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The Aurora shootings refer to an incident that occurred on on July 20, 2012. During a midnight screening of The Dark Knight Rises, a gunman entered a Century Theater in Aurora, Colorado, and randomly opened fire on the film's patrons.
Around 12:38 a.m., the shooter entered the theater wearing a gas mask, a ballistic helmet, and a load-bearing vest. Equipped with a 12-gauge shotgun, a semi-automatic rifle and a handgun, the shooter killed 12 people and wounded 58.
At 12:45 a.m., the police apprehended the sole suspect, James Egan "Jake" Holmes. He reportedly had his hair dyed red and referred to himself as the Joker, a nod to the antagonist of the previous film in Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy. Currently, there is a gag order for lawyers and the police in regards to this incident.
Smearing around the blame
- Former White House and Pentagon official Douglas McKinnon blamed the shooting on video games.
- Perennial advocate of Matthew 7:1 Bryan Fischer blamed the shootings on gays, liberals, and teaching evolution instead of having prayer in school.
- Voice of reason Rush Limbaugh tried to turn it into a conspiracy to link the movie's villain Bane with Mitt Romney's investment firm Bain Capital, and thus skew the voting results of the upcoming election in Barack Obama's favor.
- Avid skeptic Representative Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) said the shooting was a result of the "ongoing attacks on Judeo-Christian beliefs" and wondered why no one else in the theater had brought a gun.
Of course, none of these assertions address the reality that a young man with a history of mental health issues was able to legally purchase large quantities of firearms, ammunition and body armor from online merchants using funds from student loans, and no warning signals or red flags went up.
Colorado has since tightened its gun control legislation. There is greater requirement for background checks including checks at gun shows. There are now limits on the amount of ammunition a gun magazine can hold which were not in place before. The National Rifle Association and others successfully unseated some legislators who helped get the new laws passed but failed to repeal the laws themselves.
- Douglas MacKinnon. "In Colorado shooting, a lesson lost." The Baltimore Sun. 2012 August 1.
- David Edwards. "Evangelical radio host blames Colorado shooting on 'the liberals' way'." The Raw Story. 2012 July 24.
- "The Batman Campaign? (transcript)" The Rush Limbaugh Show. 2012 July 17.
- Jennifer Bendery. Louie Gohmert: Aurora Shootings Result Of 'Ongoing Attacks On Judeo-Christian Beliefs'." Huffington Post. 2012 July 20.
- Reuters. "James Holmes, Accused Colorado Gunman, Saw 3 Mental Health Experts Prior To Deadly Shooting." Huffington Post. 2012 August 22.
- Andrew Moran. "Sandy Hook labeled in Batman film, conspiracies light up Internet." Digital Journal. 2012 December 20.
- How Colorado has tightened its gun laws since the Aurora shooting