And that, as they used to say, is the rest of the story.
It's the sad and ugly truth, though. According to FOX news, James Holmes acted on his own and his apartment was booby trapped to the point where 5 surrounding buildings had to be evacuated. Ok everybody, try convincing anybody that nobody saw something odd happening around there. I can't water my lawn without a relative seeing me or somebody from church driving by, and this guy pulled THAT off without anybody noticing?I don't think so. The more likely scenario was that people did see it, but they ignored it for 2 reasons:
1. It made them uncomfortable and they hoped to stay safe by staying out of his way; and
2. It's not like trying to do anything about it would have yielded results anyway, because it's not a crime to be weird.
It's sad, but I've looked into these things, after incidents like this and in a few instances where I suspected I was dealing with a time bomb fixing to blow. In every case, I was told the same thing: it's all about personal rights. You're head can be "a bag full of cats" (as Bruce Banner put it so eloquently in The Avengers), but unless you break the law, nobody can do anything. At that point, you have personal rights and unless you volunteer to get mental help, then nobody can force you to do it. Situations where people are mentally ill and refuse to seek help usually wind out 1 of 2 ways: In jail for commiting a crime like this, or dead because they tempted fate too hard and The Reaper won. Or worse yet, they killed themselves AFTER a maccacre that left a huge body count before they turned it on themself.
And let's be real, folks. How many mentally ill people look in the mirror and say "I think I'm frigging crazy. I'm going to get help right now" and march straight to their doctor. None, because part of mental illness is failure to recognize that you aren't right. A lack of self awareness is symptomatic of every mental disorder in the Diagnostic Statistical Manual (DSM - the bible of mental illness that describes pretty much every mental defect we've found yet, for those that haven't heard of it in a while).
It's a thin line, and unfortunately it puts unsuspecting people like those that innocently went to a movie in Colorado last night at risk. Because you never know where those loose cannons are, and that lack of awareness doesn't allow them to see you as an innocent stranger. To them you're the villian, the boogeyman, big brother, and another cog in the wheel driving reality to hell, as they see it.
This incident is another illustration of how the system is broken. We can't do anything to help others unless they break the law, but by the time they do that, they're so far gone that it's difficult if not impossible to help them. The prime time for treatment has passed, when they were aware enough to help themselves. By that point they're completely in another world, and it's neigh on impossible to bring them back. I'm not sure what the answer is, but clearly there's a need for a better one than we have. I don't want to step on personal rights, and individuality covers a pretty wide latitide - but aren't we able to discern what's eccentric and what's bordering on being a threat to self and others yet? If we aren't, then that's something that the medical and mental health professions need to work on.
So no, it had nothing to do with the movie. It had nothing to do with sci-fi, or fantasy. Crazy comes in all shapes, sizes and genres. This guy might have latched onto the persona of The Joker, but he was no super villian. He's nuts, plain and simple, and once again another one shows the world just how much damage one deranged mind can do.
And sadly, we learn that as much as we love superheroes, they are fiction - and this time ugly reality won.
That's all for today. Happy Friday to you.