Monday, July 23, 2012

James Holmes: a budding neuroscientist runs amok

David Seaton's News Links
James Holmes
So this is just what one of America's many faces is going to be a bitterly divided, hatefully cynical country where insane people have easy access to semi-automatic weapons, and occasionally use them to commit senseless atrocities. We will continue to see more and more of this sort of thing, and there's nothing we can realistically do about it. The Economist
You have to be away from America for awhile to fully realize what a stone-crazy place it is.
I'm beginning to get interested in James Holmes' story, so many of the elements don't fit together
He was a brilliant, scholarship student, with no history of mental illness (a bit of a loner, which is normal in a person of high intelligence) but invariably described as "nice", even "sweet", with no problems of concentration, no history of weirdness, or "inappropriate behavior", safe around children, going for his doctorate in neuroscience...
Suddenly, out of nowhere, he drops out of school and acts out the standard, American as apple pie, run-amok: collecting guns and ammunition and shooting up an apparently random crowd of innocents... With his hair dyed red like a clown, after booby trapping his apartment.
A budding neuroscientist?
Didn't his neuroscience teachers notice anything?
What triggered all this?
I get the feeling there is a story here worthy of Truman Capote... any thoughts? DS

3 comments:

Karl Franz Ochstradt said...

Why would you think there would be signs that the behavior was about to take place? Why do you believe that everyone who does this is somehow going to give others a preview through behavior that shrinks and quacks alike can label as somehow dangerous?

The behavioral truth is that the urge to do such things resides within all humans, and the cultural truth is that American society congratulates, in its own twisted way, the people who do yield to blood-spraying urges.

I take it you never play video games, and/or haven't ever witnessed young Americans (kids of all ages up through post-college) engaging in various kinds of barely-displaced role-playing in which violence is rewarded and big violence is celebrated.

It's a fiction that there's a "type" who commits mass murder, and it's a fiction that they are easily "typed" by fellow humans in the weeks before the event.

That's shallow- and/or non-critical-thinking right there.

It may well be the product of how American Infotainment Media portray the event. I wouldn't know, I don't watch TV or read print periodicals, don't listen to talk radio, and don't follow culturally partisan websites.

Anonymous said...

Interviews with some of his teachers have brought out that he was not a genius, but only above average -- B - B+. As an intern, in the neuroscience computer lab, he was found to be useless because he wouldn't follow instructions; when told his approach was in error, he persisted in following it and eventually got nothing accomplished. In addition, early twenties is when a psychotic breaks usually happen. Apparently that's what happened here since all the guns and ammo buying started in May of this year, shortly after he dropped out of school, according to the police.
Cactus

Anonymous said...

Interviews with some of his teachers have brought out that he was not a genius, but only above average -- B - B+. As an intern, in the neuroscience computer lab, he was found to be useless because he wouldn't follow instructions; when told his approach was in error, he persisted in following it and eventually got nothing accomplished. In addition, early twenties is when a psychotic breaks usually happen. Apparently that's what happened here since all the guns and ammo buying started in May of this year, shortly after he dropped out of school, according to the police.
Cactus