Guest Post by Ash Congiliando
This past Friday, July 20th, I awoke and checked the news, first learning of the tragedy that occurred in Aurora, Colorado. I’m sure there is barely a soul in this country who hasn’t heard what happened, but for the sake of this article, I’ll give a synopsis of the events. Note, I’m not a journalist of any kind. I’m presenting this information with the highest degree of accuracy I can give based upon professional news sources.
A 24-year-old man, James Eagan Holmes, attended a midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises, the final chapter in director Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy on Friday, July 20th. He purchased a ticket and entered the theater. He then exited the theater through the emergency exit and propped it open behind him. Just outside the exit sat Holmes’ car. He went to it and retrieved a gas mask, tear gas canisters, a set of full body ballistics armor, a Smith & Wesson AR-15 semi-automatic rifle with a 100 round drum magazine, a Remington Model 870 shotgun, and a .40 Smith & Wesson Glock handgun. A second Glock of the same type was left in his car. About 30 minutes into the film, Holmes walked back into the theater through the emergency exit. He ignited and threw the gas canister into the crowd. As the gas spread, for the first few seconds, people in the crowd thought it was a publicity stunt or prank because other people came in costumes. Then, Holmes began to shoot. He killed 12 and wounded 58. He then exited back through the emergency exit and removed his gas mask. His hair was dyed red. The police apprehended Holmes next to his car without any resistance. He refered to himself as, “the Joker.” He told the authorities that his apartment was rigged with explosives. Later, it was found that there were IEDs in Holmes’ apartment and that they were each of the victim triggered type, meaning booby traps. They were all set to go off upon someone interacting with the bomb in some way, none of them had timers. The devices were found to have been constructed with extreme precision and that they had been customized with chemicals and black powder to enhance their thermal and anit-personnel damage should they detonate. Holmes is in solitary confinement and on suicide watch.
This shooting is unique among similar crimes in recent history. Most mass shooters end up dead, be it through being killed by police or committing suicide. Holmes gave up without a fight. Most shooters put a fair amount of planning into their crimes. Holmes used an amount of expertise in his plans and explosives so extreme that specialists from all over the country had to be flown in to ensure his apartment could be searched safely. And finally this man identified himself as the Joker.