Aurora shootings

From RationalWiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search
RationalWiki's Chilling Tales of True
Crime icon.png
Articles on illegal behaviour

The Aurora shootings refer to an incident that occurred 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. This report has been attributed to then New York Police commissioner Ray Kelly by Colorado prosecutor George Brauchler who actually prosecuted Holmes. However, Brauchler and other officials have said for years that Holmes never referred to himself as the Joker.[1]

Smearing around the blame[edit]

In a fashion that can only be described as "not failing to disappoint," the shooting elicited many responses from gun nuts and the religious right:

Of course, none of these assertions address the reality that a young man with a history of mental health issues[6] 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.

Further compounding these issues, an individual known as Ben Chesley disclosed to the Aurora Police Department the entire plan of attack ~3-6 months before the incident occurred and the Aurora Police Department declined to investigate or take any preventative measures.

The shooting has also been the subject of conspiracy theories, some of which link it to subliminal messages in the Batman film itself, and to the later Sandy Hook school shooting.[7]


Colorado has since tightened its gun control legislation. There are greater requirements for background checks, including at gun shows. There are now limits on the amount of ammunition a gun magazine can hold that 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.[8]

See also[edit]