July 24, 2012
Post Coitum?

In all the flood of psychological speculation following the Aurora massacre, nobody seems to be addressing the question of why James Holmes volunteered immediately to his arresting officers that he had booby-trapped his apartment.

Rather than committing suicide by cop or by his own hand, Holmes seems to have sunk after the killings into passive resignation; this is said to be a not uncommon reaction once a mass murderer has released his demons through violence.

All right, fine. Even understandable in a certain weird sense. Post coitum omne animal triste est, after all. But Holmes wasnít merely passive. He actively offered up information that foiled the remaining half of his laboriously prepared plan. Remorse seems an unlikely explanation. Has anyone come across a better one?


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Posted by Jerome Doolittle at July 24, 2012 01:55 PM
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How about "gloating." He wanted the cops to know just how clever he was, and for that he needed them to work through the intricacies of his booby trap. If he's identifying with the Joker (which I'm not sure I buy) then that's part of the dynamic - the bad guys always want Batman to know they got the best of him.

Or not. But I agree with you that remorse doesn't seem terribly plausible.

Posted by: Kurt Weldon on July 24, 2012 3:09 PM

The question assumes sanity on the part of the "Joker". And that is not a given in this fact situation.

Posted by: Cool Hand Geek on July 24, 2012 7:24 PM

Let me also add. You are also assuming the culture is sane as well. That's not a given either.

Posted by: Cool Hand Geek on July 24, 2012 7:33 PM

Maybe he thought of the cops as fellow gun enthusiasts and wanted them to appreciate his handiwork in its pristine, unexploded state instead of after the fact forensics.

Posted by: LanceThruster on July 25, 2012 12:46 PM

Okay, I'll take the leap and suggest that Holmes' booby-trap was part of a plan for posthumous revenge in the event he was killed rather than captured.

Posted by: Phil on July 26, 2012 1:46 AM

Phil, that sounds pretty plausible.

Posted by: LanceThruster on July 26, 2012 12:21 PM

I happened to stumble upon the procedural hearing, where the orange haired perp could barely keep his eyes open. It was on all three networks and the audio from the footage kept cutting in and out. So, one of the studio talking heads spoke up claiming that Holmes could have just gotten into his car and drove away because he was dressed so similarly to the cops on the scene. But what eventually tipped the cops off was that he was wearing a different kind of gas mask and that was why he was arrested. Of course there's a lot of evidence that contradicts that story. The parking lot surveillance videos could answer all of our questions. Where are they I wonder? Isn't Holmes also supposed to have had roommates? I mean how did he put together those booby traps with them around? I don't know. I keep thinking about that line that LA county DA had about Sirhan Sirhan - If he isnít guilty, itís the sweetest frame in the world.

Posted by: on July 27, 2012 12:08 AM

I'm with Phil. His answer meets the standards of Occam's Razor. (Of course the underlying answer is the one that's been obvious all along, for a man of Holmes's age ó schizophrenia).

Posted by: Mamasan on July 27, 2012 10:20 AM
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