Originally Posted by Happy Jack
I'm not sure if I agree with the idea that Batman was somehow bad for Gotham. A large part of Bruce's reasoning for inventing Batman in the first movie was to galvanize the city into saving itself. Yes, it was also because of his pain and Batman became the indirect cause for a lot of suffering, but he also did do good for Gotham. In Rises we see Batman's victory, the actualization of Bruce's goals. We see that Batman ultimately worked. I think the city will be better off than if Bruce had never put on the cape and cowl. If nothing else he wouldn't have been able to stop Ra's from destroying Gotham in Begins, which still would have happened regardless.
But Ra's even said, they did it to Gotham before and the eventual result was the same every time.
In their view, Batman is just delaying the inevitable. There will always be criminals, so what's the point?
The point is then, Bruce needs Batman more than Gotham needs Batman. And if a few Gothamites latch onto the hope that Batman symbolizes, all the better.
If we really were to have seen the "dramatic example to shake people out of apathy," Nolan would have probably shown us the reaction of the Gotham State cop who ordered the bridge be blown. He had been acting out of apathy, only doing what was told. Wouldn't his reaction and his lesson been the point of Batman? But it isn't. Blake, Gordon, Lucius (and Dent and Rachel), already had heroism within them. There is no apathy to shake off. Only in Selina, really. But in all the others, the existence of Batman only made them brave enough to act. Batman was pretty much already preaching to the choir with them. He isn't really going to change any minds, but give hope to those who are without it. And save as many innocent lives in the process as he can. But hope without action doesn't exactly change the world.
Bruce was reasoning that Batman was good for Gotham, and it's fair that he is. He didn't want to face how messed up he really was. It's only in Rises that he finally acknowledges the harm that he's doing himself, and that the city doesn't need a hero who functions from pain. Violence and pain only begets more, and what he sees in Blake he thinks is better.