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Americans Mourn 'Batman' Killings

Police break the window at the apartment of James Holmes, the suspect of the deadly shootings.
Police break the window at the apartment of James Holmes, the suspect of the deadly shootings.
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By RFE/RL
Americans are mourning after 12 people were killed and 58 injured in an overnight shooting rampage at the premiere of a new Batman film in Aurora, Colorado. 
 
The incident is one of the deadliest mass shootings in recent U.S. history.  
 
The suspected shooter was identified as 24-year-old James Holmes. 
 
Aurora, Colorado Police Chief Dan Oates said that 30 of the injured remained hospitalized, 11 in critical condition. 
 
Holmes had entered the theater during the midnight premier of the new Batman movie, "The Dark Knight Rises." 
 
Dressed in black, wearing a gas mask, and covered in body armor from head to toe, the suspect detonated two canisters of gas before opening fire on the packed auditorium.
 
Forensic evidence suggests that Holmes used an assault rifle, a shotgun, and a Glock handgun in the attack.
 
Oates told a news conference that Holmes had acquired thousands of rounds of ammunition for his arsenal.

"He purchased four guns at local metro gun shops and through the Internet he purchased over 6,000 rounds of ammunition -- more than 3,000 rounds of .223 ammunition for the assault rifle, 3,000 of .40 caliber ammunition for the two Glocks in his possession and 300 rounds for the 12-gauge shotgun," Oates said.
 
Shooting suspect James HolmesShooting suspect James Holmes
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Shooting suspect James Holmes
Shooting suspect James Holmes
Holmes surrendered to officers who rushed to the scene.
 
Survivor Stephen Parton, who was lightly injured in the attack, described the attack.

"People started screaming, there was a lot of chaos. So I ducked down with my friends who I was there with and we were there... I don't know, he [Holmes] probably fired off about 25 rounds, I don't know, it is tough to remember," Parton said.

"And when it finally stopped, I got up and there were a lot of people rushing for the back left exit and I just joined them." 
 
Booby Traps

Bomb specialists have been trying to disarm explosive devices rigged as booby-traps left in Holmes's apartment. Police said a trip wire has been severed and one explosive device disarmed. 
 
Nearby buildings have been evacuated and Oates said clearing the apartment could take several days.
 
The Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) said there is no apparent link between Holmes, a former graduate student in neuroscience, and any terrorist organization. 
 
The Pentagon said at least three U.S. military members were among those wounded. A statement said a sailor and two airmen suffered injuries in the assault, and another U.S. Navy sailor remained "unaccounted for."
 
The Pentagon also said that Holmes has never served in any branch of the U.S. military. 
 
U.S. President Barack Obama, speaking at a campaign event, said he was "shocked and saddened" by the "senseless" killing: "We will take every step possible to ensure the safety of all of our people. We're going to stand by our neighbors in Colorado during this extraordinarily difficult time."
 
He ordered U.S. flags lowered to half-staff for five days in honor of the victims.
 
Obama and his Republican rival Mitt Romney also canceled campaign speeches replacing them with expressions of sorrow for the victims.
 
The film's director, Christopher Nolan, issued a statement on behalf of the cast and crew, expressing their "profound sorrow at the senseless tragedy." 
 
The shooting has prompted officials to cancel the Paris premiere of the film. 
 
Based on reporting by AFP, AP, and Reuters
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by: Ray F. from: Lawrence, KS
July 21, 2012 16:32
No sign of mourning in my corner of the US. It’s just business as usual. The movie theater where this new ‘blockbuster’ is showing has been sold out since opening night.

I listened to the comments of both Obama and Romney after the shooting yesterday, and not a single word about greater gun control. They wouldn’t dare offending the powerful gun lobby during the election season.

As an American, of course, I am saddened at this tragic loss of life. I can’t help but believe that this insanity is the rotten fruit of policies that place profits and individual rights above every other consideration. Americans need to get their own house in order before telling others how to live.
In Response

by: gmagnuson@optonline.net from: U.S.
July 25, 2012 15:04
Quite frankly I find all this tension in the world the responsibility of our corrupted government and the elite class that purchases our elected representatives and moves between business and government, rigging the house. They created this mess. Allowing bankers to rob us so that hatred, fueled by poverty, despair and frustration fills the air. How many of these shootings have we had since 2008?

Hollywood and the video game industry also has huge a responsibility. At Columbine the two young men that killed twelve were outcasts. They were bullied and shunned by their classmates. This kid is a loaner. So what do video games and violent movies have to do with this? They teach our children that when they feel powerless all they need to do is pick up a gun and they can feel powerful. It is not guns. It is the insanity of our society that causes this. From Wall Street, to Washington, to the Media.

Yes, politicians and movie makers did have a role. My empathy is for those who suffer from the willful plundering of this country inclusive of those that died in this most tragic event, those that were injured and those that witnessed this - many were young children I suppose. And I empathize with all of Americans who wonder what our country has become. All this suffering was enabled and created by our politicians in collusion with Wall Street and in collusion with the Media and the Movie industry and look how quick they move to divest themselves of responsibility. Now they are jumping on gun control. The stress and the feelings of powerlessness that underlie this heinous act of insanity is what drove this young man to do what he did. The plundering of America and the overwhelming corruption in our most cherished institutions is at fault. No doubt. We are a country gone mad, where the only thing that matters is the almighty dollar. We measure ourselves by what we own. Insanity has more to do with this than guns, but men like Bloomberg and Obama and whole slew of other politicians along with the “stars” can’t see their faults so they immediately attempt to confuse.

What do you think about the fact that he was dressed like a character out of this dark movie? Hair died red, a bullet proof vest and a wearing a gas mask, he slipped into a fantasy world mostly likely driven by the rage of feeling and being powerless in a society that has gone over the top. That rage combined with an emersion into video games like "Call of Duty", which is fed to our children for a profit, highly profitable if you look at Game Stops’ success in the stock market, and movies that have violent adult content but are rated PG -13 like this dark movie that inspired him to go kill all those people. The one he was at when he did it.

Are we to believe politicians and mega buck campaign contributions from the motion picture industry have nothing to do with the ratings? I remember when a movie like this couldn't be shown to children. This move was rated PG-13 but there was a six year old and a young baby that were injured. So what of their parents for bringing them? What of the theater for letting them in? Can’t let those dollars slip away. I am sure the young man who did this grew up on a full heaping platter of fantasy violence and then he made it real. The movie and gaming industries have nothing to do with what he did? No responsibility? Gun control. That’s the solution? He would have used a bomb which he also had at his apartment.

I think we just want what we want and we fail to recognize the moral slip we have suffered in this country so we can't comprehend the inevitable outcome. Blame the minds that created the mind that did this. Our founding fathers intended that we would be a shining example to the world. We are failing. Don't follow our lead unless we return to founding fathers values of virtue and morality. Shame on us.

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