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The Breivik Connection: is this a copy cat killing?

Update: There are new facts about the shooter that make it sound like he could be following Breivik’s example.  These details are chilling.  At around midnight, his neighbors heard some very loud techno music coming from his apartment.  One of the downstairs neighbors went up to ask him to turn it down.  Here’s what happened:

Kaitlyn Fonzi, a 20-year-old biology student at University of Colorado Denver, lives in an apartment below Holmes.

Around midnight, Fonzi said she heard techno music blasting from Holmes apartment. She went upstairs and knocked on the door. When no one answered, she put her hand on the door knob and realized the door was unlocked.

Fonzi decided not to go inside the apartment.

The music turned off at almost exactly 1 a.m., Fonzi said.

Kaitlyn had a narrow escape last night because if she had entered that apartment, she would have been blown up.  The apartment is booby trapped.  The booby trap is so complicated that the police haven’t figured out how to disarm it yet.

In Breivik’s case, he preceded his shooting spree on the island by blowing up some government buildings in Oslo first.  Then, while the police were dealing with that, he went on to part two of his massacre at the teen retreat on Utoya.

James Holmes had a similar plan,  Play really loud music, lure the neighbor up to the apartment, leave the door ajar so the neighbor could trip the mechanism and blow up the building.  I have no idea what he used as explosives but science labs are full of all kinds of stuff and if you’re motivated enough, you can make your own.

While the police were supposed to be distracted by the explosion, he goes on a rampage in a crowded movie theater that people couldn’t get out of easily.  It sounds like it was stadium seating which would had made it like one of those carnival shooting games with the tiers of ducks.  Someone correct me if I’m wrong about this theater.

One other thing of interest: He started graduate school in June 2011 and it sounds like he was going through some kind of personality problem in his early 20s.  He was an honors student, Phi Beta Kappa, had a masters in neuroscience and couldn’t find a job. Holmes is by all accounts very intelligent but he was failing his comprehensive exams in the last year.

It may all be coincidence but the way both Breivik and Holmes carried out their massacres seem eerily similar and the timing is too convenient being only 2 days before the one year anniversary of Breivik’s massacre.


The similarities are striking. Guy dressed in a uniform, in this case camo, calmly walks into a closed area that is difficult to escape and opens fire on innocent young adults and children. The death toll might be low at this point but the number of injured, 59, is unreal.

The shooter has multiple weapons. He’s well prepared to take out as many people as he can. He’s cool and methodical. Afterwards, he waits for police and does not resist arrest.

And it all takes place two days short of the one year anniversary when Andrew Brevik did the same thing at a teen retreat on a tiny island in Norway.

I’m not typically the kind of person who freaks out about how we’re all going to die, but if one troubled person in a land full of guns gets the notion that this action will somehow prove something to the world, maybe it would be a good idea for theaters, summer camps and amusement parks to be extra vigilant this week end.

I’d love to be proven wrong, silly and crazy for even suggesting this, but you know, we live in interesting times.

12 Responses

  1. “we live in interesting times”.
    They must have said the same thing during slavery.

  2. I read that today’s showings of the Batman movie were cancelled in France. I also read that UA was thinking about doing the same in the US…but I guess the the weekend box office revenue trumps common decency.

    • Um, I don’t think the movie or the theater is to blame in this case. It could have been the Avengers and he might have shown up as Loki. If my hypothesis is correct, Holmes is acting out the Norway mass murderer Andrew Breivik’s killings. It was two days short of a year ago that Breivik went on his rampage. We have examples of mass murderers picking anniversary dates. Tim McVeigh bombed the Murrah building in Oklahoma City on the anniversary of the fire at the Branch Davidian compound in Waco. Both happened on April 19.

      The Batman movie might have been chosen because it would be well attended. It got a lot of advance reviews and people were excited to see it. So, he was going to have a lot of people in one confined place with few exits. That gave him plenty of potential victims.

      Let’s not blame the movie for this. It’s the wrong place to look. This is a very sick individual who probably has some severe psychiatric problems.

  3. He left the door to his apartment ajar??? I didn’t hear that!

    • My mistake. He left it unlocked. Kaitlyn knocked and got no response so she turned the handle and found that the door was unlocked. We know the apartment is booby trapped so what does that tell you?
      Another neighbor did the same thing. Fortunately, neither of them opened the door. If I were them, I’d be a hysterical mess right now. One of them called 911 to report the loud music to the police but it stopped by itself at 1 am.

      The whole scheme relied on the guy not having a very high opinion gf his neighbors.

      • I know — I wouldn’t have touched the door knob. … But, the apartments are some sort of student housing, aren’t they? Maybe there was a history of people dropping in and out of each others apartments? Like a dorm??

        And I doubt he has a very high opinion of anyone.

        • I don’t know what’s wrong with him. All of his high school and college classmates said he was quiet but friendly once you got to know him. He comes from a very nice family. One friend says he was having a rough time dealing with stuff a couple of years ago. And this is not the first time I have heard of a guy in his early 20s having a psychotic episode. I’d even guess that people as smart as he seems to be might be susceptible to it. I’ve known of at least two cases I worked with. One had a temporary breakdown and spent some months in a hospital. The other creeped me out one evening when I was working in the lab. He came to tell me that he was hearing voices that told him I was an evil person. (my secret was out) But he seemed so quiet and shy that I thought he was just being funny in a weird geeky kind of way. He had some drug abuse issues and left the company. Ended up in Colorado and died under mysterious circumstances. He was only in his twenties.
          Come to think of it, I have worked with a lot of really smart people who seemed on the edge of madness. And we were all working in the same therapeutic area- central nervous system drugs.
          Cue the twilight zone music.

        • Or maybe they were. They just weren’t talking to me.

  4. On my walk in North Park the other day, the road through the softball fields was closed, which puzzled me. I parked and started my walk only to be “cruized” by what seemed to be an unmarked police car. The only thing that I could see was going on in the park at that time (about 2:30 p.m.) was a kids day camp with about 50 kids in purple t-shirts and the various camp counselors. I walked past their several groupings in the pavillions and was thinking to myself that I hadn’t ever before seen “security” for a kid’s event. I mean, the entire route around the fields was closed off.

    • The end of July can’t come soon enough I guess.
      The police have probably been worried about it for a few months. But you can’t alarm parents because they’ll keep the wee beasties home and ruin summer income for a lot of people.
      Leave it to Holmes to figure out how to create maximum havoc without ever setting foot in a summer camp.

  5. next they’ll have the young uns sitting in the window marking down the license plate numbers of vehicles passing through like the coal miners do.

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