Monday, July 23, 2012

Anticipating Aurora and Beyond

by Loren Coleman ©2012

"What time is it?" ~ Dr. John Watson
"Dawn." ~ Sherlock Holmes
 ~ The Return of Sherlock Holmes
"The Man with the Twisted Lip," 1986.

What is next in our dawns? As I have mentioned before, Aurora means "dawn." Unfortunately, I must predict a copycat outburst for Friday, July 27th. More on that in a moment.

First, Holmes appeared on the stage he desired today.
"My name is Sherlock Holmes. It is my business to know what other people don't know."
~ Sherlock Holmes, The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle, 1892.
James Eagan Holmes' middle name meaning of "fiery" matched his dyed bright reddish-orange hair today, for his first post-massacre appearance. Holmes sat in Judge William B. Sylvester's court on July 23, 2012, in connection with the Aurora, Colorado movie theater massacre Holmes allegedly carried out on July 20th.

Judge Sylvester set July 30th for the filing of formal charges against Holmes. The former neuroscience student at the University of Colorado has been held since Friday in solitary confinement at the Arapahoe County jail in Centennial, about 15 miles south of Denver.

In the court appearance, Holmes seemed in a bizarre trance, nearly Sirhan Sirhan-like. Or Jared Loughner-like. Some felt the genius in the chair was acting. Others saw mind control programming. His hair was dyed an uneven red. The color was faded to a strange pink or an ugly orange in some spots, and, yet, natural brown was visible elsewhere.

When arrested, it has been reported, Holmes said he was the "Joker." In the comics and generally in the Batman and Dark Knight films, the Joker is shown as a green-haired figure.
Cesar Romero (Joker 1966-1968 on television) and James Holmes (2012)
Heather Ledger (Joker 2008)
However, the Joker's costumed henchman often wear orange-red wigs. The Washington Post also correctly pointed out today, "in The Dark Knight, the second film of a Batman series called the Dark Knight trilogy, the Joker character played by Australian actor Heath Ledger wore a nurse's uniform and a red wig in one scene as he destroyed a hospital. Ledger died in January 2008, six months before The Dark Knight was released."
The suspect's name translates as James = "he who supplants," Eagan = "fiery," and Holmes = "holly" and/or "island in the river."

The suspect's genealogy goes back to the beginning of this nation. James' grandmother, Mary Jane Crawford Holmes was descended not only from the Mayflower Pilgrims (she was the governor of the Monterey Bay Colony of Mayflower Descendants), but also was from a member of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company of Boston, the first American militia.

The Rebirth of Pan and Weird America author Jim Brandon sends me these elusive insights:
Holmes has not been a highly noticeable name of interest, compared with say Fay or Nick, except secondarily in the frequent movie iterations of the British Sherlock Holmes persona, which of course was fictional. But a sensationally fatal real-life eruption occurred in the late 1890s with discovery of the famed "murder castle" in south Chicago. Disguised as a hotel, this was the work of a man who called himself H. H. Holmes and preyed mainly on women attracted to the then popular [1893 Columbian Exposition] World’s Fair, nearby on the lake shore. The total of his victims ranges from a confessed 27 to as high as 200 estimated.
Holmes, whose real name was Herman Webster Mudgett, had started as a medical doctor who however soon showed criminal traits. His “castle” was a virtually surrealistic affair with guest rooms set up with outside door locks, gas jets for asphyxiations and chutes to convey bodies to the basement. The facilities there almost beggar description, employed for corpse dismemberment, dissection of body parts and preparation of skeletons for sale to medical schools or other buyers who can only be imagined.
A number of writers have tackled this story, most recently Eric Larson in [the nonfiction 2003 book] The Devil in the White City, along with others.
Leonardo DiCaprio has purchased The Devil in the White City for a movie in development. DiCaprio's last film was Christopher Nolan's Inception (2010). Nolan is the director of the Dark Knight trilogy.
Before James Holmes dominated the news for all of Friday, Saturday, and Sunday of this recently completed weekend in July, the Holmes in the news was Katie Holmes. She is divorcing Tom Cruise, and entertainment news was filled with a Church of Scientology subplot. However, in another thread, what is intriguing is that Katie Holmes was the female lead character (Rachel Dawes) opposite Batman/Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) in the first of the Christopher Nolan Dark Knight trilogy, Batman Begins (2005). 
Katie Holmes as Rachel Dawes in Batman Begins.

It was in Nolan's second installment of the Dark Knight series that a character was created that has caused the copycat evil we are discussing today.

As I have written before, I am concerned about the behavior contagion factor as it applies to the Dark Knight films. Soon after The Joker (played by Heather Ledger) appeared in The Dark Knight, copycats occurred. In The Copycat Effect (NY: Simon and Schuster, 2004), I laid out how visual media has a significant impact on vulnerable homicidal/suicidal individuals who use graphically violent films as models for their own future actions.

The known patterns of copycats are clear. Humans are imprinted with anniversary syndromes and timing markers that seem subtle to most, but are identifiable to behavior scientists, like me. In the case of suicide clusters, school shootings, going postal incidents, workplace violence, and other forms of mass and spree killings, I have ventured forth with predictions, sometimes. I have expectations of how humans react. Often they do. Sometimes they don't. 

After Columbine, over 450 copycat events took place in North America. The CTV published an article about my predictions in 2006. One of the most telling predictions was my sense that something would occur exactly a week after Columbine. It did, when a school shooting happened in Taber, Alberta, only a week later. After Virginia Tech, many quotes of mine were used by the media demonstrating the predictive power of copycat insights.

One quotation haunts me. Here's what I told Seth Borenstein, AP Science Writer, April 20, 2007: "These people are psychologically competing with each other to increase the body count."

The Gothamist looked back to look ahead:
The whole idea of copycats brings us to another [WNYC’s] On the Media interview, this one from October in the aftermath of the Amish school shooting. Then, they interviewed Loren Coleman, a suicide prevention consultant and school violence researcher and author of the book The Copycat Effect: How the Media and Popular Culture Trigger the Mayhem in Tomorrow's Headlines. He was of the opinion that the media’s over coverage of tragedies, starting with the Columbine shootings have set up a model for the later perpetrators of these violent acts. In the interview Coleman noted, “I think that one of the reasons that I wrote my book, The Copycat Effect, was really to try to begin the debate within the media about how much is too much. The graphic details that we see on the cable wall-to-wall coverage and in some other media really sets up a situation where these vulnerable people have a model in front of them to then plan their outrages in a similar fashion. Since August 24th, these individuals have all been males, they've all been Caucasian, they all have been outsiders, either expelled students or older males, and they all have victimized females - young girls, usually – or authority figures, in the case of principals or teachers or guards.”
If you look at some of the Columbine shooter’s videos, which were only released a few years after the fact and only after much legal wrangling, there seems to be a lot of parallels with Cho’s video. Was the oversaturated coverage of these paste events inspiration? It is probable and it is no doubt that Cho’s desire to be heard from the grave was sent to NBC instead of being squirreled away in the case files as has happened in the past. ~ Toby von Meistersinger, "Television Watching: How Much Is Too Much?" The Gothamist, April 24, 2007
In The Copycat Effect, the patterns I found in suicide clusters and school shootings happened over and over again in other kinds of mass shootings. In their most basic blueprint, the copycats take place exactly one week, two weeks, one month, and one year after a massively media-discussed incident of violence. The Aurora red dawn event is the first mass media incident in recent years. Wall-to-wall coverage has occurred, and copycats will happen. The correlation is direct. Why will we be surprised when the next theater shooting takes place?

Look, I predicted that something was going to happen related to the opening of The Dark Knight Rises. Yes, on July 20th. You can read my July 19th pondering about that here.

Therefore, I have to go out on a limb, again. If we get there without a copycat ripple (one seems to have been reported in Maine, already). Law enforcement personnel, movie theater staff, and sports event venue managers need to be aware.

What is the next big event? This is called predictive preparatory planning to understand these patterns.

The two week mark is the weekend of August 3-4-5, 2012. That needs to be watched.

What are the next movie openings of note? Total Recall, Assassin's Bullet, and Soldier's Fortune on Friday August 3, 2012. Gangster Squad (with the film's gangsters shooting up a movie audience!!) on Friday, September 7, 2012. James Bond's Skyfall on Friday, November 9, 2012 (with Aurora in red on the Shanghai skyline).

What is fiction and what is nonfiction? Have the lines blurred? Yes, of course they have.

The copycat effect exists. The Joker is real, because the imaginary villains have become actual ones. A dozen people died in Aurora. The dawn has come, and it is here. We should pay attention. We all have been warned.

I sincerely hope no one else would ever die in another mass shooting. But to be blind to the patterns that are certainly there right in front of us is foolishness.

James Eagan Holmes, mugshot, just released. Taken July 20, 2012.

"When you have eliminated the impossible, 
whatever remains, however improbable, 
must be the truth." 
~ Sherlock Holmes, The Sign of the Four 
Chapter 6: 111, Doubleday, 1890.

Coleman Reese from The Dark Knight, 2005.

"They are trying to kill me." ~ Coleman Reese
"Well, maybe Batman will save you." ~ Commissioner James Gordon


Red Pill Junkie said...

I haven't seen the movie, but from the trailers I know that a huge terrorist attack takes place inside a Football stadium.

How terrible that we live in a world where the Olympic games, meant to convey a sense of international peace, need to be protected with a suffocating operation of police force and digital surveillance.

Loren, have you ever talked with a politician or policy-maker regarding the Copycat effect?

Mark said...

I haven't seen anybody mention this, but in the 2009 film SHERLOCK HOLMES, at the end, Holmes and Irene Adler sit high above London on some construction work and exchange this dialog:

Irene Adler: "A storm is coming."

Sherlock Holmes: "Well, we've still got a moment."

I've always thought it was strange that a bad girl/good girl says almost the same thing in TDKR to the hero of that film. It's hard to tell if Hollywood writers are just endlessly copying from each other or if there is something being said.

Red Pill Junkie said...

Also, in the 2001 movie From Hell, the actor who plays the part of Sir William Gull /Jack the Ripper is Ian Holm.

Heather Graham plays the part of Mary Kelley, a young prostitute with beautiful red hair.

Johnny Depp plays the part of Inspector Frederick Abberline, whose detective skills are enhanced with his precognitive talents induced by the use of Opium.

Johnny Depp was one of the actors who at a time were considered to play the role of Batman.

Anonymous said...

re the green vs red/orange hair jokers

Brizdaz (Darren) said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
richelle said...

One of the first things that came to mind when reading about the Aurora incident was a bit of a Joker-personae connection to some fiery shenanigans in my little town a couple years ago. Seems a powerful archetype for angry young men.
Here is a link:
I haven't read or really thought too much about all this because I've been distracted, but I'm thinking there must be some obvious links to larger Trickster dynamics/energy going on within the more specific Joker character.

richelle said...

One of the first things that came to mind when reading about the Aurora incident was a bit of a Joker-personae connection to some fiery shenanigans in my little town a couple years ago. Seems a powerful archetype for angry young men.
Here is a link:
I haven't read or really thought too much about all this because I've been distracted, but I'm thinking there must be some obvious links to larger Trickster dynamics/energy going on within the more specific Joker character.

Anonymous said...

Todd has reappeared with red hair, claiming that he is a natural red-head and that Bruce had him dye his hair black in order to look like Grayson..........

saludos desde españa

Anonymous said...

Look at thia poster for the London Olympics: look at the guy at the front's hair.

Anonymous said...

League of Shadows




now watch this video


purrlgurrl said...

For what it's worth . . . in the city where I live Holmes particular hair coloring is very popular among younger people - female and male. He looks very much like folks I see riding public transportation to work daily. Don't know if this is a hot trend in Aurora, but it sure is here.

Anonymous said...

Another odd sync -- on the last episode of the Bachelorette, the host took time at the beginning to mention the Aurora shooting and to pass along sympathies. Then, the first segment of the episode began with Emily, the Bachelorette, letting one of the contestants know she was not going to pick him. During the whole segment, she's wearing this more than obvious Egyptian Phoenix necklace. You can do a search for "Emily Egyptian Necklace" and find the designer and a picture of it. Here's a link to a sample picture and an explanation of its symbolic importance:

Note that it is associated with immortality and resurrection after death. So, after Emily dumps the one guy, who does she pick? She picks Jef Holm -- could anyone make this stuff up? Jef HOLM??!! In this connection, I'm wondering if there'll be scarab beetle symbolism at some point --

Anonymous said...

other tidbits

Christiam Bale 1st movie: Empire of the Sun

before TDKR at Regal Cinema: ads: that showed image of movie "Safety Not Guaranteed".

Also ad for new Sherlock Holmes TV show 'Elementary,

Anonymous said...

One of the mainstream TV channels on UK TV (ITV1) has chosen tonight to show 'A Clockwork Orange'