A Virginia college, a Colorado high school, a Texas military base, an Arizona strip mall, a Colorado movie theatre—all have become part of a recurring event in America: mass murder.
Following the latest massacre, Tom Mauser, father of a 15-year-old victim at the Columbine High School slaughter in 1999, described the inescapable scene:
“Hysterical victims fleeing in terror. Anguished mourners crying out for lost loved ones. Stunned citizens praying together at candlelight vigils.”
In the latest very sad day, 12 people were killed and another 58 injured by a psychopath with nothing better to do than mimic a mad film shoot-up.
Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper said about James Holmes, the mass murderer, “This is a deeply troubled, twisted, delusional person.” That description was too kind.
In addition to the carnage wrought by Holmes in the cinema with his AR-15 assault rifle, Glock pistols and shotgun, he wired his apartment to kill more with booby-trap explosives.
So far, no one has any idea what Holmes’s motive might have been. Did he need to have a motive for this kind of killing spree? If no motive can be discerned, where does a maniac like this get the idea for his bloodbath?
Holmes studied neuroscience at the University of California Riverside. His studies involved “temporal illusions and the cross between fantasy and reality.”
According to a federal law enforcement source, Holmes told police when he was arrested in the rear parking lot of the theatre minutes after the rampage that he was “the Joker”.
The Joker has long been a fixture in Batman comics and was famously portrayed by Heath Ledger in 2008’s “The Dark Knight”, the predecessor to “The Dark Knight Rises”.
Holmes had few friends and barely any social life, instead spending hours indoors playing the video game Guitar Hero.
More mass murders:
The total number of people dying in attacks that claimed four or more victims climbed from an average of 161 a year in the 1980s to 163 between 2006 and 2008, according to FBI statistics.
The motive in mass murder is so different from the motivation for single-victim murders,” criminology professor Jack Levin told The Huffington Post. “These are well-planned crimes … Mass killings don’t depend on any given time.”
Between 1980 and 2008, 4,685 people died in 965 mass-murders, a Scripps-Howard study of FBI data revealed.
Christopher Valen reported “mass murders have risen 5% from 1360 incidents in 2008 to 1428 incidents in 2009, despite a decline of 7% in homicide rates over that same period of time.”
President Barack Obama’s statement Friday, July 20th on the shootings in Colorado included this:
Now, even as we learn how this happened and who’s responsible, we may never understand what leads anybody to terrorize their fellow human beings like this. Such violence, such evil is senseless.
He didn’t say “their fellow Americans”; he said “their fellow human beings”. He added, “It’s beyond reason;” and he was right.
Did the commander-in-chief of the American military have a sudden moment of identity with what Holmes called “temporal illusions and the cross between fantasy and reality?”
Did the brain function that Holmes was studying in neuroscience invade that part of reality that might be called humanitarian?
The president also said “…we may never understand what leads anybody…” to commit such senseless evil.
Mr. President, what leads you to order mass murder in Afghanistan or Iraq or Yemen or Libya? Is it acceptable evil, if you only order the act and someone else performs the evil?
Or are you suggesting that mass murder of foreigners involves killing non humans?
Dr. Paul J. Balles, a retired American university professor and freelance writer, has lived and worked in the Middle East for 40 years – first as an English professor (Universities of Kuwait and Bahrain), and for the past ten years as a writer, editor and editorial consultant.