The Man Who Wasn’t the Joker
As my post’s title is rather self-explanatory, I’ll save time explaining about who James Holmes is.
The point of this post is to debunk a disgusting message that is being spread at this very moment, and it’s important that I act fast before someone else decides to corroborate the unsupported dispatches being brought on by popular media outlets. That message, is of course the irritatingly persistent question that has been presented in multiple different ways on various topics, but all coincidentally stemming directly from a national tragedy.
“Did the film ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ inspire Holmes to commit the shooting”?
The answer, which I shouldn’t have to point out because of the numerous other occasions where this nearly copy/pasted question has been posed, is of course “no”. Allow me to explain why.
The first thing people should pay attention to, is the simple manner in which he used his so-called titling. Upon being asked his identity, he allegedly informed them that he was “The Joker”. While taken as a bold answer that could imply not only a dissociative identity disorder, as well as give the impression that he might have a slight obsessive nature towards the Joker’s archetypical persona, this is a strong over-analyzation and I believe Occam’s razor should be used to tear apart any misconception. Let me state for the record that I do recognize it is still early in the investigation process, and I am aware new facts could come into play that show proof of mental instability; however, I don’t believe that to be so in this case. I can only surmise that this was his snide way of downplaying the situation at hand, and by referring to himself as the joker he merely tried his hand at ironic sarcasm, not that he truly believed himself to be the corporeal manifestation of the comic book character people have associated this title with. I believe he offhandedly stated this, and the authorities as well as the media have taken it more than literally.
It would also seem that this has led many people to believe that because he has taken this fictional character to heart that he may have committed his horrible massacre at the theater in order to live out the agenda of someone as sadistic, and malevolent as the clown himself. However, there are several key elements that I have concluded should be considered when assessing the true motive of this killer. The first of which, is the manner in which the execution of his plan takes place. The joker had a knack for being a mastermind, however he was also known for his obsessive nature towards a single individual, that being batman himself. Holmes, while planning fairly well the event of the murders themselves, it would seem there was no clear message he was getting across, nor was it directed at any certain person(s). The Joker wanted to send a message to people to try to make batman as well as others see hopelessness as well as a sense of despair through themselves, not just through a senseless act. These were indiscriminate killings so far as everyone has concluded to this point, which would seem rather puzzling if this person were attempting to reincarnate the anima of Batman’s arch-nemesis.
Secondly, Joker was perceived as a villain with a type of awkward flair to his appearance. Wrapped in a distinguishing purple suit, it’s nearly impossible for one to mistake him for anyone else. Holmes however, did not commit to this fashion upon beginning his shooting, even when given the opportunity. Upon the return to his car, he covered himself in brightly dyed red hair, as well as cleverly cloaked himself in ballistics gear comparable to a member of SWAT. With protective neck guard, and padding for practically every part of his body that could use it, he entered the theater with an AR-15 rifle, a 12-gauge shotgun, and 40-caliber pistols. While it’s fairly difficult to argue that he came prepared to engage multiple targets with the purpose of total annihilation, it should be noted that he abandoned not only the Joker’s familiar finesse and style for clothing more realistically suited to the setting, this “sophisticated” procedure he carried out could’ve been executed by anyone else that has ever exited a movie theater through the alternate exit doors. I worked at a movie theater for years, and we used them to enter discreetly as to avoid being chastised by managers for tardiness. His level of sophistication used to commit this crime was sub par in my opinion, and I feel that if he were truly trying to live up to the highly regarded intellectual worth of the Joker, he would’ve chosen something more subtle than a set of guns and some tear gas. It begs the question of whether or not he was sincerely striving to embody the model of the clown, which is a pertinent issue to bring up if he is to be prosecuted accordingly.
Thirdly, was the thankfully brief conclusion to the story. In the end, his peaceful surrender sealed the deal as to why I don’t suppose he believes himself to be the joker. On various occasions, the clown has been incarcerated (thanks to the caped crusader) and those times have been as easy as the form in which Holmes gave himself over to authorities. In those cases, the Joker usually deliberately allowed himself to be captured, in order to complete a goal in a larger scheme. That doesn’t seem to be the case this time. I don’t believe there’s going to be any “part two” for the case of James Holmes, as his apprehension brings a sense of finality to events. This feels more like an isolated incident, in which there’s no room for a continuation, which is unlike any plan the Joker has ever hatched. All of his plans had a distinct purpose, a larger goal to work for. They weren’t so carelessly brought to a close with such an anti-climactic ending. It would seem this comes at either the hands of a lack of foresight, or perhaps merely the negligence to leave himself with room for escape. For someone who was described as brilliant, he has made himself look completely incompetent in the eyes of any criminal who has longevity in mind for their career.
Lastly, was his impulse to act alone. In any scheme in which the Joker was noted for being the criminal genius behind, he was almost unfailingly known to have with him his faithful lady Harley Quinn alongside him, let alone a collection of anonymous henchmen who were systematically battered to oblivion by the Dark Knight. There weren’t many tales of the Joker working alone without pawns to put in front of Batman, or some form of support to ensure his plan went on without a hitch. To think that Holmes decided to engage in this horrific act of genocide alone is not only perplexing, but should shake off any nagging doubts that he believed himself to be the Joker.
While many people may stick to some vague blanket-illustration as to why they think the character influenced James Holmes to kill all those innocent people, I think I’ve cited a few well-assessed reasons as to why that point would be foundationless. While I may not be able to provide a conclusive motive as to why he decided to start a killing-spree in a movie theater, I am curious as to know why or how anyone could be as ruthless and cruel to commit such an act of abhorrent evil. I have every hope that he will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, so that justice will be served and he’ll never harm another person. I also hope the media stops using every form of entertainment as a scapegoat to promote the false image that it is the catalyst for immoral behavior. It’s not helping anyone, and it’s a disgusting usage of influence of disinformation in order to sway public opinion on a subject. Simply put…
If James Holmes committed mass murder, as well as injured close to sixty others merely because he was attempting to recreate the persona of the Joker in his own life, his portrayal was the most inaccurate, terribly rehearsed exhibition of a reimagining of any comic book character in existence, and he fucking failed.