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The Joker’s Razor

July 23, 2012

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In the wake of Friday morning’s bloodbath at a Colorado movie theater, America struggles to figure out who or what to blame.

They”€™ve obviously ruled out the shooter.

James Holmes, 24, will be arraigned in a Colorado courtroom this morning and charged with a spree killing at a midnight debut screening of the new Batman film The Dark Knight Rises that at last count left 12 dead and 58 wounded. Based on the total number of victims, the event would constitute the largest lone-wolf mass shooting in American history. Although he reportedly surrendered to police outside the theater clad from head to toe in riot gear and told them he was the “€œJoker,”€ he has apparently not formally confessed and has yet to be convicted, so journalistic etiquette dictates that Holmes be called the alleged gunman.

But even if he hurled the tear-gas canisters and fired the rounds, no man is an island, correct? At best, we”€™re all tiny non-autonomous fiefdoms in a sprawling continent. We are mere cells in a giant organism, little pieces in a huge puzzle, and when one of the pieces doesn”€™t quite fit anymore, the rest of the puzzle must be blamed.

So obviously “€œsociety”€ is to blame. But not all of society, because that would include the countless members of society who are blaming society for this. So what part of society is to blame?

On ABC’s Good Morning America, Brian Ross was quicker than a premature ejaculator in suggesting the Tea Party was culpable, saying he”€™d found a “€œJim Holmes”€ in Aurora, CO, on a Tea Party website. It was quickly revealed to be a different Jim Holmes.

“€œAmerica struggles to figure out who or what to blame. They”€™ve obviously ruled out the shooter.”€

Shooting from the other direction, private investigator Bill Warner suggested that James Holmes was a member of the “€œBlack Bloc“€œ anarchists associated with Occupy Wall Street. Warner’s hunch was based on little more than the stealthy black clothing Holmes was wearing when arrested, which could have just as easily made him a ninja.

Predictably, those who are foolish or sheltered enough to trust the government to monopolize violence decried America’s gun laws. Roger Ebert pecked out some flatulent verbiage regarding “€œparanoid fantasies about a federal takeover of personal liberties,”€ and he’s partially correct, because it appears that the United Nations is trumping US efforts to erase personal gun liberties with a bill that Obama is scheduled to sign on Friday. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg also blamed American gun laws but did not say whether he plans to get rid of his personal retinue of armed bodyguards.

Look away from the fact that Mexico has stricter gun laws than the US and a higher gun-homicide rate. Ignore the fact that Switzerland has some of the world’s highest gun-ownership rates and a negligible gun-homicide rate. And don”€™t even try to compare gun-related murder rates in urban areas that have restrictive gun laws alongside low gun-homicide rates in rural areas where firearms ownership tends to be highest. And blot from your memory banks the fact that there are likely millions of privately owned AR-15 “€œassault weapons”€ in America that have never been used to commit mass murder.

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