His picture is on NBC News.com. A young Caucasian with short hair, long sideburns, a tight lipped, nearly taste of lemon, smile and wide open, shining, eyes. His name is James Holmes and he is accused of being the latest in a long line of American mass murderers. Last night, or rather early this morning, he walked into an Aurora, Colorado theater during the midnight premier of the movie "The Dark Knight Rises."
He was dressed completely in black and reports indicate he had on body armor and either a gas mask, or goggles. He was armed with two tear gas canisters, two Glock hand guns, a shot gun, and a Smith and Wesson AR-15 semi automatic assault weapon. The attack had obviously been in the works for some time. Police found his apartment heavily booby trapped and as of this writing haven't figured out how to disarm the explosives and incendiary devices left in waiting for them.
Witnesses say Holmes threw the tear gas canisters into the audience about twenty minutes after the start of the movie. At first some thought it was a stunt connected to the opening of the film. Then he opened fire into the crowd and chaos ensued.
One of the audience members was, Jessica Ghawi. On June second of this year she survived a mass shooting at a Toronto, Ontario mall that killed two persons and wounded seven others. That carnage was small time compared to the havoc wreaked by James Holmes. So far the count stands at twelve dead and fifty plus wounded. Jessica Ghawi is listed among the fatalities.
The description of the accused shooter is numbingly familiar. He was known as a loner who would usually ignore the greetings of others. He studiously avoided conversations. As one neighbor put it, "no one knew him."
The cold facts are that he is from a San Diego suburb. In 2011 he graduated from U.Cal. Riverside with a degree in neuroscience. I suppose there is some irony there, but I'm so tired of these slugs that I won't try to exploit it. He enrolled at the University of Colorado Denver medical school, but officials there say he was in the process of dropping out.
Apparently his only previous run in with the law was a minor traffic ticket. His name didn't appear on any federal or state terrorist watch lists. I'm sure every weapon and every bullet he brought to the scene was purchased legally from a reputable dealer in the area. Indeed, why take risks with the black market when all this stuff is readily available to any raving lunatic who simply hasn't reached the boiling point yet.
More details will emerge. Unlike most of his predecessors Mr. Holmes was captured alive without a struggle. He will appear in court on Monday. I'm sure we will hear his well thought out and completely logical reasoning at that time. No doubt his list of grievances will be extensive and finely detailed.
It is at this point in my posts that I usually talk about what we need to do to halt stark brutality such as this. Honestly though, what is the use? The guns aren't going away. We'll keep making them and selling them as if they are Big Macs. Certainly the lunatics aren't going to go away either. The manufacture of deadly psychotics is one of the few things this country doesn't outsource. We roll them out on a basis so regular that you'd think there was an assembly line somewhere around here.
No, there is no use whining about it. We're a society that allows its private citizens to arm themselves better than a third world army. The only limitation is the credit line on a Visa or MasterCard account. Many of us are ruthless and violent and not just a few of us are as crazy as they come. Why then should anyone be surprised when this sort of thing happens?
And make no mistake about it, this will happen again, it is bound to. Then after a new round of shock and outrage subsides it will happen again and again and again. It is the All American disease and there is no cure. At least not one we're willing to take.
Just keep your head low and always make sure you have a couple of escape routes planned because this show is coming to your town soon. Trust me, it is just a matter of time.