What Happened In Aurora?

picture of James Holmes, Aurora shooter
James Holmes

What is it about Colorado that the worst shooting incidents happen there? How does a 24-year-old honors student go bonkers preparing for his high-profile career? What happened to make him drop out of a graduate program?

There are so many questions and no answers. What is happening is there are hundreds and thousands of opinions, but very little in the way of facts. This blog article is speculative, too.

Try to put yourself in the place of Jimmy Holmes, honors student at the University of California, Riverside. He majored in neuroscience, a discipline which integrates real science into psychology. At least, that’s what I think it means. Anyway, James could not get a job after graduating with a Bachelor’s Degree in Neuroscience.

After not getting a job, James applied to and was accepted at the University of Colorado at Denver. According to articles, he was in a program leading to a PhD in Neuroscience. I cannot find where he had earned a Master’s Degree. Apparently, the PhD  program at UC, Denver includes the work for a Masters.

After starting the program in the fall of 2011, he was having academic problems.

What’s this? An honors student having academic problems? Yes, and I have my own ideas about why.

I remember the kick in the academic butt graduate school delivered to me when I first started in the MBA program. I had gotten my bachelor’s in engineering five years before my entry into graduate school. Graduate school is at a much higher level and is at a much faster pace. It takes maturity to compete. All of  the  students in graduate school are good students, and they are all ambitious. The competition is really stiff.

Holmes was quickly inundated with the massive amounts of material. I believe he was trying to get his Master’s Degree in one year.

Trying to assimilate mountains of new material, plus, having to review the stuff you thought you knew can be harder than anyone expects. This can be a physical and a mental brick wall. If you don’t have the maturity to handle it, you can easily get behind. Getting behind in graduate school can be academically terminal.

I read that Holmes didn’t do well on his comprehensive exams. Comprehensive exams are normally taken prior to achieving ones Masters Degree. If Holmes did poorly in the Master’s part of the program, his chance of success in the PhD program was almost non-existent.

Holmes had failed.

Here we have a former honors student not being able to get a job, and then failing at the subject thought to be his strength. This, my friends, does not bode well for his future. It is a terrifying thing to think about having to take a construction job, or do other manual labor just to get by. That’s not the way he was raised.

Holmes lived alone. When Holmes lived at home, he had no friends, either. The problem with being a loner is that you have a limited perspective on life. When things get tough and you are not used to going to family and friends for support and opinions, you are in danger of doing the wrong thing.

I believe there were other contributing factors to Holmes’ actions. In our nation today there is a drive to take God out of our lives. Our universities hammer our children with the idea of moral relativity. From this we get the “if it feels good, do it” people.

Were Holmes parents religious? Did they raise their child with a moral foundation? Did they teach him right from wrong?

When James was going through his vulnerable years in college, was he exposed to professors who made a joke of people who believe in God? Was he indoctrinated with the idea that what is moral for one person is not necessarily moral for another?

James Holmes became a victim. His future was snatched from him. He had no moral foundation. He was extremely disappointed in life.

I will be interested to find out if James had problems with depression. I believe that he was depressed, and could only see the low point of his life, which was now. He didn’t know how to deal with his problems, so he decided to strike back.

Was Holmes evil? Was he doing something to strike back at society because of his failures?

What do you think?

Update: Here’s a TMZ article about a profile James Holmes was reported to have established on a sex website.

5 thoughts on “What Happened In Aurora?”

  1. My guess is that either he was trying to get his master’s in a year, or he could be looking to achieve PhD candidacy in a year. Depending on the program, you can achieve PhD candidacy w/out getting a master’s. I did just that myself, albeit in a completely different field.

    Maybe, considering how exceptional he did in undergrad, he thought he could pull off candidacy within his first year, or the program was structured that way, since there is so much diversity in how PhD programs work. But it may have been too much even for him, and maybe he couldn’t deal with the failure he experienced. But like your opinion, it’s just my own speculative opinion, and no one truly knows but him.

  2. I agree, Jessica. No matter what the program looked like, it was probably a comprehensive and difficult one. Congratulations on getting your PhD. I have just the MBA, and when I had thoughts about going further, I was more in the make a living mode 🙂

    LIke you said, this is just my opinion. Thanks for the comment.

  3. We may never know what was going on in this young man’s mind. I do think that you touched on a key factor; that he was a “loner”. I’m not going to pretend to be a psychuatrist; but a quick search tells us that although being a loner is not alwaus a mental disorder, it often is. Surely Holmes was mentally disturbed. Was it an effect of a cause or was he born with some wires crossed? I wonder if he expected to die that day? Clearly, he was wearing a bullet proof vest, he wasn’t planning suicide by cop; but he mat have been planning suicide by his own hands.

    Sadly, this tragedy is already being politicized with calls for more gun controls and one idiot at CBS trying to insinuate that he was a Tea Party member.

    I feel so bad for the families of the victims who can never understand theis seneless loss of their loved ones.

  4. I got interested in Holmes when I we learned that he was a PhD candidate, and had washed out. I have often thought about studying for a PhD, but those days are long past when I had the mental or physical energy. I have had academic difficulties, especially in my freshman and sophomore years when I was working full time, and trying to carry a full academic load.

    I learned that you cannot do it well unless you are uncommonly organized. I was not, and had to overcome problems early. To say that I understand his frame of mind would be foolish, But, we have all faced failure, or the threat of failure in our lives and we found a way to overcome, or to recover. I do understand that it takes a level of maturity to overcome these problems, and I don’t think Holmes was equipped mentally to handle it.

    Thanks for you comments.

  5. The bottom line answers to Aurora Colorado and James Holmes murderous assault on innocent theater goer’s runs much deeper than his psychological profile, what the pundits senseless speculations about it are and beyond what most people these days in America even consider when trying to understand such tragedies. I believe the deeper more significant, one that actually offers true understanding and hope, is found here: http://sradie.hubpages.com/hub/Answers-About-Aurora-CO

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