James Eagan Holmes shot 71 people, killing 12 – blame the Occupy movement and the Tea Party
What else do we know?
* Ben Leung, 27, lived neat Holmes. He tells the Times: “Nobody really knew him…He wouldn’t acknowledge you when you passed him in the corridor.”
* The Times looks for a pattern: “The Century 16 cinema where Holmes attacked his victims row by row is less than 20 miles from Columbine High School, the scene in 1999 of one of America’s worst mass shootings.”
* Holmes was a PhD candidate in neuroscience at the University of Colorado.
* In the theatre, fans were dressed as Batman characters. Holmes wore red hair and claimed to be The Joker. Ray Kelly, the New York police commissioner, tells CBS News: “He had his hair painted red, and he said he was the Joker — obviously the enemy of Batman. It clearly looks like a deranged individual.”
* Barack Obama said: “My daughters go to the movies — what if Malia and Sasha had been at the theatre?…We have to embrace them and let them know that we will be there for them as a nation.” Had only they have been there Holmes would have been swiftly despatched by special agents protecting Obama’s children.
* Mitt Romney added, oddly: “I stand before you not as a man running for office, but as a father, grandfather, husband and an American.” How politicians like to use the phrase “…as a dad”, as if being a parent gives you a unique looks at mass murder. Holms has no children.
* What about the guns? The Times says:
In 2010 fewer than 100 people were murdered with a firearm in the UK. The equivalent figure for the US, with a population five times larger, was 8,775. The fewer guns in circulation, such statistics suggest, the fewer people suffer their effects….The UK also has very strict gun laws. They did not prevent Michael Ryan shooting dead 16 people in Hungerford, or Thomas Hamilton shooting dead 17 people in Dunblane, or Derrick Bird shooting dead 12 people in Cumbria. All three men used legally held, licensed weapons.
* Holmes had on his possession at the time of his arrest, and AR15 semi-automatic assault rifle, a Remington shotgun and two Glock handguns. He had no criminal record. The guns had been bought legally in Colorado.
Witnesses speak out:
* Trey Freeman: “He looked so calm when he did it, it was scary, He waited for both bombs to explode before he did anything. Then after both of them exploded, that’s when he began to shoot.”
* Chandler Brannon: “I told my girlfriend to just play dead. All I could see was a silhouette.”
* Zackary Golditch: “We were just watching the movie and up to the right it sounded liked some firecrackers went off. A guy got shot in the arm. I turned around, and it hits me in the back of the neck and I am yelling and screaming.”
* Jennifer Seeger: “I was just a deer in headlights. I didn’t know what to do. There were bullet casings just falling on my head, they were burning my forehead. Every few seconds it was just boom, boom, boom. He would reload and shoot and anyone who would try to leave would just get killed.”
* Shayla Roeder: “She just had this horrible look in her eyes. We made eye contact and I could tell she was not all right.”
* Holmes’ victims included a baby, aged four months.
* His mother is Arlene Holmes. She told media: “You have the right person. I need to call the police . . . I need to fly to Colorado.” She lives in San Diego with his father Robert.
* The first victim to be named was Jessica Ghawi, aka Jessica Redfield . She had derived a shooting spree in Toronto in June. She had written: “I was reminded that we don’t know when or where our time on Earth will end. When or where we will breathe our last breath.”
* The Daily Mail, ever the one to make bad thing worse, says UK cinemas broadcasting the Batman film are on high alert.
What about the politics?
Poynter: During live coverage of the Aurora, Colo., theater shooting Friday morning, ABC News’ Brian Ross suggested the shooter, Jim Holmes, may be affiliated with the Colorado Tea Party.
Mail: As speculation mounts about the motive behind the mass shooting, one private investigator has said that Holmes may have been part of Occupy Wall Street’s most violent faction, Occupy Black Bloc.
Instapundit: “What’s pathetic is that every time, they so clearly want to blame tragedies like this on the Tea Party. I don’t generally like these calls for firings, and Ross was no doubt just reading what a producer sent him, but … They know how to be exquisitely sensitive and non-prejudgey when it might be a Muslim or some other protected minority, so maybe the only way to encourage them to show better judgment the rest of the time is to cost some people their jobs. Who was the producer? Meanwhile, I look forward to the libel suit.”
Daily Mail: ”WAS DEADLY SHOOTING INSPIRED BY BATMAN COMIC BOOK?”
The Dark Knight cinema massacre may have been inspired by a Batman comic book strip, it emerged on Friday. The bloodbath is a chilling copycat of a 25-year-old Batman comic strip which features a deranged gunman opening fire in a cinema. In the second issue of The Dark Knight Returns, written by Frank Miller – the creative mind behind Sin City and 300 – gunman Arnold Crimp opens fire in a pornographic theatre, killing three people, after listening to Led Zepplin’s classic track ‘Stairway to Heaven.’…
The comic itself is still in print, and on Friday it was available in several Waterstones’ book shops, priced £12.99.
Eyewitness Chandler Brannon, 25, sits outside Gateway High School where witnesses were brought for questioning after a shooting at a movie theater showing the Batman movie "The Dark Knight Rises," Friday, July 20, 2012 in Aurora. A gunman wearing a gas mask set off an unknown gas and fired into the crowded movie theater killing 12 people and injuring at least 50 others, authorities said. (AP Photo/Barry Gutierrez)