Home » Culture, Darwinism, News » Darwinists anxious to avoid blame in Aurora, Colorado, theatre massacre

Darwinists anxious to avoid blame in Aurora, Colorado, theatre massacre

Doesn’t it say volumes that some people think anyone who actually has information WAS blaming Darwin?

In those mass murders where Darwin has been blamed, the accused was actually invoking Darwin himself.  See for example, the Columbine massacre, the Finnish school shooter, Jeffrey Dahmer’s crimes, and Anders Breivik’s widely unnoticed interest in Darwin.

They said it. That’s the reason Darwin was blamed. No one was making up what the accuseds said.

So why are some rushing already to exonerate Darwin … ? Do they believe that the accused in the Aurora case will in fact turn out to have channelled Darwin, as investigators unravel the tragedy?

That wouldn’t be unusual, as the record shows, but hardly necessary.

It matters when that is true because ideas have consequences.

Here, by the way some details re the shooter emerge. More.

  • Delicious
  • Facebook
  • Reddit
  • StumbleUpon
  • Twitter
  • RSS Feed

48 Responses to Darwinists anxious to avoid blame in Aurora, Colorado, theatre massacre

  1. 1

    He was a graduate student in neuroscience and apparently very smart. I wonder what he believed about the human brain?

  2. The atheists have begun blaming the shooting on Christianity:
    http://debunkingchristianity.b.....lt-of.html

  3. A psychopath is going to find a rationale for his actions, whether it’s from the Bible or Darwin or Karl Marx or Adolph Hitler is incidental. Which in my book makes anyone, on any side of the “culture war,” who attempts to make political hay of the tragedies they cause a borderline sociopath him- or herself.

  4. jstanley01, sometimes patterns in offenses are important. They may enable us to assess threats better.

    Some of us are quite interested to know why Holmes decided to withdraw from neuroscience, and whether that decision figured in his subsequent actions.

    Very few people commit mass murder because their hamster dies. But some fields of science become an obsession for a few individuals who are at risk to go on to commit massacres. It may useful to gather information on the patterns: What fields? Why?

  5. Well said jstanley. It seems that despite the spin of this post, the darwinists were not the first to bring up Darwin in this tragedy. It was Rick Warren and a republican politician.O’leary found a backdoor way to make hay of the tragedy.

  6. TIL:

    I see at your link:

    On the “Debunking Christianity” blog, Cathy Cooper argues that Christian belief encourages the idea that all people are sinful, but that all believers are saved by faith alone. “Christianity provides believers with a basis for the belief that they are absolved from taking responsibility for their own bad behavior” . . .

    This is a case of ill-informed, assertive hostility and outright slander in action.

    Let me just clip a little from the original source of the Evangelical Christian faith she is targetting, on correction. Including, first, the particular text she is wrenching utterly out of context:

    Eph 2:8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith —and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

    1 Jn 3:7 Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. He who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous. 8 He who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work. 9 No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God. 10 This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God; nor is anyone who does not love his brother.

    11 This is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another. 12 Do not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own actions were evil and his brother’s were righteous. 13 Do not be surprised, my brothers, if the world hates you. 14 We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love our brothers. Anyone who does not love remains in death. 15 Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life in him.

    16 This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.

    1 Cor 6:9 Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders 10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

    Eph 4:17 So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. 18 They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. 19 Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more.

    20 You, however, did not come to know Christ that way. 21 Surely you heard of him and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. 22 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

    25 Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body. 26 “In your anger do not sin”[d]: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 and do not give the devil a foothold. 28 He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need.

    In short, Ms Cooper needs to openly retract and frankly apologise for her slanderous misrepresentation of the Christian Faith, and its adherents. Yes, Christians, like others struggle with the implications of being finite, fallible, morally fallen/struggling and too often ill-willed, and yes there are points in the history of the church and in the lives of Christians that show this all too glaringly [which tends to receive one sided emphasis by today's jaundiced debunkers . . . ], but it is also emphatically the case that the Christian faith and its adherents have made a great contribution to moral progress across the world for 2,000 years; much of this traceable to the specific teachings as just sampled that directly and unequivocally connect salvation by grace through to holiness and moral transformation to the good and the resulting doing good in life, church, family and community. In short, the things that are often talked about under the headings: discipleship, repentance, transformation, sanctification, holiness, renewal, reformation and the like.

    Not that I am holding my breath, on the regrettable track record of today’s aggressive atheistical advocates. And I notice teh media seemingly gleefully report such assertions without balance, as though they were established fact.

    As for Mr Myers’ “Christianity is ****-poor at doing more than providing lip-service against violence, but it’s at best a passive enabler,” he should be required to publicly apologise on the long history that he sweeps away with a vulgarity and a slanderous false, turnabout assertion. Let him start by looking at say the track record of Prison Fellowship or the Salvation Army, just to begin getting his facts straight.

    Since it is liable to come up, I would note on such a mass-shooting [have we forgotten Mumbai etc (where ordinary people are not armed and arms are very hard to get)], that the first thing is, why is there a large crowd in a terrorism-haunted age, without specifically armed and trained individuals?

    Have we not heard of “soft targets”?

    Or, that here is nothing a hawk loves like a nice, fat, peaceable dove — for lunch?

    Why is it that the theatre chain takes such a stance that reportedly people who have concealed carry permits are blocked or even removed from its theatres?

    Have we forgotten that the consistent pattern of these mass shootings is that they stop shortly after the first armed responders — voluntary and impromptu or official (usually, much later) — show up and take decisive action?

    So, why not take steps to assure that no major crowd event is more than a few seconds away from a first responder?

    And as for the notion that a nation that has such porous borders and such a high incidence of criminality could stop those determined to do this sort of thing by imposing tighter gun laws, let me just say that when guns are banned, the outlaws will have the guns.

    Which is exactly what happened here. This man knew he was tackling a soft target. So: how long before someone will pull another Ft Hood?

    I suggest it is time that a civilian Marshall corps be formed, trained and armed. The concealed carry permit system looks like a good start point for that. With enough of these around, there will be sufficient likelihood that there are few soft targets to dissuade those inclined to shoot people like fish in a barrel.

    KF

    PS: JS, it is a little less simple and unconnected than you make it out to be. First, cf here on the inescapable IS-OUGHT gap problem of evo mat, and then here on how long ago this has been highlighted (with Alcibiades as exhibit 1). There is reason to be concerned about a system that in the voice of scientism [which claims or implies that all knowledge must come with the imprimatur of "science], as well as here on the specific, painful but well documented links highlighted by Weikart (and others). This discussion of a book by Phillips may also be helpful in starting the clearing out a lot of cobwebs.

  7. More re Holmes: Was in a neuroscience doctorate program. Mystery deepens: (doesn’t seem like overtly unsuccessful person)

    In a resume posted on Monster.com, Holmes listed himself as an “aspiring scientist” and said he was looking for a job as a laboratory technician, the Associated Press reported.

    The resume described how Holmes worked as a summer intern at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla in 2006 and mapped the neurons of Zebra finches and studied the flight muscles of hummingbirds while he was an undergraduate at UC Riverside.

    He also worked one summer as a counselor at a camp for underprivileged children. The chief executive at Camp Max Straus said Holmes worked there in 2008 and “had no incidents or disciplinary concerns.”

  8. 8

    Hello kairofocus,

    as Christians we try to live by Jesus’ commandments… and we were persecuted by thousands. In the United States more than 4000 Christians (JWs) were incarcerated in federal prisons for refusing to bear arms.

    Jesus commanded us: “Continue to love your enemies, to do good to those hating you.” (Luke 6:27; Matthew 22:39) When one of his disciples tried to defend him with a sword, Jesus told him: “Return your sword to its place, for all those who take the sword will perish by the sword.” (Matthew 26:52)

    IMHO Jesus showed us by his example that arming yourself is not the solution. Especially if your’re aiming for everlasting life.

    Tobi

  9. Holmes studies zebra finches and hummingbirds? Ah, those evil ornithologists! We must ban bird watching!

  10. This is a case of ill-informed, assertive hostility and outright slander in action.

    No it isn’t you windbag.

    ‘Salvation by grace alone’ with a side-dish of ‘Total depravity’just happens to be the textbook dogma of a substantial denomination of Christians.

    Hint: they’re called Baptists!

    Slanderous!

    Really, Kairosfocus, your studied, reactionary, professional outrage and constant demands for an apology from anyone who might disagree with you is hilarious.

    Feel the faux outrage!!

  11. Bartax,

    “‘Salvation by grace alone’ with a side-dish of ‘Total depravity’just happens to be the textbook dogma of a substantial denomination of Christians.

    Hint: they’re called Baptists!”

    Hint: Baptists are no different than any other evangelical-leaning denomination that accepts the Bible as authoritative; including the passages quoted by KF; your little out of context snippet notwithstanding.

  12. News,

    Since we’re discussing the shooter, I found another link on your Hufpo link to a video of Holmes when he was 18 (6 years ago)….:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/.....92991.html

    “His presentation is on ‘temporal illusion,’ which he defines as “an illusion that allows you to change the past.”

    He says he studies subjective experience, calling it ‘what takes place inside the mind, as opposed to the external world.’”

    Pure speculation here, but on another blog I frequent they’re discussing whether Holmes is mentally ill, given that his mother knew pretty much right away that he was the shooter when called by police.

    I also figured out that the way he was dressed – in all black, and tactical gear with helmet, throat and groin protectors and a gas mask are very reminiscent of a similar costume warn by a fictional mass killer in a Uwe Boll movie from 2009 called “Rampage.” The similarities are striking. The gas mask from the crime scene was photographed by the media and it’s the same as the one in the movie.

    Given that Holmes told the police: “I’m the Joker,” and then told them that there were booby traps in his apartment, some in the defense are going to be thinking that Holmes lives his favorite movie characters. They’re going to make the case that the guy did not know the difference between fantasy and reality; that he believed he could “change the past.”

    Where this is potentially going though does not diminish the evil nature of the crime, nor the perpetrator’s responsibility. But I think an insanity defense is probably already being built, and these will certainly be some of the issues.

  13. Speaking of snippets….

    Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life in him.

    Tell that to the preachers at the state penitentiary. Death row? Pah! They’re just wasting their time – God says so.

    (No doubt there’s some serpentine bolus of theology to iron out that little wrinkle, but hey….it’s a living, right?)

  14. TIL:

    I am aware of the Christian tradition of pacifism, which has emphasised texts such as you have cited.

    However, once we move to the citizen in community level, such is balanced by say Rom 13:1 – 10, where we see the state and its officials armed with the sword in defence of the civil peace of justice in a world in which there are many wolfish criminals around; which includes the organised responsible citizenry.

    That is the specific context — and there is a considerable body of relevant biblical, theological and historical scholarship –in which I have suggested as a common sense step, that we need a significant civilian Marshals service in a terrorism-haunted world (which, BTW, is not the same as saying any and everyone can go buy a gun and tote it around like it was the Wild West movies).

    Mumbai 2008 is a good indicator on that.

    In short, somebody has to be the protective shepherd if sheep are to safely graze.

    I suggest you may find my discussion here on in context — cf esp section E on the roots of modern democratic self government — helpful.

    KF

  15. Bartax,

    “Tell that to the preachers at the state penitentiary. Death row? Pah! They’re just wasting their time – God says so.”

    Your understanding of the Christian concept of redemption is sorely lacking. Look into it. You might actually learn something of value.

    One person who wrote those passages, Paul, (the Ephesians passages) was a murderer himself. So through the gospel he was redeemed. The key here though is that he did not continue to murder. His life was changed. And that’s what the Christian gospel is about – a changed life. If there is no changed life, then the message is that faith is useless.

    But I’m sensing that discussing these issues with you is also useless.

    Have a good day.

  16. BT:

    First of all, you have resorted to namecalling, which is over the line.

    You need to walk that back.

    Second, CY — thanks (AGAIN!) for watching my 6 — is right.

    The Baptists (and my native land was deeply shaped by a native Baptist church tracing to black American C18 baptists such as George Liele, Moses Baker and co) are in fact working under the exact texts I have cited. Some may be full-bore Calvinists, but in that context “total depravity” amounts to saying much as I described: we ALL struggle with the limitations of being finite, fallible, fallen (in ways that affect our whole life and all our faculties), morally struggling and too often ill-willed. It does not mean that we are all as bad as we can be all the time. It does mean that the path of virtue is a struggle of a long obedience in the same direction. Or, as Rom 2 highlights:

    Rom 2:6 God “will give to each person according to what he has done.”[a] 7 To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. 8 But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger . . . 11 For God does not show favoritism.

    In short, each of us is responsible to persist in the way of the truth and the right s/he knows or should know. Which includes penitence when we stumble and determination to keep going towards the right.

    Finally, you have managed to wrench scripture badly out of context.

    Hate — as Jesus pointed out in the Sermon on the Mount (which his cousin John was alluding to) — is the moral precursor to murder, is just as wrong before God as the carried out deed, and too often is acted out through the horrific physical deed.

    For instance in the case in view, if the evidently guilty man is sane enough to know he was doing wrong, he had to have been willfully intent on robbing innocents of their lives. With the booby trapped apartment it looks like he intended to rob police officers of their lives and maybe his neighbours in the Apt Block.

    Murder is the ultimate hate crime, and mass murder points to a misanthrope.

    That said, murderers can become penitents, and can be forgiven.

    The penitent thief on the cross next to Jesus was apparently a party to murderous brigandage as part of insurrection. He found forgiveness on the gibbet, and a gracious — undeserved (none of us deserve forgiveness and eternal life) — welcome.

    The apostle Paul, conscious of his murderous persecutions, acknowledged himself exhibit no 1 on being the worst of sinners. He too found forgiveness.

    In short, the reasonable force of the text is that an impenitent murderer has not got eternal life.

    But, one may turn and find repentance and forgiveness.

    Indeed, a man I own as friend is a murder convict here, who was literally sitting in his cell hearing the gallows being set up and tested for him. A man who reached out to him brought the gospel and hope. Her Majesty at just that time said enough and insisted on abolition of hanging in territories under her crown. He was thus saved from the rope in a context that led to penitence and transformation so complete that he freely walks back and forth between his cell and his rehabilitation job in the shop now operated by that man’s children.

    He is forgiven and transformed through godly discipleship.

    Which is exactly what the fuller counsels of the scriptures would lead us to expect. As well as 2,000 years of cases in point.

    KF

  17. CY: Spot on as usual. Maybe, BT will be stirred to rethink. KF

  18. Sounds like Holmes is only one tearful repentance away from Heaven….how nice!

    I’m sure his victims will be thrilled to hear he’s really, really sorry about the whole ‘Batman thing’ when they meet him.

    In the meantime any atheists Mr. Holmes managed to murder are right now burning in hell. This minute….and forever.

    Praise Jesus.

  19. Bartax, you really are becoming a bore. This is not a trollbox. If you speculate any further on the eternal destinies of people you don’t even know, and don’t care about …

  20. KF,

    Well thanks, but I think your analysis is far more “spot on” than mine. :)

  21. @ Bartax.

    Please do yourself a favor and educate yourself on “Salvation” according to the Christian worldview and while you’re at it, learn the concept of “Grace” too. Your self-proclaimed erudition on these matters is sorely lacking.

  22. KRock,

    Much appreciated, but something tells me that educating him/herself to the point of understanding is not Bartax’s purpose here. As News pointed out, it’s just to troll.

    Onlookers, however, may be here for education and understanding, so they are the audience worthy of explaining your POV.

  23. BT:

    You are in the position of playing at deflective rhetoric.

    It is a well-known fact (with millions of cases in point) that sinners can find forgiveness and transformation through living encounter with God mediated by the gospel.

    That is not on trial, you are.

    And sadly, so far you are failing.

    Beyond that, I draw your attention to Rom 2 again: we are each responsible to respond with penitence and persistence to the light of truth and right that we know or should know; in a world where really bad things can happen to good people, and where bad people can by penitence be transformed to the good.

    So, the choice of moving to the light or the darkness is before each of us, including you. The time for trollish frivolity, scripture-twisting games and sneeringly glib talking points is over.

    KF

  24. Back to the real issues though.

    TM asked what he believed about the human brain. That’s an issue I’m interested in too; because the defense in my view is going to be working on an insanity plea, and I think his motivation may have more to do with his particular view of the brain vs. the mind, and how he came to form those views – which may particularly form his understanding of the value of human life. That’s just a guess, but I find it interesting that a guy who is studying neuroscience at the graduate level (mind you, doing poorly academically by all accounts), would come to the belief that people are less valuable than they are. You’d think that studying anything having to do with human biology would give someone a greater respect for the value of human life. I don’t think anyone at this point would deny that he had a low view of human value than the average person; while they may differ as to why that is.

    It’s quite clear to me based on just a few bits of information that this guy was pursuing neuroscience for a purpose beyond simply having a career in it. It doesn’t look as though he was simply career minded – though he couldn’t get a job in CA with his undergrad degree, so he decided to study further. I’m thinking that he was motivated by some very strange ideas about reality that may actually be supported by some in academia. That may not be a motivating factor, perhaps he’s simply crazy, but it is interesting.

    The defense is going to charge heavily into his statement to police: “I’m the Joker,” and to focus on the idea that he lived in a fantasy world, which eventually affected his ability to do well academically – given that elsewhere he was an honor student; while the prosecution is going to focus on the calculated nature of the crime from the planning, to the fact that he desired to go further until he got caught in the act.

    I’m thinking that if the calls did not come in when they did from numerous cell phones and via dispatchers, and had someone not identified him outside the theater in the parking lot, he would have gone back into the theater once he reloaded and killed more people, then killed himself. Then nobody would have known about the booby traps in his apartment, and many more would have died. That seems to be what the plan was, and the body armor was intended to simply prolong his ability to kill.

    And of course there’s going to be a focus among certain pundit factions: He went to a Presbyterian church. He went to science camps, etc…… In fact, ABC news already made the charge that he was a member of the Tea Party with absolutely no evidence other than his name. Apparently a guy in Aurora, who’s a member of the Tea Party, is also named James Holmes. Leave it to the MSM to get things completely wrong out of a motivation of tarnishing those they tend to disagree with.

    There’s going to be a lot of speculation based on very little evidence so far. Investigators are saying that he left very little as far as an internet footprint. No manifesto has surfaced (so far).

    Some other speculation is that he was a member of Black Bloc, a spinoff of the Occupy movement, but whatever evidence there is of that at this point is highly speculative based on the fact that he wore black and a gas mask, which Black Bloc members are known for; combined with the analysis that The Dark Knight Rises has anti-Occupy undertones. Conservative sources are giving the movie rave reviews for that reason.

    There’s room for all kinds of speculation here, because so little is actually known about this guy. It’s been two days, so that’s to be expected. But I think certain angles need to be investigated by bloggers and the like, because the MSM is going to completely ignore them. We can bet on that.

  25. F/N: It seems that it needs to be explicitly pointed out to those of the ilk of Cooper and Myers, that if one has slandered, a retraction and apology are matters of common decency and basic broughtupcy. And, BT, slander is not mere disagreement, cf. the exchange with TIL above. As in, slander implies willful, irresponsible or knowing false accusation that hopes to profit from the falsehood being perceived as truth, to the detriment of others. A gross failure of duties of care to the truth and to fairness. Where, habitual utter disregard for such duties of care — which at certain threshold is actionable under tort, FYI — points to the massive unbridgeable IS-OUGHT gap, resulting moral bankruptcy and invitation to nihilism that lie in the heart of evolutionary materialism. Cf Plato on this, 2350 years ago. KF

  26. @CannuckianYankee

    “Onlookers, however, may be here for education and understanding, so they are the audience worthy of explaining your POV.”

    You’re absolutely right! I guess I just get tired of all the plastic hand grenades that trolls, such as Bartax, constantly throw at the Christian worldview …

  27. KRock,

    “You’re absolutely right! I guess I just get tired of all the plastic hand grenades that trolls, such as Bartax, constantly throw at the Christian worldview …”

    Well, most of them are gone now, but a few slip in from time to time.

  28. CY:

    I think, amidst the fog of back-forths and institutions told to keep mum, we have at least one key clue (in addition to the fact that he abused his grad student status to order hazardous materials and bought arms in advance):

    the owner of a gun range told the AP that Holmes applied to join the club last month but never became a member because of his behavior and a “bizarre” message on his voice mail.

    He emailed an application to join the Lead Valley Range in Byers on June 25 in which he said he was not a user of illegal drugs or a convicted felon, said owner Glenn Rotkovich. When Rotkovich called to invite him to a mandatory orientation the following week, he said he heard a message on Holmes’ voice mail that was “bizarre — guttural, freakish at best.”

    He left two other messages but eventually told his staff to watch out for Holmes at the July 1 orientation and not to accept him into the club, Rotkovich said . . .

    Plainly, something was not right here, and it was brewing for months, taking in the time in which the materials etc were acquired.

    Something else in the linked report, from his family and its home church:

    The pastor for the family of the suspect also recalled a shy boy who was driven to succeed academically.

    “He wasn’t an extrovert at all. If there was any conversation, it would be because I initiated it, not because he did,” said Jerald Borgie, senior pastor of Penasquitos Lutheran Church. Borgie said he never saw the suspect mingle with others his age at church.

    Holmes told the pastor he wanted to attend a University of California school and pursue graduate studies. Borgie, who last spoke with Holmes about six years ago, doesn’t remember the suspect being more specific about his goals.

    “He had some goals. He wanted to succeed, he wanted to go out, and he wanted to be the best,” Borgie said. “He took pride in his academic abilities. A good student. He didn’t brag about it.”

    The family has belonged to the church for about 10 years, Borgie said. The suspect’s mother, Arlene, attends services every week and volunteers her time . . .

    If you have a bright, somewhat shy academically inclined kid of a family in your church, who is pursuing university studies for an advanced degree, it would be reasonable that a pastor would try to keep in touch. That suggests that the lack of interaction basically since Holmes went off to college was probably because the young man drifted from church involvement, which was already inadequate. (It is not normal for a young person actively involved in a church not to have visible friends at church. But, that is what the senior pastor reported. [The attempts by Cooper et al to blame the Christian Faith, look ever more tacky, in this light.])

    Multiply that by the evolutionary materialistic scientism milieu of neuroscience and the top candidate explanation is that this young man was moving to the sort of worldview that dominates this field and similar fields. Which is the expected ideology. And indeed, the bright kid from church not prepared for the issues and rhetoric of the college campus going off to college with the Bible on the top of his clothes in his suitcase and coming back home with it under the bottom — or outright dumping it across his first year — is a stock story.

    If we do not “own” and seriously ground our beliefs and values, in an aggressively atheistical climate, they will be vulnerable to collapse. Sometimes, with serious consequences. (Cf. here on in context.)

    It looks like this young man was bright through the undergrad phases, from remarks on being able to take classes, just listen in — no notes — and hit the A range. Maybe, there were some poor study skills at work there, but that will come out later.

    He had to try for the PhD level for the field, and seems to have gone to a direct PhD programme, a big jump from undergraduate studies. He was so promising that he got NIH funding.

    After it looks like a year and a bit more, he hit a wall and quit after apparently doing poorly in comprehensives in the “spring.”

    In that window, he would have been in trouble and would have known it if he was heading for a disastrous first year assessment (especially if he had been preparing inadequately). I would normally recommend a Master’s programme for at least a year, then an upgrade to a PhD if there is some showing of the ability. But then, I believe strongly in creep then walk before you run, and run before you fly.

    It would have been expected that someone as bright as this kid, if he hit the wall, would try again. But, he quit — notice, despite the gag order at the school, it has come out that his quitting was a surprise.

    This may well have been his first serious encounter with academic failure, and it may have blown up his probably fragile sense of self-worth; which was likely to be wrapped up in his persona as a bright and academically promising kid. He also probably had very little social and counselling support, in a context where a solid line to a good pastor, priest or Rabbi would be worth its weight in gold. I have known of suicide attempts or outright suicides triggered under those circumstances. Or, “nervous breakdown,” and the like.

    This may be a case of even more spectacular breakdown. And, he may indeed have gone insane in the criminally relevant sense.

    Obviously, a very sketchy explanation, but one that I would take as the one to beat based on what we are likely to find for now.

    For, it is not exactly uncommon for something like the above to happen, save that the degree of breakdown is not normally that spectacular. If violence happens in such cases, most often it is against oneself, i.e. a suicide attempt, maybe disguised to look like an accident. In some cases, it is by courting an accident, without even articulating this to oneself. Depression is a subtle, devious and destructive disease.

    So, whether or not this is the actual best explanation when the dust settles, the pattern is one we do need to pay attention to.

    KF

  29. 29

    Hello kairofocus,

    I am well aware of Rom 13. That’s why god’s organization instructs their members to submit to the state’s authority when it comes to taxes — according to god’s law.

    The Bible’s teaching on the paying of taxes does not imply that human governments can claim absolute authority over their subjects. Jesus taught that God grants only limited authority to these governments. When asked whether it was proper in God’s sight to pay taxes to the then ruling Roman government, Jesus responded with this profound statement: “Pay back Caesar’s things to Caesar, but God’s things to God.”—Mark 12:13-17.

    Governments—represented by “Caesar”—mint or print money and help establish its value. So in God’s view, they have the right to ask that it be paid back in the form of taxes. Yet, Jesus showed that “God’s things”—our life and worship—cannot be claimed by any human institution. When human laws or requirements clash with God’s laws, Christians “must obey God as ruler rather than men.”—Acts 5:29.
    Christians today may be disturbed by how some of their taxes are spent, but they do not attempt to interfere with or influence government actions by resisting them or refusing to pay taxes. That would betray a lack of trust in God’s solution for mankind’s woes. Instead, they patiently wait for God’s due time to intervene in human affairs through the rule of his Son, Jesus, who said: “My kingdom is no part of this world.”—John 18:36.

  30. TIL:

    Rom 13:1 – 10 is about much more than paying taxes and speaks to civil authority, its status as God’s servant to defend the civil peace of justice and even gives Paul’s form of the Golden Rule in the context of good citizenship:

    Rom 13:1 Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.

    2 Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 3 For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you.

    4 For he is God’s servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God’s servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. 5 Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience.

    6 This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. 7 Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.

    8 Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law. 9 The commandments, “Do not commit adultery,” “Do not murder,” “Do not steal,” “Do not covet,”[a] and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”[b] 10 Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.

    11 And do this, understanding the present time. The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. 12 The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. 13 Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. 14 Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature. [NIV '84]

    Notice the highlighted.

    As I already linked, there is a considerable history on the impact of this and related texts and associated study and academic reflection on the rise of modern liberty. Especially, I highlight the dual covenants of nationhood under God and just government under God. From the life of Moshe, David, Daniel and more [including Jeroboam vs Solomon and Rehoboam before he went bad], we can see the case of government gone bad, and the interposition or rise of lower magistrates or representatives to make remonstrance and call for reformation. Where such is resisted, we see a place for resistance to tyranny and institution of new government on sound and just principles. This is the backdrop of especially the first two paragraphs of the 1776 US DOI and its antecedent covenantal call to prayer and penitence [cf the discussion in my linked note on Govt under God]. john Locke — contrary to a lot of revisionism — was drawing on a serious stream of Bible-rooted Christian thought. The comparison of the Dutch DOI of 1581 is quite illuminating too. Not to mention Vindiciae, Lex Rex etc.

    You may want to look here on for specific and indirect impacts of the above covenantal theology of nationhood and government on the rise of the American republic and through that the rise of modern democracy. Churchill noted of this key development in government that it seems a bad form of gov’t, until you look at the alternatives.

    KF

  31. F/N: I was actually intending to link a more extended form of what is at 28 above.

  32. KF,

    Gathering thoughts:

    After having read your link, I would say that the glaring omission of Cooper and her ilk is the success of 12 step groups; which are obviously modeled after everything that she abhors about the gospel. 12 step groups bring liberty to the enslaved. They do so by making the 12 stepper accountable; not absolving their behavior by some sort of magic formula.

    People cannot overcome their slavery to evil behavior without first acknowledging that they are powerless over the behavior. Seeking a power outside themselves thus is the only real way to overcome what enslaves us.

    Now some will say; “but that does not have to be God or religion.” There’s some truth to that. Some alcoholics can be helped by a friend or a family member, but they can’t do it on their own.

    But alcoholism is just one form of behavior that enslaves. When we talk about the human condition; it’s more than just being an alcoholic, or being a habitual gambler, or a thief, murderer, etc…

    The gambler is likely to have more than gambling as a problem.

    Sin is pervasive. It isn’t an issue of just correcting one single behavior. It’s an issue of once you overcome one thing, another thing steps into place, and it becomes a lifetime struggle.

    Cooper seems to believe that if we allow people to find relief from the guilt associated with their evil behavior that they will excuse the evil behavior and do more of it.

    It’s quite the opposite. Cooper fails to recognize or acknowledge the enslaving nature of evil behavior (sin). People who are enslaved and come to know that they are, begin to desire freedom. Christians come to understand that they would rather be free than enslaved by their sins. Being first freed from the guilt of past sins is an avenue to being freed from the sin itself.

    The alcoholic doesn’t begin desiring freedom from alcoholism; quite the opposite, in fact. But when a person gains the ability to contrast what their like is like when they are sober and in control with when they are not sober and not in control; the desire for sobriety becomes gradually stronger. The alcoholic then learns that there is less guilt from being sober and in control than when not. So being free of guilt is such because one has not only been freed from one master, but voluntarily placed oneself under another master – the one that makes one accountable. The alcoholic then learns that there’s more freedom in being accountable than in not.

    But Christians would be the last to say that murderers should somehow be excused because they’ve come to Christ. Rather, the Christian who has murdered and faces the consequences, if he/she has decided to travel along the road to recovery from sin (and nobody’s forcing him or her), will accept that he/she must also accept the consequences. Remorse, repentance and reconciliation are a huge part of redemption. It’s a hard thing, not an easy one.

    Thanks for your insight.

  33. F/n 2: Impromptu 71 YO civilian marshal in action.

  34. CY:

    The AA-style 12-step programme is the elephant in the room that the dismissive atheists are not talking about. Here is my clip from the AA big book:

    ______

    >> Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path. Those who do not recover are people who cannot or will not completely give themselves to this simple program, usually men and women who are constitutionally incapable of be-ing honest with themselves . . . . If you have decided you want what we have and are willing to go to any length to get it—then you are ready to take certain steps. At some of these we balked. We thought we could ?nd an easier, softer way. But we could not . . . . Remember that we deal with alcohol—cunning, baf-?ing, powerful! Without help it is too much for us.

    But there is One who has all power—that One is God.

    May you ?nd Him now!

    Half measures availed us nothing . . . . Here are the steps we took, which are suggested as a program of recovery:

    1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol— that our lives had become unmanageable.

    2. Came to believe that a Power greater than our-selves could restore us to sanity.

    3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.

    4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

    5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.[--> This is the famous, pivotal public confession, "I am an Alcoholic . . . "]

    6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.

    7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.

    8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.

    9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

    10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.

    11. Sought through prayer and meditation to im-prove our conscious contact with God as we un-derstood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.

    12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

    Many of us exclaimed, “What an order! I can’t go through with it.’’ Do not be discouraged. No one among us has been able to maintain anything like per-fect adherence to these principles. We are not saints. The point is, that we are willing to grow along spiritual lines. The principles we have set down are guides to progress. We claim spiritual progress rather than spiritual perfection . . . [Alcoholics Anonymous, "big Book," ch 5, pp.58 - 60.] >>
    _______

    Yes, some do pull themselves together by good luck, family support and force of will. But that does not detract from the force of the plain record on the addictiveness and deceptiveness of life-dominating sins, and what it typically takes to break free and stay free.

    In addition, there is the little matter of warrant for specifically faith in God met in the face of the risen, living Christ.

    KF

  35. “I think, amidst the fog of back-forths and institutions told to keep mum, we have at least one key clue (in addition to the fact that he abused his grad student status to order hazardous materials and bought arms in advance):”

    KF, just a quick note, then onto more reading.

    This is something that the ones calling quickly for some sort of mental illness verdict are overlooking. His grades didn’t diminish for no reason. He started planning this crime well in advance, and his falling grades probably resulted as he made the decision to commit the crime, and didn’t expect that his grades would mean much once committed.

    His behavior is quite logical for someone intent on doing something that would render whatever achievements he had made academically, meaningless.

  36. We will see, though my guess is he made too much of a leap and was out of depth, confronting him with academic failure for the first time; often a severe blow to one’s sense of self-worth.

  37. My main point in the above is that mental illness would not be the same as a temporary insanity; which I believe is what the defense will go for. I don’t think he showed signs of mental illness. Or at least there’s scant evidence at this time that he did. His behavior in all accounts prior to the last year or so was pretty normal if not just a bit eccentric. The mother probably recognized that he wasn’t “himself” when the police inquired.

    Apparently the guy has been exhibiting some rather bizarre behavior in jail as well – spitting on guards, yelling, etc… A photo found on an adult dating site showed him with red hair, which did not look at all natural. Nothing unusual about that, except given the other bizarre behavior. And it’s none of that behavior is something you’d expect from a PhD candidate.

    Some are speculating that the behavior is all a ruse intended to gain sympathy for an insanity defense, but It just doesn’t calculate for me how a guy could have such promise and then suddenly decide to throw it all away with a crime of this magnitude. Something had to have snapped.

    I’m not one who believes that insanity pleas in most cases are justified. In fact if you look at this from a mental health perspective, insanity does not exist. It’s not a term used in the mental health profession apart from its co-use in the legal system. Meaning that unless there’s criminal activity involved, there’s no “insanity” per se.

    I fully expect that whatever defense is carefully laid out in this case, it will be struck down. Insanity defenses have not been too successful in recent times. There are a few exceptions, but courts are much more cautious than they used to be.

    Colorado has a unique system for deciding capital crime cases and since long before the abolition period it was a state considered to be one of the strictest when it came to capital murder. But of course that’s changed more recently. However, If I’m not mistaken the jury will decide the penalty in this case, and they can elect for the death penalty. That’s what makes their system so unique. Nobody has any inkling of the penalty until the Jury deliberates in the penalty phase. But I think the death penalty is the likely outcome in this case.

    Colorado also has some very colorful stories regarding law enforcement cutting deals with murderers for a lesser sentence than death, only for the murderers to find out that law enforcement cannot make such deals. That was how police in 1929 got Fred Fleagle of the infamous Fleagle Gang to implicate the other 3 accomplices (his brother Jake and two others) in the robbery and 4 murders in Lamar Colorado and Western Kansas in 1928. They promised him a lesser sentence, but he, along with 2 others were executed anyway. The Jury decided. Jake eluded capture for another year and was killed in an encounter with police in Branson MO, in 1930.

    Colorado hasn’t executed an inmate since 2007, and it currently has 3 persons on death row. I think this case may succeed in expediting that process.

  38. “We will see, though my guess is he made too much of a leap and was out of depth, confronting him with academic failure for the first time; often a severe blow to one’s sense of self-worth.”

    Well that’s certainly a reasonable possibility. It will be up to the prosecution to prove otherwise, or at least to counter any attempt to suggest that he wasn’t responsible for the crime.

    I don’t think we know enough at this point to say, but it seems to me that his academic downturn was very recent; like in the last maybe two or three months, and at the same time he began to plan the crime by ordering ammo and protective gear. I still think something snapped in his normal behavior, but it seems that he was able to calculate and deliberate, rather than to act out of impulse, and that’s what I think will come to light in court.

    The defense does not have much choice in the matter. He was caught literally with a smoking gun. The only possible defense is insanity.

    That’s why I think the prosecution will win every battle in this one. Plus, they will have a very sympathetic jury on their side. It will be difficult for the defense to find jurors who have not been in some way affected by this crime.

  39. KF,

    Hate dwelling on this, but in the interest of clarity:

    One of those I’ve been in discussion with who’s making the charge of mental illness – and again, he doesn’t know; but he’s making that assessment based on a deterioration in normative behavior; this person is himself an MD with a mental health background – I’m assuming a psychiatrist, but I don’t know for certain.

    But he’s guessing that Holmes’ age combined with his behavioral deterioration fit a very recent onset of mental illness.

    My only problem with that is the fact that his criminal behavior shows something opposite to typical signs of mental illness. It’s deliberate and calculated; i.e., organized as opposed to disorganized. While it’s true that not all persons with mental illness have disorganized behavior, it’s the other, non-criminal behavior that contrasts with the criminal here, in my thinking. It seems as though the guy transfered all his control onto all the issues regarding the deliberation of the crime itself and all other issues were sidelined – his school, his relationship with family and friends, etc….. I can imagine that setting out to massacre a great number of people might present itself with some sort of breakdown in one’s ability to focus on other things. But it could be the opposite. I really don’t know.

    My thinking in the whole matter is that there are certainly things in life that might cause our behavior to change. It could be PTSD related, or it could be some other loss or disappointment. Many of the symptoms we face in relation to these events are quite normal, and are really not to be construed as necessarily long-term mental health issues. It’s the events themselves that trigger the changes in behavior, and not some chemical imbalance in the circuitry of the brain; although they could result in that; I really don’t know. But while mental health services are certainly helpful in such events, and even more helpful would be pastoral counseling, etc; we do have choices in the matter, and we can’t excuse ourselves from having at least some behavioral control.

    Holmes may have snapped due to stresses, but that is not in the end going to excuse him to go ahead and kill innocent people.

    I know you’re not saying that it does, but I thought my position should be clarified. Not all mental health issues involve an inability to be in control. In fact, when most mental health issues are adequately treated, behavioral control is justifiably expected. It’s in very rare cases where it might be impossible to expect a mentally ill person to not exercise at least some behavioral control. So even if the defense succeeds in convincing a jury that Holmes is mentally ill; and it may come to that, it will be up to a good prosecution team to dispel any thought that he was not therefore responsible.

  40. You can be mad AND bad. The issue is whether you knew you were in the wrong and had a choice. Academic failure can trigger serious depression but the acting out here is very different if it was that. As I noted if violence happens it usualy is suicide or attempted murder suicide against those imagined responsible.

  41. “As I noted if violence happens it usualy is suicide or attempted murder suicide against those imagined responsible.”

    I think Holmes’ intention was probably to commit suicide, but the police got to him before he could make that move. I believe many more would have died had he succeeded; not only in the theater, but in his apartment building as well. Hard to imagine, but I think that’s what he intended.

    The apartment would have been his revenge against the university, but I have not clue as to what the theater was all about. Senseless crimes don’t tend to have rational explanations.

  42. F/N: Looks like Rick Warren was taken way out of context, as speaking to Aurora:

    TWITTER’S limit on words allows no context for statements. A lack of contxt causes misinterpretation. So when you tweet what’s on your mind, people preassume (incorrectly) that you are talking about what’s on THEIR mind. This is a clear example. My tweet was a brief response to a question to me about SEXUAL PROMISCUITY. It had NOTHING to do with the tragedy in Colorado.! I had received this email from a dad: “Pastor Rick, my daughter told me her teacher said in class “There’s nothing wrong with sex with multiple partners! Sex is a natural, inate drive, and any attempt to limit it to one, single partner is a manmade construct.” THAT is what I was commenting on. Unfortunately, you also incorrectly presumed the context.

    As ENV notes, there was essentially no apology for the snipping out of context and sniping that appears above, from either Coyne or McGrath (whom Coyne cites). And on the subject, let us just say that the sexual amorality that RW objects to is a serious issue. Cf. here on the issue of evolutionary materialism’s is-ought gap, which is the underlying issue that leads to such amorality. And that has been pointed out as a challenge for evo mat since Plato, 2350 years ago. KF

  43. Just one question after reading the various comments here.

    If Holmes is shown to be mentally impaired, should he be tried in a court on a criminal charge?

  44. TA: There will likely be an insanity defence. I join those who predict it will fail, and on the same point that a pivotal point will be his warning on the booby trapped apartment. KF

  45. 45

    Now here are some conservative “Christians” blaming liberals (and non-theism) for the rampage. It’s so weird…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kR-mdYhbPvM
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x6YqNUVA5AQ

  46. I asked this: “If Holmes is shown to be mentally impaired, should he be tried in a court on a criminal charge?”

    Kairosfocus posted this: “There will likely be an insanity defence. I join those who predict it will fail, and on the same point that a pivotal point will be his warning on the booby trapped apartment.”

    Thanks for your speculation about what might happen in this case. However, that is not the question I asked.

    My question was this: if the suspect is judged to be mentally incompetent, should he face a criminal charge?

  47. Timothya,

    In my experience – and I actually have some, people declared to be incompetent to stand trial must meet very minimum requirements; which include non-understanding of their Miranda rights, limited knowledge of the basic structure of a court of law, unable to describe some basic details of what they are charged with and being unable to cooperate with defense lawyers or to behave appropriately in court.

    It has nothing to do with a person’s mental health. For example, people who are considered to be mentally retarded (not mentally ill) may or may not be declared incompetent. The same goes for those who are mentally ill, having some other illness that affects memory or judgment, or simply someone who cannot be easily educated for some other reason.

    The “insanity” defense has less to do with a diagnosis of mental illness and more to do with certain criteria and opinions from mental health professionals regarding the defendant’s mental state at the time of the alleged criminal activity. But again, insanity is not going to work if the defendant is uncooperative or is malingering. But That illustrates a problem with the insanity defense. Anyone who commits a crime could pretty much declare that they “weren’t in their right mind” at the time, if the insanity defense was applied evenly and consistently.

    I believe Holmes is attempting to build his own insanity and/or incompetence case by having sent a notebook depicting his killing intentions to a psychiatrist at his college (that’s the insanity angle), and claiming that he doesn’t remember the shooting (that’s the incompetence angle).

    Hint: The guy appears to have very little knowledge of what it takes to be declared incompetent – not because he’s stupid, but because he might be making all the wrong assumptions, and I also believe that if true and reliable, reports of his behavior in jail (spitting on guards and yelling/screaming) as well as behavior in court (seeming incoherence) may have been a sudden reaction to the fact that his plan to not be around for any trial, failed. I think on the other hand, that he may simply have been sedated for court due to his behavior in jail.

    He’s a bright guy, but he messed up in that department, I believe – probably because he had to come up with a new plan all of a sudden. The only way that an actual insanity defense will work for him is to be absolutely cooperative with his defense; which will knock one rung from the competence assessment against him.

    I believe that if he cooperates he will be declared competent (which will come first before any plea of insanity), and when that happens, the insanity defense will eventually fall apart based on similar criteria. KF is right. It’s a lot more than mere speculation how these things work ideally. Competency cases are not rare, and they occur in every jurisdiction; they aren’t limited to mass killers. They only relate to a person’s ability to stand trial, so they are a precondition for a criminal trial, and are often requested by the defense.

    I also agree that the warning regarding the bombs in his apartment will cause both the competency and the insanity cases to crumble. Second guessing a plan to kill is an indication that the killer knew that what he was doing was wrong; which is a huge chunk of a competency assessment. Competency assessors do not always have to rely on the cooperation of the defendant. They may use other information outside the interview process.

    But let’s asume that he is declared incompetent to stand trial. What would that mean? I believe that he would still be locked up for life in a mental institution that functions more like a prison than a hospital, with secure barbed-wire fences and sally-ports. I don’t think any mental health professional is going to take on the responsibility for having declared this guy safe and releasing him; particularly given his unpredictable behavior. His worst mistake is having no prior criminal record so that his “safeness” could be evaluated against some sort of history. In other words, the potential that he remains calm, cooperative and lucid for a period of time is going to mean nothing. He was calm, cooperative and lucid in most ways prior to his crime. You don’t get into PhD programs without some sort of comprehension and discipline. So his past good behavior may end up going against him. All of these issues are going to factor in his defense.

    The common mistake is to believe that a state cannot incarcerate you without having a fair trial. Oh yes they can, and they do it all the time. Most cases involve people with chronic mental illnesses or developmental disability. If you are declared a danger to society you can be locked up for as long as the state sees fit, regardless of whether you cooperated during your trial or not.

    This guy made a lot of mistakes; the first of which is not educating himself on these issues. Where he’s going is not going to be what he had in mind.

    Another issue will be if he is in fact malingering (which I believe is a pretty good speculation given some of the alleged actions I mentioned above), then eventually someone will figure him out. Faking a mental illness is very difficult to do consistently. That will probably have little affect on his incarceration IMHO. He will remain locked up based not on a court of law, but on the opinion of a panel of mental health professionals combined with some government intervention to assure the public safety. If you are deemed a danger to the public, you basically lose your right to a fair trial if you decide not to cooperate. Public safety will be more important in this case than the guy’s right to free movement and a fair trial due to his own non-cooperation or mental state.

    Of course all of the above are examples of the system working ideally. But all it could take is some nut on a panel or some politician with power and influence to reverse what the system is designed to do.

  48. Timothya

    One thing I forgot to mention.

    Quite often courts will delay a trial in cases where there’s a question of someone’s competence. In those cases the defendant will be sent somewhere that has a program to help them regain competence. I was involved in running such a program in a locked setting.

    That’s the sort of limbo land that a person declared incompetent might or will likely face. This could drag on for years if that’s the outcome.

Leave a Reply