Alleged mass murderer James Holmes appeared in court today with red-dyed hair and acted erratically, apparently hoping that the court will think that a man who carefully planned a shooting spree for months in advance is too “crazy” to stand trial.
Holmes, who is believed to have killed 12 innocent people and wounded dozens more at an Aurora, Colorado theater early Saturday during a screening of The Dark Knight Rises, carefully planned an elaborate scheme to commit the monstrous act.
When Holmes left his apartment, he booby-trapped it with an elaborate array of bombs and explosives, and left loud music blasting, potentially to draw in more victims to increase the body count.
This isn’t crazy; this is sadistic. It shows an awareness of cause-and-effect and a working scientific knowledge of incendiary devices. It also shows that Holmes expected to be wanted by police after his apartment was searched or it exploded in flames. Such advanced planning shows that he knew he would be breaking the law.
There are more signs that Holmes anticipated how law enforcement would respond, and planned accordingly. But it is not absolutely clear that he wanted to be caught. Holmes was nearly mistaken for a SWAT team member, until an alert officer noticed that there were incongruities between standard uniform and his outfit.
It also appears that Holmes’ assault rifle jammed, which means that the assailant’s terrifying murder spree may have ended before he intended. It is plausible that Holmes wanted to feign acting like a SWAT team member to remove himself from the premises with his gas mask on and in a haze of tear gas and confusion.
Reports that a bat mask was found at Holmes’ apartment, and that he was acting as if he were “in a movie” while being held in jail, suggest that the criminal is approaching his fifteen minutes of infamy as if he is a character in a play. But just like the film The Dark Knight Rises, it looks to be all staged.