a warning to other victims, one mafia leader paid him extra. Another occasion, Kuklinski made light of the fact that he saw a gang member consume an entire cheeseburger laced with cyanide before passing away while joking with Polifrone. Recalls the cop: “He told me that cyanide normally works real quick and easy, but that ‘this guy has the constitution of a God damn ox, and is just eating and eating. “He said he almost ate the whole burger and then, bam, he's down!” Polifrone knew exactly how to play his role. “I laughed, of course,” he shrugs. “That's what bad guys do.” Paradoxically, Kuklinski was a committed family man. He led a Jekyll-and-Hyde existence. “He never socialized, gambled or messed around with other women,” adds Polifrone. “He lived for his wife and kids.” One minute he'd be repairing his daughters' toys, the next, dismembering a body with a chain saw and stuffing it into an oil drum. “He would come home and completely shut off this murderous component and seek security and love from his family,” says “Iceman” director Vromen. “He fulfilled the need to provide for them by killing.” Polifrone finally nailed Kuklinski after tricking him into buying what he thought was pure cyanide. A team of feds and ATF officers arrested him in December 1986. Twenty-eight years later, he reflects on the man who died, apparently of natural causes, in Trenton Prison in 2006 at age 70. Eyebrows were raised because he was due to appear as a witness at the trial of a Gambino family underboss. “I hope he died a slow death because of what he did to families and individuals,” concludes Polifrone. “He had no mercy. And if it was foul play, that's OK with me.” So let's talk about some controversial sting operations you may or may not have heard of. ACORN Sting Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now is known as ACORN. ACORN was a group of neighborhood-based organizations in the US that supported low- and middle-income families. They also offered details on affordable housing and voter registration. James O'Keefe and Hannah Giles, two young conservative activists, published recordings that had been edited with care in 2009. The two pretended to be a pimp and a prostitute before using a hidden camera to get unflattering answers from ACORN workers that seemed to give them advice on how to hide their prostitution business and avoid paying taxes.The plea for assistance in obtaining funding for a brothel didn't appear to deter the ACORN employees either. This sparked a national debate and led to a reduction in financing from public and private sources. ACORN declared on March 22, 2010, that it was disbanding and shutting all of its connected state chapters as a result of declining funding. Interesting fact: On January 25, 2010, James O'Keefe and three other people were detained on felony charges for allegedly tampering with the phones at Democratic Senator Mary Landrieu's office in New Orleans. O'Keefe stated that he was looking into claims that Landrieu's staff had dismissed constituent phone calls over the health care issue. O'Keefe recorded the action as they pretended to be telephone repairmen.In the end, they were accused with breaking into a government building under false pretenses, a misdemeanor. Following his admission of guilt, O'Keefe received a three-year probationary period, 100 hours of community service, and a $1,500 fine. Operation West End The largest undercover news story in Indian journalism has been described like this. In order to expose the alleged culture of bribery inside the Indian Ministry of Defense, a well-known newspaper from India by the name of Tehelka—which translates as "sensation" in Hindi—started its first significant undercover operation, "Operation West End" in 2001. Two reporters from the publication pretended to be London-based armaments dealers from a fake firm. In the undercover film, numerous politicians and defense officials are shown discussing and accepting bribes in exchange for assisting them in obtaining government contracts, including Bangaru Laxman, secretary of the ruling BJP party. Laxman and Military Minister George Fernandes (shown above) resigned following the release of the tapes, and a number of other defense ministry employees were placed on administrative leave. Interesting Fact: Instead of initially acting on the evidence from the sting operation, the Indian government accused the newspaper of fabricating the allegations. The main financial backers of Tehelka were made targets of investigations, and the newspaper company was almost ruined. In 2003, Tehelka was re-launched as a weekly newspaper, and was funded by faithful subscribers and other well-wishers. In 2007, Tehelka shifted to a regular magazine format. Senator Larry Craig On June 11, 2007, an undercover police officer conducting a sting operation targeting males cruising for sex at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport detained Idaho Senator Larry Craig. Sgt. Dave Karsnia, the arresting officer, claimed that just after noon, the suspect entered a restroom and shut the door. Craig then moved into the stall next to him and propped his suitcase up against the stall door's front. By obscuring the front view, this is frequently done in an effort to hide sexual activity. Several minutes later, the officer claimed to have noticed Craig looking into his stall through a gap, tapping his right foot repeatedly, then moving it till it brushed Karsnia's. Craig then passed his hand under the stall divider into Karsnia's stall with his palm up and guided it along the divider toward the front of the stall three times. Karsnia then waved his badge back, to which the senator responded, “No!” The senator pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct and paid a fine, but changed his mind after word of his arrest later became public. Craig claimed he just had a “wide stance”, and he only pleaded guilty to avoid a spectacle.An appeals court rejected his request to change his mind about entering a guilty plea. Craig completed his time in the Senate but was unable to have his case dismissed by the Senate Ethics Committee. Craig departed office on January 3, 2009, having not to run for reelection in 2008. Fascinating Fact: Soon after Craig was arrested, the men's room started to resemble a tourist destination, with people coming to seek directions and take photographs. Even restroom tissue may be purchased on eBay. Listen to the conversation between Senator Craig and Sgt. Karsnia immediately following the arrest here. 7 Sarah Ferguson was victimized by Mazher Mahmood, a reporter for the tabloid daily "News of the World," in May 2010. In order to set up a meeting with Ferguson, Mahmood pretended to be a wealthy international businessman. The Duchess, who was discreetly recorded throughout the encounter, offered to connect the "tycoon" with Prince Andrew's influential inner circle. "500,000 pounds when you can, to me, open doors," Sarah Ferguson is heard saying on the video. She may also be seen removing a briefcase that is holding $40,000 in cash. After the event was reported, Ferguson's spokesman claimed she was both "devastated" and "regretful." She said that she had been drinking before asking for the money and was "in the gutter at that point" in an interview with Oprah Winfrey. Mazher Mahmood, the guy who pretended to be the tycoon, is referred to as the "Fake Sheikh" and has conned several famous people. No one is certain if that is his true name or what his real history is since he likes to make things as mysterious as possible. The journalist denies ever allowing his face to appear in any of his pieces and claims to have received several death threats. He also avoids public appearances. Bait Cars The Minneapolis Police Department employed the first bait cars in the 1990s. The largest bait car fleet in North America is now situated in Surrey, British Columbia, which is widely regarded as the continent's "auto theft capital." The cars are carefully modified, equipped with GPS tracking equipment, audio/video surveillance, and an engine-disabling remote control. It has helped to lower car theft by 47% when it was introduced in Surrey, British Columbia, in 2004. In one of the more contentious bait vehicle stings, a lady was murdered nearly instantaneously after a robber driving a bait car drove into her in Dallas, Texas, in 2008. To resolve the litigation, $245,000 was given to the victim's family. Fact: The key to determining whether police are utilizing a bait car improperly and would result in entrapment is if they left it in a way that would tempt someone who would not ordinarily commit a crime. Here, you can view one of the more eye-catching (to put it mildly) bait vehicle stings. Many others will undoubtedly have the same thoughts as I had. “Where the heck was the kill switch?” Marion Barry A well-known politician and former mayor of Washington, D.C., Marion Barry. Police were going to conduct an undercover narcotics transaction with former Virgin Islands official Charles Lewis on December 22, 1988, but they were turned back when they discovered Mayor Marion Barry was in Lewis's hotel room. This prompted a grand jury inquiry into potential mayor meddling in the narcotics probe. Barry testified for three hours in front of the grand jury before telling reporters he had done nothing wrong. Then, on January 18, 1990, Barry was arrested in a Washington, D.C. hotel after using crack cocaine in a room with his former girlfriend, who had turned informant for the FBI. This was the result of a sting operation put up by the FBI and D.C. Police. Barry said the now-famous phrase, "Bitch set me up," which has come to be linked with him. Following his arrest and subsequent trial, Barry made the decision not to run for mayor again. He was charged with 14 charges by a grand jury, including suspected grand jury perjury. The mayor could have spent 26 years in prison if found guilty on all 14 counts. Barry was only given a six-month prison term after the jury found him guilty of using cocaine. Barry campaigned for municipal council after being let out of prison. He garnered 70% of the vote due to his widespread popularity and the perception held by many that Marion Barry was the target of a political witch hunt by the government. Then, in 1995, Barry won a fourth term as mayor of Washington, D.C. Barry is currently back in his position on the D.C. city council. Regardless of your opinion on Marion Barry, you have to respect his perseverance and drive to help the people of Washington, D.C. The aforementioned occurrence is only a small portion of his remarkable life. A documentary titled "The Nine Lives of Marion Barry" was produced by HBO. Joran Van der Sloot Dutch national Joran Van der Sloot is a key suspect in the case of Natalee Holloway, who vanished on May 30, 2005, while traveling to Aruba to celebrate her high school graduation. On March 29, 2010, Van der Sloot got in touch with Beth Twitty Holloway's mother's attorney John Q. Kelly, reviving the case. Van der Sloot promised to provide details about Holloway's demise and the whereabouts of her remains in exchange for a total of $250,000 with a $25,000 down payment. After Kelly and Twitty made contact with Alabama law enforcement, the FBI launched a sting operation. On May 10, Van der Sloot accepted a wire transfer of $15,000 to his Dutch bank account along with an additional cash payment of $10,000. He drove Kelly to the location of Holloway's remains in exchange for the cash. He indicated a home, saying that his father had assisted in burying the body in the foundation. The home had not yet been constructed when Holloway vanished, therefore this turned out to be untrue. Later, Van der Sloot informed Kelly through email that the entire incident was a fraud. At this point, police might have detained Van der Sloot for wire fraud and extortion, but they chose to wait while they worked to establish a case of murder against him. Van der Sloot was not only let free, he was also given permission to depart Aruba and travel to Bogotá, Colombia, and then Lima, Peru, with the money he had made from the operation. He met Stephany Flores Ramirez, a 21-year-old University of Lima business student, in a casino hotel in the city. Ramirez and Van der Sloot are seen entering a hotel room together on security footage, but only Van der Sloot is seen exiting. On June 2, Ramirez was discovered dead in the hotel room that Van der Sloot had booked, her neck broken and she had been battered to death. On May 30, 2010, precisely five years after Natalee Holloway vanished, Ramirez passed away. A person arrested Van der Sloot He admitted to the murder on June 3 and June 7. Fascinating fact: Van der Sloot is presently detained at Peru's Miguel Castro jail, where murder charges have been brought. He apparently now claims that if he is permitted to move to a jail in Aruba, he would tell the whereabouts of Natalee Holloway's remains. Perverted Justice Stings Perverted-Justice is a group that uses volunteers to masquerade as juveniles online, often between the ages of 10-15, and wait for an adult to message or email the decoy back. If the topic becomes sexual, they won't actively reject it or support it. Then, in order to set up a meeting, they will attempt to identify the males by acquiring their phone numbers and other information. The group then provides law enforcement with the information. Additionally, Perverted-Justice has worked with the American reality show "To Catch a Predator." In Murphy, Texas, one of the more contentious instances took place in 2006. Louis Conradt (seen above), a district attorney in Texas, pretended to be a 19-year-old college student and had sexually explicit internet conversations with a person he thought was a 13-year-old kid. They hired an actress to portray the youngster on the phone when Conradt demanded images of the boy's genitalia. Conradt stopped returning phone calls and instant messages, so police and the reality program decided to conduct a search warrant operation at his residence. A gunshot was heard as the police entered the scene to make an arrest. Conradt was inside with a self-inflicted wound when they arrived, and he eventually passed away at a hospital. 23 people were taken into custody for online solicitation of minors as a consequence of the sting operation in Murphy, Texas. Due to inadequate evidence, none of the 23 instances were prosecuted as of June 2007. Conradt's family launched a $105 million lawsuit against Dateline's To Catch a Predator series. The dispute was ultimately resolved outside of court. All next episodes' development was halted by the network in 2008. Rachel Hoffman On February 22, 2007, a traffic stop in Tallahassee, Florida, resulted in Rachel Hoffman being found in possession of 25 grams of marijuana. Then, on April 17, 2008, police searched her flat and found 4 ecstasy tablets and 151.7 grams of marijuana. Police allegedly threatened to put her in jail unless she worked as an undercover informant for them, according to her account. She was then dispatched untrained to an undercover gathering to purchase a weapon and a significant quantity of narcotics from two alleged drug traffickers. The suspects relocated the drug purchase while she was there. When she departed the buy place in the car with the two suspects, the police officers who were keeping an eye on the sting lost sight of her. The identical gun she was intended to purchase was used to kill her by the two suspects while they were in motion. Two days later, her corpse was discovered close to Perry, Florida. One of the murder suspects was convicted of first-degree murder and given a life sentence without the possibility of parole on December 17, 2009, which would have been Rachel Hoffman's 25th birthday. Trial for the second murder suspect is set for October 2010. Interesting Fact: On May 7, 2009, a law called “Rachel's Law” was passed by the Florida State Senate. Rachel's Law requires law enforcement agencies to (a) provide special training for officers who recruit confidential informants, (b) instruct informants that reduced sentences may not be provided in exchange for their work, and (c) permit informants to request a lawyer if they want one. Mr. Big The Royal Canadian Mounted Police created Mr. Big, sometimes known as "the Canadian method," in the early 1990s in response to unsolved killings. It is employed in Canada and Australia, but many other nations, like the United States and England, view it as entrapment. The technique works something like this: An undercover police unit poses as members of a fictitious gang, into which the suspect is inducted. The suspect is invited to participate in a series of criminal activities (all faked by the police). In addition, the “gang members” build a personal relationship with the suspect, by drinking together and other social activities. After some time, the gang boss, Mr. Big, is presented to him. The police have a fresh interest in the first crime, and the suspect is instructed to provide the gang with further information. They clarify that Mr. Big might be able to affect the course of the police investigation, but only if he confesses to the full extent of the crime. He is also warned that if he conceals any other previous offenses, the gang could decide against working with him in the future since he would be a burden. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police are shown in the picture above carrying the hats of the four officers who were killed in Edmonton, Canada, in 2005 at a memorial service. Two of the men serving prison sentences for the murders made confessions to Mr. Big operatives.Interesting Fact: In British Columbia, the technique has been used over 180 times, and, in 80% of the cases, it resulted in either a confession or the elimination of the suspect from suspicion. However, cases of false confessions and wrongful convictions have recently come to the public's attention, and many are starting to question the controversial technique. In 2007, a documentary was made, called Mr. Big, that was very critical of the procedure. You can't talk about undercover operations without talking about the mob. Here are five badasses who infiltrated the mob. In law enforcement, working as an undercover officer carries the high risk of discovery by criminal suspects, leading to violence, torture and death. But the rewards can be huge, with wire recordings and eyewitness testimony that can result in arrests and convictions. A trained officer knows how to strategize, win the confidence of their targets and get them to reveal what's needed to build a case to take to trial. It requires an unusual kind of person, able to work under stress, stay focused, pull off the character he or she is playing and be prepared to tell many lies. What follows here is a list of five remarkable individuals whose undercover operations, despite real dangers, resulted in the convictions of leaders and associates of organized crime, over almost a century. This list leaves out many other famous undercover officers, whom we would like to recognize in the future. Perhaps because of the gravity of the investigations, and the financial resources required, all of these undercover officers worked for agencies of the U.S. government. MICHAEL MALONE Mike Malone worked undercover for the Treasury Department's Intelligence Unit. In the late 1920s, he infiltrated Al Capone's Chicago Outfit and helped convict the crime boss of tax evasion. Michael Malone had all the makings of an undercover agent who would successfully infiltrate Al Capone's Chicago gang for nearly two years. Malone, whose parents came over from Ireland, grew up in New Jersey and meshed well with its European immigrants, eventually learning to speak Gaelic, Italian, Yiddish and Greek. With his “black Irish” dark hair and skin, he resembled someone from southern Europe. After finessing his way into Capone's inner circle in 1929, Malone proved invaluable to his superiors in the Treasury Department pursuing a tax evasion case against the Chicago crime boss. Despite the danger, Malone kept an iron will. Blowing his cover would have proved fatal. But given his skills, it didn't happen. While Malone kept up the charade, he delivered information that proved incriminating not only for Capone, but for his top enforcer, Frank Nitti (aka Nitto). Malone remained disguised within Capone's bootlegging band even for a time after the feds filed tax charges against Capone, Nitti and Capone's brother, Ralph, in 1931. When Capone's jury trial commenced, and the Treasury Department removed Malone from his undercover job, the agent gained a bit of respect from the embarrassed gang chief himself. In the Chicago courthouse, Malone happened to enter an elevator where Capone stood with his defense lawyers. “The only thing that fooled me was your looks,” Capone is said as to have remarked to Malone. “You look like a Wop. You took your chances, and I took mine. I lost.” From 1929 to 1931, Malone fed intelligence about Capone that would culminate in the historic conviction of the nation's most notorious Mob boss. His fascinating story began after his service in World War I. With law enforcement his career goal, Malone joined the Treasury Department's Intelligence Unit later known as the “T-Men.” Early on, in the 1920s, Malone appreciated how donning disguises brought him closer to the suspects. He posed in everyman roles such as garbage man and shoe shiner. Elmer Irey, chief of the Intelligence Unit, had worked with undercover agent Malone on Prohibition cases. Once, Irey enlisted Malone to smash a West Coast version of “Rum Row,” rumrunners selling contraband Canadian liquor from ships off the coast of San Francisco. Malone posed as gangster from Chicago in hiding, with money to invest in illegal booze. He devised a nighttime sting operation. Agents posing as bootleggers drove speedboats out to the booze-laden mother ship and, after money changed hands, Malone fired off a flare, signaling the U.S. Coast Guard, which boarded the mother ship and arrested the astonished bootleggers. President Herbert Hoover entered office in March 1929, a few weeks following the infamous St. Valentine's Day Massacre in Chicago, where seven men associated with Capone's bitter rival in bootlegging, George “Bugs” Moran, died in gunfire. Hoover conferred with Irey and urged him to compile a team of special agents to “get Capone” on tax charges. Meanwhile, another team of Prohibition Unit agents in Chicago, headed by Eliot Ness, would attack Capone on violations of federal liquor laws under the Volstead Act. Irey appointed Special Agent Frank Wilson, Malone and several others to the get Capone team. Meanwhile, a group of wealthy business executives in Chicago, called the Secret Six, donated large sums of money for expenses to assist the feds in getting Capone. Malone used their largess to purchase some expensive clothing to look the part of a well-heeled hoodlum that Capone would envy. Malone set about infiltrating Capone's underworld at its core – the Lexington Hotel, where the boss and his men lived. Wearing a fancy suit, purple shirt and white hat, Malone sat in the lobby, reading newspapers for days on end. He spoke in an Italian accent, introduced himself as “Mike Lepito,” met Capone men playing craps and played the part of a mobster. He mailed letters to friends in Philadelphia, who wrote back. Capone's guys broke into his room, noted his pricey checkered suits and silk underwear. They opened his mail from Philadelphia, read the letters written, impressively, in underworld lingo they understood. They informed Capone. Finally, Capone sent a cohort down to the lobby to ask “Lepito” about his business in town. “Keeping quiet,” Malone replied in his Italian inflection. In the coming days, over drinks, Malone told the guy he was on the lam for burglary in Philadelphia. That got Malone invitations to play poker and trade gossip with the gang, then dinner at their hangout, the New Florence, and then to attend the birthday party Capone planned for Frank Nitti at the Lexington. Malone met Capone at Nitti's party. The secret agent's new acquaintances included big-shot hoods Nitti, “Machine Gun” Jack McGurn, Jake “Greasy Thumb” Guzik, Paul “The Waiter” Ricca, Murray “The Camel” Humphreys and Sam “Golf Bag” Hunt. Malone was in. He discreetly phoned Wilson about what he'd overheard within the gang. Wilson and his aides traced signatures on bank checks while pursuing tax evasion cases against Nitti and Guzik. A federal court in Chicago convicted Guzik, who got a five-year sentence. But Nitti skipped town. Malone, assigned to find him, followed Nitti's wife to an apartment building in Berwyn, Illinois. There, the cops nabbed Nitti, later sentenced to 18 months in prison for tax evasion. Then the police pinched Al himself following his 1931 indictment on tax charges. “Mike Lepito” was there at the Lexington when Al Capone arrived back, triumphant about his release on $50,000 bail. Malone listened and reported to Wilson about Capone's scheme to bribe and fix the jury in his favor. The feds moved quickly and a judge created a new list of jurors. Malone then reported Capone's plot to hire five gunman from New York to kill four federal officials in Chicago – including Wilson. With safety measures in place, Capone ordered the gunmen to leave town. Capone's trial, after a judge refused to plea bargain with the Mob boss, started in October 1931. Four days afterward, Malone finally gave up the act. The news spread fast to Capone and his men. Malone had heard that Phil D'Andrea, Capone's bodyguard, planned to bring a concealed gun into the courthouse. Malone and another agent frisked and disarmed D'Andrea, and had him arrested. A jury Capone could not fix found the boss guilty on 22 criminal counts. The judge gave him 11 years in the federal pen and a $50,000 fine, plus court costs. Months later, in early 1932, the Intelligence Unit had Malone, Irey, Wilson and Special Agent A. P. Madden probe the kidnapping of aviator Charles Lindbergh's son. The team's persistence paid off within two years, with the capture (and conviction) of suspect Bruno Hauptman, who still had some of the marked currency the agents convinced Lindbergh to use as ransom money. Malone had other notable cases. In 1933, Irey assigned him to find fugitive New York gangster Waxey Gordon, wanted for tax evasion. Malone located Gordon in a remote cottage in the Catskill Mountains. Special Prosecutor Thomas Dewey took the case, and the court put Waxey away for 10 years. A year later, Malone infiltrated Louisiana Governor Huey “Kingfish” Long's crooked crew. After Long's assassination, the IRS won a tax fraud conviction against Malone's target, Long's close aide, Seymour Weiss. In his last undercover operation before his death, the Intelligence Unit gave Malone a large amount of cash and a Cadillac to use in Miami Beach, disguised as a rich syndicate man. He found and reported what the agency wanted – details of a coast-to-coast illegal abortion ring. After Malone's death in 1960, Wilson described him to a news reporter as “the best undercover agent we ever had.” JOSEPH PISTONE Joe Pistone is one of the FBI's most celebrated undercover agents. Using the name Donnie Brasco, he infiltrated the New York Mafia and helped produce 200 indictments. Courtesy of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. In New York City during the mid-1970s, the FBI investigated a rash of truck hijackings happening each day. The agency assigned agent Joseph “Joe” Pistone to go undercover for six months to find out where the Mob-connected thieves took the stolen cargo. His adopted name was “Donnie Brasco.” He was so effective as a wiseguy that the FBI let him keep it up. No one knew how far the investigation would lead, or what it would mean for Pistone, who started as an agent in 1969. His experience would eventually prompt the mobsters in New York to put out a $500,000 contract for his murder, but it never happened. In the end, the evidence and trial testimony he provided in the 1980s produced 200 indictments of Mob associates and more than 100 convictions. His work decimated the Bonannos, one of New York's five major crime families. Pistone's journey while undercover, impersonating a mobbed-up jewel thief, would last an incredible five years, from 1976 to 1981, during which he penetrated the upper levels of the Bonnano organization. No FBI agent had made it inside the Mob like that. The agency beforehand had to rely on informants. Pistone took a class to learn about jewelry to make his affectation believable. In Brooklyn and Manhattan, he roamed bars and restaurants frequented by Mob types. He communicated using the street smarts he absorbed growing up as a working-class Italian-American kid in Paterson, New Jersey, where he went to Italian social clubs and encountered local hoods. Years in, he had the Bonanno circle so convinced that it moved to have him a “made” man shortly before the FBI ended his assignment. At first he befriended low-level mobsters. He wore a wire to record conversations, and committed to memory names and license plates since taking notes would obviously raise red flags. By 1976, he'd won the trust of important Bonnano members, notably family soldier Benjamin “Lefty Guns” Ruggiero, said to have killed 26 people, and capo Dominick “Sonny Black” Napolitano. Ruggerio recommended him so that he could join the clan. Pistone's Mob activities centered in New York and Florida, taking him away from his wife and young daughters for extended times. Pistone even had to vacation with his demanding cohorts. He moved his family members out of state for their protection. As “Donnie Brasco,” Pistone helped Ruggerio transfer stolen goods and sell guns. He engaged in loansharking, extortion and illegal gambling. Once, while pretending to be an expert in burglar alarms, angry Mob associates intent on committing burglaries demanded he reveal the name of a mobster who would vouch for him. The FBI used an informant to quell their suspicions. In the 1997 film Donnie Brasco, undercover agent Joe Pistone is played by Johnny Depp, left. Al Pacino, right, plays Benjamin “Lefty” Ruggiero. In 1981, the situation intensified again when the crime family commanded him to kill an adversary. The FBI pulled him out of the sting. It was time to start making cases, and for him to testify in open court as himself. Starting in 1982, Pistone's testimony over the next several years in racketeering cases sent more than 100 mobsters to long prison terms. Prosecutors considered him crucial to convicting 21 defendants in the “Pizza Connection” case of pizzerias used to traffic in heroin and launder money for the Sicilian Mafia. Pistone went into hiding and later retired from the FBI, unscathed, in 1986. In the 1990s, Salvatore “Sammy the Bull” Gravano, former underboss for the Gambino family who turned FBI informant, said the embarrassment from the “Brasco” case drove bosses in New York's crime families to suspend the Bonanno group from its board of directors. But Pistone couldn't stay retired. In 1992, at age 53, he requested reinstatement with the FBI, which agreed only if he would enter the agency's strict training class, lasting 16 weeks at its base in Quantico, Virginia. Pistone endured the rigorous course alongside recruits in their 20s. He passed and the FBI rehired him, at least until the mandatory retirement age of 57. Pistone's 1988 book on his undercover experiences, Donnie Brasco: My Undercover Life in the Mafia, was a bestseller. Based on the book, actor Johnny Depp portrayed Pistone in the 1997 feature film Donnie Brasco, with Al Pacino as Ruggerio. JACK GARCIA Jack Garcia was an FBI undercover agent of Cuban descent who convinced members of the Italian-American Mafia that he was Italian. He took part in more than 100 undercover investigations over a 26-year career. Before he succeeded in infiltrating New York's Gambino crime family, FBI agent Joaquin “Jack” Garcia had to go school. That is, the FBI's “mob school,” where he received an education in how to hit the ground running with veteran mobsters. His teacher was special agent Nat Parisi. First off, Parisi said, do not carry a wallet – wiseguys carry wads of currency, often bound by the kind of rubber band grocery stores use to keep broccoli together. Also, correctly pronouncing Italian food matters – as Tony Soprano might say, those long pasta shells are not “manicotti,” but “manicote.” Another valuable lesson he learned is that his Mob brethren loved compliments – his favorite one: “Where did you get those nice threads? You look like a million dollars.” In his 26-year career as an FBI agent, Garcia took part in more than 100 undercover investigations, from Miami to New York, Atlantic City and Los Angeles, targeting mobsters, drug traffickers and corrupt politicians and cops. He participated in the highest number of undercover cases in FBI history. In many of his capers, he impersonated a mobster, using the name “Jack Falcone” (in honor of the Italian judge Giovanni Falcone, killed by the Sicilian Mafia in the 1990s). As a backstory, he told his Mob marks about having a Sicilian pedigree (actually he's a native of Havana and grew up in the Bronx) with an expertise in stealing and fencing stolen goods, with jewelry as his specialty. Sometimes, he had to run several undercover roles at once. He took advantage of his fluency in Spanish and Italian, being careful not to mix things up when the phone rang. In the early 2000s, the FBI chose Garcia for what would be the most fruitful infiltration of an organized crime family since Joe Pistone's in the 1970s. While undercover as “Jack Falcone” with the Gambino's family's chapter in Westchester County, New York, for two years, he flashed cash, Rolex watches, diamond rings, flat-screen TVs and other supposed stolen property (items seized in other FBI cases). Much of the cash he held went to pay for expensive dinners – mobsters, he said, are notoriously cheap when the check comes. He gained 80 pounds over the two years. One mobster in particular who liked his money and goods, and would become his almost daily companion, was Gambino capo Gregory DePalma. An “old school” hood who in 2003 finished serving 70 months for racketeering, DePalma right away threatened violence and extorted owners of Westchester-area construction firms, strip joints, restaurants and other businesses. Garcia said he witnessed DePalma commit a crime almost every day. The FBI had Garcia pose as a wiseguy seeking to invest in a topless bar in the Bronx. Garcia's inquiries led him to meet DePalma in 2003. By providing stolen property for DePalma to sell for cash, Garcia convinced him that “Jack Falcone” was an experienced jewelry thief and fencer from Miami. When Garcia hung out with DePalma over the two-year period, he wore a body wire, and the FBI planted bugging devices at DePalma's hangouts. Garcia gave DePalma a cell phone that the talkative mob capo used prodigiously, not knowing the FBI had bugged it. The operation yielded 5,000 hours of recorded conversations used to implicate DePalma and other Gambino men in racketeering. In 2005, DePalma planned to honor “Falcone” by rendering him “made” within the Gambino family. In a recorded conversation, Garcia as “Falcone” replied to DePalma, “I'm honored for that,” he said, in the tape later used in court. “I will never let you down either.” But it wasn't to be. After Garcia witnessed a Gambino soldier beat another member with a crystal candlestick, the FBI shut down the undercover operation. (Garcia and Pistone are the only law enforcement officers ever nominated to be “made.”) Garcia's efforts inside the Gambino crew paid off big time. The evidence he delivered for the FBI resulted in the arrest of 32 Gambino members and associates, including DePalma, Gambino boss Arnold “Zeke” Squitieri and underboss Anthony “The Genius” Megale. DePalma went to trial in 2006. Garcia, who retired from the FBI two months before the trial started, agreed to testify in federal court in Manhattan. The jury found DePalma guilty on 27 counts, and the judge gave the 74-year-old a 12-year prison term. Like Pistone, Garcia's undercover career is chronicled in a memoir, Making Jack Falcone: An Undercover FBI Agent Takes Down a Mafia Family. KIKI CAMARENA Kiki Camarena was an undercover agent for the Drug Enforcement Administration in Mexico. After contributing information that led to major drug busts, he was tortured and murdered by drug cartel bosses in 1985. Enrique “Kiki” Camarena, the late Drug Enforcement Administration agent assigned to investigate drug trafficking in Guadalajara, Mexico, in the 1980s, is famous as one of the most heroic DEA agents ever. But he is more well-known in death than in life. His torture-murder in Mexico in 1985 took place at the hands of drug cartel bosses with the complicity of high-level Mexican government officials, law enforcement and, allegedly, the CIA. At the time, the Reagan administration was secretly training and supplying Central American guerilla fighters, known as the “Contras,” against the leftist Sandinista government in Nicaragua. The U.S. government allegedly granted the cartel bosses free rein to traffic drugs – to the point of using CIA-recruited American pilots to fly cocaine into the United States to sell for cash so the cartel could make donations to buy more weaponry for the Contras. Camarena, born in Mexicali, Mexico, in 1947, moved with his impoverished family to Calexico, California. He served as a firefighter in Calexico, and with a strong desire for police work, joined the Imperial County Sheriff's Department, moving up to its narcotics task force. The experience led to his career in the DEA starting in 1975. Assigned to the DEA office in the “narco paradise” of Guadalajara in 1980, Camarena was a convincing undercover officer with his appearance and ability to speak Spanish and barrio “street” language to fit in with the drug underworld. His target was the powerful Guadalajara drug cartel (which later evolved into the Sinaloa cartel). In the early 1980s, in what he called “Operation Padrino,” Camarena arranged for U.S. agents to seize international bank accounts held by wealthy cartel drug lords. He developed evidence of major marijuana plantations in the Mexican state of Zacatecas, based on informants and overflights in a plane flown by his DEA pilot, Alfredo Zavala Avelar. In November 1984, from his background work, Mexican federal police and the DEA raided enormous pot-growing operations on a ranch in Zacatecas that employed thousands of field hands. The task force confiscated 20 tons of marijuana, burned the crop and made 177 arrests. The bust cost cartel figure Rafael Caro Quintero about $50 million. Caro Quintero believed his operation had the protection of the Mexican army, and the CIA, since he owned a farm used to train the U.S.-backed Contras. He vowed revenge against Camarena. Meanwhile, a DEA force organized by Camarena seized a large cache of cocaine shipped by cartel boss Miguel Felix Gallardo's operation to New Mexico and Texas. Gallardo also believed he had CIA and Mexican official protection. During the fall of 1984, Quintero held meetings with top cartel traffickers Gallardo, Ernesto “Don Neto” Fonseco Carrillo and Ruben Zuno Arce. Also present, thanks to rampant corruption bought by the Guadalajara cartel, were Mexico's minister of domestic affairs and DFA chief Manuel Bartlett Diaz, plus Mexico's defense minister, the head of Mexico's Interpol office and the governor of the state of Jalisco. The agenda was to kidnap Camarena and get him to reveal his informants and other information. Zuno Arce gave the order. Fonseca only intended to scare and release him, but Quintero wanted to kill the DEA man. On February 7, 1985, Quintero and Gallardo directed their henchmen to kidnap Camarena off a street in Guadalajara. As the agent walked from the U.S. consulate to meet his wife for lunch, they forced him at gunpoint into a car and drove him to a residence used for cartel rendezvous. They bound and blindfolded him, turned on a tape recorder and questioned him, during which he was severely beaten and tortured. The lead interrogator was the crooked head of the secret police in Guadalajara, Sergio Espino Verdin. The cartel men wanted to know what Camarena knew about them, their dealings with Mexican officials and the CIA's involvement in drug trafficking. The gangsters also brought in and beat up Zavala, Camarena's pilot. Both men died about two days later, angering Fonseco, who told Quintero not to kill Camarena. Camarena's wife reported him missing and Washington launched what would be the largest manhunt in the history of the DEA. The cartel had the two men's bodies buried, then dug up and relocated to a farm in another state, where Mexican police found them in early March. During his funeral a week later, Camarena's family interred his ashes in Calexico. His slaying triggered an international incident. U.S. officials ordered all cars from Mexico at the border searched, effectively closing it. The investigation revealed the CIA connection, leading to bitter clashes between CIA and DEA agents. A federal court in Los Angeles charged 22 defendants in the murders of Camarena and Zavala. Under pressure, Mexican authorities acted, arresting 13 men. Mexican courts convicted Fonseco, Quintero and Espino, and sentenced each to 40 years, although Quintero won early release on a technicality in 2013. U.S. officials are still seeking Quintero to face federal charges. Mexican police arrested Gallardo in 1989, and he received 40 years. A court in Los Angeles found Zuno Arce guilty in the murders in 1990, sentenced him to two life terms in prison, where he died in 2012. In Camarena's honor, in 1985 the National Family Partnership started the National Red Ribbon Campaign, a volunteer anti-drug use and education effort that urges youths to recite a pledge to refrain from drugs, and celebrates “Red Ribbon Week” on drug awareness each October. Camarena's is featured as a character, played by actor Michael Pena, in a chapter of the Netflix series Narcos: Mexico, about on his actions with the DEA. JAY DOBYNS Jay Dobyns went undercover with the Hells Angels outlaw motorcycle gang for 20 months in Arizona on behalf of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. His work led to 16 arrests. For Jay Dobyns, fitting in with the infamous biker gang the Hells Angels for almost two years meant adhering to his undercover alter ego, Jay “Bird” Davis, to the point of obsession. To maintain his cover, he had to divert his mind away from his wife and kids. And it all would be worth it – at least that's what he thought at the time. Dobyns had hit on his best clandestine ruse yet while in Arizona in 2001, after 15 years of service as an undercover special agent with the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. While working undercover cases in the late 1980s for the ATF, he'd been injured twice – from a gunshot wound to the back from a suspect in Tucson and when gunrunners hit him with a car during an attempted getaway in Chicago. He took part in investigations of the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing and the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Other undercover roles of his ended in the arrests of a Mexican drug boss and members of the Aryan Brotherhood gang. Altogether, he served in more than 500 undercover operations disguised as a hitman and Mob debt collector. He infiltrated organized crime groups and gangs engaged in drug and arms smuggling. In 2001, to gather intelligence as “Davis” for the ATF in northern Arizona, Dobyns worked in the Bullhead City area, posing as a gun seller and an enforcer for a nonexistent collections agency. But his operation was interrupted in 2002 with the now-famous riot and shootout among members of the Angels and a competing biker gang, the Mongols, at the Harrah's casino in nearby Laughlin, Nevada, during the annual River Run motorcycle rally. Two Angels and one Mongol died and dozens of people were injured. The ATF brass soon redirected him to penetrate the dangerous Hells Angels club. Dobyns certainly had the physical part down with his beard and six-foot, one-inch frame he used as an all-conference football player for the University of Arizona. Later, an Angels member would apply tattoos covering his upper arms. Dobyns teamed with another ATF agent, two other undercover officers and a pair of paid informants. The idea was to create a fake biker gang with the aid of one of the informants who once served in a motorcycle gang based in Tijuana, Mexico. The gangster informant and Dobyns would run the gang, called the Solo Angeles, promote it as a pro-Hells Angels crew and request to join the Angels as a “nomad” chapter. The ATF named the setup “Operation Black Biscuit.” As a convincer, Dobyns and his fellow agent feigned an execution of a Mongol member, tying up an agent, placing cow's brains and bloody Mongol clothing on him and taking a photo. Based on the picture, the Angels took the bait and let them hang out and ride with them. They trusted him so much they offered to make him a member of the Angels' Skull Valley Chapter. He was the first law enforcement officer to infiltrate the Angels. His undercover penetration of the Angels lasted more than 20 months, one of the longest ever for the ATF. His work ended with 16 arrests from the Angels gang. But the criminal case, amid problems between the ATF and Justice Department lawyers, fell through in federal court. Federal prosecutors blamed the ATF, saying the agency did not reveal evidence from informants. In 2006, the feds dropped racketeering enterprise charges – the most serious — against all but four of 42 Angels charged in the Laughlin riot. Dobyns' battle with his own employer, the ATF, soon began. He filed suit in federal court against the agency alleging it did not protect him while he was on duty. He won a $373,000 settlement in 2007. The next year, Dobyns's wife and two kids barely escaped after someone firebombed the family home in Tucson. The ATF investigated Dobyns himself as a suspect in the arson. Investigators cleared him. In 2014, the year he retired after 27 years with the ATF, he filed another suit, for $17.2 million, saying the ATF failed to safeguard his family amid death threats. A judge awarded him $173,000. During an appeal, the judge voided the monetary judgment, but recommended discipline for ATF personnel and barred seven Justice Department attorneys from the case. He ordered a special master to investigate government actions in the case, and possible misconduct by the feds in the arson investigation. But the judge died of cancer. The special master in a report said that the first case was fair enough and required no further probe into the federal government. A new judge accepted the recommendation. Dobyns has authored two books, one on his undercover experiences, another on his travails with the ATF. These days, he delivers lectures on his life to audiences at universities and law enforcement associations nationwide. And now some of our infamous quick hitters: Donald Duck decoy Police in Fort Lee, New Jersey used a Donald Duck costume as a decoy to catch drivers who failed to yield to pedestrians. Drivers who didn't stop for the cartoon duck were ticketed. One woman, Karen Haigh, fought her $230 ticket. "They told me that I was getting a ticket for not stopping for a duck," she told Eyewitness News. "But it scared me. I'm a woman. This huge duck scared me." Coco the Clown These old clips from the show COPS show a strange undercover police sting, and proves the adage that clowns are usually scary or just creepy. One cop dressed up as Coco the Clown, an outfit that kind of resembles John Wayne Gacy, to catch women working as sex workers. Spoiler: he pretty much sprays all of them with silly string and the whole thing is sad to watch. Amish woman At least one cop from the Pulaski Township Police Department in Pennsylvania dressed up as an Amish woman in an attempt to catch a sexual predator. Sgt. Chad Adams of the Pulaski Township Police Department wandered the streets for two months in 2014 after police were tipped off that a predator was masturbating in front of children, according to the Associated Press. He posted on the department's Facebook page, “Hey friends, sometimes being a police officer means going undercover and doing what you have to do to catch the bad guy. Now that our investigation is complete I'll share with you this photo! Back in January we had an individual preying on Amish children walking home from school. The male individual was pulling up to the children and getting out of his car and masturbating in front of them. Although we did not apprehend the individual we believe he was caught in another county. I wanted to share with you that we will use all means available to try and protect our children. That includes dressing up as an Amish woman to attempt to apprehend a pervert! Thanks goes out to the Neshannock police and New Wilmington police in assistance with the investigation! Sincerely, Sergeant Chad Adams.” Sadly, the sting didn't work, but police believe it is because the culprit moved into another county. DVD Prize sting Police in Phoenix, Arizona set up a sting to catch people with outstanding warrants, mostly DUIs, in 2002. The people were told they won a DVD player. People thought they were showing up to pick up their prize. Instead, they walked right into their own arrest. Watch as these suspects went from excited to shocked to sad. Panhandling trick In 2015, undercover cops in California posed as panhandlers to ticket distracted drivers. They stood on the side of the road, posed as panhandlers and holding signs that identified them as police officers. The pieces of cardboard they were holding also stated that they were looking for seatbelt and cellphone violations. For those drivers who weren't paying attention