Last week James E Holmes terrorised a cinema in America showing the latest batman movie, shooting dead twelve people, including a six-year-old girl whose mother is still fighting for her life in hospital, unaware of her daughter’s death. He arrived through an emergency exit dressed as the Joker, causing many to assume he was a practical joker, that is until the shooting started. A few were shot at as they raced towards the exit, one man leapt from a 20ft balcony with his baby daughter as his partner was shot in the leg as she moved in front of their other child to protect her.
Most worryingly of all perhaps is that there seems to be no motive behind this attack. James Holmes had just dropped out of his PhD, and although fellow students didn’t know him as he kept to himself, neighbours described him as a “normal kid”.
Over recent years there have been other incidents which cause you to question people’s sanity. A shooting in Norway last year left 77 dead. A father killed his three children before committing suicide.
What drives these people to invoke such terror?
Is it the array of violent films and video games available? Because that’s what they thought prompted the kidnapping and murder of James Bulger in 1993 by two older children (as well as a troubled home life).
Or is it mental instability? The father-in-law of the father who stabbed his three children to death before killing himself insists there was no malice, that there was “only victims”.
I think it’s scarier if these people who commit these acts are sane, as then they are completely aware of the destruction and the heartbreak they’re causing.
Incidents like the cinema shooting really make you consider today’s society and how we are capable of creating monsters who feel no remorse after killing dozens of innocent people.