James Eagan Holmes

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James Eagan Holmes (born December 13, 1987) is suspected of killing 12 and wounding 58 in a mass murder perpetrated at a sold-out midnight showing of "The Dark Knight Rises," a movie about Batman. The crime occurred in Aurora, Colorado, in the early morning of July 20, 2012.[1]

Holmes was a Ph.D. student in science who reportedly received many shipments, probably materials for his crime, at his office at the University of Colorado.

Holmes personally received $26,000 in funding from the National Institutes of Health, a division of the Department of Health and Human Services in the Obama Administration. This was in addition to free tuition:[2]

James Holmes received thousands from grad-school grants ahead of deadly Aurora shooting ... 'This was his only known income, so ... what you have here is the specter of a federally funded shooting because this appears to be the money he had access to during the time he was planning this,'

observed a former FBI assistant director.[3]

Holmes dyed his hair a bright reddish orange for the evening of the crime (see the booking photo to the right), apparently in imitation of the Joker, a nemesis of Batman. He "told police he was the fictitious Batman villain, the Joker, and when cops put evidence bags over his hands to preserve traces of gunpowder residue, he pretended the bags were puppets."[4]

Holmes was obsessed with role-playing video games and reportedly planned his attack long in advance. "Authorities working in the jail say that Holmes is maintaining his villainous 'Joker' persona. 'Let’s just say he hasn’t shown any remorse,' a jail employee said. 'He thinks he’s acting in a movie.'"[5]

Holmes will be formally charged with multiple first-degree murders. While in jail, Holmes has repeatedly spat on guards.[4]


Holmes was born in liberal California. He graduated in 2006 from Westview High,[6] a public school.[7] A video of him from around that time shows him in a science camp talking about "temporal illusions", which he describes as "illusion[s] that allows you to change the past",[8] an idea that reek of liberal relativism. This kind of thinking, in which objective morality does not exist, might have been one of the factors which lead him to engage in such murderous actions later on.

Another possible cause for Holmes' violent behavior might be his indulgence in video and computer games. According to acquaintance of his, Holmes was an avid player of computer games[9] which are known to increase violent behavior.[10]

Likewise, sexualized entertainment and pornography cannot be ruled as having had an effect on Holmes' behavior. Seeing that he had a personal profile on Adult FriendFinder (a website whose purpose is to facilitate casual sex),[11] it is unlikely to assume that he had not viewed porn, which is known to cause individuals to engage in anti-social and violent behavior.

Many of the audience were students from local high schools who were influenced by the attack at the local Columbine High School. The schools had held annual "Code 3" lockdown drills which taught them how to react in a shooting situation.[12] As a result, the audience dropped to the floor and moved quickly away from Holmes without injuring others in the crowd.

The shooting

The shooting occurred during the local premiere of The Dark Knight Rises. Many people attended the midnight premiere wearing costumes based on earlier Batman movies. Holmes was wearing full body armor, including a throat protector and a ballistic face protector. He carried three weapons: a Remington shotgun, a Smith & Wesson M&P assault rifle with a 100-round drum magazine and a Glock .40 caliber handgun.[13] Twenty minutes into the show, Holmes entered the movie theater through the emergency exit, released a gas grenade,[12] and began shooting at patrons.[14] Twelve people died and 58 were wounded.[14] Holmes' assault rifle had jammed about half way through its magazine.[13] At least one bullet penetrated the partition separating the adjacent theatre and wounded a patron in the next room.[12] Holmes was arrested shortly after the shooting was over.[14] When police arrived, they appeared to have mistaken Holmes for a SWAT officer based on his costume. Holmes left the threatre and returned to his car. One officer noticed something irregular about Holmes' SWAT gear, questioned him, and arrested him. Holmes surrendered without resisting.[13]

Police then went to Holmes' apartment to investigate further and discovered that it had been booby-trapped with many explosives. Police concluded that Homes had spent months accumulating explosives, weapons and ammunition.[13] The computer collected at the apartment is being analyzed with the assistance of the FBI.[13]

Political Reaction

President Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney took down their campaign ads in Colorado and cancelled political rallies on Saturday, July 21. On Sunday, July 22, Obama flew to Colorado to meet with each family of the victims.[15] The City of Aurora organized a prayer vigil for Sunday night that drew over a 1000 attendees.[15]

Ever since Al Gore lost the presidential election in 2000 in part due to Democrat demands for gun control in the aftermath of the Columbine massacre, Democrats have had an unspoken rule against demanding gun control. White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters, "The president's view is that we can take steps to keep guns out of the hands of people who should not have them under existing law."[13] Neoconservative commentator Bill Kristol told Fox News Sunday that this was a mistake and that Obama should show more leadership on calling for an assault weapon ban.[16]


  1. Profile: Aurora cinema shooting suspect James Holmes, BBC
  2. http://washington.cbslocal.com/2012/07/24/james-holmes-received-26k-grant-from-bethesda-based-national-institutes-of-health/#.UA7rb4EsvRk.twitter
  3. http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-505263_162-57479463/james-holmes-received-thousands-from-grad-school-grants-ahead-of-deadly-aurora-shooting/
  4. 4.0 4.1 http://abcnews.go.com/US/james-holmes-spitting-correction-officers-forcing-spit-guard/story?id=16844456
  5. http://bostinno.com/2012/07/23/james-holmes-mug-shot-here-is-the-mugshot-of-the-aurora-co-theater-shooting-suspect-james-holmes-photo/
  6. Basic Timeline for Suspected Colo. Theater Gunman, ABC News
  7. Westview High School official website
  8. Colorado Shooting Suspect James Holmes Was Turned Away From Gun Range, ABC News
  9. Colorado shooting suspect James Holmes described as quiet graduate student, Toronto Star
  10. "Teaching Kids To Kill", By Lt. Col. Dave Grossman
  11. James Eagan Holmes Had Profile On Sex Website, Plus Everything Else We Know About The Colorado Shooting Suspect, International Business Times
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 Eli Saslow. "The Columbine Generation: In violence's shadow, bound by new tragedy", Washington Post, July 23, 2012, p. A1. 
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 13.4 13.5 David Fahrenthold, Thomas Heath and Joel Achenbach. "A day of tears and twists in Colorado", Washington Post, July 23, 2012, p. A1. 
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 12 shot dead, 58 wounded in Aurora movie theater during Batman premier, The Denver Post
  15. 15.0 15.1 David Nakamura. "Obama vists victims, again taking on mantle of healer in chief", Washington Post, July 23, 2012, p. A8. 
  16. Feinstein, Johnson debate stricter gun control; Netanyahu on dangerous times in the Middle East. Fox News Sunday (July 22, 2012).

See also