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Very little has been written about why James Holmes went on a shooting rampage in a Colorado movie theater. But for me, I think the allure of celebrity, fame, and a place in the history books is very powerful for many people (more powerful than most people think). I’ve seen it firsthand as a filmmaker with people chasing me to get their picture taken and maybe make it onto TV or the internet. Add to this, the ease with which celebrity status can be achieved on the internet and some people will find it hard to resist. I think this is especially true if people like James think their daily life is a failure. James Holmes was obviously a man with high hopes for himself. But after a long career studying neuroscience, he could only get a job at McDonalds. And his love life has also be reported a failure.
I think James’ deep-seated frustration combined with a culture that seems to reward the worst of us with celebrity via reality TV shows and junk talk shows, is a perfect cocktail for what happened. And he possibly being psychotic, only makes it easier. He isn’t stupid. He’s just crazy. And he’s seen what others have achieved doing similar acts.
So far, I think James Holmes got exactly what he wanted. When you do a search on “Holmes Images” in Google, you will see his picture alongside Katie Holmes and Robert Downy JR as Sherlock Holmes. He’s a celebrity whether we want to admit that or not. And his fantasy about being The Joker? A Google search makes it pretty clear he has been able to merge his own image with that of the character from the Batman series. The last cartoon image of him that was created by an anonymous internet user.
The final quote in the video, “Better to be a king for a night than a schmuck for the lifetime” comes from a character named Rupert Pupkin in Martin Scorcese’s film, “King of Comedy”
Todd McGhee, a former Massachusetts state trooper now managing partner of Protecting the Homeland Innovations provided some analysis to USA Today.
“Lone-wolf terrorists are extremely intelligent and often come from very good socio-economic backgrounds,” McGhee said. “But they become despondent. They become isolated from family members. Then they grab on to an ideology. Some people find religion. Some people find anti-government.”