On Good Morning America, ABC News’ Brian Ross and George Stephanolpoulos suggested that the Tea Party might be connected to the mass shootings early this morning in an Aurora, CO theater during a screening of the new Batman movie, The Dark Knight Rises. The mainstream media attempted to blame the Tea Party for the Tuscon shootings in January 2011, shortly after Republicans swept the midterm elections. Now, in the critical 2012 elections, the mainstream media seems poised to do the same–and ABC News has led the way.
Here is the exchange between reporter Brian Ross and host George Stephanopoulos about apparent suspect James Holmes:
Stephanolpoulos: I’m going to go to Brian Ross. You’ve been investigating the background of Jim Holmes here. You found something that might be significant.
Ross: There’s a Jim Holmes of Aurora, Colorado, page on the Colorado Tea party site as well, talking about him joining the Tea Party last year. Now, we don’t know if this is the same Jim Holmes. But it’s Jim Holmes of Aurora, Colorado.
Stephanolpoulos: Okay, we’ll keep looking at that. Brian Ross, thanks very much.
I’ll update as the inevitable scapegoating continues. Links to relevant news stories, tweets, and blog posts in the comments are appreciated.
Update 6:50 AM PST: The Belfast Telegraph reports on the president’s response to the shooting and the youngest victim:
President Obama urged the nation to “come together as one American family”.
Some of the injured were children, with the youngest a three-month-old baby. Victims were being treated for chemical exposure apparently related to canisters thrown by the gunman.
Local reporter Justin Jones said the gunman was wearing body armour and a gas mask.
“The attacker shot a baby at point blank range,” he said.
Another eyewitness, James Cameron, said the baby girl was shot in the back.
Update 7:12 AM: ABC news reveals the shooter’s mother is not surprised that her son would commit this horrible act:
A San Diego woman who identified herself as James Holmes’ mother told ABC News she had awoken unaware of the shooting and had not yet been contacted by authorities. She immediately expressed concern that her son may have been involved.
“You have the right person,” she said, apparently speaking on gut instinct. “I need to call the police… I need to fly out to Colorado.”
Update 7:18: Mother Jones staff writer Stephanie Mencimer tweets:
Update 7:45: In These Times “labor journalist” Mike Elk:
Elk then decided to retweet these statements:
Elk then expressed his main concerns regarding this tragedy:
Update 8:10: Kevin Drum of Mother Jones:
Update 8:22: Gawker highlighting disturbing images, allegedly uploaded by one of the victims from the Emergency Room:
Update: 8:25: Politico reports that ABC is backing off from the irresponsible Tea Party reporting:
An earlier ABC News broadcast report suggested that a Jim Holmes of a Colorado Tea Party organization might be the suspect, but that report was incorrect. Several other local residents with similar names were also contacted via social media by members of the public who mistook them for the suspect.
Update 8:50: David Sirota at Salon has decided to use this tragedy to begin a debate about whether we should use the word “terrorism” to describe acts such as this:
For all the legitimate questions that will be asked in the coming days (Why are there so many mass shootings in America? Why is it so easy to buy weapons-grade tear gas canisters? How much is this related to the availability of guns?); for all the insulting media coverage that will try to ramrod the dead Fargo-style into the woodchipper of the presidential campaign (New York Times headline: “In Wake of Colorado Shooting, a Concern Over the Proriety of Campaigining”); and for all the demagogues who will use this tragedy for their own gain (pro-gun GOP Rep. Loui Gohmert is today blaming the shooting victims for not being armed) – there is only one harrowing conclusion we can come to for certain immediately after such a heinous act: terrorism has no specific nationality, geography, race or creed.
Not surprisingly, police and reporters have been quick to tell us the opposite — that the suspected shooter was likely just a “lone wolf” and that “this act does not appear to be linked to radical terrorism or anything related to Islamic terrorism,” as ABC News put it. This newspeak is supposed to reassure us that this is anything but terrorism — that terrorism is something that happens only in far away places or huge cosmopolitan cities, not in an Anytown, USA in the American heartland; that terrorism never comes at the hands of a “24-year-old white American male” named “James Holmes,” it only comes at the hands of dark-skinned “evildoers” with hard-to-pronounce names. In this, we are expected to be sedated by such reassurances, and to ignore the ever-growing list of such “lone wolves”, and to reject a much wider definition of terrorism, no matter how much the reality of shooting after shooting after shooting screams at us to accept it.
But with bodies strewn across an Aurora movie theater, we must ask: what is terrorism, if it is not a man in a riot mask and bullet-proof vest, armed with tear gas canisters and weapons, meticulously executing a military-style assault on a crowded movie theater?
Just because something is “terrifying” it does not mean it’s an act of “terrorism.” The term “terrorism” refers to violent acts inflicted in order to intimidate a population into submitting to political or cultural revolution. Here’s the dictionary definition:
[ter-uh-riz-uhm] Show IPA
A mass murderer who wants to “watch the world burn” is not a terrorist like Al Qaeda is and Bill Ayers was.
Update 9:27: I’ve taken the last update with Sirota and highlighted it as its own post here along with an excerpt on the subject of evil from Dennis Prager’s new book:
Update: 9:53: From the Huffington Post: Colorado Shooting: What We Know About James Holmes:
Lt. Andra Brown of the San Diego Police Department briefed reporters outside James Holmes’ mother’s home Friday. Brown confirmed Holmes attended high school in San Diego before going to Colorado to pursue additional studies. Brown would not name either school.
San Diego media outlets have reported Holmes attended high school at Westview in Carmel Valley. He was also reportedly pursuing a PhD in neuroscience at University of Colorado-Denver. He supposedly enrolled in the fall of 2011, but dropped out in June.
Police are still trying to clear the suspect’s Aurora apartment. According to police, explosives found inside the unit are “very sophisticated” and could take some time to disarm.
The FBI has revealed Holmes is a white male who is 6 feet, 3 inches tall and 24 years old, with a birth date of Dec. 13, 1987. Authorities have found no significant criminal record and no terrorist affiliations. Investigators suspect he acted alone.
A motive in the shooting is not yet known.
Update: 10:00: Twitchy collects Tweets from those choosing to blame Rush Limbaugh for inspiring the shooting.
Update: 10:08: Twitchy also highlighted comedian D.L. Hughley’s response to the massacre:
Update: 10:45: From the influential progressive blog Crooked Timber, and promoted in a tweet by Slate writer Matthew Yglesias:
One of Yglesias’s followers made the argument more openly:
A few months ago I blogged through every chapter of Afrolantica Legacies, a book written by Derrick Bell, the founder of Critical Race Theory and one of Barack Obama’s intellectual mentors. In part 7 I noted where Bell chose to blame unemployment for inspiring inner city drug dealers to break the law. This is a common way that progressives choose to shift responsibility for evil acts away from individuals and toward “society.”
11:13 Update: PJ Media’s Editor-In-Chief Roger L. Simon at his blog this morning:
I am not calling for censorship here, nor for gun control laws, but for a modicum of self-censorship on the part of the filmmakers and the film and television industries. They should ask themselves to what end is the violence they are portraying and whether it need be so explicit. Can they make their points as effectively, perhaps more effectively, without the endless splatter and gore?
Hitchcock’s Psycho and Fritz Lang’s M (about a serial killer), scary as they may be, are considerably less explicit than Natural Born Killers and considerably better artistically as well, yet it is Natural Born Killers that is said to have inspired copycat crimes.
I blogged about Stone’s most recent film Savages two weeks ago here at PJ Lifestyle.
One of the copycats inspired by Stone’s film was Columbine — the two killers debated over whether Quentin Tarantino or Steven Spielberg would do a better job making their life story. Instead they got Gus Van Sant with 2003’s Elephant, a quiet, very overrated art film that featured a scene where the two shooters kiss before beginning their massacre.
Update 11:32: From ABC News: Aurora ‘Dark Knight’ Suspect James Holmes Said He ‘Was the Joker’:
The man in custody for allegedly killing 12 people at the screening of the latest Batman movie in Aurora, Colorado told authorities after the shooting that he “was The Joker,” NYPD police commissioner Ray Kelly said today.
Kelly told reporters the suspect, identified by federal officials as 24-year-old James Holmes, had dyed his hair like The Joker. The Joker is a well-known villain in the fictional Batman universe. The attack took place at a screening of “The Dark Knight Rises,” the final movie in a Batman trilogy, following “The Dark Knight” in which The Joker was the principal villain.
Two federal law enforcement officials confirmed the details of The Joker costume to ABC News. Police said the weapons used in the massacre include a military-style AR-15 assault rifle, a shotgun and two handguns.
Update 2:07 PM: I’m continuing the afternoon coverage in a new post here at PJ Lifestyle:
More coverage at PJ Tatler: