James Holmes is the man accused of orchestrating and executing the worst mass shootings in US history and yet, by all accounts, it seems like he was a gifted, brilliant student who was on his way to a PhD in neuroscience. He had earned awards and accolades for his intellectual abilities his whole life. Now, as it turns out, according to ABC News, he was also on his school's watch list for potential violence.
Somehow, when he left the program, the threat committee at the University of Colorado washed their hands of him. In other words, they may have been able to prevent this tragedy and they did nothing.
Experts in the field say that when Holmes quit school, it should have been an immediate red flag and the school should have done something about it right away. The fact that they didn't is something that should haunt them forever.
Obviously, it's easy to look at things in hindsight and say what should or shouldn't happen. But a well trained risk assessment team would hopefully be looking beyond just the institution they are guarding and also look at their students in the world around them. After all, isn't that the point of college? Don't people go to learn how to be productive citizens and think critically in the world around them?
It seems like a massive failure on the part of the school to let a person who was already flagged as a risk go without so much as a phone call to authorities. Maybe nothing would have happened, but at least they would have done their job.
We all would love to see some way this could have not happened, some way it could have been stopped. Maybe there is nothing. Maybe the school wouldn't have stopped it even if they did the right thing. But they could have at least tried.
It's not that hard to make a single phone call or to go the extra mile to express concerns. Learning from our mistakes isn't the only way to go. Sometimes we can try to prevent them in the first place.
Do you think the school is culpable?
Image via Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office