In terms of James Holmes’ motive for his Batman movie shooting spree, there are a number of disturbing possibilities. One is that he’s a very troubled Christian or ex-Christian. As reported, for example, by the Christian Post, he seems to have visited a church service within the past few weeks:
Recalling the visit, [pastor Scott] Bloyer [of the Colorado-based The Elevation Christian Church] said Holmes ‘just walked in, sat in the back, and walked back out’ of the less than 2-year-old church, which currently draws over 200 people.
If this was indeed James Holmes, he may have been seeking spiritual help or scoping out the church as a potential target for his mayhem.
Another motive possibility, given that he calls himself the Joker, is that he’s involved with the Black Bloc wing of the Occupy Movement. If so, then Chris Hedges’ observation in February surrounding that faction within Occupy appears prophetic:
The Black Bloc movement is infected with a deeply disturbing hypermasculinity. This hypermasculinity, I expect, is its primary appeal. It taps into the lust that lurks within us to destroy, not only things but human beings.
It may be that James Holmes is one of these Dostoevskian underground men that moves toward either a fanatic fundamentalism or an emotionally desolate nihilism in response to his own failures, disappointments, and powerlessness. Or he may just be crazy. We’ll see.