Potential dangers of publishing Aurora theater shooter’s personal notebook
… Forensic psychiatrist Dr. Park Dietz said the release of this notebook to the public can do only harm.
“No good can come out of that kind of unfiltered dissemination of someone’s inner-most thoughts,” Dietz said.
Dietz does work for the FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit and has participated in many high-profile cases, including those involving the assassination attempts on President Reagan and on Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, more than 25 serial killer cases, the Unabomber case, and the Columbine High School shootings.
“…The (notebook’s) content will cause some readers, if only a small proportion, to say, ‘this guy is like me’. And when that happens in that small fraction of the readership, that identification…with the killer emboldens them and encourages them to consider similar action.”
Later in the article…
Following the mass-murder in the Aurora, Colo., movie theater on July 20, 2012 that killed 12 and left 70 injured, there were multiple reports of potential copycat cases.
July 21, 2012: A man in Turnpike, Maine arrived armed with a gun to an afternoon showing of “The Dark Knight Rises”. When arrested, police found an assault rifle and several handguns, 10,000 rounds of ammunition and newspaper clippings about the Aurora theater shooting.
July 22, 2012: A man in Norwalk, Calif. made threats at a showing of “The Dark Knight Rises” and verbally alluded to the Aurora shooting. Witnesses reported that the man said, “I should go off like in Colorado. Does anybody have a gun?”
July 25, 2012: A New York man who worked for the NYC Department of Education was arrested after telling police he was obsessed with the Colorado movie massacre. Authorities found photos of the Aurora theater shooter “all over (the man’s) desk”. The man told police that he sympathized with the killer.
July 26, 2012: A Maryland man went to his workplace, called himself “a Joker” and threatened to “shoot the place up.” At the man’s home police found 25 guns, including semi-automatic rifles and pistols. Prince George County Police said it was an attempted copycat of the Aurora theater shooting.
July 31, 2012: A Minnesota man was arrested after making repeated references to “the Joker” and the Aurora theater shooting, telling police he understood the shooter’s motives and planned to have his own killing spree.
Loren Coleman believes that because the notebook was released nearly three years after the massacre occurred, the likelihood of people being inspired by the writings is decreased. Coleman authored the book, “The Copycat Effect: How the Media and Popular Culture Trigger the Mayhem in Tomorrow’s Headlines”.
“…There is less danger that the James Holmes’ notebook will have a widespread copycat impact,” Coleman said. “That is, as long as the words of Holmes don’t become a media phenomena and go virtual via social media.”
- Loren Coleman’s Twilight Language blog CopycatEffect.blogspot.com
- LorenColeman.com Copycat Effect page
- Official ParaView Press page for The Copycat Effect
Editor’s note: CU News Corps, like many media outlets, has published the notebook in its entirety. Reporter Lo Snelgrove presents a different perspective on sharing this piece of evidence with the public. By Lo Snelgrove CU News Corps CENTENNIAL, Colo. — Today, the Arapahoe County Court released a photocopied, PDF version of the Aurora theater …