Jon E. Garrett
Writing the future of journalism one post at a time


July 21, 2012

Real horror of Colorado massacre is knowledge it will happen again

James Eagan Holmes, 24, is alleged to have committed one of the greatest mass shootings in U. S. History, when he opened fire during a screening of “The Dark Knight Rises” at an Aurora, Colorado, theater Friday. Twelve people were killed and 58 injured.

I am a stone cold killer.
Over the years I have burned schools full of children, crushed the life out of men with my bare hands while looking into their eyes and committed acts of genocide. I even killed my own father.
Yet, I walk the streets of America freely with no fear of being prosecuted for my crimes.
My body count is high, but the authorities will never catch me. Even if they did they could not prosecute.
Am I some sort of maniacal genius – a Dexter next door without the control to make my “dark gift” serve the world in some sort of twisted way? No. I’m simply a human. Like most of the species the vast majority of my crimes, and greatest triumphs for that matter, occur in my head.
It is inside of that small flesh-and-bone casing where my brain resides, and within it a vast and seemingly infinite imagination that belies the size of its vessel, wherever skull-crunching blow, axe to the head and arson took place.
I am a stone cold killer. There. The wrong word, any perceived slight and or an ill change in my mood for that matter calls for instant retribution in my mind’s eye. It is carried out with ruthless precision by my mind. There is no hope for the mental avatar of the object of my hate. No salvation.
In reality, however, there is no blood on my hands or weighing down my conscience.
The only crimes I have committed are moving violations. The bulk of the violent acts I have committed came on the football field. While it is true that I have derived some enjoyment out of imagined retaliations over the years it was never lasting. In fact, more often than not, such flashes were followed by deep embarrassment.
While it might be amusing to think of blowing up the IRS, I would never do it. Why? Because in real life there are consequences to your actions. You burn down the school because your classmates are jerks? If the blackened bodies, acrid stench and mournful wails of the survivors don’t haunt your soul, your new cellmates might have you pining for the good old days when they called you names on the playground.
So, what is it that compels some of us to act on these dark fantasies?
Mental illness in its myriad forms often takes the blame: the disability to differentiate between what is real and what is not, unbridled ID or the inability to feel compassion for one’s fellow man to name a few. It Is one of the factors that will surely be discussed at length during the media frenzy over the next couple of months as news organizations dissect every iota of information about James Eagan Holmes’ life looking for the motivation that compelled the 24-year-old doctoral student to allegedly commit one of the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. History at the midnight premier of “The Dark Knight Rises” at a Colorado theater Friday.
If it was that we won’t know for some time. There will be days and weeks of interrogations and evaluations before anything definitive is said on the subject, and when that judgment comes there are almost as many who would deny it as would welcome it. It might comfort some to know that a person that could perform such an act was not in his right mind, but others will be angered that such a designation would shield him from the ultimate penalty our legal system, and Colorado’s, allows – death.
In the end the why he did it does not really matter, though some would argue that if it is a mental issue or predicated by his use of prescribed psychiatric drugs with dangerous side effects – that it would prove how lacking psychiatric healthcare is in this country or how out of control the pharmaceutical industry has become. A few have already foolishly pointed to it as a sign of God’s disfavor with the current moral climate in America. While it hasn’t happened yet, you can be sure to expect both sides of the spectrum to politicize the event as the presidential race heats up.
In the end all the rhetoric will amount to pabulum. We live in an era where there are people alive who witnessed and participated in one of the greatest human atrocities on record. Through well-stocked libraries and the Internet we have easy access to tomes that illustrate mankind’s relatively short dominance of the Earth has been filled with such seemingly random acts from single men and the mob alike. It’s not the fact that people do things like this anymore that frightens us, nor their motivations. It is the fact that no matter what we do or how hard we try to prepare for or prevent it – it will happen again.

About the Author

Jon E. Garrett



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