Just hours after outgoing Times ombudsman Arthur Brisbane concluded his tenure with a column that says essentially, “Gee, we really are a bunch of left wingers, aren’t we,” I received a few paragraphs and a link to this story in my inbox last night, casting murderer James Eagan Holmes as some kind of misunderstood antihero:
About two weeks later, minutes into a special midnight screening of “The Dark Knight Rises” on July 20, Mr. Holmes, encased in armor, his hair tinted orange, a gas mask obscuring his face, stepped through the emergency exit of a sold-out movie theater here and opened fire. By the time it was over, there were 12 dead and 58 wounded.
Mr. Holmes, who was arrested outside the theater and has been charged in the shootings, has remained an enigma, his life and his motives cloaked by two court orders that have imposed a virtual blackout on information in the case.
Yet as time has passed, a clearer picture has begun to surface. Interviews with more than a dozen people who knew or had contact with Mr. Holmes in the months before the attack paint a disturbing portrait of a young man struggling with a severe mental illness who more than once hinted to others that he was losing his footing.
I guess after all the bodies have been counted, James Eagan Holmes is the real victim here.
I will never understand this instinct to create a culture of victimhood around psychotic killers. This is a tough position in which this libertarian finds himself. I am sympathetic to people who suffer from mental illness; I am sympathetic to victims of prosecutorial misconduct; I am sympathetic to victims of police brutality. But feel sorry for a guy who killed a dozen people and wounded almost 60 others?