Conflict & Tragedy
Massacre at movie theater: What's behind the white male home-grown terror?
As the nation reels from another stunning act of terror delivered by one of our own, I wonder-- what is behind this senseless violence perpetuated by primarily young white males?
Twelve people are now dead, 59 injured among them a 3 month old baby--all because they attended the premiere of a movie based on a comic? The latest release of the Batman series, The Dark Knight Rises had a midnight showing in Aurora, Colorado, when 24-year-old James Eagan Holmes decided to walk into the theater and open fire like he was part of the fictional story on screen and the movie goers merely fictional themselves.
There is something utterly maniacal about this kind of violence, completely beyond the realm of sane and logical interpretation. What fuels this madness, this evil?
Reports say Holmes, who is now in police custody and due in court on Monday, was dressed in bullet proof vests, gas mask, dark clothing, ballistic helmet, ballistic leggings and throat protector. He allegedly opened fire commando style after throwing one smoke and tear gas bombs into the viewing crowd. He reportedly used up to 4 guns, at least one AK style rifle, an AR15 assault rifle and 2 Glock handguns. Bullets penetrated an adjoining theater, wounding one.
Holmes apartment is currently booby-trapped and authorities said in a press conference Friday afternoon that this is a difficult situation which may take days to neuralize. Strangely, after his bloody rampage inside the theater, the alleged killer was apprenhended outside quietly without resisting and then told police about his bomb-rigged apartment. Seems odd for one hell-bent on killing to warn law enforcement of what lay ahead at his place of residence.
One witness, Jennifer Seeger told CNN news that she ducked when the gunman pointed his gun directly at her and felt the sting of gun powder on her forehead as he sprayed bullets into people around her. She said she folded herself in a fetal position, then crawled out when he moved up some stairs.
We all remember that other senseless tragedy where 22 year old Jared Lee Loughner opened fired in Tucson, Arizona on January 8, 2011, killing 6 including a sitting judge and a nine year old young girl and seriously wounding Congresswoman Gabrielle Gifford and 11 others.
Then there was Timothy McVeigh, since executed for the terror he unleased in Oklahoma City on April 19, 1995, killing 168 people and wounding over 800.
Again, what is behind the young male home ground terrorists? Speaking at a press conference one Colorado official said something interesting: "It doesn't look like an incident of terrorism at this time." If it's not terrorism, what is it? If the difinition of terrorism is unleasing acts of senseless mass violence on innocent folks here and around the globe, then this is it. Or is it only when it is ochestrated by 'foreigners'--those people from 'over there?'
When Norway happened in July of 2011, the media immediately thought Islamist terrorists were behind the atrocities. Many stopped calling the mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik a terrorist, when the dust settled and they saw it was a white male. But isn't he a terrorist for murdering 76 people and injuring many more?
We are forever hunting those 'others' considered our biggest threat--namely Islamic terrorists but there is this madness right in our backyard and beyond. In fact, according to host of CNN's Global Public Square host Fareed Zakaria of the 294 terror attacks committed in Europe in 2009, only one was conducted by Islamists. That's a third of one percent. There were 249 terror attacks in Europe in 2010. Only three of those attacks were carried out by Islamist terrorists. Again, that's about one percent. Most of the attacks were by separatist groups or anarchists."
Then there are the troubled teens who have committed mass violence in their schools. Again, there were young, white males who walked into schools, heavily armed and shot anyone in sight, some killing themselves after. There was the memorable massacre at Columbine, followed by several more.
This young man's only run-in with the law according to Colorado police, was a speeding violation. He was also intellegient and college educated, reportedly enrolled in a PhD program in neuroscience at the local university but at the point of dropping out. What turns someone like that--a simple speeding ticket holder into a mass murderer?
Was dropping out from the university, a trigger to a psychopathic personality lurking beneath the quiet, smiling eduated exterior? or is there much more to this sinister plot than meets the eyes? Where did he get his ammo, arsenal of weapons and military gear?
Incidentally, we had our resident incendiary loud mouth Rush Limbaugh, whose sole purpose to fame is spewing venomous rhetoric daily from the safe perch behind his radio microphone--say that this latest Batman movie was aimed at hurting the presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney because one of the vallainous character was named Bain. Bain is suppose to be taken from Bain Capital, the venture capitalist company Romney headed and is now causing a mounting of trouble for him on the campaign trail.
Is there a connection? There is daily conservative poison irresponsibly pandered for million dollar contracts and partisan politics on talk radio and television shows with unstable anarchists, white supremacists and other crazies listening-- and this can be a dangerous, explosive mix.
Another controversy re-ignited from this tragedy is the control of assault weapons flooding our communities. Any amendment to the Second Amendment is vehemently opposed by pro-NRA, 2nd Amendment supporters who say they rights are not to be tampered with. Those in favor of some gun control say the madness and violence needs immediate attention from Washington legislators and a degree of change at the federal level.
Philadelphia mayor Michael Nutter and New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg speaking on Friday, both called for immediate action in curbing the onslaught of weapons they say were meant for combat only. Any gun capable of firing numerous rounds in rapid succession, is a danger to society.
Holmes acquired those assault rifles legally which begs the question: would some form of gun control, prevent these kinds of mass massacre from happening?