Posted on July 20, 2012 at 2:07pm
Buck Sexton is The Blaze’s national security editor and a GBTV contributor. Before joining the Blaze, Buck served in the U.S. Intelligence Community for six […]
Buck Sexton is The Blaze’s national security editor and a GBTV contributor. Before joining the Blaze, Buck served in the U.S. Intelligence Community for six years, specializing in counterterrorism and counterinsurgency. He has field experience in the Middle East, South Asia, and Africa. Buck has a B.A. in Political Science from Amherst College. He is a native of New York City, where he currently resides.
Many will use words like horrific, appalling, and shocking to describe the shooting in Aurora last night. But there is another word that truly summarizes the shooting: Evil.
This was an assault on all of us, an attack on our common humanity. One man killed twelve completely innocent people and injured over 70, including an infant. Hundreds of lives have been shattered. All of this tragedy occurred because of the depraved, nihilistic acts of an evil individual.
Law enforcement will find more answers in the aftermath, but the indicators right now point to a lone wolf, acting out of a deep, depraved sense of internal rage. The specific motivation behind the attack is not yet known, if one exists, but it is likely to involve a mishmash of perceived injustices, blind hatred, and outright insanity. The already released videos of terrified victims fleeing the theater bring back immediate memories of the Columbine massacre in 1999.
Some observers in the media with poor judgment have already started to use this appalling massacre to score cheap political points. This speaks more to their character and judgment than any issue of policy. But apart from the far-too-soon posturing and political moralizing, some immediate reactions and analysis are warranted to help us understand this tragedy.
Based on the facts thus far, the perpetrator of this incident may have some psychological elements in common with Jared Loughner, the deranged shooter who killed six people and nearly took the life of Congresswoman Gabrielle Gifford’s in Tucson, Arizona in 2011. The suspect in Aurora– a 24-year old former medical student named James Holmes– fits easily into the profile of the cold, calculating psychopath.
All of the the alleged shooter’s tactics and planning fit into a narrative of pre-meditated, precision malice. Police report the shooter had multiple firearms on his person, including a rifle, shotgun, and pistols. Witnesses at the scene say he deployed a gas grenade before opening fire. He also has rigged his home with explosive booby traps that could take hours or even days for the Colorado authorities to clear.
This was not a man who snapped and committed atrocities in an a moment of unbridled fury. There are many signs that the suspect is a cold-blooded assassin, one who takes pleasure in his sadistic preparations and pride in planning a mass casualty event. All eyewitness accounts thus far depict a killer who took his time and had very specific intent for the carnage he inflicted.
There will inevitably be questions raised about “missed warning signs.” Many commentators have even brought up that the suspect was not on a terrorism watch list. That would seem unlikely to have applied in this case, as the suspect had no previous criminal history, or ties to terrorist groups. But with the news that the suspect’s mother told police, “you have the right person,” it is almost certain that tales will emerge of a man who was withdrawn from society, obtuse in previous statements, and deeply troubling to the few who knew him well.
But that will come in the days ahead. For now, we must tend to the wounded, the families of the deceased, and each other.
Americans are heart-broken, and must gather together for grieving and prayer. When faced with such evil, we turn to family, country, and God, with the unwavering belief that we are a country of kind, decent people, and we will heal and overcome this tragedy in time, together.
Buck Sexton is National Security Editor for TheBlaze.com and is a former NYPD Intelligence Division analyst.