The Smirk of Evil
This is James Eagen Holmes, 24, shy, law-abiding, intelligent, oft described as stoic and...the arrested suspect in the Colorado movie theater shooting that left 12 dead and up to 71 injured.
So far, nothing up to a few weeks ago points glaringly to the mad killing spree of July 20, 2012 at Theater 9 at the Aurora Century 16 Theatres in the mostly quiet suburb of Denver. It was a midnight premiere screening of The Dark Knight Rises.
WHAT WE HAVE LEARNED
Holmes allegedly used a military style semi-automatic rifle, a shotgun and a pistol, all of which were purchased legally at local gun stores within the last two months. Recently he purchased 6000 rounds of ammunition over the internet, including clips that could dispense up to 100 bullets per minute. He had also dropped out of school in June which almost no one knew about until now.
Holmes had graduated with honors and a degree in neuroscience from the University of California-Riverside in the spring of 2010. Finding no luck in the tough American job market he left San Diego, CA for the University of Colorado-Denver graduate school to pursue a Ph.D. He moved into an apartment building reserved mostly for students and everyone remembers him as quiet, reserved, smart, yet not really responding to neighbor's hellos, etc. His curtains were almost always drawn and he kept to himself. On his on-line rental application he described himself as a "quiet and easy-going medical student."
Those with some insight say the only movie poster in his apartment was that of Anchorman: Ron Burgundy, and that if he was hooked on video games, it was likely the decidedly non-violent Guitar Hero.
Two nights before the shootings, Aurora resident Jackie Mitchell sat with Holmes at a local bar sharing drinks and talking about new Broncos quarterback Petyon Manning. Mitchell said that Holmes struck him as "geeky" and a "pacifist."
Law enforcement officials are investigating whether a profile created earlier this month on AdultFriendFinder is connected to this event. A profile included a picture of a red-haired Holmes (a la Joker below) with the cryptic message, "Will you visit me in prison?" The posting was registered to a man of the same name and age as Holmes.
It is being reported that Holmes not only boobytrapped his apartment with explosives, excelerants and trip wires, but left music playing loudly as if to invite neighbors or authorties to enter and investigate a noise disturbance. A resident of the building did call police with a complaint but police said they were too busy with a mass shooting to respond at the time. The neighbor is alleged to have gone to the door, but changed her mind about turning the knob or pounding on the door. Either may have caused the bombs to explode. Police are still defusing that situation.
Meanwhile, Hollywood studios have banded together and agreed not to release weekly dollar totals out of respect. In other words, they'll still make their millions, they just won't brag about it this week. When they actually agree to help out victim's families with their profits, then I think they've done something. This current gesture is more self-serving than anything else.
Certainly it's too soon to argue that the culture of movie violence contributed to a crazed individual's meltdown, but at the same time, this is how and where it happened and movie companies could step up. Hopefully, they will. LEAVE COMMENTS.
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