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Monday, July 23, 2012

EVIL VS. MENTAL ILLNESS : Thoughts About The Aurora Colorado Massacre And James Holmes

I guess nearly the entire world knows about the awful massacre in Theatre 9, in Aurora Colorado.  James Holmes is now a well known name.  He was the fellow who dyed his hair orange, booby trapped his apartment, put on super loud music leaving his door unlocked;  then going to the theater, buying a ticket, walking to the exit door, propping it open,  going out, getting his deadly gear on, coming back in  and mowing down scores of people.  WHY? Nobody really knows. But oh, what a recipe for disaster for the next person who wants to make a statement!

What we have been told is that he was highly intelligent, a bit of a loner, and "easy going".
He actually volunteered at a children's camp as a counselor.  YIKES!

The media has picked up on the fact that Mr. Holmes was not outgoing. Just because somebody is quiet, or keeps to themselves does not mean they are going to become a mass murderer. There are MANY people who can be described as being like James Holmes, and they are harmless and remain harmless their entire lives!

Some people are saying he is crazy or has a mental illness.  I would like to complain about that.
It seems to be assumed that you MUST be mentally ill to be violent.  That is just hog wash and a slap in the face to those who suffer with mental illness.   I have family members who have suffered with mental illness, including schizophrenia.... they were NOT / ARE NOT violent!  Many times in our "enlightened society", we try to explain away EVIL, with "mental illness".  WHY?  Because we don't like to think there is REAL EVIL.

But what if, he just simply gave himself over to pure unadulterated EVIL? Pure unadulterated SIN?
The character he picked drove Heath Ledger to his death!  The JOKER is definitely the impersonation of Evil.  The gun range owner definitely didn't get a good vibe from his growling phone message machine, and one of the men who was shot said that as the shooter was standing six inches from his face, he felt a terrible presence of PURE EVIL!

I do believe that people can give themselves over to such darkness, and that they can in turn do exactly what Mr. Holmes did.   And it is AWFUL.
Does he regret his actions?  Nobody will know for a very long time.   He certainly looked confused and dazed at his hearing.  Maybe the taste of 2 days of solitary confinement gave him some reality of what his future will be like until, IF he is sentenced to death,  death takes his life, in a much more humane way than he took the lives of those in that theater.

I am sad for his parents. I am sad for his friends and colleagues.  I am sad for him.  But mostly, I am sad for the victims.

And you know what? In all this awfulness, there are glimmers of light.  Here is one of them. :)




4 comments:

Alysa said...

I have an opinion on his weird looks at his hearing... If he had been not sleeping for multiple nights, his body may have shut down, because it was reported that he ate breakfast and litteraly past out fast asleep... Just a thought! It makes sense to me, as he looks very sleepy in all the pictures. Like an exhaustion type of sleepy. And I don't like it how everyone is trying to say he has a mental illness. For one, that makes everyone with a mental illness a killer which isnt true! And its like giving him an excuse. He may very well be ill, but we shouldn't give him that excuse until it is proved! Those poor people, I can only imagine the trauma. Oh, and I wanted to ask you what you thought of the death sentence? Do you agree with it (you mentioned it)? I personally don't, I don't think it is our place to decide if someone lives or dies after they commited a crime. :)

Alysa said...

I have an opinion on his weird looks at his hearing... If he had been not sleeping for multiple nights, his body may have shut down, because it was reported that he ate breakfast and litteraly past out fast asleep... Just a thought! It makes sense to me, as he looks very sleepy in all the pictures. Like an exhaustion type of sleepy. And I don't like it how everyone is trying to say he has a mental illness. For one, that makes everyone with a mental illness a killer which isnt true! And its like giving him an excuse. He may very well be ill, but we shouldn't give him that excuse until it is proved! Those poor people, I can only imagine the trauma. Oh, and I wanted to ask you what you thought of the death sentence? Do you agree with it (you mentioned it)? I personally don't, I don't think it is our place to decide if someone lives or dies after they commited a crime. :)

Annie said...

I certainly do get irritated at the idea that anyone who perpetrates this sort of thing must be (almost by definition) a "loner". My husband and I were getting quite hot around the collar about it - it's been a theme with us for quite a while, and we've even noticed that when something like this occurs and the person is NOT by any stretch of the imagination a "loner", the neighbors and teachers and so forth are obviously pausing, and wondering, and not having any idea what to say! If they can't say "He was a loner." they figure they must be confused somehow.

I do believe there is evil. I think of examples - like Bernie Madoff, who had all the time in the world to stop and consider that he was HURTING people. But, I wonder in this situation, and am even curious if this man might have a brain tumor or injury that caused this out-of-character behavior.

After a football injury the upright, great-student, happy, popular, articulate son of a dear friend of mine became almost instantaneously angry, slovenly, a poor student, grunting instead of talking.... Of course we put it down to his grief over the injury, not being able to play ball that season. But, as time went on, he began to let his hair grow, dressed in black, turned from classical music and his violin, to hard rock. It was almost a year later when he also developed tremors and twitches and it eventually became clear that his brain injury had caused this near total change to his personality. They did surgery and with time and medication he is closer to his old self. Maybe that is an extreme example, but this young man also seemed to be on the right track.

Someone wrote on FB that it is a shame it is so much easier to get a gun than it is to get mental health care. My dad was a gunsmith, and I am not in favor of gun control, but I AM in favor of people getting the mental health care they need.

Mike and Christie said...

Alyssa,
I think the death penalty should be used sparingly and only if there are several witnesses to a horrific crime, where there is NO DOUBT that the person is absolutely guilty.
This would be one of those cases where I think it would apply.

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