I was going publish a piece about Occupy Wall Street this morning. At the moment, though, everyone wants to talk about the "Dark Knight" shooting in Colorado
As soon as the news hit, blogland waited to discover if the gunman, James Holmes, harbored any sort of political motive. Initial reports
have identified Holmes as a member of a Colorado Tea Party chapter; I would advise against accepting that assertion until we have confirmation. (Update: ABC
linked Holmes with the Tea Party.) It does appear that the suspect's mother had reason to fear something like this would happen.
It may be worth noting that Rush Limbaugh had targeted this film. Like all other right-wing radio screechers, Limbaugh knows how easy it is to rile his audience of rage-junkies by pretending that "Hollywood" is run by liberal conspirators. Thus, Limbaugh stupidly claimed that "The Dark Knight Rises" was intended as anti-Romney propaganda, since the name of the villain, Bane, sounds like Romney's firm, Bain Capital.
Of course, this claim is silly even by Limbaugh standards. The character "Bane" has been around for a long, long time. The lead times involved in film production mean that the film-makers chose this script long before the Republicans chose their nominee.
Ironically, advance word now holds that, in the film, Bane leads a grotesque parody of the Occupy Wall Street movement. The film's perceived disdain for the 99 percent has caused some critics to call the work ultra-conservative, and even fascist.
We will have to wait and see if Holmes jumped to a wrongheaded conclusion based on Limbaugh's misinformed demagoguery. At this point, nothing would surprise me.
The NRA will send out a fundraising letter accusing the Obama administration of plotting to use this incident as an excuse for the mythical Great Gun Round-Up.
Within three hours, the Alex Jonesian conspiracy buffs will have cobbled together a really stupid theory involving MKULTRA.
If Holmes is a tea partier, can we fairly use the actions of a lone madman to tarnish an entire ideology? No. But this incident does illustrate the madness of our times. I think there are a lot of guys like Holmes out there, brimming with frustration and misinformation. Such young men live in both blue states and red states; inchoate anger is a phenomenon sweeping across all political boundaries.
But fury combines with a firearms fetish only on the right.
Well, I certainly hope
this is a hoax. This site
claims that Holmes frequented a site called 9gag
, which appears to be devoted to comedy. (I'm unfamiliar with it.) It is said that Holmes posted this image...
Moreover, the report
holds that other 9gaggers egged Holmes on, and applauded him for carrying out the threat. Until I see confirmation, I will presume that the image above is fake.
I searched the 9gag site for the phrase "TDKR Sacrifice" and for the alleged Holmes nick, Jamesholmes154. Nothing. I've seen no indication that the string "jamesholmes154" existed anywhere on the internet before this day. Although many sites say the initial information appeared on a YouTube video, nobody has seen fit to favor us with a link to said video. The hoax appears to have been perpetrated by some rather sick aficionados of a competing website.
ABC News has retracted
the earlier report that Holmes belonged to the Tea Party. Apparently, the misinformation came to us by way of Brian Ross -- who, as long-time readers may know, is someone I have long mistrusted. If I had known he
The Breitbarters are saying Holmes is a Democrat. Maybe. Right now, I'd remind readers that the Breitbart crew has a long history of lying -- and that Fox News has a habit of slapping the "D" label on anyone the public dislikes.
Holmes attended the University of California at Riverside at the same time my ladyfriend studied Art History there. She does not recall running into anyone by that name on campus. However, you may rest assured that I have an excellent
idea as to how much he owes in student loans. Since he seems to have lost his chance to stay in grad school, he suddenly found himself in a very depressed job market while facing the prospect of paying back a burdensome student debt. I doubt that there are many opportunities available to a neuroscience major who does not have an advanced degree.
I'm not saying that we have a motive. But it's not hard to imagine that a situation of this sort might drive someone insane.