The suspect in Friday's massacre in a , James Holmes, had obviously not yet seen The Dark Knight Rises, as the movie was having its premier at midnight Thursday, just minutes before he allegedly stormed the dark theater with canisters of noxious gas and assault weapons.
Although the new Batman movie has not yet been widely seen, early reports indicate it is dark and violent. And, no one knows what role the movie may have had on the alleged actions of the 24-year-old neuroscience honors student who is suspected of killing 12 people and injuring dozens more.
According to the New York Times, a spokeswoman for the the movie's production studio, Warner Bros., said the studio has pulled its trailer for an upcoming film, Gangster Squad. In the trailer - which was shown at some screenings of The Dark Knight Rises, but not in the Aurora theater - men are seen shooting up the crowd in a movie theater.
Not much is known yet about the suspect Holmes, but according to a federal law enforcement source, he had colored his hair red and told police he was "the Joker." "The Joker" is the iconic villain in the Batman series.
In the days to come, much more will be learned about the life of the suspect, and perhaps to his motives for this horrifying act. But for now, the questions that surround the killings are sadly well known: Was he insane? How did he obtain assault weapons? Was he influenced by violence in movies? Did he see a violent act at a crowded movie premier as an opportunity gain publicity?
Need for validation, or need for violence?
In an op/ed article in the New York Times, film critic Roger Ebert asks if the link is between this violent murderous spree and the movie, or between the violence and the publicity that surrounds one who commits such an act.
"Those like James Holmes, who feel the need to arm themselves, may also feel a deep, inchoate insecurity and a need for validation," wrote Ebert.
A bill struck down
In June 2011, a California law authored by California Senator Leland Yee that would have restricted access by minors to violent video games was was nullified by the Supreme Court.
"Unfortunately, the majority of the Supreme Court once again put the interests of corporate America before the interests of our children," Yee said in a press release posted on his website.
The bill, which was signed by then-Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2005 would have criminalized the sale or rental of violent games to anyone under the age of 18. Stating that video games are protected by the First Amendment, a U.S. District Court judge blocked the bill, and the bill was ultimately struck down by the Supreme Court.
Assault weapons used
Yee is currently authoring a bill (SB 249) that would close a loophole in California's assault weapon law. The law would limit the easy reloading of semi-automatic weapons such as AR-15s and AK-47s.
Chief Dan Oates of the Aurora police said when Holmes surrendered to them Friday, he had in his car an AR-15 assault rifle, a Remington 12-gauge shotgun, and a .40 caliber Glock handgun, and all three were believed to have been used inside the theater. Another Glock handgun was found inside the theater.
Holmes remains in custody in Aurora.
Tell us your thoughts
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