HUMAN a punk’s reflection of of his humanity…or lack of…



By Nickolaus Gehrig

In the days after the massacre at the Aurora Century 16 theater…I cannot help but to look inside myself and wonder, “What went wrong?” and “why?”

James Holmes has been painted as an introverted intellectual who became a monster. Much focus has been placed on his dyed red hair, and odd sexual personality. Everything I see in the media is how bad of a guy he is. I certainly agree that he became a horrible monster, an unimaginably hellish creature. And then, I start to think about other things I saw, especially some of the interviews with people in the days after the shooting. One interview in particular has stood out among the many, and made me feel guilty, and remorseful, and utterly stupid. This interview was with a young man, who seemed all too proud that he refused James Holmes any acknowledgement or friendship. He talked about how Holmes had often smiled, and waved at him….and he seemed quite proud that he had distanced himself from a man who would someday become one of the most infamous people in recent history. And I felt like a piece of trash. How many times had I refused to befriend a person who had reached out to me? How many times had I refused to acknowledge someone as a human being, as a person who deserves the greatest right of mankind, the right to be loved?

When I think of the interview I wonder…”who is the real monster, James Holmes…or… it me?”  Is it the guy who proudly refused James Holmes’ smiles and friendship? If the shooter had a real friend, would he have shot? The more I learn about James Holmes the more it becomes clear that one thing was missing from his life, that could have saved 12 lives and prevented the nightmares of many. Love was missing. Compassion and friendship was missing. It seems only perfectly natural, that a person, who no one wanted to reach out to, would become desensitized enough to shoot 70 people or more. He did not see people as human beings. Is it because he may have never experienced compassion and love from others, except for his parents? If he had known love and experienced brotherhood and compassion, I doubt he would have found it very easy to shoot even one person.

So who is the real monster? Is it James Holmes…or is it “us”? Is James Holmes really a single monster, bent on destroying the lives of as many people as he could? Or is he merely a manifestation of the monster that we all are guilty of being?

For many years I have been very angry about the shooting at Columbine High School. Klebold and Harris are the only people considered guilty of the crime, but I feel differently. How many times had students harassed and teased them? How many times had a staff member allowed it, or even joined the pack of hyenas for a feast of the human soul? When there was nothing left to feast on, the hunted became predators…and they were starving.

The shooters at Columbine were monsters, created by monsters. If those who constantly tormented those two, had instead, offered friendship and compassion…I think it is likely that no school shooting would have ever happened…and perhaps there would only be long forgotten yearbook pictures of smiling high school graduates, Klebold and Harris, best friends looking at a brighter future. And perhaps many other mass shootings would have never been inspired. All too often, the blame is placed elsewhere…guns, video games, violent movies, etc…No one talks about how the lack of love, compassion, and understanding, may have led to the level of insensitivity that manifested itself ultimately into extreme violence. We live in a world, where it is “hip to hate’. On every reality show, the ratings depend on people treating each other like trash. The news thrives on violence and destruction, and the tv shows hinge on violent action and themes of inhumanity to pull in the ratings. Even in our social cliques, it is almost always cliche, to hate on people who have different tastes and lifestyles. We segregate ourselves and each other, and package ourselves into a fashion and type of music. Seldom it is, that a person refers to themselves or others, as human beings. It’s always, I am
this, and they are that, and bla bla bla, “they’ suck”. “They” are not this or that, they are HUMAN BEINGS. You are a HUMAN BEING, I am a HUMAN BEING. The Rastafarian term for we, is “I and I”. It is a recognition that we are all a part of the same place, the same consciousness. An understanding that to harm another, is to harm oneself. I and I is a term of love, an idea that loving another is also loving oneself. I am not a Rastafarian, but this lesson that they have given, through their language, more than, ever, resounds in my head louder than a thousand war drums. We are each other, and a tragedy like this is not the fault of one or two deranged people…it is the fault of ‘I and I’. It is a failure of humanity and compassion for others, manifested into a single person, who is also ‘I and I’. I do not feel like this tragedy is James Holmes’ fault. I feel like it is mine.

The American Dream is centered around a new car and a big house, a nice company job, and a future in college for our children. James Holmes was a product of this dream. A brilliant mind, an outstanding student, and a product of his parents’ incredibly hard work and love. But…was that big house too empty? Were his parents too busy or too calculated, or calculating, to provide their own examples of love and compassion? Were they more motivated by their desire to be wealthy, or for their son to be wealthy, to sit and learn about their own sons heart? Was his desire to be a free person with crazy hair and a penchant for casual fun repressed by the American Dream? Perhaps when he had obtained the freedom to do this, it was already too late for him to know how to enjoy it. He had already long been isolated and repressed, perhaps even long desensitized. His world wasn’t a world of love and friendship and fun. His world was the world of many
brilliant intellectuals, a world reduced to common denominators and perfect calculations. It was a simple world, a world, that, when reduced to its lowest denominator, was merely a mathematical place, largely devoid of love and compassion. It was obviously not a world of complex emotions, of pain, of love, of happiness, of sadness, etc…It is very possible to me, that an intellectual who was not welcomed into our world of human emotion, could not possibly comprehend the true nature and effect of his crime. He was sick, he was wrong, and he was wronged. He was not invited to be a human with us, to be friends with us, to love with us. Instead, he was isolated, he was made into a machine, a human computer, barely more than a highly sophisticated calculator. A human computer infected with a deadly virus. The hate virus. When I think about the tragedy, I accept the responsibility and guilt of a human failure. I have snubbed people, out casted people, and wronged people. I am guilty of crimes against humanity for which no charges and laws can be created. I am guilty of refusing love and compassion, so I am guilty also, of massacres and wars and hate crimes. After all, I am ‘I and I’. Until humanity finally learns the greatest lesson of all, these tragedies will only increase and continue. The School of Humanity has begun a new semester. The course must be passed and will be repeated as many times as we fail. Class is in session. The lesson is LOVE.

~ by thrashpunx on July 28, 2012.

2 Responses to “HUMAN a punk’s reflection of of his humanity…or lack of…”

  1. Eloquently put, and I agree with you on a lot of points. The underlying lesson here probably is that a little more humanity would make the human race a lot more humane. But it’s still a little hard to have any sympathy for the guy. I think however he got to where he is, we can all cope with just about any amount of detachment from affection better than he did. Whatever he is now, it’s something slightly different from human. He might have deserved human compassion his whole life, maybe even more than the next person, but he gave that up when he began planning to murder innocent people. It’s a horribly sad thing that human beings are capable of these things, however they get there. But you’re right, “we” would probably all do better as “I and I.”

  2. In Lak’ech Ala K’in is Mayan for “I am another you” or “I am you, and you are me.”

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