James Holmes

(Photo credit: DonkeyHotey)

The more information comes out about the “Batman shooter,” James Holmes, the more the standard narrative about what happened on midnight on Friday, July 20th, at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, is being questioned.

That narrative was outlined by The Wall Street Journal on the day after the shooting:

A gunman wearing a gas mask and sheathed head-to-toe in body armor opened fire in a theater packed for a midnight showing of a just-released Batman movie, killing at least 12 people and wounding 58 others.

Police in this suburb just east of Denver quickly arrested the alleged shooter, James E. Holmes, a 24-year-old graduate student in neuroscience at the University of Colorado Denver with no known criminal history other than a speeding violation.

The rampage began around 12:38 a.m. Friday at the Century Aurora 16 movie theater, which was crowded for the first showing of “The Dark Knight Rises.”

According to the Journal, Holmes had been preparing for the attack for months, buying his SWAT gear and weapons and ammunition online and in local stores as part of his plan. He also was able to procure various dangerous chemicals and high-tech electronic gadgetry along with the requisite training all of which he used to booby-trap his apartment before leaving on his rampage.

According to the popular media narrative, Holmes bought a ticket and sat down front on the first row, on the right, close to an emergency exit door. As the initial credits were rolling, Holmes was observed by two audience members taking a cell phone call and then getting up and using the exit door to go outside, presumably to take the call. In a few minutes he returned, this time all dressed up in SWAT gear from head to toe. As Aurora Chief of Police Dan Oates noted, Mr. Holmes “was dressed all in black. He was wearing a ballistic helmet, a tactical ballistic vest, ballistic leggings, a throat protector and a groin protector and a gas mask, and black tactical gloves.”

Upon re-entering the theater, Holmes threw two canisters of tear gas into the crowd, fired his shotgun into the air, and then began firing his semi-automatic rifle into the crowd. Apparently the audience members initially thought it was part of a stunt related to the movie, but then panic ensued, and people ran for the exits.

Tre Freeman, one of those in the audience, said “After that, it was pure chaos. People were ducking or running. We were on the floor and we couldn’t breathe. We thought we were either going to suffocate or get shot. So we thought the only thing we could do is run.”

It didn’t take long for the official narrative to begin to come unraveled. Two other members of the audience including Corbin Dates, told Aurora news outlets that when Holmes went outside to “take” his call, he seemed to be signaling somebody. After about ten minutes, “someone,” perhaps Holmes, appeared in full SWAT gear and started shooting. Another witness said that there were two tear gas canisters thrown, one by the shooter and one by another person from the other side of the theater.

When Holmes was found near (some reports indicate he was inside) his vehicle by police, he surrendered without resistance. He then offered the information to the police that he had booby-trapped his apartment.

When the police arrived at his apartment, they were astonished to find numerous aerial shells, similar to those used at fireworks displays, wired together with chemicals designed to explode upon being disturbed. There were electronic devices with lights flashing. As Cassidee Carlson, a spokesperson with the Aurora Police Department told CBS: “This is some serious stuff that our team is dealing with.” Serious stuff indeed: it took the bomb squad—numbering more than 100 individuals—two full days to detonate and dismantle the booby-trap. As CBS noted, “the suspect may have filled [the balloons] with smokeless power. Depending on how he packaged it and how adept he was, they could detonate…”

Mike Adams, one of many questioning the official narrative, has noted that, at this writing, no one has come forward to identify Holmes as the shooter. How could they? He was covered in SWAT gear with a helmet and a gas mask, in black, in a dark theater.

Another investigator, writing for TheIntelHub.com, obtained a recording of the 911 calls immediately following the shooting. That 18-minute segment may be heard on the website, but the relevant conversations are revealing:

  • At 4 minutes, 30 seconds into the recording, a voice exclaims: “Suspect caught.”
  • At 6 minutes, 46 seconds in, another voice exclaims: “One of the shooters is wearing white and blue clothing.”
  • At 8 minutes, 6 seconds in, a voice states: “Witnesses report multiple suspects.”
  • At 16 minutes, 8 seconds, another voice announces: “Male suspect seen with red back pack and another in all black fleeing the scene.”
  • 39 seconds later is heard: “Cops describe one of the suspects as male, dressed in black camo, vest, gas mask, and possessing multiple long guns.”
  • Finally, at 17 minutes and 48 seconds into the call a voice announces: “James Holmes was named…but seconds before they are talking about a second suspect on the loose…got away.”

As the official investigation continued, additional facts surfaced. Fox News reported that Holmes had sent a package to Dr. Lynne Fenton, a psychiatrist at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus whom Holmes had been seeing. The package, according to Fox News, was postmarked July 12th, but not delivered until July 23rd. And when Fenton called the about the package, the one she was concerned about contained nothing of interest. But the FBI then searched the mailroom and found another package from Holmes addressed to Fenton containing sketches of stick figures shooting at each other.

The University denied that the package had been on a “loading dock” for several days, saying instead that it was “immediately investigated and handed over to authorities within hours.” But Fox News insisted that its original reporting was accurate.

This prompted a gag order from Arapahoe County District Court judge William Sylvester barring any parties from “disseminating information that presents a danger to the fairness of a trial in this matter,” which was later amended and expanded to include the university.

No doubt the package will form part of any court proceedings, as legal analyst Scott Robinson told the Denver Post

If it includes drawings that are sufficiently deranged as to be from someone who appears mentally ill, it could assist defense in a not-guilty-by-reason-of-insanity defense.

If it appears to be the work of someone who knew exactly what they are doing, and they knew it was wrong, that could help the prosecution.

But the relationship of Holmes to Fenton has raised more questions, including any prescription medications that Holmes might have been on during the rampage, or during his appearances in court. Jon Rappoport, an investigative reporter for 30 years, nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, and a writer for CBS Healthwatch and LA Weekly, wants to ask “what psychiatric drugs did you give James Holmes?” Notes Rappoport, “the link between a number of psychiatric drugs and violence, including homicide, is well-established [including] Ritalin, Paxil, Zoloft, Prozac, etc.”

Other information has been overlooked in the standard narrative. For instance, there apparently was a heavy blood trail outside the Aurora theater, in the back parking lot where Holmes had parked his vehicle.

It had initially been attributed to a neck wound suffered by one of Holmes’ victims, but that wound turned out later to be only a flesh wound, not even requiring a dressing.

And what about the second gas mask that was found lying outside the theater in the back of the building? Rappoport is certain of only one thing: any police investigator worth his salt would have followed up on these immediately, but “the absence of a serious probe indicates we are looking at a cover-up.”

Rappoport started connecting the dots:

If this was a true covert op, it would have been easy for a pro shooter to decimate the people in the theater, slip out the exit door with his accomplice or accomplices, where the patsy, Holmes, drugged, was waiting with other operatives. After dousing Holmes with gunpowder residue, the pros left the scene, disappeared into the night, leaving a pre-programmed Holmes there to confess to the and state that his apartment was rigged with explosives.

If this is how things happened, it would explain how Holmes, possessed of no apparent knowledge about constructing bombs, could have had his apartment wired with exotic devices. Holmes didn’t put them together. The pros did.

At the very least, major pieces of the standard narrative puzzle don’t add up. If Holmes was so intent on murdering dozens of innocents inside the theater, why did he abruptly give himself up to the police “without incident?” Why did he, after devoting hours and hundreds if not thousands of dollars in booby-trapping his apartment, immediately offer that information to the arresting officers? As Mike Adams asked rhetorically, “If you’re a killer bent on causing mayhem, why tell the police about your surprise bombs waiting for them back at your apartment.” Adams added:

This is not your run-of-the-mill crime of passion. It was a carefully planned, heavily funded and technically advanced attack. Who might be behind all this? The FBI, of course, which has a long history of setting up and staging similar attacks…

Back in April an article in The New York Times confirmed such behaviors by the FBI. According to the Times:

The United States has been narrowly saved from lethal terrorist plots in recent years—or so it has seemed. A would-be suicide bomber was intercepted on his way to the Capitol; a scheme to bomb synagogues and shoot Stinger missiles at aircraft was developed by men in Newburgh, N.Y.; and a fanciful idea to fly explosive-laden model planes into the Pentagon and the Capitol was hatched in Massachusetts.

But all these dramas were facilitated by the F.B.I., whose undercover agents and informers posed as terrorists offering a dummy missile, fake C-4 explosives, a disarmed suicide vest and rudimentary training. Suspects naïvely played their parts until they were arrested.

There are more questions without answers. Where did Holmes get the money to fund his attack? Some have added up the total investment Holmes would have made in acquiring his weapons and concluded that he invested a minimum of $20,000, probably more, in his arsenal. Only part of the answer is Holmes’ federal grant from the National Institute of Health for him to study neuroscience at the University of . That stipend of $26,000 was paid out to him monthly to cover his living expenses, or a little over $2,000 a month. If his 800 square-foot apartment cost $900 a month, that left precious little left over for such an enormous investment.

And who trained him in the proper and wise use and handling of exotic chemicals and electronic gear that he successfully used to keep police bomb squad experts busy for two days dismantling it?

And how does a 24-year old male have no discernible background? No military service, no police records (save a single speeding ticket last October), no financial difficulties, no late payments, no prescription drugs, no cell phone records, no records of form 4473 as he was purchasing his weapons, no nothing?

Even his parents were caught by surprise, as reported by a police spokeswoman who first informed Holmes’ parents of the incident: “The Holmes family is very upset about all of this. It is a tragic event, and it has taken everyone by surprise.”

As was a pre-med student who worked closely with Holmes last summer as a research assistant in a lab at the Anschutz Medical Campus, Billy Kromka. Said Kromka:

It was just shocking, because there was no way I thought he could have the capacity to commit an atrocity like this.

He spent much of his time immersed in the computer, often participating in role-playing online games…

Other questions surround the incident. Why didn’t anyone in the audience shoot back and end the attack before 12 individuals were murdered and another 58 wounded? Where were the “men” in the audience who saw the atrocity unfold and then take the matter into their own hands and shout “let’s roll!” and subdue the gunman?

Part of that answer is that Cinemark which owns the Aurora theater where the shooting took place has a “no guns allowed” policy, as does the city of Aurora as well. But those questionable policies still leave unanswered the question: why didn’t someone tackle this guy?

They certainly had plenty of time. Witnesses said that his semi-automatic weapon jammed and he had to discard it and instead use one of his handguns with a much smaller magazine. In other words, it took him an estimated two minutes to complete his rampage before leaving the theater—plenty of time for someone—anyone—to take him down.

Some have suggested that the incident was timed nicely and deliberately to coincide with the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty being hammered out in New York City at the time of the shooting. The supposition was that the outrage of “another Columbine” would force the recalcitrant into approving the during a time of highly emotional rhetoric emanating from coordinated anti-gun forces. But the UN has terminated discussion and debate over that treaty, leaving it to be considered for another day.

And so this perceived connection is seen to be irrelevant. But it is worth noting that if there is, or was, such a connection, the suspicion still has some validity. After all, the attack was planned many months in advance and if Holmes had some outside help, tying in the attack to the meeting in New York isn’t all that farfetched after all.

If Holmes is in fact just a patsy—the convenient front for those working behind the scenes—he is playing the role quite well. Days after being arrested, Holmes now claims he doesn’t know where he is or why he was arrested.

It’s perhaps too easy to consider that Holmes might just be a “sleeper agent” subconsciously activated by his handlers, just as Sergeant Raymond Shaw was in the 1959 film “Manchurian Candidate.”

Movie buffs will remember that Shaw was recruited by Soviet and Chinese communist officials while a prisoner of during the Korean War. Shaw was “activated” when he saw the Queen of Diamonds playing card while playing solitaire and obeyed implanted orders which he then promptly and conveniently forgot.

It’s not too much of a stretch to consider the possibility that some outside forces somehow co-opted Holmes, assisting him in acquiring the weaponry, the chemicals and the skills necessary to pull off the shooting and booby-trap his apartment. It’s not too much a stretch to consider the possibility that Holmes wasn’t directly involved in the shooting at all.

New information continues to develop in the story of a young, quiet, bright 24-year-old student who suddenly turned killer, building an inventory he couldn’t afford, using skills he never had, leaving behind new clues that continue to befuddle skilled investigators, along with more and more questions.

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