As the nation sends its hearts out to the victims and families of the last night’s tragedy in Aurora, Colorado and contemplates James Holmes’ unspeakable murder at “The Dark Night Rises,” something feels all too familiar.
As Nikki Finke at Deadline today wondered what the crime will mean for the Batman franchise, I found myself stuck on another branding problem that slowly, inexorably started forming as a question in my mind: What the fuck is the matter with Colorado?
Sure, every state has its share of psychopaths and its fair share of heinous crimes. But things happen enough times in one place and an association starts to stick in the mind that you just can’t shake. Florida, for instance, seems to experience more whacked-out meth-and-bath-salt crimes than anywhere. You know what I’m talking about. Colorado it seems, is becoming known for high-profile, psychopathic pre-mediated murders.
Of course, there was Columbine, but there was also the sexual assault and school shooting in 2006, a pair of shootings in 2007 at religious institutions—one at a church and one at missionary training center. Just last year in Aurora—the location of last night’s travesty, there was the Fourth of July shooting in which a man killed three people in a park. And most bizarrely, there was the 2004 “Killdozer” incident in Granby, CO, in which Marvin John Heemeyer armored a bulldozer with layered steel and concrete to deflect police bullets, and went about bulldozing over City Hall, the Mayor’s house and other buildings before getting stuck in the rubble and killing himself.
These kinds of high-profile murders (the DC snipers, for instance—the stuff that keeps us up at night) are incredibly rare. But somehow they seem to break news headlines in Colorado a disproportionate number of times. All of which leads back to my question: What is the matter with Colorado?
Clearly, I have no answers. However a Reddit user today pointed out that Marilyn Manson’s editorial for Rolling Stone called “Columbine: Whose Fault Is It?” is eerily relevant after James Holmes’s atrocity. It is—even down to the place. The whole thing is available on Reddit here. It’s worth a read. It won’t have answers, either, but in true Manson form it’s incisive, and just might make you feel a little better.