USER EDITORIAL: The Villain
It doesn’t make sense, and it never will. Was James Holmes a monster? Or just a sick man in need of help never received? I offer a different point of view on this "evil" man..
If a man driving on the expressway suddenly had a stroke and his car veered into an oncoming traffic, causing a traffic crash so bad 10 people died and the man who had the stroke survived, would you want him punished? There is a misconception about what mental illness is. It can happen just like this where it comes on suddenly or it can slowly consume you over months or years. Most people are rational and have coping skills, they can handle or know when to get help when dealing with difficult emotions or problems with strange thoughts. Our brains function as they should, as they were obviously intended, we have a healthy mind. Holmes’ mind was broken.
A disorder of the mind causes certain behaviors that seem strange to the healthy functioning mind, mental disorders such as Autism, Tourettes, Alzheimer’s, Schizophrenia and many other disorders of the mind cause individuals to act in ways that seem disturbing to the common man. These people were also likely born with some these disorders and/or over time the disorder developed and the symptoms were revealed and if these people were lucky enough that they were diagnosed and treated. Holmes was probably born with this defect as well. Unfortunately no one noticed the symptoms of Holmes’ disorder and Holmes was probably not capable of recognizing his own behavior as abnormal and over time he worsened. Holmes probably doesn’t even know why it was so important to plan and execute this entire tragic event. He just did it, like a dog chasing cars.
This is why he found the Joker’s logic so appealing. Holmes was experiencing chaos of the mind and it led him into an abyss he couldn’t come back from. He walked around feeling like an alien. He couldn’t relate to anyone anymore. No one understood. He felt he couldn’t just tell someone he was having homicidal ideations, they would laugh, they wouldn’t take him seriously, and they would say he’s a weirdo, they would reject him. Maybe he felt too proud. Maybe he feared being cast further into his isolation and self imposed exile. So he stayed quiet. He kept to himself. And he made his plan. He would have to open the doors of his madness. He would have to show them. Somehow this made more sense to him then explaining what he was feeling and thinking. No one could deny this. No one would laugh. No one could reject him. He would have everyone’s full attention and they would understand what it felt like to wake up every day as James Holmes. He would change things, forever.
Now Holmes sits in a concrete cage, like a wild animal, while the people wait outside to see him put to death like a rabid dog. To see him punished for taking all of these innocent lives without reason. Evil is to blame they will say, he is just evil and that is good enough for us. A force of the unknown compelled this young man to murder these people and he is an inadequate human being because he couldn’t resist this force. Look at him! We have captured our MONSTER! We will punish this MADMAN! We will let him BURN and he will SUFFER! And the power of good will prevail! The power of the normal!
I believe cognitive behavioral education should start in first grade and continue on throughout high school. I believe understanding emotion is just as important as any other subject taught in school. Maybe the most important subject, because what else could be more important the knowing who you are. I believe we can all take some responsibility for that horrible day. I believe Holmes is a victim too and I will grieve for him as I grieve for the people who lost their lives in such a horrific way.
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