“This mother was one of the first women in my village to receive PMTC (Preventing Mother to Child Transmission) treatments. She is HIV positive and her baby Ausi Bonolo was born HIV negative. This photo was taken in a remote mountainous district of Lesotho, where over 23% of the population is infected with HIV/AIDS. With the increase health care opportunities in Lesotho, help of HIV support groups and village health care workers, Ausi Bonolo has a greater chance of growing up in an AIDS-free generation.” - Peace Corps HIV/AIDS Volunteer Pamela Rogers
As humans, it’s only natural for us to search for explanations in the face of senseless violence. So it’s no surprise that people have floated many weird and offensive theories to explain the tragic shootings late last week at a movie theatre in Colorado, that left 12 people dead and dozens more injured.
But you don’t need to look too far for a “reason” to explain this type of violence. Clearly, anyone who lashes out in such a heinously disproportionate way must have a deeper, underlying psychological problem — one that’s already been defined in the scientific literature. And James Holmes is absolutely no exception.
While it’s still early in the investigation, and with so few clues for us to consider, it’s difficult to know exactly what’s wrong with Holmes from a neurological perspective. His recent court appearance, with his dazed look and shock of dyed red hair, did little to dispel any notions that this man isn’t completely right in his head. And the accounts that he was denied membership at a gun club and that he may have been playing the part of some twisted Batman fantasy don’t do anything to dispel that notion.
So based on so little, aside for his penchant for dishing out an unspeakable amount of suffering, what can we say about Holmes, and any neurological problem that may have driven him to kill?
There are three potential explanations, and possibly a combination of these: James Holmes is either a psychopath, a schizophrenic, or he’s currently experiencing brain damage (either from an injury or a brain tumor). Let’s consider each of these.