It's been six months since the massacre at a midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises in Aurora, Colorado, and with every new detail, we seem to form a new picture of alleged shooter James Holmes. Or at least, the old picture of pure evil gets hazier. Court proceedings this week have brought to light some seriously bizarre actions in the hours after his arrest.
Dubbed "childish" by some, the strange games Holmes played shortly after being pulled into custody seem to support the insanity defense that's being bandied about. It could turn out that a jury will have to decide less whether Holmes is guilty and more whether they find him sympathetic.
According to police, Holmes sat in custody using the bags put on his hands to secure any gunshot residue as hand puppets. At another time, they said he took a staple and tried to put it into an electrical socket. The man accused of outfitting himself for war then firing into a darkened theater is also said to have sat in an interrogation room calmly playing with a styrofoam cup, trying to flip it over.
The "games" could mean he was insane. After all, who sits accused of such heinous crimes and plays carefree games? Certainly not someone sane.
Then again, Holmes is accused of a crime that took careful planning to execute. There's reason enough to believe that he could have also carefully built an insanity defense. He's certainly not a stupid man.
Which leaves us, Americans, in a precarious position. Do we hate the monster who destroyed 12 lives and hurt dozens of others? Or do we take pity on this man and his shortcomings, on the possibility that he had a mental illness that he could not control? Can we even separate the two, find it in us to "not hate the player but hate the game" so to speak?
What do you think of how Holmes acted after his arrest?
Image via Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office