In the aftermath of the worst public shooting in US history, the biggest question on everyone's mind is "why".
From all known accounts of James Holmes, he is an intelligent young man with a bright future. He graduated from the top of his class, and he grew up in a stable family with loving parents.
So what happened to him? What evil forces transformed him from a budding scientist to a monster who carried out unspeakable atrocity?
I think I have the answer for you.
Based on my gut instinct, I'd say that mental illness took over his promising life.
His age, the circumstances around the rampage, and the lack of other reasons all point to schizophrenia as the culprit.
This devastating condition typically strikes people at their prime. James is 24 years old. It does not spare individuals with great intellectual promise. James is in the doctorate program at the University of Colorado after graduating in the top of his class from UC Riverside. Schizophrenia can strike within a short period of time, robbing people of their senses and personality. This aspect of the disease is perhaps the most cruel of them all, and it can leave family members baffled and in denial. What happened to the sweet boy we used to know?
I am afraid that the mental health system in this country has failed James. It has failed the victims of this rampage. It has failed the family members, both of the victims as well as Jamese's.
Perhaps this is a wake up call for those who remain in denial and those who still hold mental illness at arm's length due to the societal stigma associated with psychiatric illnesses. Inaction can lead to tragedy like this. Inaction is not an option.
My deepest sympathies to those who suffered loss in this tragedy.