Friday, May 29, 2015

Holmes case (notebook and testimony) in Colorado shows how hatred can simmer in one person


I don’t usually follow the details of criminal cases on these blogs, although I may review films or news specials (Dateline) about them. But I do note cases that have some personal notability. 
  
The recent testimony from James Holmes in Colorado does bring up something significant under the table.  CBS has video coverage as communicative as any, here. The line “The meaning is that there is no meaning” caught my ear.  I remember a certain nihilism in the rebellious talk of a soldier back in the Army at Fort Eustis talking about the Manson stuff (“Aquarius” on NBC last night, and “Helter Skelter”).  He once said, “The point is that here is no point.” 
  
Colorado law requires the prosecution to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Holmes was sane at the time of his acts.  He says he was increasingly obsessed with killing when he was a boy (which could suggest unusual sensitivity to violence – “bad for you” -- in media), and the Notebook says something like others should die so that he could live.  All nonsense, and perhaps the consequences of extreme OCD.  But the repeated question “Why?” seems significant. He was particularly concerned with bad luck.  The “weak” were simply the “unfortunate”.  History (Nazism, for one thing) has made a lot of this point. 
    
Indeed, while we believe in meritocracy, I find the idea troubling.  How often do “we” refuse to communicate with less intact people when we suspect that indeed they may be “unlucky” when it comes to past circumstance as well as biology.  I’ve often sensed that others want to drive me off my “high horse” (an image from “Strangers on a Train” and a favorite term of Dr. Phil) and be open to some kind of real relationship with someone “in need” (of me), as a new goal.  Yes, that is unsettling.  Was such an idea imposed on him (Holmes) at one time in the past?
  
Even ponder the idea of how well-educated young men have become radicalized into extreme Islam (sometimes women, too), which (admittedly) does confer “meaning”.  Is the idea that everyone else must follow “my rules” to the letter a nice convenient shell?  Did that drive homophobia in the past? 
These lessons can be gleaned from some of these trials.  Similar processes could have happened with the Tsarnaev’s. 
  
Let me add, in conjunction with a posting on he LGBT blog today, that I found “gender role complementarity” (so promoted by the Vatican) as an offensive reason for sexual intimacy and romance. But maybe that was because I wasn’t good at it. 
  
Wikipedia attribution link for map of Aurora CO is author WikiLeon, under Creative Commons Share-Alike 2.0 license.


Update: June 11

The New York Times published a PDF of Holmes's handwritten composition notebook, 36 pages, here, rather like a crude manifesto (a small version of Unabomber's).  There is concern about no sense of justice and about the "strong, average and weak".  But the answer to "why" there is free will (p. 33) is simple to answer.  It's to counter entropy.  Good decisions by people (or any beings with free will) decrease entropy.  Enough bad decisions, the universe could fail.  (With the Cuban Missile Crisis, the world almost failed in 1962, a bad time in my own life.)  That sounds like the metaphysics of it.  So choices really do matter, in the sense of quantum physics and cosmology.  They call it the law of Karma.


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