71 victims. 12 confirmed dead. One man, James Holmes, 24, quite literally declared war on a theater full of patrons who were thoroughly anxious to see the much anticipated The Dark Knight Rises.
The events unfolded at a Cineplex in Aurora, Colorado, a suburb of Denver–not many miles from Littleton, CO, and the scenes of the infamous Columbine High School massacre that occurred seemingly yesterday.
Without a doubt, this suspect knew what he was doing. He was armed with gas canisters, a shotgun, an AR-15 assault rifle and was geared with a bullet proof vest and wore a gas mask. He burst into the theater through the lower exit area near the screen, and movie fans initially thought he was a prank associated with the debut of the film. He launched a gas canister, then opened fire and continued his barrage. One witness who was next to a man who was shot, dropped to the floor and buried himself under the seat to find safety. He explained the next couple of minutes as horrifying and stated that 70 or more shots range out in what seemed like hours, but was realistically less than two minutes.
Holmes, a San Diego native, has been taken into custody. Police have searched his apartment, which Holmes suggested might possess explosives. Great care has been taken to avoid any booby traps, or more potential carnage associated with this disaster scenario.
The 24 year old was enrolled at the University of Colorado, a doctorate candidate in the field of neuroscience, before withdrawing from the university last spring. It seems that this incredibly intelligent individual had been making plans for months–though that is mere speculation, and the opinion of this blogger. However, there is something to be said about the justification that individuals offer themselves to do things like this–especially individuals who possess impressive levels of intelligence. Think back to unibomber, Ted Kaczynski–a brilliant man who eventually made a turn to travel down a very dark path. It really makes you reconsider the belief in legitimate good and evil forces which remain unseen, vying for partnerships with humanity. I apologize for ramblings, but as a father who takes his children to events like this all the time, there is an inevitable realization that this could easily be any one of us in such a scenario.
It is so very sad. With a grieving heart, I offer condolences to the victims, their families and everyone who will be adversely affected by this tragedy for years to come.