Aurora cinema massacre, analysis

This video, in English with Spanish subtitles, is the 2002 film Bowling for Columbine by Michael Moore. Part of the film is an interview with singer Marilyn Manson, blamed in the United States media for the Columbine massacre. The interview mentions the NATO-Yugoslavia war; a more likely cause of that mass murder than rock music.

By David Walsh in the USA:

Aurora, Colorado tragedy: The latest mass shooting in the US

21 July 2012

In the latest episode of the unfolding American nightmare, a 24-year-old man allegedly walked into a crowded premiere of The Dark Knight Rises in Aurora, Colorado just after midnight early Friday and opened fire, killing at least 12 people and wounding 59. Among the dead and wounded were young children.

From the US president and governor of Colorado—both Democrats—on down, the official effort at damage control began at once. The tragedy, the public is told, is “senseless” and “inexplicable”—in any case, it has nothing to do with the state of American society.

Thirteen years after the Columbine High School killings, which occurred only 30 miles from Friday’s atrocity (see, “The Columbine High School massacre: American Pastoral … American Berserk”), and after countless other mass shootings in the intervening years, including the massacre at Virginia Tech in 2007 and the attempted assassination of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords in 2011, the establishment’s arguments are not merely banal and superficial, they reek of bad faith.

Police have identified the movie theater shooter as James Eagan Holmes, originally from San Diego, California. In 2011 Holmes enrolled as a graduate student in the neuroscience program at the University of Colorado Medical School campus in Aurora, in suburban Denver, but was in the process of withdrawing from the school.

Shaken, horrified witnesses told reporters that, 20 or 30 minutes into the third part of Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy, the gunman entered the showing at the Century 16 Movie Theaters at the Aurora Town Center through an emergency exit near the front. He reportedly set off smoke bombs and began firing at audience members.

Witnesses told a local television station, “He looked so calm when he did it … He waited for both the bombs to explode before he did anything. Then, after both of them exploded, he began to shoot. … He had no specific target. He just started letting loose.” The shooter apparently never said a word during the attack.

Survivors offered terrifying accounts of gunshots, screams and bullet-ridden bodies in a smoke-filled room. Wounded and blood-covered moviegoers fled the movie theater in panic. Ten people died at the scene. Others remain in critical condition in local hospitals.

Dressed in an all-black outfit and wearing body armor and a gas mask, Holmes was armed, say authorities, with an AR-15 assault rifle, a shotgun and a .40-caliber handgun. Another weapon was found in his car, to which he retreated after the attack and where he was detained by police, without a struggle.

According to police, the alleged gunman then informed them that his apartment was heavily booby-trapped. Authorities evacuated the building, home exclusively to students, faculty and staff from the medical campus, and four other surrounding ones. With a camera on the end of a 12-foot pole, they explored the unit. The results were “alarming,” as agents discovered “buckets of extra ammunition” and flammable and explosive material.

Holmes’ family lives in Rancho Penasquitos, a community in northeastern San Diego. He graduated from the city’s Westview High School in 2006, and moved on to the University of California, Riverside, 100 miles north of San Diego. He received a bachelor’s degree in neuroscience in 2010. A fellow student told NBC that Holmes completed the honors program and belonged to the Phi Beta Kappa and Golden Key honor societies at Riverside.

“I always thought that he was a little strange. I could never put my finger on it, but something told me to not get too close to him … He was a very smart guy though. He was a little bit of a weird guy, but we were honors students, so weird people were kind of common,” the female student told NBC.

According to a former neighbor in San Diego, Tom Mai, a retired electrical engineer, Holmes could not find work after graduating from UC Riverside two years ago. Mai remembered Holmes as a “shy, well-mannered young man,” according to the Los Angeles Times, “heavily involved in their local Presbyterian church.”

Aurora is Colorado’s third-largest city with a population of some 325,000. The biggest employer is the Buckley Air Force Base. According to its official site, Buckley “defends America through its air operations, space-based missile warning capabilities, space surveillance operations, space communications operations and support functions.”

Along with the University of Colorado Hospital, its Anschutz Medical Campus and the Children’s Hospital, other major employers in the city include ADT Security Services and defense-related giants Raytheon, Northrop Grumman and Lockheed Martin.

Aurora has many Latino residents, who make up some 29 percent of the population, and Holmes lived in a predominantly Latino neighborhood.

The immediate motive for the act of mass murder is not known. However, the anti-social character of the crime, its extraordinary misanthropy, stands out. The gunman chose to attack an opening night screening of a much-anticipated film, at which he could count on finding many residents of Aurora and the surrounding area, in search of relaxation and entertainment. Many were decked out in Batman costumes and the like. Horribly, when the gunman first appeared, a number of audience members thought his presence had something to do with the movie.

No attempt is made, or can be made, by official circles to explain or plumb the depths of such social bitterness and pent-up anger. The results would be too damning for those making the study.

It is too early to attempt to explain Holmes’ action. Many more facts will emerge. This much can be said with certainty. Since the Columbine massacre, social life in America has sharply deteriorated and social tensions have only increased. Past tragedies, including the Columbine, Virginia Tech and Giffords shootings have gone unexplained and unaccounted for, and the Aurora tragedy will be no different.

‘Dark Knight Rises’ Shooting Victim Stopped to Help Young Mother: here.

Colorado shooter legally bought 6,000 rounds of ammo, 100 round magazine on the Internet in recent weeks: here.

The Colorado shootings and the myth of concealed carry: here.

Colorado theater shooting victims’ stories in their own words: here.

Turning Towards Nonviolence: A Response to the Aurora, Colorado Movie Theater Massacre. John Dear, Father John Dear’s Website: “Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. both insisted that we need a fundamental internal conversion from violence to nonviolence as the basis for our work for justice, human rights and peace…. As more and more of us choose active, creative nonviolence as a way of life, we have a chance of creating a more nonviolent society”: here.

Moyers and Winship | The NRA Has America Living Under the Gun. Bill Moyers and Michael Winship, Moyers & Company: “Every year there are 30,000 gun deaths and 300,000 gun-related assaults in the US Firearm violence costs our country as much as $100 billion a year. Toys are regulated with greater care and safety concerns than guns…. Nonetheless, we have become so gun loving, so gun crazy, so blasé about home-grown violence that far more Americans have been casualties of domestic gunfire than have died in all our wars combined”: here.

Despite Some Changes, Colorado Gun Laws Remain Lax. John Schwartz, The New York Times News Service: “Despite the changes over the past 13 years, Colorado law still prohibits local governments from restricting gun rights in several significant ways. Moreover, gun rights organizations have successfully fought other efforts to restrict access to guns, including blocking a University of Colorado rule prohibiting concealed weapons on campus. People in Colorado are allowed to carry firearms in a vehicle, loaded or unloaded, as long as the gun is intended for lawful uses like personal protection or protecting property”: here.

Is it easier in America to buy a gun than French cheese? Here.

The Aurora Movie Theatre Shooting and American Gun Culture: The New Yorker: here.

It’s the Guns – But We All Know, It’s Not Really the Guns: here.

32 Mass Murders Across America in 30 Years: here.

Did the Youth Unemployment Crisis Play a Role in the Colorado Shooting? Read the Article at RT News here.

David Brooks of the New York Times produced an especially stupid column July 23 on the mass killing in Aurora, Colorado, denying that the crime had anything to do with the state of society: here.

The barbaric underbelly of the richest country on the planet was exposed again today by reports that many of the victims of last week’s Colorado mass shooting cannot afford health care: here.

How the Media Shouldn’t Cover Mass Murder Read the Article at New Statesman here.

The new Batman film isn’t the simple conservative parable rightwingers would like, but it is a reactionary vision: here.

The Dark Knight Rises: Batman as a fairytale hero for the 1 percent: here. And here.

18 thoughts on “Aurora cinema massacre, analysis

  1. Dear Friend,

    The tragedy in Aurora, Colorado demonstrated the devastating lethality of AR-15 type guns, and has caused many to question whether it makes sense to allow the purchase of this type of military-style assault rifles. What a lot of people don?t know is that this type of rifle is also the weapon of choice among Mexican drug cartels. In the last 5 years, over 60,000 people have lost their lives in Mexico?s wave of violence.

    Click here to WATCH this powerful video and SIGN the petition demanding that President Obama enforce the authority he has to stop this tragic warfare.

    Here is the brutal truth: 70 percent of the AR-15s and other guns used by drug lords, gangs, and kidnappers in Mexico come from the United States. Right now, President Obama has the authority to:

    1) Enforce the existing ban on the importation of military-style assault weapons.
    2) Require gun dealers to report bulk sales of military-style assault weapons.
    3) Tighten enforcement of sales in U.S. border towns.

    He has the authority, now it’s time to make him ENFORCE it!

    Brave New Foundation’s Cuéntame has partnered with WOLA (Washington Office For Latin America), and a powerful coalition of partners*, to produce a short animated video exposing how these guns get into the U.S. and are trafficked to Mexico, who profits from their sale, and empower people to tell President Obama to enforce the ban of this kind of trafficking.

    Add your signature NOW. It is the most important action you can take to demand President Obama to act now. We need thousands of signatures and it starts with YOURS.

    Together we can make an everlasting impact.

    Robert Greenwald, Axel Caballero and Brave New Foundation’s Cuéntame team.

    *Coalition partners: Latin America Working Group, Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, Global Exchange, Propuesta Civica, Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity, Violence Policy Center, and Alianza Civica.


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