SAN DIEGO, July 20 2012 — James Holmes, 24, is in custody after murdering 12 and wounding 59 others in the picturesque town of Aurora, Colorado. It is reported that Holmes was a Ph.D. candidate in neuroscience.
The shooting was at the town’s Century 16 movie theater, where the much-anticipated third Batman film by director Chris Nolan, The Dark Knight Rises, is being shown. The film is action packed, and like others of the genre, dark.
The gunman wore a gas mask and bulletproof vest to the midnight premier, which no one probably thought odd as it could be perceived as a costume to mimic the film’s bad guy, Bane.
One movie goer, a 22-year-old woman named Jennifer Seeger, was sitting in the second row of the theater when “the gunman came in through an exit door.” She initially thought it was part of the entertainment until the man threw a “green canister of gas” into the theater and started shooting into the air before opening fire on the audience.
She speaks of laying under the seats and feeling the bullet casings “raining down” on her. Horrifically she says “it seemed like he was having fun…”
Four military personnel were also injured in the shoortings, a fact not widely noted.
Questions will be asked about whether the movie’s violence is responsible for Holmes’ actions. Was the film a trigger to his violence? Did this happen because the film is violent?
The answer is no. Lots of people see movies, even violent movies, without killing and wounding dozens of innocents.
At the time of this writing, nothing is known of the killer’s motives. We do know that Holmes is a graduate of the University of Colorado. Police are reporting he was armed with sophisticated explosives or flammable materials still at the scene and being diffused.
Aurora Police Chief Dan Oates said. The area was evacuated, and police were expected to remain on the scene “for hours or days,” he said.
CNN is reporting that the shooter told arresting officers that his car and apartment contained explosives and those are being carefully investigated.
Aurora, a charming and beautiful city, was my home. It is difficult to imagine such rampant violence in such a peaceful community. I join millions of others whose hearts go out to the families of the victims.
We will share a desire for swift justice to the perpetrator. But whereas sympathy to the families and a need to confront the killer should be the focus of our discussion of this shattering tragedy, they will not be.
Pundits will try to analyze this event and make sense of it, and the more they talk, the less sense they will make.
-We are guaranteed to hear about the need for stricter gun control laws.
-Some will blame the violence of the movie itself (the long anticipated The Dark Knight Rises the third in the Chris Nolan Batman/Dark Knight series)
-Theaters will cancel screenings of the DKR film.
-Perhaps the pleasure of a movie will now be interrupted with tighter security and metal detectors before entering a theater.
Upon hearing of the shootings, both Mitt Romney and President Obama have cancelled campaigning. President Obama saying to an assembled rally (see PDF of his remarks above)“…there are going to be other days for politics. This, I think, is a day for prayer and reflection.
While Mitt Romney says that “Ann and I are deeply saddened by the news of the senseless violence that took the lives of 15 people in Colorado and injured dozens more. We are praying for the families and loved ones of the victims during this time of deep shock and immense grief. We expect that the person responsible for this terrible crime will be quickly brought to justice.”
But will others be as reflective? Just as people blamed Sarah Palin and the Tea Party for the shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, watch for similar accusations in this case.
Giffords’ shooter was actually a fan of The Communist Manifesto, a philosophy as opposite of the Tea Party as one could possibly find. That, however, did not matter.
Liberals drilled Conservatives with lectures about “toning down the rhetoric.” Meanwhile, Democrats accusing all Republicans of wanting to see people die (since they rejected Obama Care) were not similarly listed as examples of rhetoric needing to be toned down.
Social media types are flocking to the internet, trying to find the killer on Facebook, unfortunately many are friending another Colorado resident with the name James Holmes.
My heart goes out to the families of the victims. For them, this will not be about politics or gun control or blaming film producers.
It will only be about never seeing their children again.
Updated information being added by editors:
Since the publishing of this article, several predictions have already come to pass:
NY Mayor Bloomberg has already commented:
“Maybe it’s time that the two people who want to be president of the United States stand up and tell us what they are going to do about it, because this is obviously a problem across the country.” Bloomberg said in an interview on WOR News Talk Radio 710 in New York City.
“I mean, there are so many murders with guns every day, it’s just got to stop,” he continued. “And instead of the two people - President Obama and Governor Romney - talking in broad things about they want to make the world a better place, okay, tell us how. And this is a real problem. No matter where you stand on the Second Amendment, no matter where you stand on guns, we have a right to hear from both of them concretely, not just in generalities - specifically what are they going to do about guns?”
Bob Siegel is a weekend radio talk show host on KCBQ and columnist. Details of his show can be found at www.bobsiegel.net
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