The Daily Banter

Mental Illness Pulled the Trigger in Aurora

My column yesterday examined the Aurora massacre from a point of view that's not quite being discussed enough.

Uncharacteristically, and with some level of potential controversy, I'd like to suggest that this wasn't just about James Holmes' ridiculously easy access to guns or gun-related paraphernalia, either. Yes, firearms were the weapon of choice, and, yes, the efforts of misanthropic gun lobbyists and the politicians they control absolutely contributed to the ability for Holmes to attain an arsenal of weapons and armor. And, had that access been severely restricted, the attack may never had occurred.

But what exactly prompted Holmes to acquire those weapons and plan the massacre in the first place? The root -- the "patient zero" cause of the attack on those people in Aurora was undiagnosed and untreated mental illness. It's the catalyst for everything. Clearly, it was untreated mental illness triggered Holmes' plot from start to finish -- from the acquisition of weapons to the choice of venue to whatever pop culture references he may have employed in the aftermath, severe unmitigated mental illness was the reason it happened and specifically what we ought to blame. Continue reading here...

  • CodpieceWatch

    I agree he is mentally ill, but if he had been an Arab, he’d be called a terrorist, and if he was black, he’d be a thug.

  • missliberties


    It’s a tragic situation. Educating folks on mental health issues is much more doable than changing existing guns laws.

    I have often wondered if Wayne LePierre is a mental case crying out for help.

  • muselet

    I agree, we as a society need to become more aware of mental illness and work to eliminate the stigma attached to it so individuals can get the treatment they need.

    One quibble: most mental illness does not result in violent, let alone murderous, behavior. (I know you know this and were making a different point. I just think it needs to be explicitly stated.)


  • IrishGrrrl

    Bob, a good column. I hope you a lot of people read it.