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Monstrous

A gunman walked into a midnight showing of the new Batman movie, threw some smoke bombs, and started shooting. 14 are dead, 50+ are wounded, and the killer has been arrested.

I don’t even…

What gets me is the necessary lack of empathy of any kind for the victims, and the futility of it all. Does murdering the defenseless reduce these psychos sense of helplessness? Does it give them a feeling of power? Because all I see is a coward, a weakling, a loser…and one who has just made his own life significantly worse.

Comments

  1. Anri says

    Coming soon to a theater near you: entryway metal detectors.

    Coming soon to a thread near you: posts stating that if a patron had been armed, this would have been averted.

  2. birgerjohansson says

    One year, give or take two days, since Breivik went on a killing spree and now this.
    It must give the creeps a momentary feeling of power.
    Usually there is some diffuse rage behind this kind of deeds, 20 years ago a swedish NCO shot and killed seven women in a park because he was feeling “jealous of his girlfriend”.

  3. varys says

    This is a case where I think one can trivially argue that arming the patrons would not have helped. Shooting blindly in a dark and smokey room is not exactly an effective way to defend yourself. It is, however, a good way to get other people killed.

  4. John Morales says

    Well, if the audience had been armed they could have shot the loony.

    (An armed society is a safe society!)

    </snark>

  5. theophontes (坏蛋) says

    Horrible. I watched some of this on CNN. Really sad you ‘Merkins can’t get rid of your guns. I don’t know how else you’ll stop such tragedies otherwise.

    There was a strange comment from a cop they interviewed. Aparently the shooter was either mentally unstable or part of a group. (We come up against this only too often.)

  6. Skip White says

    The police say there’s no sign of a connection to terrorism. In other words, the shooter isn’t muslim.

  7. Michael Zeora says

    The police say there’s no sign of a connection to terrorism. In other words, the shooter isn’t muslim.

    Or is just white. That tends to happen alot too.
    *Reads Article* maybe white, last name is spanish origin.

    However looks like the guy Booby Trapped his place with explosives, he was looking to really do some damage after he got caught.

  8. eurosid says

    Some movie theatres in my area have had metal detectors for years.

    I live near a city that often leads the USA in both murders AND justifiable homicides. So we have lots of killers and people who shoot back at killers.

    If anybody really thinks arming everybody will magically make everything safe or turn a place in to a “polite society”, come visit Detroit. See what you get.

  9. hovindtheory says

    This event finally made me register for an account here. I was just at midnight showing of Dark Night Rising.

    Its more Columbine, Virginia Tech nonsense. I think P.Z. makes a mistake calling him/it a coward. He clearly wasn’t a coward and that’s the problem. He had the psychopathic will to murder several human beings. Cowards aren’t monsters.

  10. hovindtheory says

    @John Morales

    Well, if the audience had been armed they could have shot the loony.

    (An armed society is a safe society!)

    Honestly I think it is poor form and a little insensitive that you are already politicizing and making glib comments about the cold blooded murder of several fellow human beings.

  11. says

    hovindtheory:

    Cowards aren’t monsters.

    That’s a very silly notion and it certainly isn’t true. Most people who commit mass murder have at least one major issue they aren’t dealing with in any way which might be effective. Rather than face the things they need to, they take it out on strangers. That’s cowardly.

  12. says

    hovindtheory:

    He clearly wasn’t a coward and that’s the problem. He had the psychopathic will to murder several human beings.

    That depends on what you mean by coward. Doing something like that requires a certain amount of nerve, but it’s hardly bravery.

  13. says

    Honestly I think it is poor form and a little insensitive that you are already politicizing and making glib comments about the cold blooded murder of several fellow human beings.

    Really? After your idiocy:

    Its more Columbine, Virginia Tech nonsense.

    and

    Cowards aren’t monsters.

    Look to your own comments first.

  14. says

    Very valid questions, in my opinion. One wonders what is going on in the head of such people (and the heads of others as well). What makes these people commit such atrocities? Is it possible that the question itself is simply wrong?

    Is there really a difference between such a wild shooter and -say- the bully of the class, car drivers pushing cyclists off the road, police officers corralling innocent citizens in the rain (happened in Toronto), military bombing other people into oblivion, clergy raping children…?

    Could it be that these are all manifestations of some inherent need to harm the “weaker-than-self”?

  15. hovindtheory says

    Murdering people point blank is definitely not heroic, but to write them off as cowardly dismisses how dangerous these kinds of people are. He was willing to die in order to take several humans with him. That is a terrifying person and one that I would never align with cowardice.

  16. lordshipmayhem says

    Just 48 hours ago, Toronto was rocked by the shooting of 25 people (two killed, neither were the intended targets from all reports) at a block party for kids. One of the wounded was a toddler. It looks strongly like gangs battling over turf. Another murder yesterday is thought to be in retaliation.

    Colorado, you didn’t have to try to outdo our score in terms of casualties. Honestly. We’d have let you take the crown just in a game of paintball.

    And more families deal with the death of innocents. My heart goes out to them.

  17. Matt Penfold says

    With regards the comments by Hovindtheory and their stupidity, what else is to be expected from someone who uses the name of a creationist even other creationists despise and consider dishonest ?

  18. John Morales says

    hovindtheory:

    He was willing to die in order to take several humans with him.

    Upon what information do you base this claim?

  19. says

    @ hovingtheory – what part of wearing a mask, walking into a darkened room, throwing smoke or gas grenades and then firing indiscriminately into a crowded theater is the brave part?

    This asshat’s actions were pure unadulterated cowardice. A ‘brave’ murderer would have had the courage to commit suicide by cop!

  20. hovindtheory says

    @Caine, avec prémédité méchante langue

    I was not politicizing or making glib comments. I was making a factual comparison of two other high profile shooting rampages. I am disappointed with John Morale’s comment as I know that he or she is a long time contributer to FTB. Their comment is something I would expect from a Troll trying to politicize a tragedy.

    Also, if you think someone that is willing to die in order to bring chaos and destruction to other human beings, is a coward, then you aren’t taking them seriously.

  21. says

    hovindtheory:

    That is a terrifying person and one that I would never align with cowardice.

    That simply displays your ignorance. You have no understanding of the complexities involved when someone does such a thing. People who commit suicide by cop are certainly cowardly, they can’t face killing their self, however they have no problem killing others. Cowardly.

    We don’t have much information about the perpetrator of this incident, a lot depends on his mental state and his goal. If he wished to obtain fame and notoriety, that was a very cowardly way to do it. You see?*

    *I’m willing to bet now you’ll insist on your idiot notion being correct.

  22. hovindtheory says

    @Markr1957

    I’ve said that his actions weren’t heroic; they were evil. Aligning people like him with cowardice dismisses these monsters as trivial.

  23. Beatrice says

    hovindtheory,

    I think you missed the mark here. It can sometimes be a dangerous underestimation to call someone a coward, someone who is potentially dangerous. For example people who send email threats or stalk and threaten people on internet.

    In this case, it’s a proven thing that this man is dangerous. Labeling him as a coward poses no threat of underestimating him.

  24. hovindtheory says

    @Caine, avec prémédité méchante langue

    Look, I’m not going to get into a flaming war over this because if I did I would be even more guilty of what I accused John Morales of. However, I will tell you that I was a Mental Health Counselor at a locked inpatient facility for children and adolescents for nine years. So, I do have some understanding of an individual with homicidal and suicidal ideation.

  25. says

    I was making a factual comparison of two other high profile shooting rampages.

    Oh? By calling them nonsense? I think you’re full of shit.

    John Morales’s snark was not out of line, we’ll get plenty of idiots showing up who will actually use that line of flawed reasoning. He was just getting it in ahead of time.

    Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve wasted more than enough time on your crap. If you wish to argue the ‘courage’* of the shooter, I suggest you do it somewhere else.

    *Yeah, tossing smoke bombs to impair the ability of people to defend themselves, ooooh, terribly brave, that! :eyeroll:

  26. Matt Penfold says

    I’ve said that his actions weren’t heroic; they were evil. Aligning people like him with cowardice dismisses these monsters as trivial.

    Whatever grievances the killer had, and no matter how valid those grievances are, it is a safe conclusion that those he killed had nothing to do with them. Making innocent people suffer is a form of cowardice.

  27. Pteryxx says

    Also, if you think someone that is willing to die in order to bring chaos and destruction to other human beings, is a coward, then you aren’t taking them seriously.

    and

    Aligning people like him with cowardice dismisses these monsters as trivial.

    Why SHOULD an attention-seeking mass murderer be taken seriously or accorded respect as you seem eager to do? Generally, with the lone vigilante types, respect as some sort of macho hero is exactly what they think they’ll get by slaughtering a bunch of innocent bystanders. They OUGHT to be publicly disrespected as the self-centered inadequate types they generally turn out to be, so that being a random masked gunman *isn’t* seen as macho cred.

    (See Gavin de Becker’s analysis of assassin types in “The Gift of Fear” for elaboration of this argument.)

  28. says

    @hovindtheory, #26

    Aligning people like him with cowardice dismisses these monsters as trivial.

    Really? You would think that dead and injured people would prevent anyone from trivializing the monster.

  29. hovindtheory says

    @John Morales

    hovindtheory:

    He was willing to die in order to take several humans with him.

    Upon what information do you base this claim?

    His actions. He was either on a murder/suicide mission or he wanted to kill a bunch of anonymous human beings for some reason. A coward is someone who runs away from carnage and injury, he is not the willing author of it.

  30. FluffyTheTerrible says

    @ hovindtheory

    However, I will tell you that I was a Mental Health Counselor at a locked inpatient facility for children and adolescents for nine years. So, I do have some understanding of an individual with homicidal and suicidal ideation.

    If you have training in counseling, it certainly doesn’t show in your comments. People who went to enjoy a film with their friends and family were killed, in the dark, without a chance to escape – their last moments must have been ones of horrible fear – and you come here to defend the murderer of accusations of cowardice?

    What the hell is wrong with you? Where is your compassion?
    Even the people who escaped unscathed from that movie theater are going to suffer some trauma, probably for the rest of their lives.

  31. Beatrice says

    hovindtheory

    I can see where you wouldn’t look at this situation in terms of bravery/cowardice. At least I hope you don’t consider this man brave (yes/no? please, confirm).

    But I don’t understand your problem with other people framing it in these terms.

    If nothing else than because of what Pteryxx said in #31. This kind of people already get hero worshiped by others of their kind, we don’t need everyone else to do it as well. That’s harming.

  32. puppygod says

    He was willing to die in order to take several humans with him. That is a terrifying person and one that I would never align with cowardice.

    Yeah. Because killing unarmed innocents including children while wearing bulletproof vest and then surrendering to the police without fight is oh so much bravery.

    Besides, even if it was extended suicide by police (which it apparently wasn’t), extended suicide is cowardly act. You should realise it.

  33. hovindtheory says

    @Caine, avec prémédité méchante langue

    I can’t believe you are doubling down on the straw man that I think this monster is “brave” or courageous.

  34. says

    The FBI says there’s no sign of a connection to terrorism.

    So shooting a load of innocent civilians isn’t terrorism… I’m guessing the culprit is white then?

  35. says

    @hovindtheory, #33

    Could you try using the blockquotes please? It helps a lot.

    A coward is someone who runs away from carnage and injury, he is not the willing author of it.

    So just for the sake of it, let’s imagine the following scenario:


    Improbable Judge — For your actions you’ll either be killed or ask to select one other person to be killed instead of you.

    Murdering Coward — I’ll choose someone else then, thank you.

    How about in this case?

    P.S. It may not be a great example, just the first idea that came thru my head and that’s not always a good indicator.

  36. says

    Pteryxx:

    as the self-centered inadequate types they generally turn out to be

    Self-centered, inadequate and cowardly. It takes courage to get through day to day life, especially when you have a few extra shit-loads of stuff to deal with (which many of us here know all too well).

    It does not take any courage at all to arm yourself and take a crowd of people, in a dark room, set for entertainment and toss smoke bombs and open fire on them. What are they going to do to a shooter, besides run? Nothing. No courage required at all for such a monstrous act. Monsters come in all sizes, shapes, and personalities. I know that one up close and personal.

  37. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Their comment is something I would expect from a Troll trying to politicize a tragedy.

    Troll, pot, kettle, black. Famous problem with trolls. They need to look in the mirror before making fools of themselves.

  38. says

    New(er) infor from the article:

    – At least 12 people are dead, police say. The death toll had earlier been reported as 14. But at 7:50 a.m. ET, Aurora, Colo., police spokeswoman Sgt. Cassidee Carlson told NPR the number had been revised.

    – Another 38 or so were injured, according to police. That figure was also revised, around 8:30 a.m. ET. Earlier, authorities had said about 50 people were hurt.

    I can’t even wrap my head around this. NPR was reporting (around 7 am) that most of the people in the theater were teenagers.

    What the ever-loving fuck? I just can’t understand this.

  39. Matt Penfold says

    Cowardice is not just something that can be used to describe physical acts. It is quite possible to display moral cowardice, and to claim the killer is not a moral coward seems so foolish I really cannot accept anyone is arguing otherwise in good faith.

  40. FluffyTheTerrible says

    @ hovindtheory

    A coward is someone who runs away from carnage and injury, he is not the willing author of it.

    That is one possibility out of an endless list of possibilities. Let me Godwin your argument for you. Heydrich was a former chicken farmer and one of the creators of the extermination machine, but that didn’t stop him from becoming ill when he visited a death camp or an execution place. Just because he ordered the death of millions didn’t mean he wasn’t a coward, unable to deal with the reality of his actions.

    Seriously, stop it with defending the murderer. Nobody gives a shit if he was a coward, or whatever else. He is the murderer of innocent people.

    Think about his victims, not him. He doesn’t deserve any attention.

  41. carlie says

    Aligning people like him with cowardice dismisses these monsters as trivial.

    No, what dismisses them as trivial is sidelining them as psychopaths and monsters. They are not other than us. They are very much the same as us. They are people who have had things go wrong in their lives, who grew up blaming other people for their own problems, who listened to a lot of rhetoric about how important it is to have power and how power can be obtained by violence. Calling them psychopaths and monsters allows you to distance yourself from them by saying oh, I’d never be like that, no one I know is like that, it’s not my problem. No. It’s our humanity; we have to own it.

  42. hovindtheory says

    @FluffyTheTerrible

    I am not defending the murderer in any way shape or form. And no fair minded viewer of this blog would agree that I was.

    You seem to think that we honor the victims by referring to the monster as a coward, and anything else is some how an endorsement of his actions. I don’t label him a coward because I take his heinous actions so seriously that I want to prevent similar acts in the future. We don’t accomplish that by simply declaring him a coward. People like him are extremely dangerous and should not be associated with deceptively impotent terms like “cowardice.”

  43. John Morales says

    hovindtheory: Officers found Holmes near a car behind the theater. He surrendered without resistance, police said.

    He attacked defenceless people by surprise then surrendered.

    (You ever heard the term “soft targets”?)

    I concur with PZ:

    Does murdering the defenseless reduce these psychos sense of helplessness? Does it give them a feeling of power? Because all I see is a coward, a weakling, a loser…and one who has just made his own life significantly worse.

    Despicable.

  44. Pteryxx says

    He was either on a murder/suicide mission or he wanted to kill a bunch of anonymous human beings for some reason.

    He failed to shoot back at the cops, as far as can be told from the reports up to now. The ones who WANT to be martyrs generally can make that happen; for instance, nothing was stopping him from shooting himself.

    A coward is someone who runs away from carnage and injury, he is not the willing author of it.

    Words don’t mean solely what you say they mean. Attacking only unsuspecting, vulnerable targets is also cowardly.

    …Or are you saying that all the audience members who ran away from the carnage and injury taking place in that theater to save themselves are cowards by your definition?

  45. carlie says

    Calling him a psychopath means you don’t have to feel guilty that you support the legislators who cut mental health services to save you thirty cents a year on your taxes. Calling him a psychopath means you don’t have to feel guilty that you don’t volunteer or donate or in any way support your local school district so it can provide adequate services to turn out graduates who are capable of getting a good job. It means you don’t have to feel guilty about cutting social services who can intervene when a family is in trouble.

    Separating him out and calling him a monster means you can absolve yourself of your portion of responsibility for supporting an environment that allows a person to have tragedy after missed opportunity after lack of education after no support that ends up in a guy who is angry at the world and has no life skills and can’t think of any other way to express his bitterness. So who’s the monster?

  46. carlie says

    I don’t label him a coward because I take his heinous actions so seriously that I want to prevent similar acts in the future.

    By putting metal detectors in theaters, or by doing the hard work of making this a society that doesn’t allow this kind of thing to fester? Because the second is harder, and will actually cost you money.

  47. Beatrice says

    hovindtheory,

    You seem to live under the misconception that only lack of action can be considered cowardice.

    Go over the thread, read again what people have written, especially Pteryxx in #31.

  48. FluffyTheTerrible says

    @ hovindtheory

    And no fair minded viewer of this blog would agree that I was.

    Oh, look, a No True Scotsman fallacy. Cute.

    You seem to think that we honor the victims by referring to the monster as a coward, and anything else is some how an endorsement of his actions.

    I did not say that. I said your focusing your attention on the murderer insead of the victims and defending him from accusations of cowardice is misplaced at best, and really devoid of compassion at worst.

    I don’t label him a coward because I take his heinous actions so seriously that I want to prevent similar acts in the future. We don’t accomplish that by simply declaring him a coward. People like him are extremely dangerous and should not be associated with deceptively impotent terms like “cowardice.”

    Where the hell did you get the idea that labelling someone a coward means they are considered less dangerous? How the hell do you get from point A to point B? Because cowards are interested in saving their own skins, it follows they will be more dangerous than people who can summon a bit of courage. Cowards will betray you, or not back you up in case of conflict.

    Stop it with focusing attention on the murderer.

    Also, read carlie’s comment at #45. That is a much better attitude to adopt.

  49. nms says

    I don’t label him a coward because I take his heinous actions so seriously that I want to prevent similar acts in the future. We don’t accomplish that by simply declaring him a coward.

    hovindtheory takes the courageous internet stance that the only way future tragedies can be averted is by declaring the murderer “not a coward”.

  50. dianne says

    Coming soon to a thread near you: posts stating that if a patron had been armed, this would have been averted.

    On the contrary, if no patrons had been armed, this would have been averted. Colorado has extremely liberal (for lack of a better way to put it) gun control laws, i.e. virtually no restrictions on who can purchase a gun and it is legal to carry a loaded gun in public. Didn’t help.

    The majority of these mass shootings seem to occur in places where the gun control is minimal and enforcement less. Virginia, Colorado, Arizona…all have very weak gun control and each has been the site of a mass shooting. I do know of one attempted mass murder recently in NYC: a man walked into a bar and threatened to kill everyone within. The person in question was taken out by two unarmed women. Have there been even any examples of armed civilians stopping a massacre by shooting the criminal? I can’t think of any, but that could be recall bias.

  51. Akira MacKenzie says

    Cowardice? Perhaps, perhaps not. We can argue about the bravery or “nerve” of the shooter until we’re blue in the face. However, the one word I will attach to the person responsible for this is “insane.” Of course, the actual state of this person’s state of mind is a matter for the professionals to determine, but all but the most callous can see we are dealing with a deeply mentally disturbed individual.

  52. hovindtheory says

    The fact that he didn’t put up a fight against the police is even more disturbing. That is the sign of a person on a vendetta, someone who wants to deliver a message to the world.

    Suspect is a 24 yr old male I’m reading on NPR.

  53. Blueaussi says

    It takes courage to face the fact that you have a problem, more courage to seek help or to deal with it on your own. It takes no courage whatsoever to take your problem out on someone else.

  54. says

    Fluffy:

    Because cowards are interested in saving their own skins, it follows they will be more dangerous than people who can summon a bit of courage.

    I think someone doesn’t understand that whole ‘a cornered rat is a dangerous rat’ business.

    Seriously, though, I grew up with monsters. Monsters who were, to all appearances, normal, successful people. Later on, I had an encounter with a monster who came close to murdering me. You wouldn’t know by looking, you most likely wouldn’t know by talking with him. Carlie is absolutely right – “monsters” are people, full stop. A lot of times they are broken people. All the broken people are the responsibility of us all.

  55. Pteryxx says

    The fact that he didn’t put up a fight against the police is even more disturbing. That is the sign of a person on a vendetta, someone who wants to deliver a message to the world.

    Um, no it isn’t. That’s a sign of someone who wants to enjoy his notoriety. Besides, it directly contradicts your claim that he’s ‘willing to die’ to get a message across.

    Why do you think this jackass HAD any message beyond ‘look what a macho badass I am’ ?

  56. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    Didn’t we have this whole coward / not coward thing in a thread a while ago?

  57. dianne says

    That is the sign of a person on a vendetta, someone who wants to deliver a message to the world.

    Or someone who didn’t want to get hurt himself. Compare, for example, to the 9/11 hijackers who most definitely did not surrender without a fight but certainly had a message they wanted to send.

  58. FluffyTheTerrible says

    @ Akira Mackenzie

    However, the one word I will attach to the person responsible for this is “insane.”

    NO! Even if they have issues, labelling them insane does a tremendous diservice and demonizes people who suffer from serious mental disorders, but lead stable lives thanks to medication and therapy.

    Also, saying he is insane absolves us of any responsibility. People are products of their environments, and the society around him partially led him to become this.

    I’m also quoting carlie’s comments at #45 and #49:

    No, what dismisses them as trivial is sidelining them as psychopaths and monsters. They are not other than us. They are very much the same as us. They are people who have had things go wrong in their lives, who grew up blaming other people for their own problems, who listened to a lot of rhetoric about how important it is to have power and how power can be obtained by violence. Calling them psychopaths and monsters allows you to distance yourself from them by saying oh, I’d never be like that, no one I know is like that, it’s not my problem. No. It’s our humanity; we have to own it.

    Calling him a psychopath means you don’t have to feel guilty that you support the legislators who cut mental health services to save you thirty cents a year on your taxes. Calling him a psychopath means you don’t have to feel guilty that you don’t volunteer or donate or in any way support your local school district so it can provide adequate services to turn out graduates who are capable of getting a good job. It means you don’t have to feel guilty about cutting social services who can intervene when a family is in trouble.

    Separating him out and calling him a monster means you can absolve yourself of your portion of responsibility for supporting an environment that allows a person to have tragedy after missed opportunity after lack of education after no support that ends up in a guy who is angry at the world and has no life skills and can’t think of any other way to express his bitterness. So who’s the monster?

  59. hovindtheory says

    @Pteryxx

    He very well may be willing to die. He committed several murders and now awaits judgement. He may get the death penalty, but can’t wait to make a charade out of hearings and the sentencing just like the BTK killer.

  60. Pteryxx says

    From ABC news, via Ashley Miller:

    A San Diego woman who identified herself as James Holmes’ mother told ABC News she had awoken unaware of the shooting and had not yet been contacted by authorities. She immediately expressed concern that her son may have been involved.

    “You have the right person,” she said, apparently speaking on gut instinct. “I need to call the police… I need to fly out to Colorado.”

    http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/aurora-dark-knight-shooting-suspect-identified-james-holmes/story?id=16818889

  61. kreativekaos says

    I think there is fairy reasonably presumption by most that the nutcases that initiate acts like these have at least a a superficial understanding that they could very well be put down. I’m not sure they proceed with an atrocious act like this actually thinking they are guaranteed to come out of an incident like this unscathed (even though they do virtually every time). At any rate, any possible thoughts of their own mortality don’t seem to be in the equation.

    Where the cowardice comes in is in the psychology; if they are seriously troubled people, they haven’t the courage (or recognition/understanding of their condition) to deal with problems in their lives in a controlled and effective way– essentially, they’ve ‘lost it’.

    I believe Sam Harris had essentially said at one point the that suicide terrorists know fully well their fate and act in spite of it– there is little cowardice in the act, but rather in dealing with objects of reality and their own psychology.

    And if they are sociopathic or psychopathic rather than deeply troubled or depressed, there doesn’t seem to be a lot of control over situations like this, other than the hope that others can recognize the signs in someone like this and notify appropriate people to intervene before things like this happen.

    I think as the rationalists we are, we need to wait to get the evidence in about this guy: certainly, there are severe mental issues here. The one thing we all agree on and are deeply sad about, is the heinousness of acts like this and why they happen on such a regular basis, in this country in particular, ie, ‘What the hell is wrong with us?’

  62. nms says

    He may get the death penalty, but can’t wait to make a charade out of hearings and the sentencing just like the BTK killer.

    Ohhh, so that’s how you know that he wasn’t a coward.

    You’re a mind-reader.

  63. hovindtheory says

    @FluffyTheTerrible

    NO! Even if they have issues, labelling them insane does a tremendous diservice and demonizes people who suffer from serious mental disorders, but lead stable lives thanks to medication and therapy.

    Well, insane is a legal term and simply refers to whether or not your actions were involuntary due to a pervasive mental illness. Most mental patients aren’t dangerous. It may come out that he was insane, but it’s far too early to speculate on that. It seems unlikely that he’s insane given he surrendered to the cops.

  64. FluffyTheTerrible says

    @ Caine

    I think someone doesn’t understand that whole ‘a cornered rat is a dangerous rat’ business.

    I do understand it. I was simply giving the example you quoted in response to hovindtheory who insisted we couldn’t call him a coward because that would mean we consider him less dangerous.

    Seriously, though, I grew up with monsters. Monsters who were, to all appearances, normal, successful people. Later on, I had an encounter with a monster who came close to murdering me. You wouldn’t know by looking, you most likely wouldn’t know by talking with him. Carlie is absolutely right – “monsters” are people, full stop. A lot of times they are broken people. All the broken people are the responsibility of us all.

    I am guessing this is not necessarily directed at me. I agree fully – never labelled him a monster – and you can see my comment at #62, quoting Carlie.

    I am terribly sorry for your experiences, and I hope you are in a much safer place in your life now. I have a much less severe experience with abusive people, and from that I know they can seem perfectly normal, perfectly well-adjusted, charming individuals, to the point where you can’t say anything against them because people won’t believe you.

    At least hovindtheory has shut up for now about the cowardice angle.

  65. says

    Akira:

    However, the one word I will attach to the person responsible for this is “insane.”

    Oh for fuck’s sake, NO. Jesus, try thinking for once. Whatever issues this man had, they don’t make for insanity. This is simply another attempt to other this man, a way to disconnect him from ‘us’.

  66. dianne says

    Separating him out and calling him a monster means you can absolve yourself of your portion of responsibility for supporting an environment that allows a person to have tragedy after missed opportunity after lack of education after no support that ends up in a guy who is angry at the world and has no life skills and can’t think of any other way to express his bitterness.

    If that were the main issue, I would expect most mass murderers to be poor, minority woman. They aren’t. They’re usually (almost exclusively, I think) white men, often of middle class or higher background. In other words, it’s more likely about outraged entitlement than people who are truly getting screwed by society.

  67. says

    *Sigh* I knew I shouldn’t have checked my facebook. More than one gun nut* is whining that their “gun rights” are now under attack. *spits*

    Here’s a pro-tip, fellas: This ain’t about you.

    And speaking of jackassery:
    Hovind, just shut the fuck up. It doesn’t matter if Holmes is a coward or not. At this point, his motivation really means fuck all; we should be concerning ourselves with the victims instead of wanking off about the shooter.

    Did you read the latest updates? The youngest person injured was a three month old baby. My heart breaks, doesn’t yours?

    *How the fuck do I even know these people?

  68. FluffyTheTerrible says

    @ hovindtheory

    Well, insane is a legal term and simply refers to whether or not your actions were involuntary due to a pervasive mental illness. Most mental patients aren’t dangerous. It may come out that he was insane, but it’s far too early to speculate on that. It seems unlikely that he’s insane given he surrendered to the cops.

    I am not sure how many ordinary people think of the legal definition when they hear “insane”. I think many of them think of the homeless person talking to himself that they see on their way to work – someone who is harmless – but whom they might lump in with the guy who shoots people.

    There still a lot of stigma associated with mental illness, so it does no one favours to label people “insane”.

    The asshole who shot people in Norway was also labelled insane by the press and people, although he knew exactly what he was doing, and he was a raging misogynist and xenophobe to boot.

    Please use blockquote:

    Put the words you want to quote in the space.

  69. says

    Fluffy:

    I do understand it.

    I wasn’t talking about you, I was talking about ‘hovindtheory’. I was agreeing with you.

    I am guessing this is not necessarily directed at me.

    Again, generally agreeing with what you had stated, simply giving my own personal spin on it.

  70. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    It seems unlikely that he’s insane given he surrendered to the cops.

    Calling Dr. Internetpsychiatrist

  71. Pteryxx says

    For petes sake quit with the ‘insane’ and ‘mental issues’ excuses. (That’s what they are, excuses.) Assassin types like this usually turn out to be narcissists and/or sociopaths, but they know perfectly well what they’re doing; they just don’t care. Mental illness is NOT a moral failing!

  72. dianne says

    It’s not impossible to have a thought disorder that causes a person to truly not understand that they are doing anything wrong by killing people. But it’s extremely rare and in general mentally ill people are no more likely than non-mentally ill people to commit violent crimes.

  73. FluffyTheTerrible says

    @ Caine

    Ok, just wanted to make sure my comments were understood.

    Now, if only hovindtheory would stop saying insensitive things.

  74. says

    Hovind:

    He may get the death penalty, but can’t wait to make a charade out of hearings and the sentencing just like the BTK killer.

    And we know this how? From what I’ve seen, the police haven’t made any statements about his motivation or even his state of mind, so how in the hell can you compare him to BTK? Shooters like Holmes are totally different in motivation and actions from serial killers.

    What if he’s an angry young man that just lashed out the only way he could? It’s a scary fucking thought, but not outside the realm of possibilities.

  75. says

    Audley:

    The youngest person injured was a three month old baby.

    Jesus Christ. That’s gotta hit you particularly hard, I’m sure. I hope that child will be alright. In the article Pteryxx linked supra, a woman who was running turned back and said she saw him slowly walking up the stairs, picking people at random to shoot. It’s hard to take it in, the horror of it.

  76. FluffyTheTerrible says

    Also, don’t read the comments on the article PZ linked to. Some people are blaming this on people becoming less social, and are tying it to the internet.

    Seriously, don’t read the comments.

  77. Akira MacKenzie says

    Caine @ 69

    Oh? So an individual who walks into a crowded movie theater in body armor and weaponry and starts shooting for no real reason is the picture of mental health?

  78. Millicent says

    Labelling the shooter as “insane,” a “nutcase,” or any other term suggesting that mental illness caused his actions, is OTHERING. It enables us to wash our hands of the whole ugly mess and say, “Couldn’t be helped. He was *nuts*.” Don’t do that. It doesn’t help.

  79. brucegorton says

    He clearly wasn’t a coward and that’s the problem. He had the psychopathic will to murder several human beings. Cowards aren’t monsters.

    What people forget about fear, is that it is a fight or flight response.

    A coward isn’t necessarily one who fears death, but one who is ruled by fear. Violence is thus every bit as symptomatic of a coward, as running away would be.

  80. Trickster Goddess says

    For a long time I have been puzzled by the American habit of describing mass murders as “cowards”, even the suicidal ones. It’s as if “coward” is considered the Worst Insult Possible in US culture.

    To me it seems to be a category error. Killing people is neither brave nor cowardly. Bravery is risking harm to yourself to help someone; cowardice is letting someone else come to harm because you are unwilling to take a risk to prevent it. Inflicting the harm yourself doesn’t fit anywhere in that spectrum.

    Arguing whether a killer is a coward or not is like arguing whether he is blue or orange.

  81. flyv65 says

    I had a friend who’s daughter was in school the day of the Columbine shootings; she was almost delirious with worry as tried to find out anything, or where to go to pick her up. 13 years later I wake up to find out that there was a mass shooting at the midnight showing of TDKR, and I couldn’t remember where another friend of mine went to see the movie last night. Travis didn’t go to Aurora for the showing I just found out, but he could’ve: it’s almost as close to his house.

    In light of our history here in Denver, I think I’m going to just avoid this thread, because arguing about whether or not James Holmes was a coward seems a bit trivial to me at the moment.

  82. says

    Audley:

    Shooters like Holmes are totally different in motivation and actions from serial killers.

    No kidding. Rader was a sexual sadist serial killer. A different planet, psychologically, from a mass murderer. Mind, the idiocy coming from hovinddude is from someone who claims to have worked a locked ward for years on end. Uh huh.

  83. FluffyTheTerrible says

    @ Akira Mackenzie

    Tell me what you get if you label him insane? How does that help?
    Like many other posters have said, it allows us to refuse any responsibility – as if we are not part of a culture that idolizes weapons and the military – and it contributes to the further demonizing of people with mental issues who are overwhelmingly non-violent.

    I think this man comes from the same sense of entitlement as others who think the world owes them everything. Did he have any other issues? We don’t know.

  84. says

    Caine:

    That’s gotta hit you particularly hard, I’m sure.

    Yeah. It’s just drives home that nowhere is really safe, you know?

    That’s why all the 2nd Amendment assholes can just go jump off a cliff right about now. We see this shit far too often.

  85. ibelieveindog says

    I was reading the comments on the story on MSNBC. Big mistake. Several commenters are blaming the parents of the three-month-old child for the child’s death.

    (I would quote, but I haven’t figured out the blockquote thingy.)

  86. baal says

    I can’t imagine the horror and sadness of the directly impacted families. That area is so close to Columbine that another shooting seems all that worse.

    I suspect, once the fact come out, we’ll find out that he either has an organic brain disorder or lived a delusional life (or both). The past shooters all seem to have mixed up expression and firing a gun as the same thing. This suggests to me that we (everyone) need to avoid violent rhetoric and strongly, repeatedly condemn those who suggest we speak with our guns – even metaphorically. I’m thinking in particular of two examples. Media Matters has reported several times on Ted Nugent using AK47′s as props when saying anti-Obama noise and the Sarah Palin’s 2010 election poster with crosshairs.

  87. Akira MacKenzie says

    Considering my own difficulties with bipolar disorder, I certainly don’t believe that mental illness is a moral failing. If Mr. Holmes is the shooter and found to be mentally ill (innocent until proven guilty) then he ought to receive psychiatric help and confinement at a mental health facility.

  88. says

    Akira:

    Oh? So an individual who walks into a crowded movie theater in body armor and weaponry and starts shooting for no real reason is the picture of mental health?

    Where did I say he was the picture of mental health? What I said is that you were attempting to other him, to disconnect him from the rest of us by using insane. There’s no indication that he’s insane and most mentally ill people are no more prone to violence than everyone else. What you’re doing is wrong and doing a disservice to those who do have a mental illness and are managing just fine.

    Most mass murderers are angry and frustrated. While those states may be mentally perturbing, it’s not insanity.

  89. ibelieveindog says

    Please pardon the error. The three-month-old was injured, not killed. I read it wrong; my vision was blurred.

  90. ibelieveindog says

    And I just read that the child is four months old, and has been released after treatment.

  91. borax says

    Within 2 days I bet someone (and by someone, I mean a gun nut talking head) will say the answer to this kind of atrocity will be more guns. I’m saddened for those who lost loved ones.

  92. carlie says

    A San Diego woman who identified herself as James Holmes’ mother told ABC News she had awoken unaware of the shooting and had not yet been contacted by authorities. She immediately expressed concern that her son may have been involved.

    “You have the right person,” she said, apparently speaking on gut instinct. “I need to call the police… I need to fly out to Colorado.”

    Wow. So there were signs. Many signs. And yet he didn’t get the help he needed. Maybe his mom tried her hardest, maybe he never got quite the right therapy or quite the right medication, but it’s another case of someone falling right through the cracks even though they were waving red flags with both hands.

    If that were the main issue, I would expect most mass murderers to be poor, minority woman. They aren’t. They’re usually (almost exclusively, I think) white men, often of middle class or higher background. In other words, it’s more likely about outraged entitlement than people who are truly getting screwed by society.

    I think that’s true about them being entitled, but again I see that as a societal issue. The smaller one is that someone should have been able to see his attitude getting worse and worse and had the resources/ability to do something about it (maybe not from a monetary standpoint, but from the point of his schools and whatnot being able to keep tabs on all the kids and see attitude problems developing AND having the authority to intervene), and then our society is fucked up to encourage that entitlement in the first place.

  93. FluffyTheTerrible says

    From the article on MSNBC:

    Many victims being treated in at least six hospitals were under 40, including a 6-year-old taken to Children’s Hospital Colorado. The youngest person treated was a 4-month-old baby, who has been released. The oldest reported patient is 45.

    Authorities said the gunman had appeared at the front of the theater during the film and released a canister of tear gas. Witnesses told reporters that the gunfire erupted during a shootout scene in “The Dark Knight Rises”.

    “It was mass chaos,” witness Jennifer Seeger told TODAY. The gunman shot the ceiling and then “he threw in the gas can, and then I knew it was real.”

    The asshole synchronized his shootings with a shoot out scene in the film. I don’t have words to ..anything..

    “I told my friend, ‘We’ve got to get out of here,’ but then he shot people trying to go out the exits,” she recalled. She said the shooter made his way up the aisle, shooting as he went, saying nothing.

    I would have frozen in my spot.. it must have been horrific.

    NBC station KUSA-Denver cited a witness as seeing a black-clad 6-foot-tall man wearing a riot helmet, goggles and bullet-proof vest.

    However, many people attended the film dressed in Batman-related costumes.

    And that answers the question of how no one spotted him in his war getup.

    Witnesses said the gunman entered the theater through an emergency exit door.

    The suspect was found in possession of a gas mask, Oates said. Ammunition was found in the suspect’s car, police said.

    The shooter had three weapons — an assault-type rifle and two handguns, officials told NBC News. Holmes’ car has Tennessee plates but authorities said he lived locally.

    In a statement, President Barack Obama said he was saddened by the “horrific and tragic shooting.”

    Police raiding the theater in the hunt for the suspect had to ask for gas masks.

    “Get us some damn gas masks for theater 9, we can’t get in it,” one officer radioed back to emergency dispatch during the operation, according to an excerpt aired on KUSA.

    Brenda Stuart, of 850 KOA radio, told Sky News that bullets had passed from one theater into an adjoining one.

    Seeger, the eyewitness, told TODAY there were “a lot of children” in the theater.

    “When I … tried to escape, there was a little girl, 12 or 13, just laying lifeless on the stairs,” she said.

    “I got terrified. I didn’t know what to do, like a deer in the headlights. I jumped into the aisle and curled up into a little ball waiting for him to go away,” she told TODAY.

    The shooter fired off about 20 rounds and there was then a pause and a “period of quietness when everybody started running out,” Coon said.
    “I slipped on some blood and landed on a lady. I shook her and said we need to go. There was no response so I presume she was dead,” Coon said.

    There are no words to talk about this.

  94. says

    Coming soon to a thread near you: posts stating that if a patron had been armed, this would have been averted.

    In the aftermath of the Gabrielle Giffords shooting news reporters interviewed a man who was armed and near the scene. He came running with his legally purchased, licensed hand-gun which that state gave him the right to carry around with him where ever he went and he almost shot …

    The guy who disarmed the actual gunman.

  95. TonyJ says

    Horrible. I watched some of this on CNN. Really sad you ‘Merkins can’t get rid of your guns. I don’t know how else you’ll stop such tragedies otherwise.

    Strange thing is, I’m not so sure it’s the guns that are the problem. I think the problem might be with the ‘Merkins themselves. We seem to really, really like violence.

  96. TonyJ says

    The police say there’s no sign of a connection to terrorism. In other words, the shooter isn’t muslim.

    Yeah, that got me too. If shooting people in a smoke-filled, darkened theater is not terrorising, I’m not sure what is.

  97. FluffyTheTerrible says

    @ TonyJ

    trange thing is, I’m not so sure it’s the guns that are the problem. I think the problem might be with the ‘Merkins themselves. We seem to really, really like violence.

    This liking violence thing is not innate. It’s part of the culture, so you have to change that. It definitely doesn’t help if people just shrug their shoulders and say: what can we do, we like violence.

  98. Moggie says

    TonyJ:

    Yeah, that got me too. If shooting people in a smoke-filled, darkened theater is not terrorising, I’m not sure what is.

    The law enforcement quote I’ve seen is that he isn’t known to have any ties to terrorist groups.

  99. Bernard Bumner says

    Strange thing is, I’m not so sure it’s the guns that are the problem. I think the problem might be with the ‘Merkins themselves. We seem to really, really like violence.

    If the kids keep playing with matches, first of all you confiscate the matches.

  100. dianne says

    Strange thing is, I’m not so sure it’s the guns that are the problem. I think the problem might be with the ‘Merkins themselves. We seem to really, really like violence.

    Guns may not be THE problem, but having a gun or lots of guns makes it easier to kill a bunch of people quickly. If this guy had had to go in with a knife to commit his murder he would have killed fewer people. Gun control is a place to start, if not the only move needed to reduce the incidence of mass murders.

    The possibility of this sort of event is so high in people’s minds in gun happy states that people actually teach their kids what to do if they encounter this sort of situation. (The advice, incidentally, is wait until he’s reloading and then rush him with as many people and as much adrenalin as you can muster. I am happy to report that I have never had occasion to find out if this advice is good or not.)

  101. says

    I wouldn’t apply labels like “terrorism” or “cowardice” to this. I think it almost certain that the correct term is “mentally ill.” It’s sort of irrelevant whether he was brave if the motive was that the voices in his head were telling him that the theater was full of demons. Really, if the world had theaters full of demons in it a lot of us cowards would be find what it takes to burst in and shoot the servants of Satan.

  102. Pteryxx says

    NBC station KUSA-Denver cited a witness as seeing a black-clad 6-foot-tall man wearing a riot helmet, goggles and bullet-proof vest.

    However, many people attended the film dressed in Batman-related costumes.

    And that answers the question of how no one spotted him in his war getup.

    *headdesk* And that’s the conclusion they wanted to imply by linking those two statements in the article.

    Instead of, say, this:

    Witnesses said the gunman entered the theater through an emergency exit door.

    being a reason he wasn’t spotted. 20-30 minutes into a midnight premiere? The hallways and parking lot probably were deserted. There’s no reason to assume the guy mingled with the audience first, absent any statements to that effect.

    There’s going to be enough geek-blaming without that.

  103. FluffyTheTerrible says

    @ ChristineRose

    You haven’t read any of the comments, have you? If you had, maybe you would know why it’s not a good idea to label him mentally ill.

    Also, what the fuck are you on about servants of Satan?

  104. Janine: Fucking Dyke Of Rage Mountain says

    Noted christianist moral monster, Bryan Fischer, has already passed judgment.

    “14 killed, 50 wounded in Batman shooting. We have rejected God, we’re turning into a 3rd world country.”

    Expect more from the predictable sources during the duration of this day.

  105. FluffyTheTerrible says

    @Pteryxx

    There’s going to be enough geek-blaming without that.

    I really don’t see how, but I guess I’m underestimating some people, the very same type who would blame the parents for the 4 month old baby getting hurt.

    Anyway, I read after I posted the quotes that he actually entered through an emergency exit.

    Seriously, who would blame people for showing up to the movie theater wearing costumes for this? No one, I hope.

  106. TonyJ says

    It definitely doesn’t help if people just shrug their shoulders and say: what can we do, we like violence.

    I’m all for some sort of stricter gun control measures. That may not be enough though. I think we also need to somehow address the underlying cultural fascination with killing each other over every disagreement.

  107. says

    Really, if the world had theaters full of demons in it a lot of us cowards would be find what it takes to burst in and shoot the servants of Satan.

    What in the fuckety fuck are you talking about? Do you have any idea of what you’re attempting to impart with that?

    As for being sure that “mentally ill” is correct, you’d be wrong. There is no evidence at this time, nor any particular indication of a mental illness.

  108. FluffyTheTerrible says

    @ Janine

    How do these people not see the contradiction? If there was a merciful God, he wouldn’t allow killings like that, and he certainly wouldn’t use other people as his instruments.

    What the fuck?

    Also, third world country? You mean countries struggling in poverty and military conflict and political instability partially because of decisions made by first world countries?

    Fuck that noise.

  109. says

    There’s going to be enough geek-blaming without that.

    Indeed, I fear there will be. People seem frightened as hell to admit that relatively ordinary people can commit acts like this, so blaming it on the influence of games, movies, comics, music… becomes an easy way out. Some people are going to be blaming geek culture. It’s happened before, and it will happen again.

  110. KG says

    If that were the main issue, I would expect most mass murderers to be poor, minority woman. They aren’t. They’re usually (almost exclusively, I think) white men, often of middle class or higher background. In other words, it’s more likely about outraged entitlement than people who are truly getting screwed by society. – dianne

    I agree with your main point, but there’s no contradiction between genuinely getting screwed by society and committing violence out of outraged entitlement: many of those genuinely getting screwed blame their problems on the groups they despise.

  111. Gnumann, quisling of the MRA nation says

    I think it almost certain that the correct term is “mentally ill.”

    Of course he’s mentally ill. Sane people don’t shoot a lot of strangers for no good reason.

    That doesn’t mean he’s not a terrorist, nor that it’s a pathetic, cowardly act.

    And he had tear gas. Why the fuck has civilians access to chemical weapons?
    Or non-hunting hand-arms at all? They are no good for anything but killing people or training for killing people.

    It’s just sick. No matter what his motives were, gun culture enabled him.

  112. jimmauch says

    I wonder if a study was ever taken asking gun murderers why they own their weapon. I bet that the majority would say that they owned the weapon to protect themselves from our violent culture. I’m sorry but I can not believe that a peace loving individual wants a gun at their disposal so that they can kill whoever intimidates them. If you want to avoid violence don’t provoke. Your chances of survival is better in running than having a gunfight at the OK corral.

  113. says

    Also, ChristineRose, this statement:

    It’s sort of irrelevant whether he was brave if the motive was that the voices in his head were telling him that the theater was full of demons.

    Is utterly bizarre. A person who was hearing voices and convinced a theater was full of demons (where are you getting this shit, besides pulling it out of your ass?) would most likely not have the presence of mind to don bulletproof clothing and a riot mask, along with being prepared with smoke grenades and weaponry, nor be able to time it for a shooting scene in the movie.

  114. dianne says

    @109: If only it were that easy to convince the NRA of anything…I suspect that 1000 dead school children would just reinforce their beliefs.

  115. pensnest says

    How dreadful. My heart aches for the people who were there – it must have been so terrifying.

    When I saw PZ’s post my mind flicked immediately to something I read a day or so ago about (extremely stupid) people saying the film was an election ploy by the Democrats because of the villain’s name, Bane. I really hope it wasn’t anything to do with that, but then, there isn’t an alternative explanation that’s any better. There is no good reason for this.

    Such sadness.

  116. says

    Some people are going to be blaming geek culture.

    Oh, you can bet it will happen with this, in spades. The whole hoary business of “it’s the fault of these movies!” “it’s the internet!” and the rest of it will be spilling over for ages.

  117. Matt Penfold says

    @109: If only it were that easy to convince the NRA of anything…I suspect that 1000 dead school children would just reinforce their beliefs.

    They would probably use it to argue that school children should be armed.

  118. anubisprime says

    deephlat @ 109

    One wonders who exactly are the monsters in society?

    “Yeah, that’s probably the only way we’d reassess much of anything at this point: 1,000 dead kids, shot up pretty good, lying face down in the school auditorium or something like that,” LaPierre said, noting that anything less than 1,000 dead kids would not be enough for the NRA to stop urging Congress to pass pro-gun legislation. “I mean, that’s just a ballpark number, but I imagine seeing 1,000 or so body bags being wheeled out of a school and a whole town of crying parents would probably make us reflect on our values for at least a little bit.”

    “So yeah, more or less 1,000 dead kids,” LaPierre added. “Something around there. And teachers don’t count.”

    About a 1000 kids MUST die pretty badly shot up and lying face down in a school auditorium or something…the detail is rather specific…maybe the interest will be on the muzzle velocity and range of weapon used…photos of the damage would be a great advertising boost…
    Maybe a few photos of the grief in the parents eyes…
    Arm yourselves you know it makes sense!

    Oh…don’t give a fuck about the teachers…

    THERE IS YOUR FUCKING CHRISTIAN MORALITY RIGHT THERE!

    I suggest that the society in America is in very very deep trouble!
    And not specifically from the deviants that shoot up a cinema.

  119. says

    Oh, you can bet it will happen with this, in spades. The whole hoary business of “it’s the fault of these movies!” “it’s the internet!” and the rest of it will be spilling over for ages.

    Yep. As I mentioned before, here in Belgium, the media was very quick to blame the ‘Dendermonde nursery attack’, an incident which involved a young man walking into a nursery wearing clown make-up and stabbing children, on The Dark Night. Now, looking back on it, it does look like there might have been a link to the Dark Night (the incident happened exactly one year after Heath Ledger’s death, the guy was wearing clown make-up and he apparantly quoted Two-Face when he walked into the nursery), but even before all this was known the media was mentioning The Dark Night, heavy metal music and video games.

  120. Pteryxx says

    from Ashley Miller’s roundup:

    UPDATE5: ”I have heard he was possibly wearing some sort of Batman costume,” police spokesman Frank Fania told NBC’s Today.”

    *headdesk* *headdesk* *headdesk*

  121. jimmauch says

    Colorado gun law does not:

    * – Require a background check prior to the transfer of a firearm between private parties, except at gun shows;
    * – Prohibit the transfer or possession of assault weapons, 50 caliber rifles, or large capacity ammo magazines;
    * – Require firearm dealers to obtain a state license;
    * – Require firearm owners to obtain a license, register their firearms, or report lost or stolen firearms;
    * – Impose a waiting period on firearm purchases;
    * – Limit the number of firearms that may be purchased at one time;
    * – Regulate unsafe handguns;
    * – Significantly regulate ammunition sales; or
    * – Give law enforcement discretion to deny a concealed handgun permit.

  122. Akira MacKenzie says

    FluffyTheTerrible @ 88

    Tell me what you get if you label him insane? How does that help?

    Well, for starters, it might help save the man from getting the fucking needle. Furthermore, rather than “washing our hands” of the situation as some would say, we actually be address the issue of the mentally ill in America, raise awareness of their plight and convince people that spending the money and resources to to help them is not just in best interests of the ill, but the of the “sane” as well.

    You can’t do that when you ignore the question of Mr. Holmes sanity.

    Caine @ 93

    Most mass murderers are angry and frustrated. While those states may be mentally perturbing, it’s not insanity.

    So the perfectly rational way to deal with anger and frustration is to kill 14 random people? That’s NOT insanity?

    @ 99

    My personal opinion is that he is mentally ill. However, what a court of law decides is another matter and knowing Colorado, you can be sure that they’ll be doing everything in their power to make sure this man is found guilty and put to death.

    I don’t want to fucking see that.

  123. ixchel, the jaguar goddess of midwifery and war ॐ says

    Of course he’s mentally ill.

    No, there’s no “of course” here. You do not know that.

    Sane people don’t shoot a lot of strangers for no good reason.

    Othering. Again. Fuck you, Gnumann.

    FFS, even when mentally ill people commit acts of violence they don’t do it for “no good reason.”

  124. Janine: Fucking Dyke Of Rage Mountain says

    Hardly a surprise, Louie Gohmert already was known as the most stupid person in the House Of Representatives.

  125. Pteryxx says

    but even before all this was known the media was mentioning The Dark Night, heavy metal music and video games.

    To elaborate: it’s essentially a chopstick-gene fallacy, with bonus othering. A certain hyperviolent assassin type will adopt whatever macho power memes are important to them and their culture: military/police fixations, violent fictional role models, Beatles songs, whatever. The media generally will make a big deal out of these memes ONLY if they’re somehow ‘fringe’ memes – this rarely happens when the individual’s motivations include, say, violent memes from right-wing Christianity or US nationalism.

  126. ixchel, the jaguar goddess of midwifery and war ॐ says

    Fuck you, Akira.

    So the perfectly rational way to deal with anger and frustration is to kill 14 random people? That’s NOT insanity?

    Who said it was rational? Of course it’s fucking irrational.

    The point is it’s not therefore insanity.

    Sane people do irrational things every day.

  127. says

    from Ashley Miller’s roundup:

    UPDATE5: ”I have heard he was possibly wearing some sort of Batman costume,” police spokesman Frank Fania told NBC’s Today.”

    *headdesk* *headdesk* *headdesk*

    So it begins.

    Akira,

    You cannot say that on the one hand you don’t know whether he’s mentally ill or not, while on the other hand continue calling him insane. Does not compute.

    Gnumann,

    Of course he’s mentally ill.

    NO! There is nothing of course about it. You seem to have made up your own definition of what mental health entails. The rest of the world, however, doesn’t operate on your definitions. Deal with it. At this point there is no way to know whether he was insane or not.

  128. Brownian says

    So the perfectly rational way to deal with anger and frustration is to kill 14 random people?

    While I appreciate that you’re fond of this sort of strawmanning, I’d like to point out that the words “perfectly rational” don’t really apply to humans at all, even the ‘sane’ ones.

  129. ixchel, the jaguar goddess of midwifery and war ॐ says

    Fuck you, Akira.

    Well, for starters, it might help save the man from getting the fucking needle.

    Are you his fucking defense attorney?

    Are you his fucking defense attorney?

    Good luck to his fucking defense attorney. Of course they will probably go for an insanity defense; it is the job of the defense attorney to try whatever might work. That is understandable.

    But your rhetoric here in this thread doesn’t do him a bit of good. All you are doing is stigmatizing mental illness.

  130. Pteryxx says

    So the perfectly rational way to deal with anger and frustration is to kill 14 random people? That’s NOT insanity?

    Akira, are you seriously trying to conflate sanity with perfect rationality? News: people aren’t perfectly rational *whether or not* they’re mentally ill. Angry entitled jackholes kill people all the time; usually partners and children, not random strangers.

  131. Beatrice says

    Janine,

    Poor woman. To escape one shooting and then get killed in this one. And in such a short time.

  132. Brownian says

    Akira, are you seriously trying to conflate sanity with perfect rationality?

    I agree that this is an irrational thing for someone to do.

    Using Akiran logic, the only conclusion is that Akira should be committed.

  133. ixchel, the jaguar goddess of midwifery and war ॐ says

    Fuck you, Akira.

    Furthermore, rather than “washing our hands” of the situation as some would say, we actually be address the issue of the mentally ill in America, raise awareness of their plight and convince people that spending the money and resources to to help them is not just in best interests of the ill, but the of the “sane” as well.

    Well now there’s a great topic which you are welcome to bring up on TET any fucking time.

    Guess what? It’s important even without regard to violence.

    You can’t do that when you ignore the question of Mr. Holmes sanity.

    Bullshit! We’ve had those discussions before; they were possible before anyone here ever knew Holmes existed. Therefore it is objectively fucking false that we can’t have that kind of conversation in any other context than this one right now where you’re trying to blame this on mental illness.

  134. Wowbagger, Deputy Vice-President (Silencing) says

    Ah, fuck. I’ve been out all night and only just heard about this. Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck.

  135. Pteryxx says

    You can’t do that when you ignore the question of Mr. Holmes sanity.

    …How is a guy shooting a bunch of random moviegoers supposed to inspire SYMPATHY for mentally ill people? WTF, Akira?

  136. says

    Akira:

    So the perfectly rational way to deal with anger and frustration is to kill 14 random people? That’s NOT insanity?

    No, it is not insanity.* Jesus fuck, you’re hardly one to talk about rationality, given your irrationality on this subject. In one post, you call “INSANE”, in the next, you say it isn’t know if he’s mentally ill.

    Just fucking stop already.

    *If I completely lose my temper and because of my anger and frustration, I scream and say, punch a big ass hole in the wall, that’s hardly a rational way to deal with anger and frustration, is it? It doesn’t make me insane. This is hardly difficult to grasp, you know. Why in the hell are you so invested in insisting on othering this man?

  137. anubisprime says

    pentatomid @ 136

    I hope so…otherwise the only way out is the body bag fangdango!

    So how many would be deemed as a sufficient body count to change their stance?

  138. ibelieveindog says

    Can we please use “sane” and “insane” as legal terms only? “Mental illness” or “mental disorder” refers to a psychological pattern or patterns.

    Thank you!

  139. raven says

    Texas Politician Blames Non-Christians for Shooting by Ashley F. Miller

    From the sidebars.

    I wondered how long that would take. A few hours is the usual.

  140. ligertwood says

    You americans and your stupid fucking 2nd amendment. Could this loonie have done as much damage with a knife or a bat? Not likely. Guns are manufactured and were invented for one purpose and one purpose only…. TO KILL ! And they are very good at it. Of course this kind of thing can happen anywhere but it seems America is number one. Well at least your number one at something !

  141. ixchel, the jaguar goddess of midwifery and war ॐ says

    Bart,

    Could it be that these are all manifestations of some inherent need to harm the “weaker-than-self”?

    Well, it’s not an inherent need. It’s taught. Our society is very big on competition generally, specifically teaching that weakness is shameful and contemptible. Hurting people can be a demonstration of power over them, a demonstration that the perpetrator is not weak.

    I think you’re noticing a real relation — but I just want to point out it’s not inherent; we don’t have to have this kind of society forever.

  142. Matt Penfold says

    Even if the killer does turn out to be mentally ill, a possibility the authorities will no doubt be exploring, it does not follow he will considered to be insane.

  143. says

    So how many would be deemed as a sufficient body count to change their stance?

    Honestly? I doubt any number of deaths would make the gun nuts give up their guns. Even if a thousand school kids died, they’d probably use that as an argument in defence of their position. Those are scary people.

  144. carlie says

    So the perfectly rational way to deal with anger and frustration is to kill 14 random people?

    That describes all wars ever, except change the death count from 14 to hundreds of thousands. Are you really willing to stand behind every national leader and every member of every government ever being actually insane?

  145. cyberCMDR says

    My wife just told me she had read on Huff Post that Limbaugh had been declaring the movie a “Liberal plot”, because the bad guy is named Bane (like Baine Capital). I wonder if that is what triggered him?

  146. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    Are people that do drive by shootings insane?

    You know, people can do very horrible things with complete clarity of thought and intention.

    All you internet psychiatrists do know this, right?

  147. Janine: Fucking Dyke Of Rage Mountain says

    Thank you, ligertwood, for using such a fine fucking broad brush. Please, let us know your nationality so that we can be free to pin a stereotype onto you. Oh, wait, everyone in the US are just like the fucking Koch brothers.

    You do fucking realize that many people from the US are terrified by how the second amendment has been twisted around by a very rich and very influential lobby.

  148. Akira MacKenzie says

    You cannot say that on the one hand you don’t know whether he’s mentally ill or not, while on the other hand continue calling him insane. Does not compute.

    As I said earlier, what I may think and what a court may rule are two different things. I think O.J. Simpson killed Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman, but a jury decided otherwise. Does that compute?

    I think Mr. Holmes is mentally ill and should receive treatment, but a jury in red state Colorado will most likely find differently.

  149. Gnumann, quisling of the MRA nation says

    NO! There is nothing of course about it. You seem to have made up your own definition of what mental health entails. The rest of the world, however, doesn’t operate on your definitions. Deal with it. At this point there is no way to know whether he was insane or not.

    Yes. I’m pretty sure anyone killing strangers doesn’t meet my definition of sane. If that makes my definition if sane strange, so be it.

    Note that I used sane. Language is not precise. I am not talking about legal definitions of insanity (for one thing, they vary. A lot). Neither am I talking about clinical insanity, though I seriously doubt that any psychiatrist would give a person capable of killing 14 strangers a clean bill of mental health.

    Neither am I making any conclusion about what ails him, or if he should be held morally and legally responsible for his actions or not.

  150. says

    That is a terrifying person and one that I would never align with cowardice.

    I fail to see how being cowardly excludes someone from being terrifying.

    Aligning people like him with cowardice dismisses these monsters as trivial.

    calling them
    “monsters” dismissed these people as exceptions, as things that were not created by our society. Also, it’s perfectly possible for a cowardly act to be non-trivial.

    A coward is someone who runs away from carnage and injury

    that’s crap. a coward is someone who refuses to face that which they fear. some people don’t fear death or injury, or at least fear these things less than other things.

    That said:
    absolutely everyone who accused hovindtheory of calling the shooter “brave” was committing a False Dilemma Fallacy/Fallacy of the Excluded middle. Someone can be not-a-coward without also being brave; they can be neither.

    That also being said:
    I tend to find the need to call anti-social acts, especially those in which the actors perceive themselves as “brave”, cowardly regardless of whether that’s actually the case to be… tedious. It feels like nothing more than reactance, the need to refute/argue with the actor’s self-perception.

    Anyway, to me these acts don’t seem actively cowardly so much as a combination of entitlement-turned-to-hatred and a complete lack of not-anti-social coping mechanisms.

  151. Beatrice says

    That genius Louie Gohmert also said:

    Gohmert also said the tragedy could have been lessened if someone else in the movie theater had been carrying a gun and took down the lone shooter. Istook noted that Colorado laws allow people to carry concealed guns.

    “It does make me wonder, with all those people in the theater, was there nobody that was carrying a gun that could have stopped this guy more quickly?” he asked.

  152. Janine: Fucking Dyke Of Rage Mountain says

    cyberCMDR, that kind of baseless speculation achieves nothing and might add to the cloud of stupidity that is already around this story.

    That kind of statement really is not much better than the Bryan Fischer tweet I quoted earlier. You are better than that.

    (cyberCMDR, please do not take this as an attack. Seriously, you are better than that. Please think about what you are saying.)

  153. says

    So the perfectly rational way to deal with anger and frustration is to kill 14 random people? That’s NOT insanity?

    more fallacy of the excluded middle. and a weird one at that, since “rational” and “insane” aren’t even true opposites.

    Point being, he could have been maladjusted, anti-social, deeply irrational, etc. without having a mental illness. Thus, not “insane”.

  154. Wowbagger, Deputy Vice-President (Silencing) says

    Janine wrote:

    How the fuck can Rupert Murdoch and Roger Ailes stand themselves?

    I suspect they’re the sort of people for whom dump-trucks full of cash serve to soothe any ill-feelings such dishonesty might inspire.

  155. Janine: Fucking Dyke Of Rage Mountain says

    Chimpy, I linked to that story about Jessica Redfield.

  156. says

    Of course he’s mentally ill. Sane people don’t shoot a lot of strangers for no good reason.

    but sane people do rather regularly shoot people for bad reasons. behaving in a violently anti-social manner is not inherently a sign of mental illness.

  157. Matt Penfold says

    Note that I used sane. Language is not precise. I am not talking about legal definitions of insanity (for one thing, they vary. A lot). Neither am I talking about clinical insanity, though I seriously doubt that any psychiatrist would give a person capable of killing 14 strangers a clean bill of mental health.

    The concept of insanity is a legal one, not a medical one, so you are talking about legal definitions.

    You also seem very confused about the difference between mental illness and insanity. A person can be mentally ill and be sane.

  158. Janine: Fucking Dyke Of Rage Mountain says

    I suspect they’re the sort of people for whom dump-trucks full of cash serve to soothe any ill-feelings such dishonesty might inspire.

    The Krusty The Clown defense.

  159. Pteryxx says

    “It does make me wonder, with all those people in the theater, was there nobody that was carrying a gun that could have stopped this guy more quickly?” he asked.

    Right, because a theater full of Batman fans, some in costume, WITH GUNS would have been fine upstanding citizens; instead of the ostensible Batman-costume-wearing guy who actually shot and killed a bunch of people with his guns. ARGH

  160. says

    OMGs, all of my kids (except the eldest) and their friends/dates (7 of them total) went to that midnight showing last night (but not in CO). It was the first time we’ve ever allowed the youngest two (16) to go to a midnight premiere. I cannot even get my mind around how the families of those injured or killed must be feeling. The horror.

    TonyJ and Skip White, I also reacted to that statement by the police. How in the name of dog is this not terrorism? It IS terrorism!

  161. tricycle says

    Whenever this kind of thing occurs I am reminded of the novel “Stand on Zanzibar” by John Brunner. He described people who can’t find a way to live in early 21st century society and “run amok” as a response. He called them “muckers” and that name has stuck with since I read the book a good long time ago.

  162. says

    @ligertwood, #161

    You americans and your stupid fucking 2nd amendment.

    The people who died or were injured, their families and a lot of people who are devastated by what happened right now are Americans. Do you really think what you’re saying is helping? Don’t you think “Americans” weren’t or aren’t already talking about the 2nd amendment?

  163. ixchel, the jaguar goddess of midwifery and war ॐ says

    Yeah, that got me too. If shooting people in a smoke-filled, darkened theater is not terrorising, I’m not sure what is.

    Terrorism involves a political motive, usually coercion.

  164. Akira MacKenzie says

    Are people that do drive by shootings insane?

    To be honest, I believe that undiagnosed and untreated mental illness plays a massive role in crime, drive-bys included. We are our brains. A socially malfunctioning person is due to a malfunctioning brain. Along with addressing poverty, we can make a huge dent in our crime rate if we had effective mental health screening and treatment options in place.

    However, American society is so wrapped up in the mythological concept of “free will” and “personal responsibility,” that we be “tough on crime,” and that “evil” needs to be punished rather than examined and treated, that it is almost blasphemy to even raise the topic.

    Unlike the right-wingers, I’d rather us build mental health facilities than hell-hole prisons, and put psychiatrists on the streets than fascist pig-dog cops.

  165. ixchel, the jaguar goddess of midwifery and war ॐ says

    Fuck you, Akira.

    I think Mr. Holmes is mentally ill

    Well I think you’re a neo-Nazi.

    And I have exactly as much evidence of your Nazism as you have of Holmes’s alleged mental illness.

  166. ixchel, the jaguar goddess of midwifery and war ॐ says

    Fuck you, Gnumann.

    Yes. I’m pretty sure anyone killing strangers doesn’t meet my definition of sane. If that makes my definition if sane strange, so be it.

    You stupid piece of shit. Fuck you. Fuck the fuck off right now. Get the fuck out of this thread and go eat shit.

    You don’t get to fucking redefine terms as you like them and then throw them around however the fuck you please when those terms have real-world impacts on real people.

    PIECE OF SHIT.

  167. Pteryxx says

    To be honest, I believe that undiagnosed and untreated mental illness plays a massive role in crime, drive-bys included.

    …Citation massively frickin’ needed. IMHO, preferably in TZT.

  168. Janine: Fucking Dyke Of Rage Mountain says

    It is fucking pointless to speculate about why the shooter did what he did when his story is pretty well unknown to all of us. As I pointed out earlier to cyberCMDR, this is no better than what Bryan Fischer is doing.

    We should hold ourselves to a higher standard than fucking Bryan Fucking Fischer!

  169. says

    To be honest, I believe that undiagnosed and untreated mental illness plays a massive role in crime, drive-bys included.

    Yeah, right. You’d prefer jumping to “mental illness!!1″ rather than the actual causes of drive-by shootings and other crimes of that nature. When a class of people are kept in grinding poverty with no (or few) opportunities, often in dysfunctional families, surrounded by crime and violence and tremendous pressure to join in, where the culture is very much kill or be killed and life itself carries less value, you’re going to get drive-by and other assorted killings. A lot.

    You’re scraping the bottom of the stupid barrel here.

  170. says

    Gnumann,

    I am not talking about legal definitions of insanity (for one thing, they vary. A lot). Neither am I talking about clinical insanity

    Then what the fuck are you talking about?! You inventing definitions doesn’t help the discussion. You just don’t get to make shit up,okay. Words have a meaning. That’s kind of the point of having a language.

  171. Akira MacKenzie says

    I admit I was wrong in calling Mr. Holmes “insane.” At the time, I didn’t think anything of it, but Caine, Fluffy, ixchel and several others have made it clear to me that my position is indefensible and and I need to rethink it.

    I apologize to all of those who I have offended and I will avoid doing it again.

  172. says

    Gnumann,
    You doubt a psychologist would give him a clean bill of health? *eyeroll* Thank goodness the courts have more than your gut to go on.

    Like I said before, if “sane” people can’t kill stangers, how do you account for war?

    Janine,
    Wait, I thought The Dark Knight Rises was a liberal plot to make Rmoney even more unpopular (not that he needs the help). Shouldn’t liberals be upset that someone’s besmirching their propaganda (and possibly causing less people to go and see it), instead of cheering the murders?

    (Oh. People were cheering because Obama did a decent thing by cancelling his campaign stops for the day. Of course “spending a day in prayer and reflection” is equal to supporting a mass murderer.)

  173. says

    Woops… Should have refreshed the page. Akira, it’s great that you apologize. Thanks.
    However, the problem remains that this:

    To be honest, I believe that undiagnosed and untreated mental illness plays a massive role in crime, drive-bys included.

    is an unevidenced claim that seems to stem from your inability to comprehend why anyone would commit violent crimes, rather than from any real understanding or evidence.

  174. ixchel, the jaguar goddess of midwifery and war ॐ says

    Fuck you, Akira.

    To be honest, I believe that undiagnosed and untreated mental illness plays a massive role in crime, drive-bys included.

    To be honest, I notice your beliefs are irrelevant.

    We are our brains. A socially malfunctioning person is due to a malfunctioning brain.

    Fail.

    Exploiting and dominating other people can be adaptive for the individual.

    However, American society is so wrapped up in the mythological concept of “free will” and “personal responsibility,” that we be “tough on crime,” and that “evil” needs to be punished rather than examined and treated, that it is almost blasphemy to even raise the topic. Unlike the right-wingers, I’d rather us build mental health facilities than hell-hole prisons, and put psychiatrists on the streets than fascist pig-dog cops.

    Again, these are topics we discuss regularly on TET and TZT. You are not saying anything new; you are just saying it in the wrong fucking place, where you have no evidence of its relevance.

  175. Gnumann, quisling of the MRA nation says

    The concept of insanity is a legal one, not a medical one, so you are talking about legal definitions.

    So, the word “sane” is only used in a legal context in English? I tried to find some sources that support this, but could not. Could you please point me towards some?

    I checked:
    http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sane
    http://www.thefreedictionary.com/sane
    http://dictionary.reverso.net/english-cobuild/sane
    http://www.yourdictionary.com/sane
    http://www.macmillandictionary.com/dictionary/british/sane

    On the other hand I found:
    http://law.yourdictionary.com/sane

    I don’t know much about English/American law, but in my native language I would never talk about the legal definition of a term used only in law.

  176. Akira MacKenzie says

    When a class of people are kept in grinding poverty with no (or few) opportunities, often in dysfunctional families…

    I seem to recall writing the following…

    Along with addressing poverty, [Emphasis mine.] we can make a huge dent in our crime rate if we had effective mental health screening and treatment options in place.

  177. ibelieveindog says

    Gnumann, Akira, and anyone else who’s being an ableist ass:

    Mentally ill people are *not* inherently more violent than the rest of the population! People who commit violent acts are not usually mentally ill!

    And no, I’m not gonna link to evidence – Google it yourself.

  178. nonny says

    What a horrible tragedy. My heart goes out to the people who survived and to the families of the dead.

    It’s heartbreaking to read Jessica Ghawi’s story. I’ve read “the gift of fear” as well and the feeling she had before the first shooting is the kind of feeling he talks about. It saved her once. What a shame she couldn’t have survived this as well.

    As for why Holmes did it, it’s impossible to say at the moment. He might be a loser who wanted to make himself famous the only way he knew how. He might be mentally ill. One of the people in the theatre might have snubbed him and this could be his revenge. Without more facts, there’s no obvious answer.

    I doubt any explanation will ever be satisfying.

    American culture might be part of it but it can’t be the whole story. Norway has excellent quality of life and a different culture but they had their own tragedy. In the UK we have much tighter gun laws but Derrick Bird still managed to killed 12 people quite recently. I’m not sure if there’s any way to stop things like this from never, ever happening. Tighter gun control might reduce the number of deaths but humans will always be capable of violence.

  179. Pteryxx says

    Along with addressing poverty, [Emphasis mine.]

    Nice figleafing job, after you specifically mentioned mental illness in relation to drive-bys, in a thread about a mass shooting. *spits*

  180. says

    Akira:

    Along with addressing poverty, [Emphasis mine.] we can make a huge dent in our crime rate if we had effective mental health screening and treatment options in place.

    Mental health treatment would be of great value if it were easy for people to obtain, yes. However, it would not put a vast dent in crime like you think.

    You are ignoring the base reasons and causes of most violent crime. Someone who desires money is not mentally ill. Most people desire money, to different degrees. That’s just one example of a reason for crimes in which all the mental health screening in the world ain’t gonna do one fucking thing about.

  181. barfy says

    We don’t know why the person did what he did.

    These comments have blamed “gun culture,” “entitlement,” “America,” and even cutting taxes on social programs.
    They have also made several references to his ostensibly being white.

    People…seriously.

    FTB should be better than this. This was a horrific act by a seriously disturbed individual for which we can assign none of the above reasons without evidence. Just like Bachman can’t blame Islam for 9/11.

    My heart goes out to the victims.

  182. Janine: Fucking Dyke Of Rage Mountain says

    Fuck. One of my points is being repeated by barfy.

    Please do not hold that against me.

  183. Shplane says

    I honestly don’t know if this man was mentally ill or “a coward”, and don’t honestly care to speculate on it. I do, however, find the assumption that he is either one to be rather problematic. Bravery is not always directed to good ends. Soldiers have bravely fought for terrible, even evil causes for all of our history. People who honestly believe that abortion is evil bravely murder doctors, knowing that they risk their well being to “save children”. People who honestly believe that minority rights will destroy our society bravely assassinate civil rights leaders. People who honestly believe that western society is corrupt and that Allah demands its destruction will bravely blow themselves up to take a few infidels with them. People will often direct their bravery to any number of things that we would rightly find reprehensible, but our condemnation does not make them any less brave. The idea that every evil man must be a coward and every good man must be a hero is just as foolish as the idea that every criminal must be insane, and springs from the exact same need to feel that bad people are inherently different from oneself.

    They aren’t. The same person who bravely struggles to save a schoolbus full of children might also bravely struggle to murder them, if they only held slightly different beliefs, or had a slightly different life.

    Just to make it clear: I am not saying that what this man did was good or right. I’m saying that it being wrong has no bearing on whether or not it was brave, and that insisting on its cowardice is little better than insisting on its insanity.

  184. Brownian says

    Neither am I talking about clinical insanity, though I seriously doubt that any psychiatrist would give a person capable of killing 14 strangers a clean bill of mental health.

    Over the course of my life I’ve seen several psychologists and psychiatrists. None of them have ever given me a “clean bill of mental health”, and every one of them has assured me, on occasion quite forcefully, that I’m not insane.

    There’s quite a bit of distance between the moon and New York City.

  185. ixchel, the jaguar goddess of midwifery and war ॐ says

    Jadehawk,

    I tend to find the need to call anti-social acts, especially those in which the actors perceive themselves as “brave”, cowardly regardless of whether that’s actually the case to be… tedious. It feels like nothing more than reactance, the need to refute/argue with the actor’s self-perception.

    Prima facie, it does appear to be reactance. In addition, though, I wonder if it does serve a useful social purpose, as a deterrent. Our society has a lot of messaging that violence is glorious, and this almost certainly has some effect of encouraging violence (many self-reports indicate this). Messaging that it’s cowardly may plausibly have a dampening effect.

  186. Janine: Fucking Dyke Of Rage Mountain says

    Bravery is not always directed to good ends.

    Quoted for absolute fucking truth!

    I am committing a Godwin here but Hitler was a brave man. He was commended for his bravery as a messenger. (During The Great War, this was a very dangerous position, most messengers were killed.) His personal bravery did shit to keep his crimes from happening.

  187. Pteryxx says

    ixchel: not research per se, but from Gavin de Becker’s and John Douglas’s books, highly publicized violent crimes often have a high hero-worship component, and spawn copycat crimes thereby. One of them (de Becker, IIRC) actually recommends that media reports NOT focus on the gunman’s intimidating appearance, full name, play up his threat level, or list stats such as how many cops and FBI showed up or comparing his body count with other famous mass killings. (All of which is going on in reporting now.)

  188. says

    Chigau:

    maybe the word you want is “evil”.

    I think one of the reasons people are floundering and taking refuge in insane or mentally ill is because this seems to be so inexplicable. I’m reminded of Brenda Spencer with her “I don’t like Mondays. This livens up the day.” She also said there was no reason, it was just fun. People had a very difficult time parsing that.

  189. Brownian says

    One of them (de Becker, IIRC) actually recommends that media reports NOT focus on the gunman’s intimidating appearance, full name, play up his threat level, or list stats such as how many cops and FBI showed up or comparing his body count with other famous mass killings. (All of which is going on in reporting now.)

    There’s that good ol’ fourth estate for you.

    Authorities: Aurora theater shooting suspect’s apartment “booby trapped” (link)

    They might as well call him Rambo and sell action figures at this point.

  190. Matt Penfold says

    One of them (de Becker, IIRC) actually recommends that media reports NOT focus on the gunman’s intimidating appearance, full name, play up his threat level, or list stats such as how many cops and FBI showed up or comparing his body count with other famous mass killings. (All of which is going on in reporting now.)

    The same advice has also been given with regards the reporting of suicides. Thankfully, at least here in the UK, the media seem to be taking the advice on-board and reporting less detail.

  191. says

    Beatrice:

    Authorities: Aurora theater shooting suspect’s apartment “booby trapped” (link)

    He told the police about the explosives, though. So either he didn’t want more people to die or he didn’t want the explosives going off in that location. Curious.

  192. Walton says

    I agree with ixchel’s main point: we do not at this time have evidence that this particular shooter was mentally ill, and we should avoid jumping to that conclusion. I also agree with him that we need to avoid language and assumptions which stigmatize mentally ill people (and, as a mentally ill person myself, this is very important to me).

    However, Caine,

    Mental health treatment would be of great value if it were easy for people to obtain, yes. However, it would not put a vast dent in crime like you think.

    Are you sure? The evidence is clear that untreated mental health problems are extremely common among the prison population, much more so than among the general population:

    More than 70% of the prison population has two or more mental health disorders. (Social Exclusion Unit, 2004, quoting Psychiatric Morbidity Among Prisoners In England And Wales, 1998)

    Male prisoners are 14 times more likely to have two or more disorders than men in general, and female prisoners are 35 times more likely than women in general. (Social Exclusion Unit, 2004, quoting Psychiatric Morbidity Among Prisoners In England And Wales, 1998)

    See also:

    According to the ONS (the Office of National Statistics), a large proportion of prisoners in England and Wales have a mental health problem.

    In one survey they found that in the week before the interview, 39 per cent of sentenced males and 75 per cent of female remand prisoners had significant neurotic problems, such as anxiety, depression and phobias. Rates for all groups were much higher than the 12 per cent of men and 18 per cent of women found to have significant levels of neurotic symptoms in a similar household survey carried out by the ONS.

    (These particular figures are for England and Wales, but similar patterns exist in other countries.)

    Given the prevalence of untreated mental illness – along with untreated drug and alcohol dependencies – among the prison population, it seems to me that there is a strong evidence-based case for the proposition that more and better mental health treatment could reduce crime. At present, a significant proportion of people who are serving prison terms are demonstrably in need of mental health treatment, and are not getting it. (Instead, our society’s response to them is to put them in hellhole prisons which are highly traumatic and which make their mental health problems worse, not better.)

    This is not the same as saying that all criminals are mentally ill (which is obviously not true, and which I don’t think anyone is claiming). But I’m curious as to why you are so convinced that more and better mental health care (and a more sympathetic attitude generally towards mental illness) would not reduce the prevalence of crime in our society.

  193. Gnumann, quisling of the MRA nation says

    Gnumann, Akira, and anyone else who’s being an ableist ass:

    Mentally ill people are *not* inherently more violent than the rest of the population! People who commit violent acts are not usually mentally ill!

    Neither was it my intention to imply any of this. I’m sorry I came off that way.

    I could try to explain what I was trying to communicate any why, but most likely I wouldn’t be able to explain it in a good enough manner, and I would come across as trying to cover my sorry ass. I don’t want to do that – I just want to say that I’m sorry I caused you hurt. I didn’t mean to do that, but that doesn’t make it ok.

  194. mothra says

    It is just possible that the word terrorism when used by a government official (local, state, or federal) has the restricted meaning of ‘direct or indirect action taken to be an assault on, or revenge against governing agencies.’ Not at all the conventional definition that such an atrocious act terrorizes people and so would be labeled as terrorism.

  195. Walton says

    I also don’t think that the word “insane”, and the underlying idea of simplistically dichotomizing people into “insane” and “not insane”, is helpful at all. Not only is “insane” a stigmatizing and othering term, it also has no real medical meaning. It’s a legal term, but the legal doctrine of insanity was invented by a bunch of English judges in 1843 long before the advent of modern psychology or psychiatry.

    I am a mentally ill person; I have OCD, anxiety disorder and a mood disorder. I am not “insane”, and I don’t think asking whether I’m “insane” is even a meaningful or coherent question.

  196. says

    Walton:

    But I’m curious as to why you are so convinced that more and better mental health care (and a more sympathetic attitude generally towards mental illness) would not reduce the prevalence of crime in our society.

    I’m not “so convinced”, Walton, and I didn’t say it wouldn’t reduce crime. Try reading what I actually wrote. Akira brought up drive-by shootings, specifically, claiming that mental illness was a large component in causing them. That’s simply not true. The causes are complex and a whole lot would have to change in society to address those causes.

  197. Akira MacKenzie says

    I think the trouble is that I think this story is hitting a bit too close to home for me. I’m projecting my own mental health issues into this matter and cannot seeing the big picture. I look back to the bad times when I didn’t have the means to get help vs. the “better” times when I could go to a psychiatrist/psychologist and get medication and I think that treatment is a magic bullet.

    Hell, if it helped me, it can help anyone, right? Even a someone who shot up a movie theater?

    Throw in my disgust at the right-wing’s attitude toward crime and punishment and you get a sumptuous recipe for Pied dans la bouche. (Francophones, forgive me if I butchered this.)

    I’ll work on this and get back to you.

  198. Pteryxx says

    Walton: not my area of expertise, but still.

    Are you sure? The evidence is clear that untreated mental health problems are extremely common among the prison population, much more so than among the general population:

    That still doesn’t demonstrate that mental illness *causes* crime or imprisonment (not the same thing). Mental illness can contribute to poverty and desperation, serve as a pretext for arrest, and make a defendant less sympathetic and less capable of navigating the legal system; and many arrests overlapping mental illness are for things like vagrancy, not violent crimes. Also, criminal records can prevent people from accessing medical care, especially in the US where it’s tied to employment. The prevalence alone doesn’t mean mental illess causes crime.

  199. says

    So shooting a load of innocent civilians isn’t terrorism… I’m guessing the culprit is white then?

    Terrorism usually has a political motive. So far, there doesn’t seem to be one, though I will admit I’m not following this story.

    Even as a gun-control advocate, I have to admit that seems like a textbook case where a gun-wielding audience member could have prevented at least some of it. Notice I said “could.”

  200. says

    scottplumer:

    Even as a gun-control advocate, I have to admit that seems like a textbook case where a gun-wielding audience member could have prevented at least some of it. Notice I said “could.”

    Bullshit. Did you not see upthread where there was an armed man outside the theater who almost shot the man who took the movie shooter into custody? Yeah, that would have helped.

    People in the theater were very disoriented and the shooter was wearing a riot mask and bulletproof vest and you think, possibly, a theater patron could have pulled off a perfect shot, eh? People don’t work that way.

  201. Matt Penfold says

    I am a mentally ill person; I have OCD, anxiety disorder and a mood disorder. I am not “insane”, and I don’t think asking whether I’m “insane” is even a meaningful or coherent question.

    I am not sure I agree. Surely it can make sense to ask if a person accused of a crime is capable of understanding what they have done, whether they knew what they did was wrong, and whether they had any control over what they did ?

  202. says

    I’m getting the impression that the jump to use the word “cowardly” comes from a well-meaning desire to avoid attributing to the shooter anything that might come off as virtuous. In an environment with slightly different politics he might be called “unmanly” (or rather the word “cowardly” would be used to mean that). In any case, like thecomenter at #85 said, it’s orthogonal to cowardice.

    So while I don’t think the opposite is true, it strikes me as the wrong word to use. I don’t think the people saying “if you don’t think he was a coward, you must think he was brave” really deserve an anwswer, but I would point out that it’s possible the concept doesn’t apply at all.

    ixchel @ 213:

    In addition, though, I wonder if it does serve a useful social purpose, as a deterrent. Our society has a lot of messaging that violence is glorious, and this almost certainly has some effect of encouraging violence (many self-reports indicate this). Messaging that it’s cowardly may plausibly have a dampening effect.

    I am skeptical. I think the people inclined to behave like this won’t see it as cowardly however much they’re told — by people for whom they have little more than contempt already — it is.

    chigau @ 214:

    To internet diagnosticians:
    maybe the word you want is “evil”.

    I think this applies to “cowardly” too. That doesn’t mean the same thing as “evil.”

  203. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    Happy now, Rush?

    I hate Rush as much as anyone but the leap you just took connecting those dots sans anything confirming that was impressive.

    There might still be time to try out for your country’s Olympic team.

  204. says

    In addition, though, I wonder if it does serve a useful social purpose, as a deterrent. Our society has a lot of messaging that violence is glorious, and this almost certainly has some effect of encouraging violence (many self-reports indicate this). Messaging that it’s cowardly may plausibly have a dampening effect.

    I was considering that before posting… but for some reason, the insistence that this guy really, really was a coward didn’t quite sit well with me. I guess I’m just not quite convinced that allowing for “noble lies” wouldn’t do more harm than good, ultimately :-p

    though yeah, curbing down on the reporting of how awesome (in the original meaning of the word) these shooters are is proooobably a good idea.

  205. Kelvin Pauli says

    “I know your character,” he said to me. “His name is Herostratus. He wanted to become famous and he couldn’t find anything better to do than to burn down the Temple of Ephesus, one of the Seven Wonders of the World.”

    “And what was the name of the man who built the Temple? I don’t remember,” he confessed. “I don’t believe anybody knows his name.”

    “Really? But you remember the name of Herostratus? You see, he didn’t figure out things too badly.”

    -Jean-Paul Sartre, “Herostratus”

  206. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    Surely it can make sense to ask if a person accused of a crime is capable of understanding what they have done, whether they knew what they did was wrong, and whether they had any control over what they did ?

    This.

    And it’s not for any of us armchair psychiatric experts or lawyers to make that determination now.

  207. ChasCPeterson says

    Holmes was a PhD student in neuroscience

    shit.

    A grad student at the medical school campus who was “in the process of withdrawing from the school”.

    aw, man.

  208. Gnumann, quisling of the MRA nation says

    That still doesn’t demonstrate that mental illness *causes* crime or imprisonment (not the same thing).

    I don’t think Walton meant to imply such a simple causality. It’s not the mental illness in it self, it is how society deals with it. Crime is never caused by a single factor, but the single factor most often correlating with crime is some kind of othering from society. If we managed to include this people, there would be a higher sense of loyalty to society. Loyalty prevents crime.

  209. left0ver1under says

    In all the blathering by talking heads in the wall street media and by politicians, I have not yet seen a single one saying a lack of gun control contributed to the mass murder. If there are any, I haven’t seen them. And in some cases, scum and NRA panderers are “suggesting” that more guns is the solution.

    I’m not US-bashing, but incident this is another reason I’m glad I’m not an American.

  210. Beatrice says

    scottplumer,

    Notice I said “could.”

    Well yes, I guess there is a non-zero possibility. About as much as there is a non-zero possibility that someone could have stopped him if only they had thrown a chair at him or any other scenario you could come up with.

    But (which actually makes it worse than the chair throwing scenario), there is a much greater possibility that the “defender” would have shot more audience members. Or he would unintentionally cause more death by causing panic, because people would think he was also an attacker. All these things are much more probable than everything going great and this defender shooting the attacker without injuring anyone else.

  211. Cipher, OM, Fighting Fucktoy says

    Even as a gun-control advocate, I have to admit that seems like a textbook case where a gun-wielding audience member could have prevented at least some of it. Notice I said “could.”

    Why do this? There might be some slight possibility that another armed person in the crowd amidst the smokebombs in the dark would have turned out all sunshine and rainbows, but why the hell do you think that’s a good enough possibility to bring up, especially if you know it’s going to feed into the bullshit rhetoric that arming more people WILL PREVENT this sort of thing?

    Akira, I think I get where you’re coming from, but as you no doubt already know, society already has this bullshit narrative that mentally ill people are violent and that violence is per se evidence of mental illness. 1.) The very last thing we as mentally ill people need is to be further associated with mass murderers, and 2.) there would seem to be no justification for the belief that a narrative of violence resulting from mental illness will actually lead to improved mental health care, since people already jump straight to that conclusion and our mental health care remains quite shitty. Whether this one particular guy is mentally healthy or mentally ill, let’s be honest – there’s not going to be any good outcome for him, or from this situation. Meanwhile, society doesn’t need any more excuses to treat you and me like ticking time bombs.

  212. Cipher, OM, Fighting Fucktoy says

    Gnumann, you seem to have been defining violence as per se “mentally ill” and “insane” because violence is not a healthy way of dealing with things. The impulse makes sense on a sort of pedantic level, but consider that those words already mean something and are associated with a group of people who are already being treated badly, partly based on assumptions about their potential for violence.

  213. ixchel, the jaguar goddess of midwifery and war ॐ says

    Walton,

    Are you sure? The evidence is clear that untreated mental health problems are extremely common among the prison population, much more so than among the general population:

    It does not clearly mean what you seem to think. You seem to be assuming post hoc ergo propter hoc. Your link mentions a high suicide rate in prisons, for instance; but is there any reason to think all those people would be committing suicide if they weren’t locked up?

    Speaking only for myself, it’s a very safe bet that if I were locked up in prison, I would develop some mental health problems.

    What needs to be considered here:

    A diagnosis of mental illness without a substance abuse problem is not correlated with violent crime. People diagnosed with mental illness without substance abuse are no more criminal than people not diagnosed with mental illness.

  214. ibelieveindog says

    gnumann said:

    “I could try to explain what I was trying to communicate any why, but most likely I wouldn’t be able to explain it in a good enough manner, and I would come across as trying to cover my sorry ass. I don’t want to do that – I just want to say that I’m sorry I caused you hurt. I didn’t mean to do that, but that doesn’t make it ok.”

    Thank you. Apology accepted.

  215. reasonabel says

    This is one things I hate most about 24 hour news. The real facts will take a long time to get through, and in the interim everybody takes a political reaction.

    Just a horrible thing that happened right now and my heart goes out to the people and their families.

  216. Pteryxx says

    I don’t think Walton meant to imply such a simple causality. It’s not the mental illness in it self, it is how society deals with it.

    I’m sure he didn’t *mean to*, but that’s why statements like ‘treating mental illness reduces crime’ or stats showing mental illness is overrepresented among prisoners need to be qualified to separate mental illness from the implication of violence. I’m pretty sure that a statement such as ‘treating mental illness reduces *nonviolent* crime’ would even accord more closely to reality.

  217. Walton says

    Mental illness can contribute to poverty and desperation, serve as a pretext for arrest, and make a defendant less sympathetic and less capable of navigating the legal system; and many arrests overlapping mental illness are for things like vagrancy, not violent crimes.

    That’s all true, but it doesn’t necessarily contradict my argument – I don’t dispute that the link is often indirect (through mental illness being a contributor to other criminogenic risk factors). (And of course you’re also right that “crime” shouldn’t be treated as a homogeneous concept – “crime” is a social construct, and our society’s definition of “crime” ranges from mass murder to, say, smoking pot in one’s own home, vagrancy, or stealing bread to feed one’s starving children. I should have acknowledged that.)

    That said, some evidence does suggest that the link between mental illness and serious violent crime, specifically, may be lower than commonly thought. And I’m not arguing that better mental health treatment would eliminate crime completely – and of course there are many other criminogenic risk factors.

    But… at the very least, there is enough evidence to suggest that actually making an effort to provide mental health treatment to the huge proportion of sentenced offenders who have one or more diagnosed mental illnesses, rather than simply sending them to prison (something which traumatizes them, exacerbates their mental illness, and usually leaves them unable to find a job or rebuild their lives on release), would be an effective strategy in reducing crime.* At the very least, it’s worth a try.

    *Horribly poorly-written sentence there, sorry.

  218. DLC says

    As not even a whole day has gone by, I’m not going to speculate on what motivated this person. I will only offer my condolences to the families and friends of those who were killed.

    It may yet transpire that this man has some sort of psychiatric issues, but it is certainly too soon to make any kind of judgements as to his sanity.

  219. Rolan le Gargéac says

    FluffyTheTerrible @44

    Heydrich was a former chicken farmer and one of the creators of the extermination machine.

    Nein, Heinrich Himmler was chicken farmer, good basis for understanding use the british invention of the concentration camp.

    Reinhard Heydrich was the Blonde Beast.. Set up a very efficient bureaucratic system.

  220. says

    ixchel:

    You seem to be assuming post hoc ergo propter hoc. Your link mentions a high suicide rate in prisons, for instance; but is there any reason to think all those people would be committing suicide if they weren’t locked up?

    And even if the mental health problems in the prison population are present before their incarceration, that has little to do with who actually causes crimes. Those who end up in prison don’t reflect those who commit crime. They reflect who has been convicted of a crime.

    Societal bias and lack of resources for a solid defense goes a long way towards getting a particular population into prison in disproportionate numbers.

  221. Brownian says

    I am a mentally ill person; I have OCD, anxiety disorder and a mood disorder.

    Those of us with OCD, anxiety and mood disorders should unite!

    Should we? I dunno; maybe that’s a bad idea. Is it? Somebody else pick a date for uniting. I’ll probably be able to make it. I can’t say for sure right now though.

  222. ixchel, the jaguar goddess of midwifery and war ॐ says

    That said, some evidence does suggest that the link between mental illness and serious violent crime, specifically, may be lower than commonly thought.

    And that study didn’t even control for substance abuse:

    “because substance abuse and severe mental illness are not independent of each other, we did not calculate the attributable risk separately for those with and without comorbidity because the focus of this study was the attributable risk of patients with severe mental illness, not of the psychosis itself.”

  223. Gnumann, quisling of the MRA nation says

    Gnumann, you seem to have been defining violence as per se “mentally ill” and “insane” because violence is not a healthy way of dealing with things. The impulse makes sense on a sort of pedantic level, but consider that those words already mean something and are associated with a group of people who are already being treated badly, partly based on assumptions about their potential for violence.

    As I said to ibelieveindog, I’m sorry I came of that way. I will strive to not do it again, and that includes trying to explain what I meant. I’m not sure I can pull it off in English, and misunderstandings might hurt some people.

    Just for the record though: I do not think that the mentally ill are more violent than other people.

  224. socalcommie says

    Not completely off topic…

    Yesterday (Thursday) I read that Zimmerman (the Florida shooter) said he did what did and would do it again because…

    Wait for it…

    “It was God’s will”

    (back to lurking)

  225. Beatrice says

    Now that we have a photo, we can finally make some evidence-based guesses about his sanity.
    I mean, just look at that face.
    /sarcasm

  226. Walton says

    It does not clearly mean what you seem to think. You seem to be assuming post hoc ergo propter hoc. Your link mentions a high suicide rate in prisons, for instance; but is there any reason to think all those people would be committing suicide if they weren’t locked up?

    Speaking only for myself, it’s a very safe bet that if I were locked up in prison, I would develop some mental health problems.

    True – of course I should have emphasized that the traumatic experience of being imprisoned (especially in solitary confinement, which is disturbingly common in US prisons) creates new mental health problems and exacerbates existing ones. Which is one of the many reasons I’m extremely critical of the prison system (but you know my views on that subject, and I don’t think we disagree there).

  227. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    Not completely off topic…

    Yesterday (Thursday) I read that Zimmerman (the Florida shooter) said he did what did and would do it again because…

    Wait for it…

    “It was God’s will”

    (back to lurking)

    yep

  228. ixchel, the jaguar goddess of midwifery and war ॐ says

    So, no,

    Given the prevalence of untreated mental illness – along with untreated drug and alcohol dependencies – among the prison population, it seems to me that there is a strong evidence-based case for the proposition that more and better mental health treatment could reduce crime.

    you haven’t presented any strong evidence that mental health treatment per se would affect crime.

    Substance abuse treatment is what you’ve got a case for.

  229. Rolan le Gargéac says

    TonyJ @105

    Strange thing is, I’m not so sure it’s the guns that are the problem. I think the problem might be with the ‘Merkins themselves. We seem to really, really like violence.

    The essential American soul is hard, isolate, stoic and a killer. – D.H. Lawrence

  230. Cipher, OM, Fighting Fucktoy says

    The essential American soul is hard, isolate, stoic and a killer. – D.H. Lawrence

    Great thanks for that

  231. ixchel, the jaguar goddess of midwifery and war ॐ says

    Hershele,

    I think the people inclined to behave like this won’t see it as cowardly however much they’re told — by people for whom they have little more than contempt already — it is.

    There isn’t clearly such a thing as “the people inclined to behave like this”. Situational factors contribute to violence.

  232. Gnumann, quisling of the MRA nation says

    Substance abuse treatment is what you’ve got a case for.

    The co-morbidity of substance abuse and mental illness is pretty high. I don’t know the estimates for substance abuse causing mental illness, no causality and mental illness causing substance abuse. I know though, that the last category is significant.

    Given this, wouldn’t better treatment for and prevention of mental illness be a good prevention of substance abuse?

  233. Walton says

    you haven’t presented any strong evidence that mental health treatment per se would affect crime.

    Substance abuse treatment is what you’ve got a case for.

    Hmmm. That may well be true. (Most of the statistical analyses I’ve come across don’t control for the effects of substance abuse. Obviously the two variables aren’t independent of each other.) We certainly should be investing far more in substance abuse treatment, in any case.

  234. FluffyTheTerrible says

    Please everybody ignore reasonabel. He’s a troll from the slimepit and he should crawl right back. Sorry for the derail, but I don’t want this dishonest asshole back here, and definitely not on THIS thread.

    This is what happened on a previous thread link – my words in bold:

    Yes, he is on the slimepit forum boasting about his adventures here:

    I can’t call whales “fatsos” despite them being famous for being fucking huge and containing massive amounts of blubber. The term “fatso” even if it isn’t directed at anyone is an insult. This shit is hilarious.

    He was conversing with Tigzy, another well known slimepiter, who says:

    Honestly, I’d go back over there for a few more laffs, but PZ’s got the banhammer hovering over me at the moment, so I’m gonna have to wait a while before offering a few more prods of the stick.

    Another post by reasonabel there:

    The thing is, these people haven’t examined their arguments thoroughly at all. Not even a slight glance. They’re actually resistant to that to an extent that it makes a mockery of any claims to skepticism. People have been telling me that i’m ignoring their arguments when I post a response they go away to be replaced by another shithead.

    I actually agreed with most of their points in numerous threads, but if I disagree on one or two points I disagree with them all. This isn’t normal human interaction, its interrupting an echo chamber. I’m sure most of you already know this, but I had to get out some frustration.

    See? He’s frustrated! That means he’s angry, which,according to his unsubstantiated opinion, means he lost the argument.

    And this is the warm welcome he received:

    reasonabel wrote:According to the friendly regulars over at pharyngula, that shirt was meant to convey the same level of hurt as your wife parading around in a t-shirt saying that she fucked three of your best friends. If you question that – you have no empathy.

    She saw that three days in a row and broke down into tears, but she’s surly yeah? Respect that.

    Welcome to the Pit, resonabel – I think you’ve been doing an incredible job of holding your own against the massed tranks of the Baboollies over at pharyngula.

    This is a much more congenial place…

    reasonabel has been dishonest since post 1 here.

  235. Rolan le Gargéac says

    dianne @111

    If this guy had had to go in with a knife to commit his murder he would have killed fewer people.

    Bwahahahaha ! You could do seriously more damage in a darkened noisy cinema with a knife if you were determined and had a modicum of experience in using such a weapon. In fact if you were a “terrorist” intent
    on creating mass fear such an event would be very powerful. I wish I hadn’t thought of it.

    It strikes me that the mask may be a way of alienating yourself from the action. A distancing. As is using a gun.

  236. says

    What gets me is the necessary lack of empathy of any kind for the victims, and the futility of it all. Does murdering the defenseless reduce these psychos sense of helplessness? Does it give them a feeling of power?

    Assuming this guy is ASPD and not delusional or something, its because when you have no intervening sense of connection with other human beings life is pretty god damned empty and boring. The level of excitement that is needed to feel alive is much higher for those folks than normal people.

    His mom seemed to know something was deeply wrong with him before this.

  237. reasonabel says

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PezlFNTGWv4.

    Newswipe from 2009 in the aftermath of a german school shooting. A criticism of the media role, and desperate pleas from a forensic psychologist to not do what the american media is currently doing with this latest incident. Well worth a watch if you haven’t seen it.

  238. says

    P.Z. – This young man is obviously ill. Let’s remember there is no difference between mental and physical illness. His actions are monstrous, but to label him a loser misses the mark.

  239. says

    Bwahahahaha ! You could do seriously more damage in a darkened noisy cinema with a knife if you were determined and had a modicum of experience in using such a weapon. In fact if you were a “terrorist” intent
    on creating mass fear such an event would be very powerful. I wish I hadn’t thought of it.

    He would need to be somewhat coordinated and athletic. We don’t know if that is true.

    I don’t see a point in denying that guns can make it easier to kill people, especially for people who aren’t young/healthy.

  240. FluffyTheTerrible says

    @ Roland le Gargeac

    Nein, Heinrich Himmler was chicken farmer, good basis for understanding use the british invention of the concentration camp.

    Reinhard Heydrich was the Blonde Beast.. Set up a very efficient bureaucratic system.

    Yes, you’re absolutely right. I don’t know why, I sometimes get the names mixed up. And to think I read a lot about WWII and watched documentaries.

  241. ChasCPeterson says

    What does it matter? He looks like any other young man.

    What’s the point of asking me a question and then answering it?

    More precisely, he looks pretty much exactly like literally dozens of 24-yo second-year grad students I’ve known personally.
    Not one of them withdrew from grad school after a year and a half in the absence of serious problems, whether intrinsic or extrinsic to their programs.
    I think my link, including the photo, goes to motivation.
    *shrug*

  242. FluffyTheTerrible says

    Reasonabel, fuck off! You have zero credibility here, after the shit you pulled. You being a member of the slimepit and trying to play the reasonable act here will not work.

    FUCK OFF!

    Some relevant links on why reasonabel is a dishonest fuck: link 1 link 2

  243. Ze Madmax says

    kentparson @ #277

    This young man is obviously ill

    Obviously? And what exactly makes his “illness” obvious?

  244. pj says

    Just to add a data point to the mental health of prisoners, this one from the socialistic utopia* that is Finland:

    90% of the prison population have a substance abuse problem.
    66% have at least one diagnosable personality disorder
    30% have ADHD history

    As for severe mental illnesses, such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, they have no higher prevalence than the baseline.

    Now, the personality disorders and ADHD cannot be developed during the imprisonment. Substance abuse can of course but I bet that in the majority of the cases the chronology goes substance abuse -> criminality -> imprisonment. Furthermore, ADHD and personality disorders are risk factors for substance abuse.

    The information comes from here and here if someone wants to brave Finnish through translation programs.

    *yes, it is sarcasm, not implied America -bashing

  245. Cipher, OM, Fighting Fucktoy says

    Kentparson, thanks for sharing your ill-informed finger-wagging, destructive ignorance, and armchair psychiatry with all of us!

  246. FluffyTheTerrible says

    @ reasonabel

    Are you still a member of the slimepit? If I go there now, will O find your posts on how the “baboons” here don’t care for your contributions here?

    As long as you still post there, and consequently, espouse their opinions, you will get nothing but contempt from me.

    You are holding an irreconcilable position and you are posting here to get approval on the slimepit.

    Prove you are an honest interlocutor by not associating with the slimepit or FUCK OFF!

  247. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Fluffy did you watch the video I posted?

    Video =/= peer reviewed scientific/medical literature. Everybody who knows anything knows that. Prima facie evidence you know nothing.

  248. says

    Just to add a data point to the mental health of prisoners, this one from the socialistic utopia* that is Finland:

    90% of the prison population have a substance abuse problem.
    66% have at least one diagnosable personality disorder
    30% have ADHD history

    As for severe mental illnesses, such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, they have no higher prevalence than the baseline.

    People with NPD or ASPD have completely untreatable mental illnesses, ones that prevent them from feeling remorse for their actions. That is pretty fucking serious.

  249. Rolan le Gargéac says

    Janine: Fucking Dyke Of Rage Mountain @215

    I am committing a Godwin here but Hitler was a brave man. He was commended for his bravery as a messenger. (During The Great War, this was a very dangerous position, most messengers were killed.) His personal bravery did shit to keep his crimes from happening.

    Sometimes the opposite occurs, they think they are ‘chosen‘, they are ‘special‘ etc etc.

  250. FluffyTheTerrible says

    @ Cipher

    Yes, I did think about that. It’s just that it feels I let the assholes control the conversation. I’ll see how it goes and maybe I’ll go for the killfile script.

  251. reasonabel says

    @Fluffy

    I don’t want to make this about me, or get into another flamewar with you because it seems especially crass given the extremely serious nature of the discussion. The video I posted is worth watching because its message is extremely valid, take it or leave it.

  252. FluffyTheTerrible says

    @ Caine

    I apologized for derailing.It just made my angry to see him back here, and to know that he was probably going to do the same shit as before, and I thought that was unacceptable, especially on THIS thread.

    I shall refrain from answering him and this is my last post on that subject.

    [I'm using male pronouns because I think he self identified as male]

  253. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    The video I posted is worth watching because its message is extremely valid, take it or leave it.

    Given that you think its worthwhile, your history indicates it is bullshit. That is the problem with evidencelessdliars and bullshitters. They don’t know fact from fiction.

  254. reasonabel says

    Given that you think its worthwhile, your history indicates it is bullshit

    Its two and a half minutes long and Its not bullshit. So put differences aside for a bit?

  255. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    Now is a time that seems appropriate to reintroduce the idea of the correct use of the terms ad hominem and poisoning the well.

  256. says

    @270

    The co-morbidity of substance abuse and mental illness is pretty high. I don’t know the estimates for substance abuse causing mental illness, no causality and mental illness causing substance abuse. I know though, that the last category is significant.

    Given this, wouldn’t better treatment for and prevention of mental illness be a good prevention of substance abuse?

    Mental Illnesses vary in how treatable they are and in how they affect society. The question simply can’t be answered one way or another because of the diversity in the nature of mental illnesses.

    If you focused on substance abuse, depression, and other highly treatable problems the answer would be different than if you were to focus on personality disorders. Even the most treatable personality disorders are extremely hard to treat, and the most troubling ones aren’t treatable (or preventable) at all. It is a serious problem when formulating the ethical response to violence and crime, but it can’t be realistically discussed if we are comparing apples to oranges. A person who has a narcissistic or antisocial personality will not respond to drugs, feel empathy for others, or ever really suffer from their dysfunction. They are lumped in with people who get violent or steal during manic episodes because the diagnosis is made by the same variety of professional.

  257. silomowbray says

    I wonder why he used tear gas? That stuff makes people want to leave, in a hurry. You’d think he’d want to keep everyone IN cinema for as long as possible…

    Sorry, just thinking out loud. No idea what was going through his mind at the time. And I can’t even imagine what’s going through the minds of the survivors and loved ones. :-(

  258. FluffyTheTerrible says

    Ah, shit. From the MSNBC article:

    A black-clad gunman shot 71 people at a midnight showing of “The Dark Knight Rises” near Denver on Friday, killing 12 of them, in what the governor of Colorado called “the act of an apparently very deranged mind.”Many of the 59 people who were injured were critically wounded, police said

    Again with the “he is crazy” angle. Just because he shot people doesn’t mean he’s deranged.

    Also, to people saying it would have been great if you had armed people in the audience, they had the next best thing – trained army staff – and it didn’t help.

    Buckley Air Force Base is in Aurora, and defense officials told NBC News that two Air Force reservists and two Navy service members were among those shot. Their identities and conditions weren’t available, but defense officials said none was killed.

  259. Beatrice says

    It is a good video. Pretty much confirms what some have been saying about how damaging making this guy into some sort of larger than life anti-hero is.

  260. says

    To be honest FluffyTheTerrible, I’m on the Slimepit’s side here. The slimepitters aren’t infinitely evil, and there’s no evidence that reasonabel was up to any trick. Furthermore, the point he was making, about perpetrator-focused news coverage encouraging further crimes, is valid.

  261. FluffyTheTerrible says

    @silomowbray

    I wonder why he used tear gas? That stuff makes people want to leave, in a hurry. You’d think he’d want to keep everyone IN cinema for as long as possible…

    Because that thing is harmful, and causes greater confusion and panic. In situations like these, some people die or are injured by others trying to escape, not to mention they can suffocate or suffer other potentially fatal things based on their own pre-existing conditions.

    Besides, isn’t tear gas standard in SWAT interventions, or is that just a Hollywood myth? I think it’s very useful for increasing the number of casualties and controlling the crowd.

  262. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    I wonder why he used tear gas? That stuff makes people want to leave, in a hurry. You’d think he’d want to keep everyone IN cinema for as long as possible…

    Confusion, people panicking etc..

  263. Brownian says

    Rev @ 298:

    You might need to be more specific. I think long-term overexposure to their incorrect uses might have dulled some of the regulars.

  264. FluffyTheTerrible says

    @ hyperdeath

    You didn’t read any of the stuff about reasonabel I posted upthread, did you? The last thing we need is that someone defends the slimepiters. I refuse to engage in this subject any more.

    I guess I’ll killfile reasonabel and you.

  265. Pteryxx says

    Sheesh, just take the video and ignore the poster. Even slimepitters don’t invalidate material just by touching it.

  266. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    Rev @ 298:

    You might need to be more specific. I think long-term overexposure to their incorrect uses might have dulled some of the regulars.

    I was going to but then questioned the expenditure of effort.

  267. ibelieveindog says

    I wonder why he used tear gas? That stuff makes people want to leave, in a hurry. You’d think he’d want to keep everyone IN cinema for as long as possible…

    “Tear gas” can be composed of different things. Depending on what’s in it, it can cause immediate debilitation and intense pain so that there’d be no running from it, just a lot of writhing on the ground.

  268. Cipher, OM, Fighting Fucktoy says

    Speculating about whether he has ASPD and NPD is of course still speculation – and while personal experience hasn’t made me terribly sympathetic to the plight of people with ASPD being associated with violent criminals, I feel like it’s better to err on the side of not internet diagnosing this guy with anything.

  269. silomowbray says

    Fluffy & Reverend:

    Yeah, tear gas would do that, but it’s a fairly slow deployment compared to shooting a place up. I’d think the crowd would already be freaked out and confused once the shooter began his carnage. Also, even if he was wearing a gas mask, a tear gas cloud would obscure his vision making it much harder for him to see his targets.

    On top of that, since he was active and probably perspiring, being in a tear gas cloud is unpleasant whether you’re wearing a gas mask or not. Moist skin in a tear gas cloud feels like it’s been badly sunburned.

    This really isn’t important, particularly against the context of the tragedy, but I can’t help but wonder why he thought deploying tear gas would help him.

  270. FluffyTheTerrible says

    @ Cipher

    Are those conditions easy to diagnose? I mean, Wikipedia [not the best source by far, I know, but easier to read and understand than the DSM - IV] lists several elements that combined can point to that diagnosis, but aren’t they also difficult, if not impossible to treat?

    How do you teach empathy to someone suffering from those conditions?

  271. says

    To the families of the victims, I offer my complete sympathy.

    For the conversation, I’d like to note that an insanity plea is essentially a plea that the defendant cannot process right and wrong well enough to assist in their own defense. The premeditation involved makes an insanity plea a little difficult for a judge and/or jury to buy, and his mother’s statement to the press that she ‘knew it was him’ may damage that plea even more, in addition to the damage which may be done by culture of vengeance which surrounds our justice system (and more so in Colorado, which has a history of young white male shooters).

    I’d also like to note that the drying up of graduate funding can make the future seem entirely hopeless and not worth living, and the stresses involved in graduate medical programs are fairly strenuous.

  272. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    silomowbray there’s always the possibility that despite the planning and armament and execution of his plan, he didn’t really know what he was doing past some very rudimentary ideas

  273. FluffyTheTerrible says

    @ silomowbray

    Well, maybe he planned his attack based on some sort of standard intervention textbook – some military or police force related instructions – so he just followed the opinion of experts.

    Given the level of planning, it wouldn’t surprise me to hear he did rehearsals for this, including trying the gas mask on, to make sure he could manage with it.

    AAh, this is horrible…I don’t want to get anywhere near what must have been the inside of that man’s head.

  274. ibelieveindog says

    silomowbray at #something-or-other-14:

    My apologies. It sounds like you know much more about tear gas than I do!

    I’m guessing he did it for the same reason he shot people – we don’t know, and may never.

  275. silomowbray says

    Fluffy, I hear you. I think I’ll squelch my own ponderings on this. It’ll just make me feel worse than I already do.

  276. silomowbray says

    No worries at all ibelieveindog. I was someone who was trained to deploy various chemical agents in the event of a bad situation. That was a long time ago and I’m glad to leave that kind of work to people with stiffer spines than mine.

  277. FluffyTheTerrible says

    @ mouthyb

    I’d also like to note that the drying up of graduate funding can make the future seem entirely hopeless and not worth living, and the stresses involved in graduate medical programs are fairly strenuous.

    Well yeah, and many people have to drop out, and have crushing debts to boot, sometimes before they are even able to get a degree that might allow them to get a decent job and begin to dig themselves out of the hole.

    How come so many of us have so much pain in our lives – we’re survivors of abuse, we have various mental illnesses, we have financial and family issues, but still we don’t go on a shooting spree?

    What’s the difference? What’s the trigger? That is an important question, but definitely not one that can be answered by lay people – myself included – speculating on the internet.

  278. Gaebolga says

    In #308, FluffyTheTerrible wrote:

    You didn’t read any of the stuff about reasonabel I posted upthread, did you? The last thing we need is that someone defends the slimepiters. I refuse to engage in this subject any more.

    hyperdeath wasn’t defending reasonabel and the slimepitters in general, just pointing out that in this specific instance xe was making a valid point. If we can’t recognize a reasonable argument just because it happens to comes from a Flaming Fumet of Fuckwittery, then we’ve got far bigger problems than said Fumet lurking about.

    And before you ask: yes, I did read what you posted upthread, and I also read many of the Fumet’s weasely questions and selective deafness in the I don’t want to deal with this anymore thread, so I’m well aware of what a dishonest asshole xe truly is.

    But that categorically does not make everything xe says false; it just means we need to scrutinize any claims xe makes more closely.

  279. Cipher, OM, Fighting Fucktoy says

    The ad hominem fallacy is when an argument is treated as valid or invalid based on the person making the argument.

    IIRC, poisoning the well is when someone says something about someone else that is not necessarily linked to their current argument in order to, essentially, cause other people to fall victim to the ad hominem fallacy. That one I’m fuzzy on.

    Fluffy, I’m not totally sure? But I believe skeptifem is right in the things she’s saying about them. I know there was recently an article in the NY Times about the potential to catch some of the symptoms of these disorders early, and hopefully that would help in preventing or treating them, but that’s controversial for several reasons. Of course, these things aren’t necessarily relevant here, since we have very little basis to say that this guy has one of these disorders.

  280. FluffyTheTerrible says

    @ Gaebolga

    But that categorically does not make everything xe says false; it just means we need to scrutinize any claims xe makes more closely.

    Fair enough and very well put. It is however my prerogative to ignore him/xe and the stuff he links to. I never said the video was not valid, I simply reminded posters that he was not an honest interlocutor.

    And I see I broke my rule not to talk about this anymore. Ok, deep breath. I really hope this is my last post on the subject of that misnamed slimepiter.

  281. Rolan le Gargéac says

    skeptifem @278

    He would need to be somewhat coordinated and athletic. We don’t know if that is true.

    Er… What ? 6 ft Bane strides about, nobody says he’s kinda weedy…

    I don’t see a point in denying that guns can make it easier to kill people, especially for people who aren’t young/healthy.

    That wasn’t my point and you are er, envious ? for/of those who aren’t fit enough to kill without too much effort/skill, er, what ?

    More Oxo !

  282. TonyJ says

    Gohmert also said the tragedy could have been lessened if someone else in the movie theater had been carrying a gun and took down the lone shooter. Istook noted that Colorado laws allow people to carry concealed guns.

    “It does make me wonder, with all those people in the theater, was there nobody that was carrying a gun that could have stopped this guy more quickly?” he asked.

    Never let reality stand in the way of your ideology!

    These people have seen too many action films. Do they honestly think that it would’ve been possible, or helpful for some gun-toting citizen to try to take down the shooter in a dark and smoke-filled theater?

    Sounds like they’re all suffering from Internet Tough Guy Syndrome.

  283. ixchel, the jaguar goddess of midwifery and war ॐ says

    Given this, wouldn’t better treatment for and prevention of mental illness be a good prevention of substance abuse?

    No, I think that would be missing the point, since in absolute numbers there are more people living with substance abuse without symptoms associated with mental illness than people living with substance abuse with symptoms associated with mental illness.

    If we want to address substance abuse, aiming directly for substance abuse will be more than twice as effective as aiming for mental illness.

  284. FluffyTheTerrible says

    @ Rolan le Gargeac

    Er… What ? 6 ft Bane strides about, nobody says he’s kinda weedy…

    Now why the hell would you call him Bane?

    I don’t see a point in denying that guns can make it easier to kill people, especially for people who aren’t young/healthy.

    That wasn’t my point and you are er, envious ? for/of those who aren’t fit enough to kill without too much effort/skill, er, what ?

    What skeptifem meant was that guns make it very easy for anyone, no matter how old or weak they are, to kill people, and quite a lot of them. Which means anyone with a gun can be a very efficient killer, as opposed to someone with a knife, who needs to be really skilled, and in good physical shape.

    I have no idea where you got the whole “envious of those who can/can’t kill”. It’s bizarre.

  285. reasonabel says

    Cipher, OM, Fighting Fucktoy
    20 July 2012 at 2:15 pm
    The ad hominem fallacy is when an argument is treated as valid or invalid based on the person making the argument.

    That isn’t the ad-hominem fallacy at all.

    Unfortunately I can’t see any way past the sensationalist style reporting in the US until they’re shamed from doing so to the point that it impacts them financially.

  286. Rolan le Gargéac says

    FluffyTheTerrible @279

    Yes, you’re absolutely right. I don’t know why, I sometimes get the names mixed up

    Probably cos we read too much fantasy and we expect real evil to have some kind of beauty and not the ordinary everyday blah that we actually see around us. May you live in banking times will be the new curse. Wan Khan only hope !

  287. anbheal says

    Saddest of all, the Batman franchise will become irreparably smeared by an association with reckless vigilante violence.

  288. reasonabel says

    That isn’t the ad-hominem fallacy at all.

    Actually it is, sorry cipher I read you wrong.

  289. Pteryxx says

    What’s the difference? What’s the trigger? That is an important question, but definitely not one that can be answered by lay people – myself included – speculating on the internet.

    Fluffy, rather than go on here, I’d refer you to Gavin de Becker’s “The Gift of Fear” and John Douglas’s series on FBI criminal profiling, specifically “Journey Into Darkness”. It’s very disturbing reading, but these are people whose *professions* involve analyzing violent interpersonal crimes. (Here, I mean interpersonal as opposed to survival-based or political crimes: the offender commits these crimes primarily because xe wants to.)

  290. TonyJ says

    Holmes was a Phd student in neuroscience at the University of Colorado at Denver

    Great. I can almost hear the right-wing pundits talking about this fact right now.

  291. reasonabel says

    anbheal
    20 July 2012 at 2:25 pm
    Saddest of all, the Batman franchise will become irreparably smeared by an association with reckless vigilante violence.

    Sarcasm perhaps?

  292. Beatrice says

    Saddest of all, the Batman franchise will become irreparably smeared by an association with reckless vigilante violence.

    That’s saddest of all? I don’t care if you really mean this or you are trolling or whatever, just fuck off, preferably off the planet.

  293. ixchel, the jaguar goddess of midwifery and war ॐ says

    His mom seemed to know something was deeply wrong with him before this.

    That’s a leap a lot of people are making, but we really don’t know what her response means yet.

    It may be that he was talking violently for the last month only.

    It may be that being told his name, age, city, and that he was arrested at a Batman movie might have been enough for her to be convinced it was him.

    People with NPD or ASPD have completely untreatable mental illnesses, ones that prevent them from feeling remorse for their actions. That is pretty fucking serious.

    Many mental health professionals use a distinction between mental illness and personality disorder. In the DSM-IV-TR, for instance, the former are coded on Axis I, while the latter are coded on Axis II along with mental retardation. A similar distinction is used in the UK.

    I have no opinion about this, but it’s almost certainly the reason why pj’s comment separates personality disorders from “severe mental illnesses, such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder”.

  294. kayden says

    @ left0ver1under:

    Where do you live? Seems nowadays that mass shootings happen all over. Even Canada is now having to deal with these tragedies.

    But yes, it would be a good thing for the US to have some common sense gun restrictions. Unfortunately, the NRA is way too powerful for that to happen.

  295. anbheal says

    I’m just sayin’, people were there to see a dude in full body armor blow away fellow humans. It’s as American as apple pie. I feel deeply for the families of the victims, but the meme being pimped by the media machine is the same one that may have fueled the vitriol of the gunman. Sorry for pointing out the irony.

  296. silomowbray says

    Fluffy:

    How come so many of us have so much pain in our lives – we’re survivors of abuse, we have various mental illnesses, we have financial and family issues, but still we don’t go on a shooting spree?

    I hope I got the blockquote thing right.

    An important question for sure, Fluffy. Speaking as someone who has mental illness and a litany of high-pressure issues, I do wonder this. And a number of us ideate suicide at some point(s) in our lives. What makes someone ideate homicide instead?

    Bah. Screen blurry. Don’t want to think about this right now. Back later. Thank you for the brief natter.

  297. FluffyTheTerrible says

    @ Cipher

    Thank you for the link to the article. Chilling, but very informative. This quote jumped at me as being relevant for this situation, related to what Holmes’ mother said:

    John Edens, a clinical psychologist at Texas A&M University, has cautioned against spending money on research to identify children at risk of psychopathy. “This isn’t like autism, where the child and parents will find support,” Edens observes. “Even if accurate, it’s a ruinous diagnosis. No one is sympathetic to the mother of a psychopath.”

  298. reasonabel says

    anbheal
    20 July 2012 at 2:32 pm
    I’m just sayin’, people were there to see a dude in full body armor blow away fellow humans. It’s as American as apple pie.

    1. Normal people are capable of distinguishing fantasy from reality.
    2. Batman isn’t armed you moron.

  299. FluffyTheTerrible says

    @ Pterryxx

    I have actually read the first 2 chapters from “The gift of fear” and I intend to finish it. There were 2 things that made me less enthusiastic about the book: the fact that the author spends – in my opinion – too much time boasting about the politicians&famous people he and his company have helped, and the fact that some of the things the victims tell him can be rationalizations after the fact.

    I mean, now that you know someone is a killer, of course something they did seems strange or revealing , but it’s not always possible to consider that thing revealing at the time of or before their committing the crime.

    I will finish the book, I know it is highly informative and quite useful.

    I’ll try to track down the other book you mentioned too. Thank you for the recommendations.

  300. Beatrice says

    I’m just sayin’, people were there to see a dude in full body armor blow away fellow humans.

    the meme being pimped by the media machine is the same one that may have fueled the vitriol of the gunman.

    If I understand correctly what you mean by “meme being pimped by the media”, you are talking about two different things here.
    There is “violent movies make people do violent things” where I believe you are wrong, and then there is the idea, which a lot of people have already agreed on, that the way media puts this kind of scum on a perverted sort of pedestal is harmful.

    And no, I see no irony in your first statement. If it wasn’t sarcasm, then it was a really really shitty thing to write. I don’t give a fuck about that “I feel deeply for the families, BUT” tackled on in your next comment. Fuck off.

  301. anbheal says

    Yep, I’m a moron, don’t read enough Batman. Again, sorry. I was under the impression that he chose privately to do what he thought the government should be doing, and with considerable violence. I must have been thinking about High Plains Drifter or Falling Down.

  302. Rolan le Gargéac says

    FluffyTheTerrible @330

    Now why the hell would you call him Bane?

    Did you not notice what the film was ? Aargh, shit !
    I am being stupid, and uncaring and frankly vile. I sincerely apologise. It just does not seem real..

    I have no idea where you got the whole “envious of those who can/can’t kill”. It’s bizarre.

    I will admit I got a bit carried away there but if you wanted to kill a lot of people in a cinema there few other more efficient options than walking in dressed up as the police.

  303. reasonabel says

    Or more reasonably, the killer chose that venue because he knew that it would be crowded and you stop blaming the victims for daring to go see an action-adventure movie.

  304. FluffyTheTerrible says

    @anbheal

    Yep, I’m a moron, don’t read enough Batman. Again, sorry. I was under the impression that he chose privately to do what he thought the government should be doing, and with considerable violence.

    Only the first part of your paragraph is correct, although we try not to use ableist slurs around here.

    Also, you have no way of kwnowing what his motives were, so why the hell are you talking about the government?

  305. Beatrice says

    anbheal,

    WTF?! Did someone just randomly walk over your keyboard, because I have no idea what 348 meant.

  306. reasonabel says

    anbheal
    20 July 2012 at 2:47 pm
    Not blaming the victims. Blaming a gun-fetish culture.

    Nope, you’re blaming them for going to see a movie you don’t like, but obviously don’t know anything about.

  307. ixchel, the jaguar goddess of midwifery and war ॐ says

    kentparson, GO FUCK YOURSELF, shithead.

    +++++
    reasonabel,

    stop blaming the victims for daring to go see an action-adventure movie.

    You’re fucking trolling. Nobody is blaming the victims.

    Shut the fuck up.

  308. says

    anbheal:

    Not blaming the victims. Blaming a gun-fetish culture.

    You are blaming the victims. This is Natural Born Killers all over again, the way you’re talking. Ooh, lookit all the people who showed up at fair expense to see a Batman movie! A movie which has lots and lots of violence and is part of the gun-fetish culture! Really, if people wouldn’t go see shit like this, well this sort of thing wouldn’t happen.

    *eyeroll*

    Look, anbheal, you’d be well advised to follow the first rule of holes here.

  309. FluffyTheTerrible says

    @ Rolan le Gargéac

    Yes, calling him Bane was in incredibly poor taste.

    Also,

    I will admit I got a bit carried away there but if you wanted to kill a lot of people in a cinema there few other more efficient options than walking in dressed up as the police.

    he was not dressed as police, and is still in incredible poor taste to criticize the murderer for having chosen a LESS efficient way of killing, when there are other MORE efficient ways.

    I don’t think this is an appropriate conversation.

    Regarding my mixing up Himmler and Heydrich you said:

    Probably cos we read too much fantasy and we expect real evil to have some kind of beauty and not the ordinary everyday blah that we actually see around us.

    I don’t fantasize about evil, and I don’t consider evil to be beautiful. I actually think that’s a terrible thing to say, and it contributes to the glamourizing of mass murderers – which is exactly what should not happen.

  310. anbheal says

    Please — I haven’t seen it, because it premiered last night.
    The killing was a few miles from the folks I’m visiting in Denver. And to which I have attended movies with their daughter. It’s fucking horrific.

    And sadly, I actually enjoyed most of the Batman movies. But honestly, do you truly believe that the glorification of this sort of violence in video games and TV and movies plays no role in America being the gold-standard in young men mass-murdering people who’ve never done them any wrong?

  311. anbheal says

    I do. By and large, they have fewer guns and fewer corporate media organizations telling them to stand their ground.

  312. Beatrice says

    By and large, they have fewer guns and fewer corporate media organizations telling them to stand their ground.

    Ah. So maybe the movies aren’t the problem, but the guns and country’s politics are.

  313. reasonabel says

    @anbheal

    I suggest you look up the thread and take a look at the video about how the news corporations cover these tragedies. Ask yourself, is it more likely that these people are doing this for a real-life notoriety, or a real-life chance to put a twisted message across or do they really believe that they’re playing Batman or Call Of Duty.

  314. anbheal says

    Pace, Beatrice, yes. And I do apologize for turning a tragedy into a punchline in my first comment. But I won’t apologize for noting some cultural irony. Particularly since the production company is now wringing its hands over security in Paris and New York, where they happily screened Ninja Assassin and other thoughtful oeuvres. As with Sarah Palin’s crosshairs and Gabrielle Giffords, there IS such a thing as mimesis.

  315. Rolan le Gargéac says

    reasonabel @345

    2. Batman isn’t armed you moron.

    Zo, Monsewer Rezzonlebabble, vee zettle zis like jentle-min, viz er fisticuffs, wee ? Eggzept je ware armour et zou not ? Is fair non ?
    Pardonnez-moi vile I stick zese tungsten/titanium fingair protecteurs in yo’ heed, yez wednesday !

  316. Beatrice says

    And again, it’s the news that blur the line between movie violence and real life violence. The way these kind of events are reported makes murderers look like dark heroes, almost glamorous. That‘s the problem.
    Guns being sacral objects in US is a problem.
    There is violent imagery in every aspect of US culture, violent movies would be just fantasies as anywhere else in the world if it wasn’t for all the rest of the shit you are being served every day of your life. Just look at the wars US revels in. That’s not imaginary characters playing dead, these are real people being killed. I would expect that to play a much more significant role in making people in US desensitized to violence.

  317. Matt Penfold says

    And sadly, I actually enjoyed most of the Batman movies. But honestly, do you truly believe that the glorification of this sort of violence in video games and TV and movies plays no role in America being the gold-standard in young men mass-murdering people who’ve never done them any wrong?

    The same films are seen in the UK. The murder rate in the UK is the lowest it has been in 30 years.

    Do you have an explanation for your ignorance ?

  318. chigau (女性) says

    Isn’t it more likely that the real world is inspiring the violence in video games and movies?

  319. Matt Penfold says

    My ignorance requires no explanation. Only abject admiration.

    Fuck off you trolling wanker.

  320. Gaebolga says

    anbheal wrote:

    My ignorance requires no explanation. Only abject admiration.

    Well, it’s certainly accomplished something no one else here has managed to do:

    make reasonabel almost live up to hir nym.

    Clap.

    Clap.

    Clap.

    Flameo, sir. Flameo.

  321. says

    Beatrice:

    I would expect that to play a much more significant role in making people in US desensitized to violence.

    It does. It’s not only the war/patriotism/jingoistic rhetoric, either. Gun use has gone past berserk in the States. There’s a half ton of people in ND from elsewhere right now, working in the oil fields. Every single one of them, without exception, found themselves utterly astonished to be living and working in a place* where the majority of people *aren’t* carrying a gun. The culture shock has been overwhelming for most of them.

    *I’m talking Dickinson, not a major sort of city in any way at all.

  322. anbheal says

    Oh Matt, I prefer Pinche Gabacho as a nom-de-plume. But indeed, it is time for me to fuck off, as my blissful ignorance beckons me thitherward.

    Ta!

  323. Gnumann, quisling of the MRA nation says

    No, I think that would be missing the point, since in absolute numbers there are more people living with substance abuse without symptoms associated with mental illness than people living with substance abuse with symptoms associated with mental illness.

    If we want to address substance abuse, aiming directly for substance abuse will be more than twice as effective as aiming for mental illness.

    Sure, if you care nothing for prevention. My point was that treatment of and preventive measures against mental illness is also a very good preventative measure against substance abuse. In addition to the benefit of treating or preventing mental illness.

    I’m not saying that we shouldn’t try to treat substance abuse (although if you don’t check for underlying mental illness and address it when found, you’re doing it wrong).

    (I’m not (unlike your figures) talking about occasional cannabis usage here. I’m talking about substance abuse that’s problematic for the user – our definitions might differ(and I’m not saying cannabis usage can’t be problematic)).

  324. Beatrice says

    Caine,

    I find it difficult to even imagine that kind of life. Talk about culture shock.

  325. Rolan le Gargéac says

    FluffyTheTerrible @357

    2.Yes, calling him Bane was in incredibly poor taste.

    True and I apologise again, but, the killer’s garb and the the film’s villain are an inescapable corollary.

    Regarding my mixing up Himmler and Heydrich you said:

    Probably cos we read too much fantasy and we expect real evil to have some kind of beauty and not the ordinary everyday blah that we actually see around us.

    I don’t fantasize about evil, and I don’t consider evil to be beautiful. I actually think that’s a terrible thing to say, and it contributes to the glamourizing of mass murderers – which is exactly what should not happen.

    I can barely conceive of a mind so shallow and ignorant as to have been able to pen that last paragraph. I can only hope that you are six.

  326. Walton says

    ixchel,

    No, I think that would be missing the point, since in absolute numbers there are more people living with substance abuse without symptoms associated with mental illness than people living with substance abuse with symptoms associated with mental illness.

    If we want to address substance abuse, aiming directly for substance abuse will be more than twice as effective as aiming for mental illness.

    Yes, I accept that. (And you’re clearly right, per above, that substance abuse is a markedly bigger criminogenic risk factor.)

    On this topic more broadly, I will say that I don’t think identifying a particular characteristic as a criminogenic risk factor ought to amount to stigmatizing or othering people who have that characteristic. But perhaps, given the judgmental discourse surrounding crime and criminals in our society, it will inevitably have that effect. When I say that mental illness is a criminogenic risk factor, I certainly don’t intend to stigmatize mentally ill people (especially as I’m one myself) – but intent isn’t magic, and perhaps this observation does have the inadvertent effect of promoting a stigmatizing stereotypical view of what mental illness is and means. I agree with you that that’s something to be avoided at all costs.

    Nonetheless, I do think we need to talk about the social and psychological causes of crime – because I think it’s toxic to have a political discourse in which criminals are othered as “evil”, and treated deliberately cruelly by society, without any attempt to understand the conditions and circumstances which cause them to act as they do. (Of course this is particularly urgent given the power of the prison-industrial complex, and the growing numbers of (disproportionately poor and vulnerable) people being incarcerated in hellish conditions.) That’s why I raised the issue in the first place.

  327. FluffyTheTerrible says

    @ Rolan le Gargéac

    What I said:

    I don’t fantasize about evil, and I don’t consider evil to be beautiful. I actually think that’s a terrible thing to say, and it contributes to the glamourizing of mass murderers – which is exactly what should not happen.

    What your conclusion was:

    I can barely conceive of a mind so shallow and ignorant as to have been able to pen that last paragraph. I can only hope that you are six.

    Please explain to me the logical leap and why you felt the need to say my mind is shallow, ignorant, and that of a six year old.

    Oh, and you calling the murderer Bane is not an inescapable corollary. Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should.

  328. Walton says

    My point was that treatment of and preventive measures against mental illness is also a very good preventative measure against substance abuse. In addition to the benefit of treating or preventing mental illness.

    I’m not saying that we shouldn’t try to treat substance abuse (although if you don’t check for underlying mental illness and address it when found, you’re doing it wrong).

    I agree with this, obviously, but I think you’re misreading ixchel somewhat – I certainly don’t think he was arguing that we shouldn’t invest more resources in treating mental illness. Rather, I think his point was that substance abuse, in itself, is a bigger criminogenic risk factor than mental illness, in itself (accounting, obviously, for the interaction between these two variables). Which, judging by the empirical evidence he’s presented, seems to be true – mental illness still is a criminogenic risk factor on its own, of course, but perhaps a smaller one than I’d previously believed.

  329. Walton says

    mental illness still is a criminogenic risk factor on its own, of course, but perhaps a smaller one than I’d previously believed.

    Indeed, I possibly can’t justify even that statement. Looking again at the links ixchel posted, there doesn’t seem to be strong evidence that mental illness independently of substance abuse is a criminogenic risk factor. Which contradicts what I had previously believed, but perhaps I was wrong. I’ll get back to you on that.

  330. ixchel, the jaguar goddess of midwifery and war ॐ says

    Fuck you, Gnumann.

    Sure, if you care nothing for prevention.

    Fuck you, Gnumann. You don’t know what the fuck you’re talking about.

    You have exhausted any reason to take you seriously. Cite the fucking peer reviewed research or shut your fucking mouth, you stupid shithead.

    My point was that treatment of and preventive measures against mental illness is also a very good preventative measure against substance abuse.

    And you don’t have any fucking evidence of that. You made that the fuck up because it sounds truthy to you.

    (I’m not (unlike your figures) talking about occasional cannabis usage here.

    You fucking scumbag, this diversion rather obscures the point, which you’d know if you’d bother to fucking look at SAMHSA’s tables. Even if you subtract out the cannabis usage, it remains true that in absolute numbers there are more people living with substance abuse without symptoms associated with mental illness than people living with substance abuse with symptoms associated with mental illness.

  331. ixchel, the jaguar goddess of midwifery and war ॐ says

    I’m not saying that we shouldn’t try to treat substance abuse (although if you don’t check for underlying mental illness and address it when found, you’re doing it wrong).

    And I’m not saying whatever stupid fucking thing you’re trying to insinuate here. Asshole.

    Cite evidence, Gnumann — I have — or have the decency to shut the fuck up. Your intuitions aren’t worth shit.

  332. Rolan le Gargéac says

    FluffyTheTerrible @378

    Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should.

    Hush now butterfly, it’s time to go to bed.

  333. Gnumann, quisling of the MRA nation says

    Rather, I think his point was that substance abuse, in itself, is a bigger criminogenic risk factor than mental illness, in itself (accounting, obviously, for the interaction between these two variables). Which, judging by the empirical evidence he’s presented, seems to be true – mental illness still is a criminogenic risk factor on its own, of course, but perhaps a smaller one than I’d previously believed.

    I think it’s very well documented that mental illness as a category without comorbidity of substance abuse isn’t very correlated with crime.

    The numbers he gave doesn’t really cover substance abuse very well though, and substance abuse is a ill defined term. Cannabis use is a whole other beast than opiates and stimulants. And there’s the difference between abuse and use. Personally I reserve the word “abuse” for situations where the use is a problem for the user and/or their families and friends. The survey as far as I can tell measures any use.

    And I don’t count in presecution from otherwise non-problematic cannbis usage. If you don’t do this, the best crime-prevention measure imaginable is legalising cannabis.

  334. FluffyTheTerrible says

    @ Rolan le Gargéac

    Hush now butterfly, it’s time to go to bed.

    Your attempts of condescension and silencing have been noted. My user name is FluffyTheTerrible, and it is common courtesy to use that, not some demeaning butterfly moniker.

    You still haven’t answered my questions, particularly the reason why you felt the need to say my mind is shallow, ignorant, and that of a six year old.

    At this point, it doesn’t matter. You are trolling, and you are doing that on a thread discussing the actions of a mass murderer, who managed to kill 13 people and injured more than 50.

    I presume you are feeling really proud of yourself right now.

  335. anthropologistunderground says

    The theater is not far from my house. We’re all fine, but a little shaky. Walking the Little Anthropologists to swim lessons early this morning, I wondered if our beloved 17 yr old lifeguard was okay. Yes, thank FSM, but we’re all sort-of holding our collective breath waiting to hear if any of the teenage kids from our little neighborhood was hurt. An infant was shot. An infant ffs. Heartbreaking.

    I read that the shooter had been in med school until he suddenly dropped out in June. I had always imagined that college students, and medical students in particular, enjoyed at least some access to mental health oversight and services. Is it better that he did this before he became a neurosurgeon or whatever? I don’t know.

  336. ixchel, the jaguar goddess of midwifery and war ॐ says

    Walton,

    Nonetheless, I do think we need to talk about the social and psychological causes of crime – because I think it’s toxic to have a political discourse in which criminals are othered as “evil”, and treated deliberately cruelly by society, without any attempt to understand the conditions and circumstances which cause them to act as they do. (Of course this is particularly urgent given the power of the prison-industrial complex, and the growing numbers of (disproportionately poor and vulnerable) people being incarcerated in hellish conditions.) That’s why I raised the issue in the first place.

    Of course, you know, I agree with this. I just don’t see any evidence yet that this thread about Holmes is a logical place to talk about mental illness as a factor (nor substance abuse, for that matter).

  337. ixchel, the jaguar goddess of midwifery and war ॐ says

    The numbers he gave

    FUCKING SCUMBAG

    TABLE 1.13B

    NOW SHUT THE FUCK UP OR CITE CITE CITE

    ASSHOLE

  338. Gnumann, quisling of the MRA nation says

    Of course, you know, I agree with this. I just don’t see any evidence yet that this thread about Holmes is a logical place to talk about mental illness as a factor (nor substance abuse, for that matter).

    This I can agree with, so I’ll take the logical step and shut the fuck up now.

  339. says

    Oh? So an individual who walks into a crowded movie theater in body armor and weaponry and starts shooting for no real reason is the picture of mental health?

    Strawman

  340. ixchel, the jaguar goddess of midwifery and war ॐ says

    Cannabis use is a whole other beast than opiates and stimulants.

    This right here is proof you didn’t look at the evidence.

  341. says

    And sadly, I actually enjoyed most of the Batman movies. But honestly, do you truly believe that the glorification of this sort of violence in video games and TV and movies plays no role in America being the gold-standard in young men mass-murdering people who’ve never done them any wrong?

    I think you could do worse than a hero with a strict technical pacifist code. It’s not Taken

  342. Gaebolga says

    Ing wrote:

    I think you could do worse than a hero with a strict technical pacifist code.

    Except that Batman really isn’t a pacifist; he’s just pathologically opposed to killing and gun use (for obvious reasons).

    From Dictionary.com:

    pac·i·fism /ˈpæsəˌfɪzəm/
    noun

    1. opposition to war or violence of any kind.

    2. refusal to engage in military activity because of one’s principles or beliefs.

    3. the principle or policy that all differences among nations should be adjusted without recourse to war.

    Batman is no pacifist.

  343. Walton says

    Of course, you know, I agree with this. I just don’t see any evidence yet that this thread about Holmes is a logical place to talk about mental illness as a factor (nor substance abuse, for that matter).

    True. You’re obviously right that there’s no evidence, as yet, that either of these factors apply to his particular case (and I said so in my first post, but I nonetheless shouldn’t have expounded on it as though it were relevant to the particular topic of this thread).

    I’ll say more on this tomorrow. It’s late here.

  344. says

    @Gaebola

    http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/TechnicalPacifist

    Be warned, you brought this upon yourself.

    So you end up with the Technical Pacifist. The Technical Pacifist is willing to beat people up as much as he wants. He may even get a few fatalities through the fridge. However, once it comes down to a choice between killing the villain and not killing the villain, the Technical Pacifist will not kill the villain.

    Unlike the principle of Thou Shalt Not Kill, the Technical Pacifist is certainly capable of making the killing strike if there was no other way, but he doesn’t ever treat it lightly. In a certain variation he may be perfectly fine with the Self-Disposing Villain who is Too Dumb to Live being defeated because of his own Villain Ball or being Hoist by His Own Petard; so long as he doesn’t personally pull the trigger or push them off the building, everything is fine. But of course fans expect the good guys to pick up the Hero Ball whenever possible, if the hero is capable of saving the bad guy then he is expected to save the bad guy.

    Sometimes, a Technical Pacifist may have an aversion to certain weapons due to their lethality (most often guns), preferring to fight with his fists and other blunt weapons that are less likely to kill someone.

  345. ixchel, the jaguar goddess of midwifery and war ॐ says

    Good night, Walton, and consider TZT.

  346. Matt Penfold says

    Sigh…what are the odds that this will be the one where we wake up and start actually considering the idea that gun access may be too easy in this country?

    I know the answer to this one. It is nil, nada, zilch, zero, not a hope etc.

  347. David Marjanović says

    Making innocent people suffer is a form of cowardice.

    ~:-| Why?

    Mind you, cowardice can be self-contradictory. Take the stereotypical samurai who commits seppuku. Surely that’s not cowardice? Of course it’s cowardice, and stupidity! He’s so afraid that people might perhaps see him as a coward that he prefers to kill himself in a rather painful way. This fear of being considered a coward is itself cowardice.

    I keep saying I’ve always been proud of being a confessing coward precisely because I would not put honor before reason.

    That’s why it’s a completely useless distraction to wonder whether that mass murderer is a coward.

    So shooting a load of innocent civilians isn’t terrorism… I’m guessing the culprit is white then?

    It’s terrorism if it’s meant to instill terror – fear that the same or worse will happen again if the demands of the terrorists aren’t met. It’s blackmail.

    No demands in this case, as far as I know. Of course, the demands after 9/11 were delivered after quite a long delay…

    On the contrary, if no patrons had been armed, this would have been averted. Colorado has extremely liberal (for lack of a better way to put it) gun control laws, i.e. virtually no restrictions on who can purchase a gun and it is legal to carry a loaded gun in public. Didn’t help.

    The majority of these mass shootings seem to occur in places where the gun control is minimal and enforcement less. Virginia, Colorado, Arizona…all have very weak gun control and each has been the site of a mass shooting. I do know of one attempted mass murder recently in NYC: a man walked into a bar and threatened to kill everyone within. The person in question was taken out by two unarmed women.

    Hear, hear.

    For a long time I have been puzzled by the American habit of describing mass murders as “cowards”, even the suicidal ones. It’s as if “coward” is considered the Worst Insult Possible in US culture.

    That must be why it was immediately applied to the 9/11 kamikaze.

    Several commenters are blaming the parents of the [...] [four]-month-old child for the child’s [...] [injury].

    what is this I don’t even

    competitive parenting

    HULK SMASH

    If the kids keep playing with matches, first of all you confiscate the matches.

    + 1

    If I completely lose my temper and because of my anger and frustration, I scream and say, punch a big ass hole in the wall, that’s hardly a rational way to deal with anger and frustration, is it? It doesn’t make me insane.

    I actually think that most people need professional psychiatric help at least sometimes. It’s a massively underrated topic throughout the world. But I digress.

    I hope so…otherwise the only way out is the body bag fan[...]dango!

    “Hope”? It’s a fact that The Onion is satire.

    So how many would be deemed as a sufficient body count to change their stance?

    See, that’s the question The Onion tries to ask by providing a satirical answer.

    the very first comment is about how someone could bring a baby to a midnight movie showing.
    *headdesk*

    Seconded.

    Honestly? I doubt any number of deaths would make the gun nuts give up their guns. Even if a thousand school kids died, they’d probably use that as an argument in defence of their position. Those are scary people.

    That’s the point the Onion article implicitly makes by having that NRA official raise the number, stepwise, to 250,000 in the last paragraph.

    The Onion is often very biting satire.

    Are you really willing to stand behind every national leader and every member of every government ever being actually insane?

    I am, if “insane” means “in need of professional psychiatric help, assuming any even exists”. (…I’m fine with keeping the usage of that word restricted to the legal term; I do not wish to sow confusion.)

    Also, “every” isn’t quite correct.

    That said:
    absolutely everyone who accused hovindtheory of calling the shooter “brave” was committing a False Dilemma Fallacy/Fallacy of the Excluded middle. Someone can be not-a-coward without also being brave; they can be neither.

    That also being said:
    I tend to find the need to call anti-social acts, especially those in which the actors perceive themselves as “brave”, cowardly regardless of whether that’s actually the case to be… tedious. It feels like nothing more than reactance, the need to refute/argue with the actor’s self-perception.

    Anyway, to me these acts don’t seem actively cowardly so much as a combination of entitlement-turned-to-hatred and a complete lack of not-anti-social coping mechanisms.

    Thank you!!!

    To be honest, I believe that undiagnosed and untreated mental illness plays a massive role in crime, drive-bys included. We are our brains. A socially malfunctioning person is due to a malfunctioning brain. Along with addressing poverty, we can make a huge dent in our crime rate if we had effective mental health screening and treatment options in place.

    However, American society is so wrapped up in the mythological concept of “free will” and “personal responsibility,” that we be “tough on crime,” and that “evil” needs to be punished rather than examined and treated, that it is almost blasphemy to even raise the topic.

    Unlike the right-wingers, I’d rather us build mental health facilities than hell-hole prisons, and put psychiatrists on the streets than fascist pig-dog cops.

    Seconded.

    To be honest, I believe that undiagnosed and untreated mental illness plays a massive role in crime, drive-bys included.

    Yeah, right. You’d prefer jumping to “mental illness!!1″ rather than the actual causes of drive-by shootings and other crimes of that nature. When a class of people are kept in grinding poverty with no (or few) opportunities, often in dysfunctional families, surrounded by crime and violence and tremendous pressure to join in, where the culture is very much kill or be killed and life itself carries less value, you’re going to get drive-by and other assorted killings. A lot.

    You’re scraping the bottom of the stupid barrel here.

    …while you got so outraged by the first sentence that you overlooked the third. Here is it again:

    Along with addressing poverty, we can make a huge dent in our crime rate if we had effective mental health screening and treatment options in place.

    Emphasis mine.

    Can’t the social circumstances you mention damage someone’s brain?

    Like I said before, if “sane” people can’t kill stangers, how do you account for war?

    How about folie à deux (or rather folie en armée)? The dominant partner manages to impose their delusions on the ones farther down the pecking order?

    I’m not sure if there’s any way to stop things like this from never, ever happening. Tighter gun control might reduce the number of deaths but humans will always be capable of violence.

    QFT.

    I also don’t think that the word “insane”, and the underlying idea of simplistically dichotomizing people into “insane” and “not insane”, is helpful at all. Not only is “insane” a stigmatizing and othering term, it also has no real medical meaning. It’s a legal term, but the legal doctrine of insanity was invented by a bunch of English judges in 1843 [link] long before the advent of modern psychology or psychiatry.

    I am a mentally ill person; I have OCD, anxiety disorder and a mood disorder. I am not “insane”, and I don’t think asking whether I’m “insane” is even a meaningful or coherent question.

    Thank you.

    Francophones, forgive me if I butchered this.

    You didn’t… except that I don’t think the phrase exists in any language other than English.

    Mental illness can contribute to poverty and desperation

    …both of which can contribute to crime.

    Also, criminal records can prevent people from accessing medical care, especially in the US where it’s tied to employment.

    Walton’s data are from England and Wales.

    Surely it can make sense to ask if a person accused of a crime is capable of understanding what they have done, whether they knew what they did was wrong, and whether they had any control over what they did ?

    These questions don’t necessarily have yes-or-no answers.

    Messaging that it’s cowardly may plausibly have a dampening effect.

    I was considering that before posting… but for some reason, the insistence that this guy really, really was a coward didn’t quite sit well with me. I guess I’m just not quite convinced that allowing for “noble lies” wouldn’t do more harm than good, ultimately :-p

    though yeah, curbing down on the reporting of how awesome (in the original meaning of the word) these shooters are is proooobably a good idea.

    On that I agree, but I don’t think that “messaging that it’s cowardly” would really have this effect in this situation. Associating cowardice with evil has all sorts of highly undesirable effects, as I’ve tried to mention at the beginning of this comment.

    It strikes me that the mask may be a way of alienating yourself from the action. A distancing. As is using a gun.

    Of course.

    Also, even if he was wearing a gas mask, a tear gas cloud would obscure his vision making it much harder for him to see his targets.

    He didn’t care about seeing them, it seems – he only cared about the target density being high enough.

    No one is sympathetic to the mother of a psychopath.

    Well, I am. Having to live with a psychopath is fucking horrible.

    Or more reasonably, the killer chose that venue because he knew that it would be crowded

    Yes, if his goal was to shoot as many people as possible – which we don’t know yet.

    There’s a half ton of people in ND from elsewhere right now, working in the oil fields. Every single one of them, without exception, found themselves utterly astonished to be living and working in a place* where the majority of people *aren’t* carrying a gun. The culture shock has been overwhelming for most of them.

    :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D

    I can barely conceive of a mind so shallow and ignorant as to have been able to pen that last paragraph. I can only hope that you are six.

    Not everyone has read anywhere near as much fantasy as you imply.

    Of course, you know, I agree with this. I just don’t see any evidence yet that this thread about Holmes is a logical place to talk about mental illness as a factor (nor substance abuse, for that matter).

    Topic drift is so far gone here that I don’t think it matters anymore.

  348. FluffyTheTerrible says

    @ Celfi

    See my comment at #299 for a refutal of Louie Gohmert’s idiotic position, as two other FtB bloggers obliterate his claims.

  349. says

    David:

    Can’t the social circumstances you mention damage someone’s brain?

    Sure. My circumstances most certainly damaged mine, however, I haven’t opened fire on strangers yet and there was a point in my life that was a distinct possibility. I’m not saying that trying to work towards fixing broken people is wrong or a bad goal, it isn’t.

    However, instantly jumping to “mental illness!” as the driving factor in violent crime is a mistake and it allows for convenient handwaving of actual causes.

  350. Azkyroth, Former Growing Toaster Oven says

    Are you sure? The evidence is clear that untreated mental health problems are extremely common among the prison population, much more so than among the general population:

    More than 70% of the prison population has two or more mental health disorders. (Social Exclusion Unit, 2004, quoting Psychiatric Morbidity Among Prisoners In England And Wales, 1998)

    Male prisoners are 14 times more likely to have two or more disorders than men in general, and female prisoners are 35 times more likely than women in general. (Social Exclusion Unit, 2004, quoting Psychiatric Morbidity Among Prisoners In England And Wales, 1998)

    But how much of that is nonviolent drug crimes related to self-medication?

  351. ixchel, the jaguar goddess of midwifery and war ॐ says

    Fuck you, Marjanović.

    If I completely lose my temper and because of my anger and frustration, I scream and say, punch a big ass hole in the wall, that’s hardly a rational way to deal with anger and frustration, is it? It doesn’t make me insane.

    I actually think that most people need professional psychiatric help at least sometimes. It’s a massively underrated topic throughout the world. But I digress.

    You digress inappropriately, since this is not a response to what was said.

    I am, if “insane” means “in need of professional psychiatric help, assuming any even exists”. (…I’m fine with keeping the usage of that word restricted to the legal term; I do not wish to sow confusion.)

    It doesn’t matter one way or the other; mental illness also doesn’t mean “in need of professional psychiatric help, assuming any even exists”.

    What the fuck is wrong with people thinking they get to make the fuck up whatever they want these words to mean? Fuck you.

    To be honest, I believe that undiagnosed and untreated mental illness plays a massive role in crime, drive-bys included. We are our brains. A socially malfunctioning person is due to a malfunctioning brain.

    Seconded.

    Seconded without evidence? Irresponsible.

    …while you got so outraged by the first sentence that you overlooked the third.

    Fuck you; prior bullshit doesn’t make later hedging okay.

    Can’t the social circumstances you mention damage someone’s brain?

    Can they? And in what relevant way? (Brain damage is not synonymous with mental illness either.)

    How about folie à deux (or rather folie en armée)? The dominant partner manages to impose their delusions on the ones farther down the pecking order?

    You believe that shit? You believe it’s got anything to do with delusions? Fucking absurd. Outrageously stupid. I swear to fuck, I have never seen you so stupid. You don’t know anything about anything having to do with any of this, do you? Jesus fuck. Totally irresponsible.

    …both of which can contribute to crime.

    Jesus! Having brown skin can contribute to poverty and desperation. Why your desire to pin crime on mental illness?

    Asshole.

  352. Woo_Monster, Sniffer of Starfarts says

    Hi everybody, I haven’t read a single comment in the thread yet, but I feel it is my duty to tell everyone that this guy was probably just insane.

    /100% Snark

    Fucking assholes.

  353. says

    Sigh…what are the odds that this will be the one where we wake up and start actually considering the idea that gun access may be too easy in this country?

    yep, its way too easy. I bought a gun and got it the same day, without any training on how to operate it (or safely store ammunition). I’m in Utah of course.

    It is hard for me to think that gun access laws should be extremely tough either- anyone who has dealt with a stalker or another dangerous person knows getting a restraining or protection order means fuckall in terms of personal safety. I don’t know of a practical way for the police to deal with threatening behavior that hasn’t crossed the line into an arrestable offense. I know other people who began carrying because animal control won’t do anything about viscious dogs in their neighborhoods.

  354. says

    @407 caine

    It’s comforting, othering in this manner, to most people. It places a (false) buffer between them and the “monsters”.

    To me it seems like most people are far more willing to jump on the “HES A MONSTER KILL HIM WITH THE DEATH PENALTY” bandwagon before considering that something may be wrong with the person who killed. That has been my experience in conservative places especially, and also in reading about crime online.

  355. says

    Skeptifem:

    That has been my experience in conservative places especially, and also in reading about crime online.

    Certainly, that could be a component. In my experience, that tends to kick in a little while after the event, however. Once the shock is worn off and the reality starts sinking in, the outrage and desire for vengeance comes to the fore.

    At least that’s how it was with me and my court case/trial, which lasted a lovely two years, and all the other trials I was involved with as an advocate.

    I do think much of the instantaneous rush to psychiatric judgment is a form of psychic defense for a lot of people – they simply cannot conceive of someone like Holmes as just another regular, average person…it’s too close to home.

  356. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Who the fuck are these people and why do they not feel any shame?

    Shame implies conscious/empathy. Reality is what you can believe it to be. *SNORT*

  357. FluffyTheTerrible says

    According to CNN,

    The suspect in the mass shooting at an Aurora, Colorado, movie theater screening of the new Batman film early Friday had colored his hair red and told police he was “the Joker,” according to a federal law enforcement source with detailed knowledge of the investigation.

    He also gradually accumulated the weapons over a period of 6 months:

    Law enforcement sources said the weapons were purchased legally by Holmes at sporting goods stores in the Denver area over the past six months.

    A receipt obtained by CNN shows Holmes bought some of the tactical gear, including a vest and magazine pouch, online on July 2.

    If no one is willing to reconsider the right to carry weapons for everyone, perhaps they might consider a system that flags people who buy too many weapons over a short space of time.

    More on the guns:

    Agents from the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were conducting emergency traces on the weapons to see how they were obtained, agency spokesman Tom Mangan said.

    A law enforcement source said two of the guns were purchased at a Bass Pro Shop in Denver, while the two others were bought at separate Gander Mountain Guns outlets in the area. Investigators also found a drum magazine, capable of carrying 100 rounds of ammunition, which was attached to the AR-15 rifle, two law enforcement officials said.

    From a Yahoo news article:

    Holmes methodically stalked the aisles of the theater, shooting people at random, as panicked movie-watchers in the packed auditorium tried to escape, witnesses said.

    At one point the shooter exited the theater only to wait outside the doors and pick off patrons as they tried to exit, witness Jennifer Seeger told “Good Afternoon America.”

    That is absolutely horrible, and it reminds of the similar way in which the murderer in Norway methodically shot people who were trying to escape.

    How can you walk coolly and shoot people as if you were doing target practice? He treated people like a hunter would treat a panicked animal trying to escape.

    I really need to stop reading about this, it’s dragging me in a very dark place. Those poor people…*shudder*

  358. Pteryxx says

    FluffyTheTerrible: most people can’t; but virtually anyone could learn, and some do. It’s okay to take a break, really. These are awful lessons.

    By the way, apologies for shortening your nym earlier. I was careless.

  359. FluffyTheTerrible says

    @ Pteryxx

    No problem. I accidentally doubled the “r” in your nym in my response to you at #346. It happens.

    Anyway, I need to stop, but you probably know there’s that desire to know more, as if that could make a difference, as if you could find an explanation for the whole mess. I can’t believe there’s a Wikipedia entry about this already, together with a biography of the murderer.

    Apparently he was shy, introverted, liked to spend time alone and people said something was off about him. He was also very involved in his church.

    Gah, I have to stop.

  360. says

    blog post I wrote a while about rapists and that, but I hope works equally as well for anyone we want to label as a monster/insane if anyone is interested

    Everyone wants to demonize rapists, murderers, Hitler, dictators, genocidists, etc and yes some of them are just monstrous. They’re also human…and a lot of them are fully human. Their actions and crimes are part of the dark side of humanity. Trying to push that away and deny that it’s part of what humans are capable of is not just wrong; it’s potentially dangerous. It’s the “It can’t happen to me/It can’t happen here” game. It can.

    There’s a general background noise in the culture that under values women and has a tendency to push men towards certain actions.

    There are people who by every right are nice good people and do seem to not want to cause unnecessary harm to others; they also have committed date rape. And it’s not because they’re insane. Maybe it was peer pressure or ignorant ideas about sexuality and rights or self denial…maybe it is madness in some cases but not all. 1/8 of all women in the US are raped or assaulted, the perpetrators are not a small handful of deranged people. You have serial rapists and violent rapists and then you have a casual rapist who thinks what they do is far removed from rape. You have the people who would never hunt down someone and rape them…but would take advantage of someone passed out or go with a frenzy or peer pressure in a gang rape or some bullshit like that.

    It is NOT madness. It is not an alien behavior. Though it is inhumane It is NOT unhuman.

    Telling our adolescents “rape is a product of mental illness” is going to make things worse. You’re telling them “Rape is something OTHERS who are inhuman do”. You provide the refuge of “I let one go” or “I’m nice to children” or “It was only once” or any of the thousand of other things NORMAL people tell themselves to live with something horrible they’ve done.

    Stop lying to yourself and others saying that the rapist is of a different ilk than you. They aren’t. They are of the same cloth as you and of me and everyone here. And the more aware you are of what people are capable of, what YOU may be capable of, the better a person you will be; the less likely you’ll be to carelessly harm or be rolled up in a mob frenzy.

  361. kreativekaos says

    I don’t know if it has been corrected by anyone, but in PZ’s rush to get a blog post up, he mentioned that 15 were killed.
    The official number at the time of this post is 12. Let’s remember to be cautious about early information in situations like this, especially.

  362. kreativekaos says

    [ Original post now shows 14 killed (?) At any rate, it's still wrong with latest info.]

  363. FluffyTheTerrible says

    @ Ing

    That’s a very good write up.

    QFT:

    Stop lying to yourself and others saying that the rapist is of a different ilk than you. They aren’t. They are of the same cloth as you and of me and everyone here. And the more aware you are of what people are capable of, what YOU may be capable of, the better a person you will be; the less likely you’ll be to carelessly harm or be rolled up in a mob frenzy.

    I know the things/behaviours of others that make me unspeakably angry – very few-, and after moments of intense anger, I don’t really remember who said what to whom, nor much of the incident/fight really.

    It’s very important to know what you are capable of in your darkest moments so you know how to stop yourself.

  364. says

    “Another”? Hey, the theater here in town is playing Batman, and I was a neuroscience major and have a neuroscience Ph.D.!

    I wonder if this Holmes fellow had washed out in his prelims. Timing is about right.

  365. ChasCPeterson says

    you said it, scooter.
    As the brain tries to understand itself, chaotic feedback loops can fuck it up. That’s my working hypothesis.

  366. ChasCPeterson says

    I wonder if this Holmes fellow had washed out in his prelims. Timing is about right.

    But yeah, that’s basically what I’ve been hinting at since like noon.

  367. says

    @ 232 Caine

    Bullshit. Did you not see upthread where there was an armed man outside the theater who almost shot the man who took the movie shooter into custody? Yeah, that would have helped.

    I think you are referring to my comment about the Gabrielle Giffords shooting.

    People in the theater were very disoriented and the shooter was wearing a riot mask and bulletproof vest and you think, possibly, a theater patron could have pulled off a perfect shot, eh? People don’t work that way.

    I mention the Giffords shooting again because of the point you made in the 2nd half of your comment. In the Giffords case it was a clear day and the shooting had stopped. As you point out the theater was dark, the shooter used tear gas, and wore a vest.

    Many of the “guns’ rights” people claiming “more armed people would have prevented/reduced/ended sooner etc.” fail to realize (or acknowledge) that these situations nearly never turn out like you see on T.V. People the state employs to use deadly force typically go through extensive and ongoing training to make their movements automatic. Even with the best of such training many freeze or shoot the wrong person.

  368. nonny says

    I understand the point that Holmes is human, just like the rest of us, and that humans do terrible things but I think he is, statistically speaking, abnormal. Not everybody would be capable of going into a movie theatre and cold-bloodedly shooting innocent people they had never met before. I don’t think I would be capable of that. Even if I wasn’t afraid of going to prison, my capacity for empathy would stop me. Not saying I’m incapable of violence, I know I could be violent if I was very angry or in other circumstances, but a crime like this is unusual and I think most people wouldn’t be capable of it. There is something different about people who commit crimes like this. I’m not sure what it is but they can’t be ordinary because then this wouldn’t be news, it would be normality.

    Re: Hitler’s war record, it seems like his bravery might have been overstated.
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1303804/Adolf-Hitler-loner-rear-area-pig-according-WWI-regiment.html

  369. says

    There is something different about people who commit crimes like this. I’m not sure what it is but they can’t be ordinary because then this wouldn’t be news, it would be normality.

    Oh FFS, just shut the fuck up.

  370. nonny says

    Setar- I think there’s a difference between fantasizing and actually planning it out and going through with it. There is something in you that stops you from doing it. Empathy or maybe self awareness.

    Ing- I’m sorry if I’ve upset you but I’m not going to shut up.

  371. jacklewis says

    @Caine, avec prémédité méchante langue
    Is there a reason behind the odd ordering of your knick name (assuming you’re trying for french…)?
    Here are two options that work:

    Caine, prémédité avec méchante langue
    Or
    Caine, avec méchante langue, prémédité.

    Just curious…

  372. John Morales says

    [meta]

    nonny, clearly, you don’t know to what the term ‘capable’ refers.

    (Perhaps you’d never eat shit, but you are capable of eating shit)

  373. Cipher, OM, Fighting Fucktoy says

    Ing- I’m sorry if I’ve upset you but I’m not going to shut up.

    Considering the proportion of this thread that has been dedicated to countering the type of bullshit you just added to the pile, you really ought to.

  374. jacklewis says

    >>jacklewis: you’re not curious, you’re trolling.
    Why is helping out somebody with his french trolling?
    Or maybe that’s just you projecting?

    >> You have no shame do you.
    Pas vraiment, non, ca te derange?

  375. left0ver1under says

    kayden (#340):

    Where do you live? Seems nowadays that mass shootings happen all over. Even Canada is now having to deal with these tragedies.

    I’m Canadian, but I live in Taiwan where gun control is strict. Even the criminals here don’t seem to have any, there’s no gun violence reported in the news (English editions, anyway).

    As for Canada’s situation, there are a few cases of gun violence (L’Ecole Polytechnique), but on a per capita basis they are far fewer than in the US. There isn’t the same culture or “violence as problem resolution”. As an old joke goes: “In the US, it’s how the west was won. In the Canada, it’s how the west was negotiated.”

    But yes, it would be a good thing for the US to have some common sense gun restrictions. Unfortunately, the NRA is way too powerful for that to happen.

    As it turned out, one of the guns that Holmes used, an AR-15 was banned from sale to the public until George Bu**sh** allowed the law to expire in 2004.

    And already, just as the religious are trying to blame secularism (see my other post above, #438), many gun nut sites are trying to disavow any link between, or responsibility for, guns and the killings.

  376. eigenperson says

    A source (admittedly second- or third-hand) informs me that he did indeed fail his quals.

    Dr. Sapolsky has a nice description of displaced aggression in baboons:

    Among baboons, when the going gets tough, the first thought is to find someone else to pay for it. A male loses a fight and spins around and chases some subadult who, cheesed off, lunges at an adult female who swats an adolescent kid who knocks an infant over.

    In my opinion, that’s what happened here. This guy was angry and decided to take it out on innocent people. Sure, it was monstrous and cruel, but there is no need to postulate that he was also insane or mentally ill.

  377. FluffyTheTerrible says

    @ jacklewis

    Va te faire foutre! Is that French enough for you, you shameless asshole?

    Stop derailing.

  378. jacklewis says

    @Morales
    I doubt I would be able to eat shit without throwing up instantly.
    I don’t see what is particularly objectionable about the concept that not everybody has the same exact capabilities. What makes you think that just about anyone could do what this guy did? Why do you also presume that people who disagree with you on something this basic have to lack the capability to understand what “capable” means?

  379. boadinum says

    The mind boggles. Perhaps I’m easily boggled, but I think that the 2nd Amendment needs…amending.

    In a sad and bitterly ironic note, one of the victims in Denver was a Canadian woman who survived a shooting incident at a Toronto mall just a few months ago.

    Right to bear arms my ass. As FluffyTheTerrible says,Gah, I have to stop.

  380. jacklewis says

    @FluffyTheTerrible

    What is wrong with you? What is so terrible about my comment? Get a grip.

  381. FluffyTheTerrible says

    @ eigenperson

    I don’t think you’re helping the validity of your statements by jumping from baboon behaviour to human behaviour. And many other people failed exams, and were forced to drop out, but they didn’t go on a shooting spree.

    Obviously the reasons are many, and we are as sure as hell not going to find them by speculating on the internet, before we even find out the results of the psychological testing.

  382. FluffyTheTerrible says

    @ jacklewis

    What is wrong with ME? Look to yourself and stop playing innocent. That shit doesn’t fly around here. Speak on the topic of the thread or fuck off to TZT.

  383. John Morales says

    [meta]

    jacklewis:

    I doubt I would be able to eat shit without throwing up instantly.

    Nah, I bet you could, it’d be mother’s milk to you.

    (Only one way to prove me wrong. Video or it doesn’t count!)

    Look, specimen: you poisoned your own well, and it ain’t forgotten.

    (You’re not the first to regret their initial trolling here after realising regulars have nous and are interesting. Live with it)

  384. John Morales says

    [meta]

    Jadehawk:

    yeah. I’m sure jumping down his throat was a much better way to deflect the OT than telling him why he’s being pointless and ignoring him afterwards [/sarc]

    Works for me. :)

    (Tell you what, you ignore hir, I’ll diss. Division of labour and all that)

  385. FluffyTheTerrible says

    @ John Morales

    I demand to be left a small piece of the dissing! Thank you.

  386. says

    and back OT:

    arguing for a gun-ban in the US is, I think, fairly pointless. The US already has ridiculous amounts of guns and also has vast stretches of country that have maybe one cop per square mile; there simply won’t be a way to actually get rid of US guns. At best, you could hope that no new guns would be made, and therefore sometime in the far far future the guns would start falling apart.

    Regulating the things is somewhat more likely to work… but even there I’m not at all sure that it would make a difference.

    Ultimately though, what is the real problem is the “sociopathy” of US culture: toxic, neverending competition with everyone; individualism; vast inequalities; etc.

  387. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    What makes you think that just about anyone could do what this guy did?

    What makes you think otherwise? Citation needed evidenceless OPINIONaged fuckwitted idjit. That separates the trolls from the discussers, which means you are trolling troll.

    What is wrong with you? What is so terrible about my comment? Get a grip.

    No evidence to back it up troll. What else is “new”. You have no evidence like always, just fuckwitted evidenceless OPINION.

  388. says

    though, I should slightly amend my comment. banning/restricting guns from (some) cities would probably work. cities usually aren’t cop-less as other places. OTOH, the enforcement of such bans would likely turn out to be quite racist, so there’s that to consider…

  389. John Morales says

    [semi-OT]

    Jadehawk:

    At best, you could hope that no new guns would be made, and therefore sometime in the far far future the guns would start falling apart.

    Guns without ammo are like cars without gasoline.

  390. FluffyTheTerrible says

    Is America the only country in the world with such a lax regime on gun ownership? Of course, like Jadehawk said, that is also compounded by the sheer vastness of the country, but still…many changes seemed impossible, until people starting working at them.

    Stricter – much stricter – laws and perhaps imposing a one gun limit per household – so you don’t have dad taking his 12 year old to show him how to shoot the 2 bazillion guns daddy owns.

    What about taxes? What if they taxed people who own guns, and the taxes got bigger and bigger every time you wanted to get another gun?

    Very strict laws – including stating valid, documented reason for desiring gun ownership (other than “I want to shoot shit up) – and taxing might make a dent.

  391. says

    Guns without ammo are like cars without gasoline.

    I’ve asked. crude ammo can actually be made easily enough that this would not do anything. there would just be a black market among the militia-crazies for “home-made” bullets.

  392. says

    Fluffy, I really don’t know what would work. considering how easily US guns permeate international borders (even the one US militias are being obsessive about “protecting”), it looks like the flow of guns across NA could be near impossible to control sufficiently.

  393. im says

    The police say there’s no sign of a connection to terrorism. In other words, the shooter isn’t muslim.

    Or is just white. That tends to happen alot too.
    *Reads Article* maybe white, last name is spanish origin.

    I’m going to argue against this. Brevick definitely was a terrorist. So far I haven’t heard of any political connection to this shooting, let alone any kind of political or other ideology he wanted to advance by causing terror. So, not a terrorist, just an insane murderer.

  394. FluffyTheTerrible says

    @ im

    So, not a terrorist, just an insane murderer.

    And here we go again. Another person who hasn’t read the comments, and doesn’t know why it is unhelpful at the very least and very damaging for people with mental issues at the very worst to label Holmes “insane”.

  395. jacklewis says

    “What is wrong with ME? Look to yourself and stop playing innocent. That shit doesn’t fly around here”

    Hard to keep track with all the other types of shit that fly around here. Still what ever makes you feel better about your self.

    @Jadehawk.
    Well comment 448 is on topic, hence the substance is completely ignored. Off course you have the nerd (he has a lot of frustration to take out) asking for evidence whereas the original claim that we all possess the exact same capabilities apparently did not require any evidence…

    Still your french quote is correct (not that you need me to tell you that), I’m sorry if it was that terribly offending to suggest some alternative phrasings in the other case. I guess one can get offended at just about anything if one tries hard enough.

  396. jacklewis says

    @Fluffy
    I’ve read most of this thread and still don’t see where is the evidence that this guy did not have mental issues. Maybe you could pinpoint the comment that makes this case more effectively?

  397. says

    just an insane murderer.

    why the fuck are you commenting on a thread without having read at least some of the preceding comments? for the x-th time: what he did was not “insane”, by any definition of the word.

  398. says

    I’ve read most of this thread and still don’t see where is the evidence that this guy did not have mental issues.

    that’s not how this works. there’s no evidence that he was mentally ill, and therefore we have to stick with the Null Hypothesis. Simply assuming that someone who kills is “insane” is pretty much begging the question, and pretending as if this wasn’t exactly the sort of person US culture breeds as a matter of course.

  399. FluffyTheTerrible says

    @ jacklewis

    Tu dois faire ton devoir et recherche. Je ne veux pas faire de l’effort pour quelqu’un comme toi.

  400. John Morales says

    jacklewis:

    Well comment 448 is on topic, hence the substance is completely ignored.

    Bah.

    The “substance” is spurious; of the population, how many able-bodied people are incapable of wearing body armor and a gas mask and carry an assault weapon and walking whilst pointing the weapon and pressing the trigger?

    (This confusion between inclination and capacity* is for the dim-witted; the armed forces for one are quite aware that any such able-bodied person can do that much, and instilling the inclination in recruits is what they do)

    * Capacity is the ability to do something, not the degree of proficiency with which that something can be done.

  401. Cipher, OM, Fighting Fucktoy says

    I’ve read most of this thread and still don’t see where is the evidence that this guy did not have mental issues

    I don’t understand how you’ve read most of this thread and don’t see why it’s problematic to label this guy “insane” before we have evidence that he is.

  402. eigenperson says

    #453 Fluffy:

    I’m not claiming that he definitely failed his exams. I just thought I should provide the information that I heard he did, even though I don’t know if it’s true. I thought that would be better than nothing, but maybe I was wrong.

    And also, I should have made it more clear that in the middle of my post there was a boundary between hearsay and total speculation.

    Thanks for pointing these things out.

  403. FluffyTheTerrible says

    There is a really good article in the New Yorker on the subject of the shooting and of gun control. This paragraph jumps out:

    The truth is made worse by the reality that no one—really no one—anywhere on the political spectrum has the courage to speak out about the madness of unleashed guns and what they do to American life. That includes the President, whose consoling message managed to avoid the issue of why these killings take place. Of course, we don’t know, and perhaps never will, what exactly “made him” do what he did; but we know how he did it. Those who fight for the right of every madman and every criminal to have as many people-killing weapons as they want share moral responsibility for what happened last night—as they will when it happens again. And it will happen again.

    You really should go read the whole thing: link

  404. im says

    “So the perfectly rational way to deal with anger and frustration is to kill 14 random people?

    That describes all wars ever, except change the death count from 14 to hundreds of thousands. Are you really willing to stand behind every national leader and every member of every government ever being actually insane?”

    Not really. That hardly describes wars; they are mostly based on some kind of coercion which this murderer did not even attempt. Although that might describe the Afghanistan war. It certainly would not describe WWII (it would have been perfectly rational if Hitler had been right about non-Germans being undeserving of life.). This guy had no manifesto, made no threat, did not coerce people do do anything, and did not kill people close to him. It appeared to be completely random with only the killing being a priority.

  405. says

    ixchel:

    I think it is inherent. It is seen in a lot of animals (e.g. “the pecking order”), it is also seen in children from a very young age indeed (e.g. “bullying”). I do agree though that it doesn’t have to be that way. We have fairly large brains, and they can be (re)programmed to abhor these primitive behaviours. I would nevertheless submit that changeability does not imply non-inherentness.

  406. says

    Fluffy: I’m aware that people can have horrible things done to them and not commit mass murder, and I say this as someone who has had a better reason to murder than most, and has violently defended both themselves and their children from harm.

    I know violence does not have to beget violence.

    I merely add to the picture. College is a unique investment of time, money, and hope, and it really can feel like the end of the world when you realize you can’t keep going. Certainly, it can be the end of one’s hopes for a professional job, a house, financial independence, a working car, etc.

    No attempt to pardon the fella intended.

  407. says

    For a long time I have been puzzled by the American habit of describing mass murders as “cowards”, even the suicidal ones. It’s as if “coward” is considered the Worst Insult Possible in US culture.

    Actually, ditto for “loser”. And “weakling”. However, PZ uses
    them post-facto in the OP, with a will to take any possible
    “credit” away from the murderer I guess, but otherwise, yes,
    this binary pigeonholeing is pervasive and contributes to the
    despair of those (self-)perceived as on the wrong side.

    And on that note,

    I wonder if this Holmes fellow had washed out in his prelims. Timing is about right.

    We don’t care much for those who fail.

  408. says

    For those interested, now that the worst has been banished to TZT, I found a thoughtful page about the legal and medical questions surrounding an insanity defense Here.

    We know far, far too little about Holmes for me even to start to form an opinion on the matter.

  409. says

    ixchel @ 269:

    There isn’t clearly such a thing as “the people inclined to behave like this”.

    I didn’t mean biologically inclined, thugh I can see why that’s how it came across (particularly in the context of the mental illness discussions). Really, in the sense I was aiming at, “there are people inclined to do this thing someone did” is tautological.

    I don’t think the relevant situational factors (if I understood the essay you linked correctly; either it’s dense or I am) would be significantly changed by pushing the meme that things like this come out of cowardice. I feel people who feel the best way to express thier greivances is to shoot up a movie theater are likely to just number being called a coward among those greivances.

    I’m not trying to argue that mass murderers are different from you and me.

  410. says

    On Gun Control- Expired Ban would have made a difference

    The Federal Assault Weapons Ban went into effect under Clinton in ’94 and expired in 2004. It limited the sale of magazine to 10 round clips.

    If it were still in effect, it would have certainly reduced casualties. Holmes simply emptied a 100 round magazine into a crowd without having to reload.

    The AR-15, reported on the Fox News crawl as an ‘AK-47 like assault weapon’ is actually an M-16 limited to semi-automatic, but even an amateur can shoot 3 rounds a second.

    The AK was banned in the bill, but you could still buy an AR-15, so the bill was essentially protectionist legislation for Colt and other domestic manufacturers.

    The only real thing the bill did was limit magazine size. That would have made all the difference. I don’t think Holmes would have done as much damage if he had to fumble around with small clips while wearing a gas mask.

    Maybe he would have thought better of it, perhaps chilled out and switched from neuroscience to biology, maybe start a blog or something.

  411. ixchel, the jaguar goddess of midwifery and war ॐ says

    Hershele,

    Really, in the sense I was aiming at, “there are people inclined to do this thing someone did” is tautological.

    Okay, but then that makes it difficult talk about changing whatever these inclinations might be. Tautologies tend to suffer from this obscurant effect.

    I don’t think the relevant situational factors (if I understood the essay you linked correctly; either it’s dense or I am) would be significantly changed by pushing the meme that things like this come out of cowardice.

    That’s plausible.

    The point of my link was not to show that coward-labeling specifically would be an effective situational factor, only that there exist situational factors, which talk of inclination will tend to overlook. I know of no evidence at all to think that coward-labeling would or would not be an effective situational factor, so I was just tossing out that idea as an “I wonder”, and my response to you wasn’t meant to argue for it specifically — only to highlight situationism per se.

    Anyway, thanks for your reply.

  412. ixchel, the jaguar goddess of midwifery and war ॐ says

    Bart,

    I see what you mean.

    My thinking was that because such behavior is so trivial to predict with game theory, it wouldn’t even have to be genetic in order to arise consistently. It would just keep happening whenever it can, because it can, through individual exploration of possibilities (so young children’s lack of moral inhibitions would allow them to learn social-niche-exploting behaviors even without an inherent drive for such).

    I’ll have to give it more thought.

  413. says

    @ ixchel#407
    Don’t you think you lashed out at DM for what is likely a difference in definition and usage of “mentally ill”? Please help spread the good word and state your terms – David did spell his, albeit mistakenly or too vaguely or whatever for your taste. You know – could know – from his posting history that he’s one of the good guys on most topics. Pretty knowledgeable too – not in every field you say? Certainly, but is he too stupid to learn and maybe change his views?

    Also, being such a multilinguist doesn’t change the fact he’s neither a native English speaker nor a cultural Merkin. For instance, the French for “ableism” has not yet made it to our dictionaries, AFAIK (It took me some search to find out the ugly “capacitisme” existed). Maybe our more caring society means we don’t need a more casual word? Nah, the difference is not that great, we’re probably just a little late in our activism this side of the pond. However, what this does mean is that for us, “mental illness” is – not yet, not enough… – politically loaded, hence we still use it much more casually than you seem to do.

    @Caine#408,

    Ixchel:

    Why your desire to pin crime on mental illness?

    It’s comforting, othering in this manner, to most people. It places a (false) buffer between them and the “monsters”.

    Yeah? Not in this case though. I’m willing to bet good Euros that DM does not exempt himself from what _he defines_ as “people [who] need professional psychiatric help at least sometimes”. And it doesn’t take a very charitable reader to guess that way.

    @David Marjanović Sorry if I misinterpreted.

    tl;dr:

    - “Fuck fuck fuck absurd outrageous fuck asshole” doesn’t help much (makes you feel better, yes, but I’m willing to learn. Please?)
    - Take individual/linguistic/cultural differences into account.
    - Thank you!