Mike Gold: Bat-Madness
We don’t want to think we’re all just one brain-vein rupture away from committing murder, but most of us know in our heart of hearts this is so. To avoid that horrible prospect, every time something like the Dark Knight slayings happens we try to pin the blame on … something … somebody.
Attention-hungry quack shrinks who have never met the accused killer in Aurora Colorado let alone examined him or even studied his still-unfolding life history run to the nearest media outlet to promote themselves and their baseless theories – baseless because they don’t know the suspect or his story. And the media, like greedy whores in their own gravity-free reality show, lap it up and put it all in print and on the air as though there’s actually some legitimacy in these pontifications.
Liberals clamor for gun control, nonsensically posturing that if there were no guns there would be no killings. This is like blaming water for drowning. Mr. Holmes – and I note the American Way caveat of innocent until proven guilty – seems to have been resourceful enough to come up with alternatives, as the 24-hour stand-off at his booby trapped apartment clearly illustrates. Sure, citizens need assault weapons only slightly more than we need personal tactical nuclear weapons, but it doesn’t take a PhD in science to make a weapon of mass destruction. 20 minutes alone at a Home Depot should do it.
Modern conservatives say if everybody were armed, the shooter would have been put down early. Right. In a dark theater. Many of these same people put down Scientology or Mormonism because they think that stuff is wacky.
Some media, in their insatiable need for gaudy art, blame the comics – in particular Frank Miller’s best-selling Batman work. At least this gets Chuck Dixon and Graham Nolan off the hook for creating a villain with a name that sounds just like the Republican presidential candidate’s Achilles’ heel. Of course, there have been about a million Batman stories published 73 years and you could find hundreds of similarities within the greater Bat grimoire. In fact, the whole Joker-gassing-the-public bit dates back to the earliest stories. I can’t forgive Frank for The Spirit, but people who are trying to conflate the Colorado shootings with his work are lazy slobs.
The fact is, James Holmes is a smart, highly accomplished young man of 24 from a church-going family in San Diego, California, the nicest city in the nation. That’s reality. Some cheap-shot artists are braying “somebody should have said something!” Well, his high school friends said he was pretty normal. His colleges acquaintances said he pretty much kept to himself, although there are reports he would frequent bars and other public places and engage in rational conversation, even up to a few days before the killings. I don’t think Philip K. Dick could have seen this one coming.
Again, reminding us all that he is merely the suspect and hasn’t been convicted of anything, Holmes appears to have simply snapped. Perhaps this happened a couple months ago when he started the process of dropping out of his post-grad programs. It would have taken him that long to put together the guns, the ammo, the hand-wired bombs and whatever else turns up.
I’m not saying he’s insane, at least not in the legal sense of knowing right from wrong. That’s a matter for the prosecution, the defense, and the jury. I’m saying he snapped. Just like anybody could snap. Anybody who feels he or she has nothing to lose, or something important to prove. Under the exactly wrong circumstances, that can be any one of us.
And that’s the true horror of the Aurora Colorado Dark Knight shootings.
THURSDAY: Dennis O’Neil