James Holmes: Sociopath or Psychosis?
James Holmes, the shooter of the Colorado movie theater, is being described as either a sociopath seeking a thrill or as a fame-seeker. The people who claim such things have not seen his appearance in court. He looked and acted like someone who was not even there. If this had been his usual mindset or his usual behavior, he would not be able to do a PH.D. program. For this matter, if this had been his usual mindset or his usual behavior, he would not have been able to pass Grade One.
What is more likely: That a PhD student with no criminal record would decide conscientiously to dress up as Joker and shoot up a movie theater and then appear in the court like a limp noodle? Or is this the case of someone going out of his gourd? This is a psychotic episode, possibly even a fugue episode. This guy will wake up one day in his jail cell and say, "Oh my god, where am I? Oh my god, what have I done?"
Does this make things better for people who are now dead or in critical condition? Of course not. Their situation is the same as the situation of people who die in an earthquake or in any other "act of God." They were in the wrong place at the wrong time, and they died or suffered through no fault of their own. Unfortunately things like this happen. Earth shakes. People go crazy. People get shot.
If I judge the character of his person correctly, when he gets mentally well he will take responsibility for his actions and will be willing to serve the punishment. If I misjudge his character, he will go for an insanity plea. In the first case, he would be more worthy of going free than he would in the second case. I cannot predict what the courts will do in this situation; but if it was up to me I would get him on medication until he gets his mind back and then talk to his sane self about what he had done during his psychotic episode.
How can things like this be prevented, while keeping the present statutes about not hospitalizing people without a good reason? Well that is a challenge, is it not? If he was behaving before the shooting the way that he was behaving in court, then that should have been spotted and dealt with. One would have thought that people working in a neurology department would know enough about such matters to have seen this coming a long time ago.