[Colorado movie theater shooting] On Trial, Speculation; What we know

So much information and misinformation is being disseminated regarding James Holmes. It reminds me of the Zimmerman/Martin Case.

I thought this would be a good exercise for us and with the council we have on these boards, a very good learning opportunity.

As this goes on, more and more information will be released, but the roller coaster ride we can take here seems too good to pass on. My suggestion is, let us start with Speculation, what we think we know. Based on the information we know now (not necessarily the facts as it is), let us build a defense, and/or prosecution for this case. We dont even have to stick to a side. Just share information as we get it and see how our perceptions develop.

For example: I see a lot of chatter about his quasi=-catatonic state in the courtroom. I saw one expert describe it as a post manic episode where he may have been up for a long period of time without eating or sleeping. When asked if he was faking, she said, there is only about a 5% chance he could be that good.

However, the other expert reminded her that he was getting his degree in neuroscience, the exact field that studys this behavior. Thus, he would have seen and studied exactly how to act.

So I put it to you Dopers. Do we have an investigative event here?

The two situations are completely different. No eyewitnesses to the killing in FL. Hundreds in CO. There is no doubt this guy shot up the movie theater, killing 12 or so people and wounding dozens of others. The only question is going to be whether he pleads insanity or not.

Clarified the thread title.

My comparison of the two is based on misinformation in the early stages. This exercise should be educational.

I’ve never met the man. I have no opportunity to observe him, other than small clips, which aren’t to be trusted. I have no training in observing human behavior. And it’s not my job to evaluate him. I have no speculations.

Well, that’s not completely true, but they’re mostly random and I give them no weight at all.

I completely agree that we’ve gotten and will be getting bad information.

What misinformation was there about the Colorado shooting? They only thing I heard that was later retracted was ABC mentioning he shared a name with a teaparty member, and even that wasn’t technically “misinformation”, even if it was bad reporting.

In any case, the Colorado case doesn’t seem to hit anywhere near as many hot-buttons as the Zimmerman case did, and none of the basic facts seem to be in dispute, so I don’t think there will be anywhere near as much controversy.

I’m not sure what you want to debate here, dngnb8.

So far I think the notable thing is the lack of information. This guy is supposedly just not talking to the police at all, which means we don’t really understand why he did this (according to whatever rationalization he can give). He had no criminal record, so we know very little about his past. We know he was a neuroscience student and we know he prepared for this in great detail for several weeks, and we know ABC screwed up in a big way by saying he was linked to the Tea Party, although they corrected themselves pretty quickly. We know that he tried to join a Denver-area shooting range but never went to an orientation. We’ve heard reports about an “I am the Joker” comment, but I’m still skeptical that he said anything that unambiguous.

There’s more than enough speculation out there, and there’s not nearly enough factual information for a worthwhile argument about what he did. Ultimately he’ll either plead guilty or he’ll argue he’s not responsible because he’s mentally ill. He is certainly nuts, but whether he was unable to tell right from wrong is not clear. We don’t have nearly enough information to even speculate about it in a worthwhile way.

That’s not what neuroscience is. You’re thinking of psychology. Even if that were correct, this is useless idle speculation.

What is an investigative event?

The “mis-information” I heard centered around things like, “he wasn’t wearing a ballistic vest, just a tactical vest,” to which my response would be, “who gives a shit?” It doesn’t make a bit of difference in the grand scheme of things.

Can the eyewitnesses pick out Holmes, though? It was dark, with tear gas, and he had the mask on. I don’t know how it all ended, though. Was he just sitting in the theater afterwards?

I’m not trying to say he’s innocent–the booby traps in his flat are enough evidence to me–just trying to understand what happened.

People saw him in the movie theater, then they saw him prop the door open, leave, and then he returned with the guns and started shooting. Police arrested him behind the movie theater. Some of the guns were still in the movie theater and other weapons were in his car. So the eyewitness thing shouldn’t be an issue.

He waited out in the parking lot for the cops and then surrendered. Dunno if he explicitly confessed, but he still had some of the weapons, body armour and gas mask from the attack. Assuming there weren’t two guys with dyed red hair, gas masks, body armour and multiple firearms at the Aurora theater that night, the identity of the shooter seems pretty cut-and-dry.

I agree that the identity is cut-and-dried (just in case someone thinks I’m trying to cast doubt) but I’d be surprised if anyone in the theater could positively ID him as the shooter, given all the chaos and the conditions.

My guess is that the booby-trapped apartment was an attemp to lure cops and the fire department away from the theater; a diversion.

I can’t fathom what would possibly put someone–who appeared to be sane–into a frame of mind that would make these actions seem like a good idea. I can’t imagine what’s going through his head. I guess that’s a good thing.

The following is my speculation:

I remember reading somewhere that someone who lived near his apartment had heard techno music blaring from James’ room. They went to ask to have it turned down, but the room was unlocked. They thought it was weird/uncomfortable, so they left it alone.

If this is true, then it’s possible James just wanted to emulate the Joker by causing chaos. In other words, his plan didn’t unfold as desired. Perhaps he wanted the explosives to go off while he was in the theater doing his thing, resulting in big things happening in two separate places at roughly the same time.

He bought a ticket to the movie. Witnesses saw him in the theater. It sounds like people saw him go out the emergency exit, although that might just be an obvious inference. The police found some of his weapons in the car and others were still on him, and there are records documenting his purchase of the guns, armor, and ammunition. It goes without saying the weapons will be linked to the shooting. He was wearing the body armor the shooter was wearing and carrying some of the guns used in the theater. Even if nobody could say they recognized him during the shooting, there is no way his lawyer could make a case he isn’t the shooter. He’ll plead guilty or say he wasn’t responsible because he’s crazy.

That’s one of several possibilities.

I guess we’ll find out in the trial, but I suspect he was just nuts. Mid-twenties is a common age for the onset of schizophrenia, booby-trapping is associated with paranoid delusionals, the flat affect in court, the weird hair dye job and identifiying himself as the joker, the way his attack seemed to fizzle out at the end.

Plus other mass-shooters, while their actions were pretty twisted, seem to have at least targeted people or institutions that they had some sort of personal beef with. The Fort Hood Shooter shot up his work, the VT shooter his school, etc. I guess it might come out that Holmes had some sort of personal vendetta against Christopher Nolan or the Aurora theater, but otherwise it seems too random a target.

What bad information are you referring to? Unless the Tea Party thing, which I hadn’t heard until this thread.

Most of the speculation and misinformation about Zimmerman went to the issue of whether he was acting in self defense or not. Which relates to whether he walks, or ends up in prison.

The speculation and misinformation about the Colorado case has been about… whether or not the guy dyed his hair orange.

There just isn’t enough similarity to make the comparison educational.

I’m not following this on TV or news sites. A lot of online speculation seems to be based on not much at all. Not that I’m implying that’s happening here.

This thread seems to be more directed toward soliciting opinions than actually debating a topic.

Until it actually turns into a debate, it will sit in the IMHO forum.

[ /Moderating ]

Is there a credible witness to him claiming to be the Joker?