Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Colorado Clusters and Copycats

by Loren Coleman ©2012

Aurora did not happen in a vacuum. Media spin would have you believe that only two major incidents of mass violence have occurred in Colorado in recent years. Aurora is one. And the other is Columbine, which, of course, happened in nearby Littleton.

But such things are told to you by a few newspeople who have no sense of history. Or they wish to ignore the vortex that Colorado has become for acts of violence and mass manias. California gets all the bad press, but sometimes the reality of pain happens in Colorado.

Today, few remember that suicide clusters were the behavior contagion phenomena that spread like a wildfire across America beginning in the 1980s. One of the first clusters began when twelve teens killed themselves in the northern Denver, Colorado suburb of Loveland in 1980-1981. The word "suicide cluster" refers to a concentrated number of self-deaths occurring in a specific location in a short amount of time. Some in the media disputed the fact that "suicide clusters" actually existed. But Loveland was a classic suicide cluster that began to start appearing in news stories and documentaries, which attempted to acknowledge this supposedly "new" behavior by teenagers.

Movies and suicides were identified as being interwoven, and special studies were made of The Deer Hunter. Here again, Colorado cropped up. Philip J. Hinshaw, 22, of Boulder Colorado, killed himself acting out a scene from The Deer Hunter with a .38 caliber automatic in front of his cousin, noted the Rocky Mountain News on February 9, 1980. He died five months later. According to a January 20, 1982, news report on KMGH-TV, Paul Whittaker, 17, of Denver, Colorado, killed himself with a .22 caliber revolver while playing Russian roulette with his brother and two girls the day after The Deer Hunter was shown on broadcast television. Four other Russian roulette deaths occurred across the country within six days of this Colorado 1982 incident. The copycat effect was subtly occurring, linked to suicides, by professionals in the social sciences, like myself.

I ended up writing a book, Suicide Clusters in 1987, about how the phenomenon was not new - first records date to 4 BC Greece - and detailing how they were rather consistent in their appearances. I began to talk about the copycat effect, but most people only were relating it to suicides and murder-suicides in the 1980s. The copycatting of one suicide after another was seen to jump, via newspapers, news magazines, and marginal television media attention, from well-publicized events to smaller ripples.

The copycat effect became so predictable, however, and the media coverage of these events so thorough, that I began to observe them almost as they would occur, in realtime. For example, on Friday afternoon May 16, 1986, former police officer David Young and his wife Dorris took over the Cokeville (Wyoming) Elementary School, and held 167 students and teachers hostage. The siege ended when one of the Youngs' homemade gasoline bombs went off, burning scores of fleeing, screaming children. David Young apparently then killed Dorris, wounded teacher John Miller, and then turned his Colt .45 on himself. (Months later, it was revealed that several children reported seeing angels in the classroom that day, including many children who claimed to have seen a "beautiful lady" who told them to go near the window. Other children reported seeing an angel over each child's head. A police photo taken during the incident - above - also reportedly shows "angels.")

The nationally broadcast Cokeville hostage situation, turned murder-suicide, was followed by the killing that night of five people at a bar and nearby convenience store in Colorado Springs, Colorado. When cornered by police, the killer, plumber Gilbert Eugenio Archibeque, shot himself once in the head with his .237 caliber handgun at 2 A.M., Sunday morning, May 18, 1986.Throughout the 1980s, it was individual acts of suicides, with occasional outbursts of murder-suicide incidents that grabbed the media's attention. The clumping and repeating of these suicides in specific geographic areas, like Loveland, were noted by social scientists as suicide clusters.

Suicide clusters of the 1980s - with Loveland's being the first epicenter - would be replaced by the school shootings of the 1990s, almost all conducted by suicidal male youth. The copycat effect had merely shifted its target as the media had shifted its focus. School violence has been around for a long time. but America’s “first” modern school shooting took place on Groundhog’s Day, February 2, 1996, at a school at Moses Lake, Washington State.

The Moses Lake killings set the pattern for what would follow in America--a student (not an outsider) killing other students and teachers. This is the horror--the danger from within of students killing students--that appears to have captivated the media. On that day, Barry Loukaitis, 14, dressed all in black, with boots and a long coat that hid his father’s hunting rifle and two handguns, walked into his Frontier Junior High fifth-period algebra class at Moses Lake and started shooting. He has cut the pockets out of his long Western duster and was able to use the .30-.30 lever-action hunting rifle without taking his hands out of the long, black trenchcoat. Loukaitis killed two classmates (Arnold Fritz and Manuel Vela) and then severely wounded another (Natalie Hintz). Hintz, sitting beside the boys, was shot in the stomach, with the bullet traveling through her elbow and almost tearing her right arm off. Next, Loukaitis aimed at the back of his algebra teacher, Leona Caires, and killed her as she was writing an equation on the chalkboard. With the carnage around him and 15 students in the room crying hysterically, Loukaitis calmly turned toward them, smiled and said: “This sure beats algebra, doesn't it?” The line was a quote from the Stephen King novel, Rage. Physical education teacher Jon M. Lane then rushed into the room, knocked the rifle away from Loukaitis, and wrestled him to the floor to end the shooting.

Loukaitis said his murderous loss of control was inspired by King’s Rage, Pearl Jam's music video “Jeremy,” and the movies Natural Born Killers and The Basketball Diaries. Unfortunately, the explosive media attention to Loukaitis’ school shooting triggered a series of similar events. Today, Stephen King says he wishes he had never written Rage.

Then Columbine happened. On April 20, 1999, Eric Harris, 18, and Dylan Klebold, 17, killed one teacher and 12 students and wounded 23 others at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado. Centering their attack on the cafeteria, Harris and Klebold spoke German and worn trench coats, as they reenacted scenes from Matrix and The Basketball Diaries in the nation's deadliest school shooting. They had plotted for a year to kill at least 500 and blow up their school. At the end of their hour-long rampage, they turned their guns on themselves. Harris and Klebold appeared to have deliberately chosen the anniversary date of Hitler’s Birthday for their attack. At one point, Harris and Klebold had considered the highly important date of April 19, too – the anniversary of Waco and the Oklahoma City bombing – but transportation problems forced a delay in their plans. They finally carried out their attack on the 20th – speaking German and “honoring” Hitler. (They had also discussed that after the attack, they would hijack a jetliner, fly it from Colorado, and crash it into Manhattan. This was two years before the 9/11 terror of 2001.) In the wake of the shootings in Littleton, the nation’s schools were under attack by copycats. Some 450 related incidents were reported in the month following the Columbine killings.

The decades-long impact of Columbine copycats is well-documented today, and I captured that research in my 2004 book, The Copycat Effect.

But in 2006, another shift occurred. Before 2006, most of the school shootings involved students or former students firing on students and teachers, and ending the incidents with the shooters' death, suicide by cop, or capture, often when attempting suicide. But something changed, and once again, Colorado fostered a model that was to be repeated in copycat situations.

Before the Colorado milestone incident of 2006 occurred, the following shadowy Columbine copycats took place:

Wednesday, August 29, 2006 - Hillsborough, NC - one dead (father of teenage shooter) - two wounded (two students) - shooter showed up in a trench coat, with guns, pipe bombs, in a copycat of Columbine - Asked by police why he went to Orange High School, Alvaro Rafael Castillo, 19, responded: "Columbine. Remember Columbine."

Wednesday, September 13, 2006 - Montreal, Quebec - Based on the pattern I see behind this shooting, Quebec was a logical next location (near Vermont and French-linked). Kimveer Gill, the 25-year-old shooter, a self-described atheist Goth with an Indian Sikh heritage, wearing a trenchcoat, dark clothing, and a Mohawk haircut, came to Dawson College, fully armed. He appeared to target what students call the "Jew Caf" and opened fire, killing Anastasia de Sousa, 18, and wounded 19 other students. Police fired upon him, and then Gill turned the gun on himself. Gill was obsessed by the Columbine massacre. He mentioned online being a fan of several computer games (e.g. Super Columbine Massacre) and movies (e.g. Natural Born KillersMatrix) with violent themes that have been played out in several school shootings.

Thursday, September 14, 2006 - Green Bay, Wisconsin - Matt Atkinson, a 17-year-old senior, told an associate principal at Green Bay East High School on the day after the Montreal college shooting that a Columbine-like plot was being planned by two teens. It was said to be a "suicide-by-cop" plot. Police arrested the boys and then found sawed-off shotguns, automatic weapons, pistols, ammunition, several bombs, bomb-making materials, camouflage clothing, helmets, gas masks, and suicide notes. Brown County District Attorney John Zakowski said: "This was a Columbine waiting to happen."

But then something different happened at Bailey, on the edge of Pike National Forest. On Wednesday, September 27, 2006, at Bailey, Colorado (39 miles from Columbine), a man named Duane R. Morrison, 54, (DOB July 23, 1953) walked into an English classroom at Platte Canyon High School, and took six young female students hostage. The media and local law enforcement officials conducted detailed press conferences as the drama unfolded, giving exact details about why they could not rush the building; the hostage taker had chained the doors.

After releasing four hostages, one at a time, the students told the police that sexual assaults were occurring. As the situation neared a 4 pm deadline and discussions broke down, a police SWAT team blew open the door to Room 206 with explosives. Morrison fired a handgun at entering SWAT officers, and then at 16-year old Emily Keyes, fatally wounding her. The gunman then killed himself. The last hostage was saved. (A suicide note from the shooter was found on September 28th.)
In the wake of Bailey, Colorado's former assistant attorney general Dave Kopel wrote a thoughtful column, "Kopel: Only Press Itself Can Stop Copycats" in the October 7, 2006 issue of the Rocky Mountain News. In that piece, he said, "In the 2004 book The Copycat Effect, Loren Coleman documents, in horrific detail, how the publicity about mass murders and suicides leads to more murders and suicides."

It is good to know someone was listening.

Nevertheless, the days that followed were filled with media reports giving in-depth details about what had transpired.
Then, on October 2, 2006, came the shooting in Amish country, the deadliest of that week's 2006 cluster, with five dead. I was quoted by Canadian media (who were not afraid to openly talk about the copycat effect in 2006) that I saw these violent shooter, intent on shocking the public, sometimes "compete for the highest body count."

In America, the copycat effect was downplayed, and often skeptically challenged.

Col. Jeffrey Miller, commissioner of the Pennsylvania State Police, held a widely reported news conference on October 3, 2007, the day after the Amish school shooting.

The public was looking for answers, of course. Miller wanted to communicate some, from his point of view. Many people clearly saw that the Amish attack bore similarities to a deadly school shooting on September 27, in Bailey, Colorado, in which police said an older white man (Duane R. Morrison) molested girls in a classroom before killing a 16-year-old and himself. But Miller said he believed the Pennsylvania attack was not a copycat crime. "I really believe this was about this individual and what was going on inside his head," Miller reportedly said.
The media detailing of the events in Bailey, however, I would point out, very definitely influenced the Nickel Mines shootings - including the over-identification between the shooters (both suicidal sexual molestors), the victims (little girls), the hostage situation (plans carried out), the use of the school (location of opportunity with girls), and the response to the police (which ends badly but with the shooter dead - a probable goal). Both also involved using chains on doors to keep the police out. The overlapping outrage between the sexual assault actions of Morrison in Colorado and the thoughts, feelings, and history of Roberts, the Amish killer, are too obvious to ignore. The eventual outcomes - suicidal thoughts being acted out in a horrible scenario of taking the lives of these young females and then ending the shooter's own through suicide (or if need be, via suicide-by-cop) - are the same.

The media, however, is always hostile to the "copycat effect" and so one spin on information shared by Col. Miller was done thusly:
Investigators also said that Charles Carl Roberts IV, 32, plotted his takeover of the school for nearly a week and that the items he brought — including flexible plastic ties, eyebolts and lubricating jelly — suggest he may have been planning to sexually assault the Amish girls before police closed in.
"It's very possible that he intended to victimize these children in many ways prior to executing them and killing himself," State Police Commissioner Jeffrey B. Miller said. But Roberts "became disorganized when we arrived," and shot himself in the head.
But if you read on, you will see that it is not this simple:
Roberts had planned the attack for nearly a week, buying plastic ties from a hardware store on Sept. 26 and several other items less than an hour before entering the school, Miller said.
So the facts are that the plastic ties, which are produced for many reasons, would become "hostage restraints," were purchased the day before Bailey. Other items were purchased after the Bailey hostage-school shooting-suicide incident, up to Monday, October 2nd's Amish killings.

How do we know what Roberts was thinking? He tells his wife in his note that he had been struggling with thoughts about molesting girls again. Perhaps his internal demons were being stirred up? He bought plastic ties to do "something." Then the media's wall-to-wall coverage of the sexual assaults on the six young female hostages in Bailey, Colorado, gave Roberts the canvas to paint his horrible scenario. Yes, something snapped inside of Roberts. To say that Roberts was not influenced by Bailey seems to be a form of denial.

The Amish school shooting at Nickel Mines, Pennsylvania, was the 24th school shooting in the United States in 2006, according to the National School Safety and Security Services.

The model of what happened at Bailey and Nickel Mines would be repeated during the next shooting season - spring. On April 16, 2007, in a backpack, Seung-Hui Cho carried into Norris Hall at VA Tech, several chains, locks, a hammer, a knife, two handguns with nineteen 10- and 15-round magazines, and almost 400 rounds of ammunition. In the largest mass school shooting in America, he left 32 people dead, 17 wounded, and himself killed by suicide. What was one of the newest elements that the VA Tech killer brought to this mass shooting? It was those chains Cho used to lock out law enforcement officers trying to save the students. That was one of the copycat elements that lead straight back to Bailey, Colorado.

There have been other violence events coming out of Colorado. On December 9, 2007, at Colorado Springs, Colorado, three people are killed and five wounded in two shooting rampages, one at a missionary school in suburban Denver and one at a church in Colorado Springs. The gunman in the second incident is killed by a guard. On Monday, June 9, 2008, the Colorado media reported a teenager was arrested in Fort Collins, who was also allegedly linked to three attacks, including a stabbing at a Wal-Mart. Police arrested the 17-year-old at the Wal-Mart Supercenter at 1250 E. Magnolia Street, in Fort Collins, Colorado, after they reported a 20-year-old man, Frank McConnell, of Ault, was stabbed in his abdomen. Police believe the suspect may be the same person who assaulted another man and harassed a cyclist earlier in the day during a series of random attacks.

There was even a "workplace shooting" in Aurora's past. A former kitchen worker, Nathan Dunlap, 19, who had been fired, went on a shooting rampage at a family restaurant that left some of its employees dead. On December 14, 1993, his shooting spree left four Chuck E Cheese employees, Ben Grant, 17; Colleen O’Connor, 17; Sylvia Crowell, 19; and Margaret Kohlberg, 50, dead.

Colorado is more than Aurora and Columbine. More than Bailey and Loveland. It is a state with a good deal of history that has yet to be fully appreciated. 

The recent red dawn event of Aurora, I predict, will call forth an era of reflective recall, to look at the morrow in a new way.

No kids should see that kind of violence where 
Batman is killing as many people as the bad guys. 
~ Burt Ward


For the links to recent other postings about The Dark Knight Rises, Colorado's Aurora red dawn event, and copycats, please see also:

Recent interviews, about the Aurora shootings:

WGN - Mike McConnell: Loren Coleman

The Corbett Report: The Copycat Effect with Loren Coleman

Binnall of America: Loren Coleman and Bruce Rux

Talk Shoe - 42 Minutes: Loren Coleman

Red Ice Creations

(NY: Simon and Schuster, 2004)


Ann said...

Dr. Coleman, I'm not sure exactly what you mean by your ending sentence:

"The recent red dawn event of Aurora, I predict, will call forth an era of reflective recall, to look at the morrow in a new way."

The only really newest element that I have seen with the Aurora shooting was the description of the shooter, how he was dressed, how he overcame the movie audience, and how he professionally used the gas canister and his weapons. The way the survivors described this shooter, it was a picture of a 'super soldier', and in some circles they believe these super soldiers are created by mind control.

I don't believe for a moment that Holmes was that super soldier, as there seems to be other, seriously shady and evil hands at work. So I wonder if one of these are the super soldiers?

This video is of an incident from the UK that happened some years back. I saw it on the news and didn't know what to think about it. It involved two Swedish twins, women, one in red and the other in a blue or green sweater. One walks out on to the highway and gets hit, doing damage to the car but none to herself. As she struggles with the police, the other twin goes off onto the highway and also gets hit by a truck, I think. As she struggles with the police she gets up and the police have to chase her. This was a very curious incident and can be seen in this video:


Are These Mind Control SUPER soldiers?

Is this what you had in mind about looking at the morrow in a new ways -- reflexive recall? Or maybe Total Recall?

Ann said...

Sorry, I made a mistake. "reflexive" should be "reflective".

Ann said...

Dr. Coleman, just to wrap it up on these two Swedish twins, I came across a website that goes into a lot more detail about them, the other part of the story, which is even more bizarre, in case you and others are interested:


"What Was The "Madness in the Fast Lane" (BBC Documentary, 2010)? "

Anonymous said...

Have you seen this? I had to read it twice to make sure it wasn't a spoof: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2181721/James-Holmes-fans-The-sick-online-fans-wear-plaid-drink-slurpees-support.html

Red Pill Junkie said...

Last night during the transmission of Micah Hanks' The Gralien Report, famous Parapolitician Kenn Thomas, who made an appearance as a guest, mentioned an interesting connection he discovered between the Aurora mass shooting & the JFK assassination:

He mentioned an old TV show, What's My Line, which featured the 1st woman Mayor of Aurora Colorado. The same show was the last public appearance of Dorothy Kilgallen, who died under mysterious circumstances. She arrived to the show just after interviewing Jack Ruby.

Loren Coleman said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Loren Coleman said...

Sorry to hear that my old friend Kenn Thomas remains misinformed about this. After he mentioned this link to me, I double-checked and discovered that Dorothy Kilgallen died the *week before* the appearance of the then Aurora mayor, Mrs. Norma Walker. Indeed, the Aurora mayor was on the "Dorothy Kilgallen Tribute Show," the week after Kilgallen's death on November 8, 1965.

I told Kenn about this. Perhaps the show was recorded BEFORE our discussion alerting him to his mistake?

Red Pill Junkie said...

You'll have to check with Micah about that. I was under the impression the interview was live, but I could be mistaken.

Ann said...

Since the opening of the movie Dark Night Rises seems to have changed the Paradigm via an alchemical processing of the Group Mind (as Michael Hoffman would say), I've complied a short list of movie openings and their dates. Some on the list are connected in a synchromystical way to the Aurora shooting:


July 27, 2012 - Dark Knight Rises

August 2 - Total Recall - Assassins Bullet - and Soldier's Fortune

September 7 - Gangster Squad

October 26 - Cloud Atlas (this one I find interesting, reading what wiki says about the novel, written by an Englishman)

November 9 - Skyfall (the James Bond movie)

Ann said...

My mistake - Dark Knight Rises opened on July 20th.

Anonymous said...

Re the Holmies

Jimmy is a set-up. It can be understood if there are some who sympathize with him.

To be noted is that Jeffrey Dahmer, heinous homosexual tortuous murderous necrophiliac cannibal, had sympathizers, some even saying 'lunch with Dahmer,' grossly disturbing since it is quite clear he was guilty of what he was accused, and it was much more heinous than anything Jimmy is being accused of. A black male inmate did to Dahmer what authorities were too weak to do.

Summation: The prophesied godless children of the Endtimes, and they are acting in 'social contagion.'

Anonymous said...

Sean Penn's "Gangster Squad" trailer showing ARMED MEN (GANGSTERS) SHOOTING INTO A MOVIE THEATER CROWD AND KILLING FROM BEHIND THE SCREEN played just minutes before the Aurora Theater Massacre COPYCATTED that!

Why oh why is NO one talking about *that?*

Loren Coleman said...

Dear Anonymous

Please note on this blog on July 23rd, I wrote:

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.

Ann said...

Dr. Coleman, maybe that's where I got my list from (with the exception of 'Cloud Atlas') and forgot where I'd seen it after I wrote it down. Sorry about that! (Somewhere I got the date of August 2nd for the 3 pictures, but whatever, maybe I made a mistake.)

When you just posted about the blurring of lines between reality and non-fiction, I think this is why a lot of otherwise 'normal' people seem to be becoming unhinged, especially when coupled with a cocktail of religious notions.

I can't wait for your next article, whatever you may write about. Synchromysticism is an interesting field, which also blurs the line between reality and non-fiction, but supplies some answers.

For some reason that movie 'Cloud Atlas', based on a novel by British author David Mitchell, stands out among the others on the list. Described as a 'mammouth saga', it's directed by the Wachowskis (“The Matrix”) and Tom Tykwer (“Run Lola Run”). For some reason I'm picking up a lot of vibes about this movie. Not negative ones though, but definitely a Paradigm changer of some kind.

Ann said...

Dr. Coleman - Is the Wisconsin Sikh Temple shooting a copycat, do you think? Looks like it to me.

Anonymous said...

I am curious about the Temple shooting too. It seems that it is a copycat with the tear gas maneuver. It wouldn't make since to throw teargas and then shoot considering that no witness reported seeing the gunmen with gasmask of any kind. It would only hamper the gunmens' sight and possibly disable them. The fact that they used it just seems like it is a copycat crime. Also, witnesses said that there were four gunmen, just like some say there was in Aurora.

Ann said...

Dr Coleman, we need you. Something ELSE is going on in Aurora, Colorado right now. I saw a brief newsclip about it on only 1 news station -- then nothing about it on any other. So I googled, and here it is:

UPDATE: Must see arrival video & fireground audio: Residents jump at Aurora, CO apartment fire that left two dead and 25 injured. Arson suspected. More video added.

Still pictures & more coverage from 5280fire.com

Aurora Fire Department spokesman Capt. Allen Robnett says the two people who died were on the 4th floor of the Fitz Apartments at E. 17th Ave. and Peoria St.


Ann said...

Also, on the one newschannel they said this burning building is located just a few blocks from where James Holmes lived. It's very odd I've seen no other news channel with this story.