July 24, 2012

  • James Eagan Holmes – The Forgotten Victim

    Little Boy Lost

    07/23/2012  10:45pm

    I’ve been sickened over the last few days hearing people call for the death penalty in the case of James Holmes, the alleged gunman in last Friday’s shooting spree at an Aurora, CO screening of The Dark Knight Rises. The preposterous assertion that human life is so precious that the only way we reconcile its loss is to causes someone else's death is not only hypocritical but utterly savage. There's no question that the death of twelve potentially innocent people in that theater is absolutely tragic. To call it a random act of violence perpetrated by a homicidal kook, however, shows a lack of compassion for Mr. Holmes that perhaps rivals the actual shooting in its inhumanity.

    Yes, we could put Mr. Holmes to death and we will have one less murderer. But will that really solve anything? There are likely plenty more desperate souls like him lurking around, their violent impulses lying dormant until someone or something inevitably pushes them over the edge. And then tragedy will strike - maybe at your local supermarket while you are doing your grocery shopping; maybe on the 5:15 while you’re heading home from a long day at work;  or maybe even at church Sunday morning during prayer services. If we are to have a world where we can truly feel safe, our focus needs to be on treating the underlying problem, not on killing the victims of its symptoms.

    James Holmes did not shoot those people for the hell of it. He did it because desperate people do desperate things when they are pushed into desperate circumstances. And Mr. Holmes circumstances were indeed desperate. He was a brilliant student of neuroscience who suddenly found himself unable to endure the academic rigors of his Ph.D. program. He was unable to procure gainful employment and was facing imminent eviction from his apartment.  He seemed thoroughly unable to establish meaningful relationships with other human beings and he was consistently rejected by the ladies. Yes, according to reports, he was indeed an “odd ball” but surely his eccentricities could have been overlooked by anyone caring enough to reach out to him. Perhaps such a person could have found him/herself a friend for life. Perhaps an employer, not so obsessed with charisma and poise, could have gained himself a highly valuable employee that could have been a real asset to his firm. And perhaps a woman of grace, able to look past social awkwardness and fanatical love of superhero comics, could have found herself a soul-mate. Sadly, not a single person was willing to cast his/her prejudices aside.

    We failed you James Holmes. You did not kill those people. We did – our society as a whole. Words cannot express how truly sorry I am that you have to pay the price for our collective negligence.


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Comments (59)

  • We should at least save his head. His hair is cool.

  • "The preposterous assertion that human life is so precious that the only way we reconcile its loss is to causes someone else's death is not only hypocritical but utterly savage"

    Agreed. Couldn't have said it better myself.

  • well thought out.

  • What I don't like the most about the way people are treating Mr. Holmes is how everyone(I'm looking at you HuffPost commenters) is saying he is a 'kook' and there is something 'abnormal' about him. I think this is just people's way of saying to themselves, "Well he did something I never would have, therefore he must be crazy or some kind of psycho." It's a psychological comfort to distance yourself from something as reprehensible as the shootings in Aurora. So people say, "Well I'm not crazy and I would never shoot anyone. No no no."

    Now don't mistake my words to mean that I am defending Mr. Holmes. What I am defending is every other law abiding 'kook' and 'eccentric' that is being viewed as a potential shooter. Seriously, go read the Huffington Post comments.

  • "dont treat the symptoms, treat the disease". I fully agree with you. awesome post.

  • While I don't believe it is society's fault for a person going off and killing people, I don't agree with the death penalty either.

  • I may not agree with the death penalty. And I do have a lot of sympathy for people who feel left out. But once they use it as an excuse to go out and kill people, they don't get my sympathy anymore. He still CHOSE to shoot those people. Plenty of people feel under pressure, can't find a job, and don't have any luck in love, and somehow they manage not to commit premeditated mass murder.

  • I have never read such horseshit in all my life. And I am 53.

    Are you fucking serious? Life's a bitch for one and all, we don't shoot innocent people. jobs are hard to find, so are women...but we don't shoot innocent people.

    And to be so cowardly, to shoot unarmed movie goers, wearing bulletproof protection....and then give up without a fight to those who could shoot back. COWARD!!

    This fuck is playing everyone, the dying of his hair, the vacant stare.He's an intelligent man, playing the judicial system for fools.

    Oh yeah, we should keep this fuck alive.

    Kill him. And I hope he rots in hell.

  • The greatest blow to people who seek fame and fortune through brutality is to deprive them of honor and glory.

    The death penalty erases not only the life but the memory of the criminal.

    And that deprives them of the honor and glory they sought through their most heinous acts.

  • @PrisonerxOfxLove - Maybe a better way is to nurture them with sympathy and forgiveness so they can one day be an asset to society.

  • @SKANLYN - That worked well for Saddam Hussein during the decades leading up to his ignominious execution.

    And we see that it also worked well with Charles Manson who still considers himself a primo bad ass after decades of loving nurture in prison.

  • @Bricker59 - You've never read such "horseshit" and I've never read such ignorance. Your utter lack of empathy and compassion are the very things that pushed James Holmes to do what he did. I consider people like you to be just as responsible for those people dying as him.

  • @PrisonerxOfxLove - Saddam Hussein had no weapons of mass destruction and Charles Manson wasn't even present at the scene of the murders for which he was convicted. Not good examples.

  • @SKANLYN - It looks like the system failed them somehow. What a crying shame.

  • Reading this has honestly horrified me.

  • I agree with @EccentricSiren - and @Bricker59 - (except I'm not sure about the death penalty.

    I'm sure you wouldn't be saying this if it happened to someone you know.

  • No matter what happens in life we still have choices but at the same time at some point before isolation sets in there were opportunities where friendship could have stopped this from happening.  We are far too busy for people these days.  Even now I am busy writing amongst strangers on Xanga and I am sitting here wondering if there isn't a human friendship I should be nourishing.

  • Clearly you're considering shooting up a movie theater or two in your free time and are already pleading your case of "Feel sorry for ME, not the people I killed."

    This is utter horse doo-doo.  The man is responsible for his actions and the consequences of them.

  • To take away the consequences of someone's crime is dehumanzing, in a way. It's treating them like an animal who doesn't know right from wrong. 

  • @blonde_apocalypse -  I am not a violent person (the same cannot be said of those hoping that Mr. Holmes gets the death penalty). I am fortunate enough that I was able to find other ways to deal with life in our cruel and unjust society. I was lucky. James Holmes was not and so my sympathies are with him. Maybe if our standards and demand for conformity weren't so high he would actually have had a chance. Think about that next time you make fun of the Comic Con Crowd or you reject a nice guy because he doesn't fit society's ideal of "sexy".

  • @PrisonerxOfxLove - I disagree that it erases their memory. It won't stop people from sensationalizing them afterwards. If people do shit like that for publicity (and I'm not saying they do, just saying it's possible), then maybe we should skip all the news stories and go straight to the court case and later, locking them up.
    I have mixed feelings about having stuff like this in the news, to be honest. On one hand, I think an event as significant as the mass murder of 12 innocent people and the attempted murder of who knows how many others can't and maybe even shouldn't be kept quiet. On the other hand, if people actually do this sort of thing for fame, then wouldn't keeping it out of the news be denying them the very thing they want, and therefore serving as a deterrent? And I really hope there aren't a bunch of copycat incidents now, as there sometimes are after violent attacks. But I guess the reason I have mixed feelings about this is because I think people's reasons for committing mass homicide are more complex than wanting to be on the news.

  • @EccentricSiren - Timothy McVie and Saddam Hussein are two examples of men who have had their inglorious acts wiped from the mind of civil society by being executed.

    In Iraq, Saddam is all but forgotten as the now free Iraqi people forge a new future for themselves.

    If he had not been executed he would have remained a rallying point and source of inspiration for Islamic barbarians.

    I doubt whether many people even remember what McVie did or who he is.

    If the piece of human debris who did the Aurora killings is executed he will be forgotten too except for the all the families that he tore apart that fateful day.

  • @SKANLYN - I don't "make fun" of anybody.  But I think this groveling "oh, poor poor guy never had a chance fitting into the popular crowd so he had no choice but to murder perfect strangers out of sympathy for himself" mewling is vile.

  • @blonde_apocalypse - The only difference between us and him is circumstances. Have some compassion for those who don't have your charmed life. Maybe then they'll see you as a human being instead of a target.

  • Is this a joke?

  • Thanks for this insightful post. I remember 10 years or so ago there was a shooting relatively close to where I live and we discussed it in school. I was pissed off that no one had an ounce of understanding for the killer, who also shot himself at the end, and no one even gave a thought to his parents. I almost felt ashamed that I could 'relate so well' to the shooter. It all simply made sense to me. And now you get the same lashing as my 13 year old self "YOU ARE THE NEXT KILLER!", yeah suuuree.

    people want to ride this high "I have no understanding for people who don't take RESPONSIBILITY"-horse, and say that if they were exactly in his shoes, meaning they were him, they wouldn't have done the same. The lame old "I am something better than another person".
    I understand that some people areactually angry, and that if you identify with the (shooting) victims you don't really have heart- felt compassion with the shooter. But the other perspective is at least equally important. I also think many don't feel for them, they just want to hear themselves say the right thing, which annoys me.

    I don't see any reason to not rationally try to understand all circumstances. I obviously don't say what happened was fair, but if we continue to 'fail people' they will fail us, it's just how it is and we are all just human.

    As for the death penalty, I agree. there are some things that cannot be revenged in my opinion, because nothing changes. I can bring back respect in everyday quarrels, I can get what I need as  human by relying on certain laws. But no one can bring back the dead. I also think it is ridiculous that say, if someone raped me and I raped him or her too, everyone would tell me that I was "just as bad as they are" and "not entitled to do such a thing" but if some judges decide to repay death with death it is all fine bc it is in the name of the victims. I actually think if the people who were affected tried to understand the shooter and that it wasn't fair but bad things just happen, it would help them more.

  • Just because he was socially awkward and seemed to be rejected by his peers, does that give him the right to walk into that movie theater and shoot 12 INNOCENT people that had no impact in his life what so every? Your sympathy should be with the victims and their families, not the man who killed them. This completely appalls me.

  • @PrisonerxOfxLove - You do have a point...until someone goes and makes a movie about one of them and immortalizes them. But then they aren't around to care. I do vaguely remember McVie, but you're right. He's not exactly a part of my regular consciousness.

  • @ItsAll_A_LoveWar - The dead don't suffer. I am sorry for their families but Mr. Holmes has the greatest burden of anyone to carry. He was a confused, lonely, desperate soul who committed an act that was beyond his control - an act we all pushed him into committing. The blood of those people stains our hands every bit as much as his.

  • @EccentricSiren - Ah yes. Hollywood. That factory of darkness.

  • @SKANLYN - You have no clue what my life is or has been like. 

    If a person is depressed, angry, in pain, fighting violent or evil impulses, struggling with evil desires to do harm to others, then I have compassion for him.  If he ACTS on those violent impulses, then I still have compassion for his pain, but he must face the consequences of their actions.  What you want is to tell every person everywhere that he has a free pass to act on whatever vile impulses he has because "we all have pain."  We do all have pain, but we also all have the responsibility to do something about it that doesn't involve murdering other peoples' loved ones because we don't feel good.  You seem to forget that regardless of what happens to the evil doer, the families of the people he murdered face the consequences of the man's actions.  In your exuberance to claim the rest of us have no compassion for the murderer, you've completely eliminated compassion for the innocent victims.  And let's not forget, as soon as you declare a holiday on justice, you invite more killing from anybody who's ever had a bad day and weak impulse control.

    The justice system is about protecting the innocent from the people who would do them harm.  You want to make it about finding ways for violent, evil people feel good about doing harm to others.  That's total horse doo-doo and you can keep it.

  • @blonde_apocalypse - Okay so I have no clue about your life. Likewise you have no clue about whether any or all of those victims were truly innocent. I am not saying they are not but I didn't know them so I can't say for sure that they were innocent and that they were not possibly paying the consequences of their own misdeeds. I don't condone Mr. Holmes' actions but I also don't condone the actions of the cold, mean people and institutions that turned him into the monster everyone alleges him to be.

  • @SKANLYN - "beyond his control"?? That's maybe what one would say about a crime of passion, when something horrible happens to someone, and in the heat of the moment, they react. But he had been planning this for 2 months. That's plenty of time to think, "hmmm....maybe there are better ways to react."  As I've said before, I agree that we need to really think about how we treat other people, and that I see your point about the death penalty. But calling someone who committed premeditated mass homicide a "victim" disgusts me. We all have a choice in how we're going to act. Maybe no how we feel, but we do have a choice in how we act.

  • Surprised people dont realize what's going on.

  • I am with you. When all is said and done here, Holmes might just be entitled to a pretty large settlement from the state of Colorado for all he has been through.

  • And the Holmies on Tumblr will love this.......

  • @PrisonerxOfxLove - no he wont. he will be forever immortalized in the archives of this blog.

  • @LauraDeLuna - One can only hope.

  • @EccentricSiren - do you honestly understand the nature of mental illness?

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