Americans are reeling over news about a mass shooting in Aurora (Colo.) at a movie complex showing the new Batman film The Dark Knight Rises. Witnesses talked to different TV networks, and the general consensus is that the gunman came in through an exit door at the front of the theater.
On message boards across the Internet, readers offered theories and rants. There was also an eerie story at one news site comparing a past comic strip to the gunman's actions.
The Aurora gunman allegedly crashed through the door then set off some sort of device that created smoke. Witnesses said he had a gas mask on; ABC News described him as a “lone gunman dressed in riot gear.” Early reports say he set off tear gas.
Aurora police chief Dan Oates told media there was only one known gunman.
By 9:45 a.m. the number of dead were estimated at 12, with 50 people injured.
ABC said 10 people died inside the theater.
Witnesses said the shooter moved throughout the crowd, picking people off at random.
Most media are reporting the suspect’s name is James Holmes. He is described as a 24-year old who lives in Aurora.
Internet message boards had readers theorizing about everything from gun control to the shooter’s possible connections to the Tea Party.
One reader at a Democrat message board posted shortly after 8 a.m. and said Good Morning, America actually reported a James Holmes joined the Colorado Tea Party last year.
A reader at a conservative message board claimed early reports from 9news (Denver) said, "The captured shooter has been identified as Mohammed Alam, an Iranian immigrant. The identity of the other shooter is still unknown, Oates states."
On message boards for The Denver Post, there were the usual anti-gun, anti-NRA statements.
The website Deadline.com featured a news release reportedly from the local police department.
ABC News said the suspect claimed to have “booby-trapped” his apartment with explosives. The network also reported a San Diego (Calif.) woman claiming to be the suspect’s mother said she was concerned her son might be involved.
New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg whose policies lean to totalitarianism took to the soapbox to rant about mass shootings shortly after the news broke. Politico reported the mayor whose most recent obsession was oversized sodas said the presidential candidates should “’stand up and tell us what they’re going to do about’ mass shootings.”
Shootings are a local issue, a product of cultures within a community. The immediate aftermath of the Aurora shootings is similar to that of Tucson, with many making assumptions although at this point there are few actual facts and little is known about the gunman other than he appears to be a lone wolf.
Leftists at first blamed the Right for the Tucson shootings. After days of Big Media bemoaning political differences, facts emerged about the shooter’s mental state, numerous warnings demonstrated by his past behavior and the fact his politics were closer to Leftwing nihilism than any conservative principle whatsoever. Once the Tucson shooter’s real background became known, media went quiet. One essayist at NPR managed to work a "gringo" theme into the coverage.
The Washington Examiner noted the shooting was similar to a 1985 Batman comic featuring a loner shooting people in a movie theater.
Chief Oates told media a press conference is scheduled for 1 p.m. ET on Friday.
(Filed by Kay B. Day/July 20, 2012)
Update July 20, 2012
During a press conference Friday evening, Aurora Police Chief Dan Oates said there were a total of 70 victims with 12 dead. Initially officials believed there were 71 victims. He also said a “handful” of the victims suffered injuries because of “the chaos.” More details will be provided in our next column.─The Editor