The most prominent voice of conspiracy comes from Alex Jones, expert operative of the far right John Birch, Koch Brothers variety, who quickly and with ZERO evidence declared this a "false flag" terrorist act in order to justify draconian gun laws and specifically pointing out the immanence of the U.N. Small Arms Treaty that is reported to be coming to a vote in the Senate which Obama has indicated that he will sign.
First let us look at the facts in this case that we do know. James Holmes was an excellent student with no history that we currently know of which indicate that he had any propensity for violence or acting out in a bizarre fashion. [Update 7/27/12] According to CNN in this story a court document filed indicated that Holmes had been seeing a psychiatrist and had mailed her a package that prosecution was attempting to get access to. Defense attorneys have cited privileged communication in an attempt to deny access to the material. The doctor is identified as Lynn Fenton, as cited in this story. According to the story she has a military connection with the USAF which, no doubt, will cause many to raise their eyebrows but by itself is not enough to prove government complicity- though I cannot rule it out either.
Here he is in younger days giving a presentation where he seems a bit shy, not so good at eye contact, but still with a little bit of humor in his demeanor.
By nearly all accounts he was an excellent student and had impeccable academic credentials, though there are a couple of chinks in this image. One is that he apparently flunked the first part of his grad school assessment test and had initiated a withdrawal from the program. And a new report from a neuroscientist which painted Holmes as a "dolt" while acting as an intern at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in 2006. The scientist further characterized Holmes as "...just a second year grad. student." And "He didn't know anything."
One other possible warning sign of his behavior relates to his attempt to join a shooting club in Colorado. Glenn Rotkovich of the Lead Valley Range attempted to contact James in relation to his membership application and called him. When he did he got his voice mail which he described as "Bizarre, guttural, freakish at best" which led him to think something was wrong and eventually to tell his staff to watch out for him.
Another weird angle to this story is the behavior of James' mother upon being informed of the shooting. According to ABC news a reporter called, waking her, and telling her of the shooting and the suspect and asking if they were related. She responded "You have the right person." This seemingly with little information to go on, which leads one to believe that she had some inkling that her son might do such a thing. As of July 26, she has disputed the report by ABC news, but has offered no further commentary.
He had several weapons and spent some time collecting a large amount of ammunition. All of this was done legally. His first weapon seems to have been purchased on May 22 in an area store. He also accumulated a virtually complete body armor suit with neck protector, leg guards and helmet. He already had several weapons by the time he purchased a high powered rifle hours after he failed the first part of his graduate program exam.
And as reported on July 25 Holmes is alleged to have mailed a notebook to the University that he was enrolled in that is said to have details of his plans to kill people with illustrations and diagrams showing his plans. So far it is unclear if this was received before or after the shooting, but was only discovered in the mail room on Monday July 23. The University is not releasing much information on his academic record or whether he was seeing a psychiatrist or much of anything definitive.
In the rush of getting the conspiracy and right/left bullshit started right off the bat it was alleged that Holmes was a Tea Party member, and then later as a member of the Occupy movement. Holmes is alleged to have uploaded a video supportive of the Occupy movement, which even if true, does not denote membership or a relationship. I have seen no proof that he uploaded the video. One should note that Occupy has been firmly associated with nonviolence and thus the assertion by some that Holmes was part of the "militant" wing or "Black Block" anarchists. Neither of which seems to have stood up to scrutiny.
We should take a moment to talk about some other bizarre incidents involved with the movie "The Dark Knight Rises" in the wake of this terrible tragedy. As noted in this article there were three incidents directly related to the movie. In California a 52 year old man was arrested after making comments about the shooting and asking about a gun while at the movie. In Maine, Timothy Courtois was arrested speeding with a car full of weapons and admitted to police his plans to go and kill a former employer. And in Arizona Michael Borboa was arrested for causing a disturbance during a screening of the movie, causing people to flee the theater when he reached into a backpack. This must be part of the equation of trying to figure out what is going on with this story.
Holmes' only known income at the time was from an NIH grant of $21,600 and a $5,000 stipend from the University of Colorado-Denver. It is unclear whether or not he had access to additional funding from his parents or what kind of debt load he was carrying. He could easily have purchased the approximately $15,000 worth of guns, ammunition and equipment from using credit cards if he had good credit and didn't use them much.
Thankfully this gun jammed according to police or the death toll would have been worse. There has been much talk of Holmes' accuracy and ability to kill so many and injure so many more. This is very reminiscent of 9/11 where experts have testified that either the maneuvers the planes made were impossible or only possibly by highly trained elite pilots. It makes it seem that Holmes must have trained somewhere, and a lot to do so good. Or does it? A theater is essentially a tightly packed group of people, even moving, it seems to me his "accuracy" could be overblown.
Two things stand out to me as being anomalous to me in this tragedy. ONE; Holmes was fully armored indicating that he was prepared for return fire, obviously not from his victims but from the police. This would indicate to me that he had planned to have some kind of confrontation with the police. TWO; he booby trapped his apartment with many different kinds of lethal devices that police assert were designed to kill anyone entering. However, according to all accounts he had surrendered meekly to police outside the theater and quickly told police of his trapped apartment preventing any further death. It's incongruous.
TMZ has reported that Holmes had signed up for Adult Friend Finder and in a follow up story he was linked positively to at least one prostitute that he had seen twice. The prostitute said that Holmes was nice, apparently lacking any noticeable bizarre behavior. Apparently in his attempt to connect with a girl for a relationship on Adult Friend Finder he had been turned down by three different "matches" according to this source. Not knowing his prior sexual experiences one cannot make definitive statements as to the effect and meaning of this information. If one was to postulate that he had little experience with women, and he was described as "shy", then one might argue that he had a desire to "live it up" and experience some sexual activity before possibly being taken out of action by a planned exercise.
Why the orange hair?
It's completely unnatural looking isn't it? It reminds me of the ridiculous look of David Ferrie a person of interest in the JFK assassination and many other things.
Fright wig looking hair and painted on eyebrows, scary indeed. Ferrie had alopecia so had some kind of excuse at least.
So now onto the various conspiracy theories put forward. There is a supposed DoD connection to the neurological program that Holmes was enrolled in and the Salk center as can be read here. This theory has it that Holmes was a tool of the military in some kind of MKULTRA program false flag operation to further a fascist police state crackdown on guns and liberty. The proximity in time between the shooting and the UN small arms treaty talks has caused fear mongers like Alex Jones to immediately state with authority that it was all a false flag attack to demonize gun owners and promote gun control. The gun control theory has been debunked quite well by Christopher Knowles as well as myself as in the following video:
The powers that be like it that the US is awash in guns because they serve as pacifiers for the population.
There were initial theories of more than one shooter that has been corroborated by witnesses. There is also some question as to whether he could have gotten into the theater without help from the exit doors that have no outside entry. Could he have had an accomplice? The police say definitively no, but that is an issue that is not resolved to my satisfaction as of yet. Mainly because of witness statements. It is clear that Holmes bought a ticket was in the theater, left on a pretense of taking a call, left through the exit doors and could easily have chocked the door open in order to allow himself back in and witnesses can be wrong.
I have not heard any talk about Holmes' family or himself being involved in any church and considering his depth of interest in science one might be allowed the speculation that he was not religious and further may have been an atheist. Hard science usually devolves to a materialist reductionist worldview. That is a worldview that has it that humans or life in general is just a collection of chemical elements and that "thought" and consciousness is just a byproduct of chemical and electrical activity in the body. Being in neuroscience may have made Holmes susceptible to this ideology. This is pure speculation. A posting on Craig's List was brought to my attention that indicated that James had been a victim of his father's sexual molestation and that in light of the publicity and outrage over the Jerry Sandusky scandal (which you can read about in my blog post here and note the DoD connection to Penn State) the father had a talk with the son in order to reinforce his silence so that the dad did not end up like Sandusky. The posting could have been completely made up and had the father's name wrong as well as attempting a connection to a church of Satan as well which makes it especially hard to swallow in whole. Looking at the order of events here the first gun purchase was made on May 22, which was well into the Sandusky affair, nothing stands out right in that time frame which would support his dad doing that at that time to cause the son to make his move. But it could have built up over time. Lacking corroboration, excepting the mothers reaction, since disputed, which could have indicated some knowledge of something on her part, we cannot say that this is established. [Update July 27] I would be remiss in not reporting another very interesting angle to this story that should at least be in the mix. James' father Robert is involved in software development for credit and FICO scoring as well as apparently forensic accounting of some fashion. It is interesting to note that the LIBOR scandal is heavy at this time and it is likely that Robert may have some connection to the investigation of securities fraud even if tangentially. This is reminiscent of the Jon Benet Ramsay case where the father was the owner of a software company that worked for the DoD and was sold shortly after the murder. Correlating this to some conspiracy involving the son is certainly possible but at this point in time I have seen no direct connection or evidence that would indicate that this is the case. Food for thought.
As difficult as it may be for some in the conspiracy movement to accept my current take on this disaster is that James Holmes, had gotten in over his head academically. He may have had a large student debt load as well, placing additional pressure on him to succeed. When he was failing in his doctoral program at the University of Colorado he attempted to reach out and "have a life" while he could by trying to find girls to date. He failed in that and then sought prostitutes to at least enjoy some sexual contact. There is a likelihood that he had no religious background and may have had a reductionist worldview common to hard science types, especially those in neuroscience. This would have meant that his view of people, ultimately, would be that they were merely a collection of chemical elements. He was powerless to overcome his failings in school and had no other prospects. Largely no longer the "boy wonder" but hip deep under water with nowhere to go and, perhaps, looking to be noticed and praised again. He came up with a plan. A change in appearance including the orange hair and a slow accumulation of weapons, ammunition and body armor as well as making his various booby traps. He chose a venue with a lot of people and apparently planned it out ahead of time. He sent the notebook detailing his actions and then set out to carry it out. In other words he did it himself, and his actions in the aftermath may indicate that he snapped at some point and realized that the reductionist chemical components he was extinguishing were actually thinking, feeling, beings and this caused him to meekly surrender and warn of his apartment trap.
I am open to further information. And am willing to entertain alternative views including DOD involvement and the possibility of one or more accomplices. His spitting and other actions while in custody may have made it necessary (not that I agree with it) to chemically subdue him, accounting for his dazed look in court. He went from efficient killing machine to meekly submitting to police to defiant crazy acting out and spitting in a short time which indicates possible mental problems. My contention is that he cracked during the killings and realized exactly what it was he was doing then came more rapid changes in behavior.
The story is not closed yet, and I stand ready to revise this opinion if more information comes to light.
James Holmes backed into a corner, in too deep academically, no longer the "whiz kid", a face in a crowd, simply decided to do something to get noticed and that he could succeed at and snapped in the process. When I say "snapped" in this sense I mean that he was engaged in a deliberate action, planned killing, but that during his rampage he had a realization that his view that the "people" were not thinking, feeling beings was changed. That may have unhinged his worldview. [UPDATE 7/29] It should be noted that while incarcerated James Holmes is stating a lack of knowledge of his actions and claims not to know why he is in jail. It could be that he had a legitimate psychotic episode that rendered him incapable of remembering after the fact. It could also be true that he acted coldly when it came time to face the authorities he lost the guts to face them with fire, like many psychos he would value his own skin so much that when it came time to put it on the line he balked and chose the cowardly route and is feigning amnesia. Of course it could be true that he had been "programmed" as well and part of that was to forget or mess him up. I am still ruling nothing out on this case and will keep updating as information becomes available.
Thomas Sheridan and I had a discussion on the shooting in this show.