ABC News is reporting that the suspect in the mass shooting that killed at least a dozen people at a premiere of The Dark Knight Rises in Aurora, Colorado may have Tea Party ties. After identifying 24 year-old James Holmes as the shooting suspect, ABC’s Brian Ross noted that there is a Jim Holmes of Aurora, who on a webpage of the Colorado Tea Party website, talked about joining the organization last year. Granted, Ross noted that this may not be the same James Holmes, but hey, he’s just throwin’ it out there! (update: ABC News has retracted the story below)
Whether Holmes has a Tea Party connection is probably immaterial at this point. As much as some would like to pinpoint a political motive for such a monstrous act, the reality is far more unsettling—namely, that there is no coherent motivation. The act itself is entirely senseless. Like ABC, I know virtually nothing about the shooter, except that he is one of the most deranged human beings on the face of earth. Try as we might to find a motive for such crazy behavior, we can never understand it. And that’s the scariest part. It may have been true that Holmes was in the Tea Party, but even if that’s the case, his problems go far beyond wearing tri-cornered hats and raging against publicly-funded fire departments. Entire books have been written, and case studies conducted on the pathologies of mass shooters, and yet we are no closer to reducing these incidents now than when Charles Whitman shot and killed 16 people from a clock tower at the University of Texas in 1966.
Besides, shooting up a premiere of The Dark Knight Rises is hardly a way of fighting alleged government tyranny. Batman after all, is a perfect libertarian superhero—a lone figure singlehandedly fighting systemic government corruption and all the crime that it breeds. Shooting up Batman moviegoers would make for a bizarre political statement.
On a peripherally related note, let me express how disturbing it is that within 10 hours of the shooting, a Facebook page called, Death Penalty for James Holmes has cropped up with 478 members and growing. I know people are upset, but at least wait to finish mourning before rising up in righteous fury. There will be plenty of time for that in due course.
Update: ABC News has issued a retraction and has apologized for suggesting the Tea Party connection to the Dark Knight shooter here.