By : Twilight Language
The copycat effect is real. A new wave of violent copycat incidents has begun due to the Aurora shooting event that left 12 dead and 58 injured on July 20, 2012.
If you’ve been reading here for long, you know this. If you are a person only following the mainstream news, you may have not realized the extent of how widespread the copycats are already. Downplaying the copycat effect has been the modus operandi of the media, but there does seem to be some movement to be a bit more open about the reality of behavior contagion after Aurora.
Still, the confusion about “how many” copycats is beginning again. For example, despite the first weekend after the Aurora event resulting in at least three media-mentioned incidents, you can read statements like the following one on July 27th: “In the wake of the Aurora, Colorado mass shooting — which may have spawned at least one would-be copycat thwarted today in Maryland — some of the violence-based laughs in the Ben Stiller-Vince Vaughn comedy [The Watch] might hit too close to home for some moviegoers,” (Movieline, July 27, 2012).
Even New York Magazine today counted only three (involved one different copycat than noted in the “first three” mentioned last weekend) in “Aurora Shooting Copycats: Part III“.
One copycat? Three? No, no, no.
The media and most of the general public have short memories. Both have forgotten about the Joker copycat violence after 2008’s The Dark Knight. In 2012, the mainstream news organizations forget, from day to day, what copycats and near-copycats have occurred. They recall the large events, the ones that go wall-to-wall, but the general practice has been to downplay the resulting ripples, the “lesser” copycats after the larger events.
The Dendermonde Joker (wearing a bulletproof vest, with a backpack, and makeup like The Joker) struck on January 23, 2009, at a “Fairytale-land” or “Fabeltjesland” creche or daycare in Belgium. He killed two babies and a teacher, and also injured 12 others in his rampage stabbing. Although July 18, 2008 was the date of the first release of The Dark Knight, Warner Brothers re-released The Dark Knight in traditional theaters and IMAX theaters in the United States – as well as in other countries – on January 23, 2009. That date is exactly the same one as the Dendermonde Joker. The trend of Joker copycats is a recent phenomenon (see Joker Copycats: 2008-2112).
On this blog, I will keep track of the fact that an active series of copycat incidents (in the wake of the July 20, 2012 midnight mass shooting during The Dark Knight Rise) is occurring right now. I’m going to start posting all the probable occurrences here, in an active listing that I will update, as needed, to track the copycats.
Copycats, of course, mirror each other, and especially the initial “new” incident in simplistic terms. They usually involve elements of the reference event, such as the suspect’s same gender and race, the killer’s methods, the overall framework, and other reflective details that can only be inferred from reported accounts. (For professionals in the fields of law enforcement, security, mental health, education, media, entertainment, sports, and, yes, specifically now, theater management, I recommend reading The Copycat Effect for more in-depth insights about copycats and the prevention of them.)
With regard to weapons used, for example, the blueprints of future copycat armaments were mapped out graphically in the first accounts flashed across your television screen on July 20th. Let me show you. Below are sample pictures of what suspect James Holmes allegedly used in Theater No. 9. Also, the exact details are repeated often, as they were again this weekend: “He was caught carrying an AR-15 assault rifle, a Remington 870 shotgun, a .40-caliber Glock handgun and a hunting knife. He had purchased nearly 6,000 rounds of ammunitions and multiple magazines for the rifle, including a 100-bullet drum that can unload 60 rounds a minute, according to Aurora police chief Daniel Oates,” mentioned the New York Daily News on Saturday, July 28, 2012.
What Holmes allegedly wore, what he allegedly used for the attack, and even what he was allegedly wearing under his body armor (the Joker attire) were all visually (in images or words) shared in the media.
How completely does this copycat effect work? Well, early written and spoken reports that Holmes had a goatee apparently were incorrect as demonstrated when his mugshot was released days after his arrest. But the first weekend’s copycats had marginal facial hair, not too surprisingly.
With the news filtering through of the copycats, various elements of Aurora are clearly visible in the unfolding imitations.
I will keep this list current as I receive confirmation of new incidents, organized from most recent to the older stories. You may wish to check back here to see if research has uncovered more info or others have been added to the data reflecting shadowy Colorado, Joker, and The Dark Knight-related copycats in the wake of the abhorrent Aurora red dawn event. You will note there is a progression in these copycat events, from incidents that might be called “forestalled,” “threats,” and “weak,” to ones that end in more increased “drama,” then heightened danger and deaths. Just as the awareness and alerts begin to drop off, the actual acuteness of the copycats increase.
A storm is still coming. The red dawn event of Colorado’s Aurora is not finished. Be aware. Beware. Be safe.
The Aurora Copycats: The List
(15.) Sunday, August 4, 2012. Oak Creek, Wisconsin.
The Sikh Temple shooting leaves seven dead, including the shooter Wade Michael Page (who lived on Holmes Avenue in nearby Cuhady, Wisconsin) and use to live in Littleton, Colorado (location of Columbine). See “Sikh Temple Shooter: First News,” “Dark Knight’s Sikh Link,” “Sikh Shooter Id,” and “Who Was Wade Michael Page.”
(13.) Tuesday, July 31, 2012. Eagan, Minnesota.
(I must point out that “Eagan” is the middle name of James Eagan Holmes.)
Eagan, Minnesota, police say officers responding to a report of loud music ended up arresting a man making repeated references to “the Joker” and the Colorado theater shooting, telling police he understands the shooter’s motives and would embark on his own rampage.
At 6:13 p.m. on July 31, officers responding to the scene on the 4000 block of Ridge Cliff Drive found 56-year-old Thomas Michael Casper standing in his neighbor’s driveway.
Once identifying Casper, police learned he had an active misdemeanor warrant out of Dakota County and they placed him under arrest. Police said he voluntarily put his hands behind his back as the officer put him in handcuffs; however, he became agitated and started cursing as he approached the squad car.
Officers say while he was being escorted, he began making reference to “the Joker” and the shooting suspect facing trial for the shooting in Aurora, Colo.
As Casper was being put inside the squad, he told police he was “the Joker” and shouted “I’m coming back. You guys are done!” at his neighbors.
While he was being taken to the Dakota County Jail, Casper kept referencing “the Joker.” Soon, he began making threats toward the officers, saying, “I’m such a criminal. I should be the Joker. If I had a gun, I would kill you.”
Casper then told officers he should have dyed his hair orange, and he wavered between asking them to let him go and urging them to keep him in custody.
Casper said, “My home is in foreclosure. I have been kicked out of my house. What else can go wrong? It doesn’t matter. I wouldn’t own a gun, but if I did, I would do what Holmes did. I would blow people away. Put me in jail for the rest of my life, I don’t care. Put me in jail with criminals. I grab them by the throat and kill them.”
Police said they believe Casper’s threats are genuine, saying that he would attempt to carry out some of the threats against his neighbors and officers.
“You better not let me go, or I’ll go after the neighbors,” Casper told officers while in custody. “I don’t own a weapon, but I’ll come after you f—— and I’ll shoot you. I can understand why Holmes does it. Let me have your gun, I’ll shoot in the f—— head. I’ll find you sometime.”
Casper repeatedly told officers that he has nothing going for him anymore now that his home is in foreclosure.
Casper is being held in the Dakota County Jail on $80,000 bail as he awaits charges of terroristic threats.
David Martin Escamillo, 44, of Miami Beach, after walking up and down a theater’s aisle, arguing with a patron, leaving the theater, then returning wearing black gloves, caused a panic at a midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises. When he came back in, he was shouting, “This is IT.”
About 140 moviegoers blotted out of the Regal South Beach theater on Lincoln Road at about 12:15 am Tuesday. Police then received multiple reports of gunshots inside Theater #2. When they arrived, however, there was no evidence of gunfire, and they found several moviegoers detaining Escamillo. Escamillo, who lives near the theater and sports a tattoo reading “Las Vegas 777,” smelled of alcohol and kept yelling “I didn’t shoot anybody.”
Koberna’s friend Ashley Mikulec confirmed that he was indeed arrested, saying:
“Holy sh*t I can’t believe bill got arrested for a tweet. If they saw half of his tweets and took them seriously he’d be in a mental asylum.”
The University took swift action. Kent State University President Lester Lefton said:
“Any threat to our campus community is taken seriously and immediately investigated…Our students, employees, and all those who come to campus should know that their safety is our top priority.”
(10.) Friday, July 27, 2012. Pendleton, Indiana.
Jim Kenneth Bailey, 59, ended his shooting rampage by killing himself in the early hours of Friday. What Bailey brought to the incident appears to have copied some elements of the Aurora shooting. Among Bailey’s alarming hoard of weapons were a pistol, an AK-47, a flak jacket, and a gas mask. The reality is two men were dead, one K-9 officer was also killed, and a police was severely injured, when this incident was finished.
An innocent bystander, Neal Shull, the owner of a local painting business, was fatally shot by Jim Kenneth Bailey when the killer opened fire on two policemen responding to reports of shots being fired. The victim was driving by in Pendleton, Indiana, when he got caught in the crossfire. After a seven-hour stand-off Bailey turned the gun on himself.
One of the officers, Marty Dulworth, was shot in both legs during the violent attack. Adding to the tragedy Dulworth’s K-9 dog, Kilo, was also caught in the gunfire and was killed.
Homeowner Angela Reynolds made the first call after hearing rapid fire shots coming from her garage on the 300 block of East Water Street.
The town was sealed off while police hunted, then found Bailey, using helicopters, supported by SWAT teams.
(Pendleton, Indiana, is historically recalled for the Fall Creek Massacre, the name given to the brutal murders by white settlers of nine members of a peaceful group of Seneca and Miami Indians, led by Chief Logan. The actual massacre occurred on March 22, 1824 in Madison County, Indiana between Fall Creek and Deer Lick Creek. The Massacre’s leader, James Hudson’s trial was held October 7–9, 1824. Trials of the other men were held in 1825. The trial set an important precedent in recognizing the civil rights of Native Americans. The three men were hanged for their crimes at Falls Park in Pendleton, Indiana. This marked the first time white men were executed for the murder of Native Americans in the United States. There is a historical marker in Falls Park at the place of the hanging. The inscription reads: “Three white men were hung [sic] here in 1825 for killing Indians.”)
(9.) Thursday, July 26, 2012. Crofton, Maryland.
Neil Prescott (above), 28, called his workplace, called himself “a Joker,” and threatened to “shoot the place up.” His job was at Pitney Bowes, a software and mailroom supplier in Prince George’s County. Prescott was arrested because the officials believed the threat could have been carried out “as a copycat of the shooting massacre one week ago in Aurora, Colorado, in which 12 people were killed and 58 injured during a midnight viewing of the new Batman film The Dark Knight Rises.”
The fact he said, “I am a joker. I’m gonna load my guns and blow everybody up,” to his supervisor was key. The suspect was also wearing a T-shirt that said, “Guns don’t kill people. I do,” when taken into custody, according to authorities.
“We can’t measure what we prevented here,” Prince George’s County Police Chief Mark Magaw told reporters Friday. “We averted a significant…and violent episode.”
Police said that when they took the man into custody, they found an “arsenal” of weapons (shown) inside his home. Police raided the man’s apartment in Crofton about 3:20 am on Friday and found a cache of 25 guns, including semi-automatic rifles as well as pistols and thousands of rounds of ammunition.
Asked by a reporter if, given the possible reference to the Joker, a Batman villain, the shooting plot was inspired by the mass killing in Aurora, Colorado, Chief Magaw said: ”It’s fairly obvious.”
Prescott was being held Friday at Anne Arundel Medical Center in Annapolis, where he was undergoing a psychological evaluation. Crofton is located between Washington, D.C., and Annapolis, Maryland.
(The Katcef Archeological Site is an archaeological site near Crofton in Anne Arundel County, Maryland. It is a series of overlapping base camp sites dating from the Clovis phase of the Paleoindian period, through to the Late Woodland period. Thanks CC.)
(8.) Thursday, July 26, 2012. Bronx, New York, New York.
Moses Flores, 38, and Damaris Sanchez, 29, began fighting with officers who were called to the Concourse Plaza Multiplex (shown above) on Sherman Avenue at around 11:20 p.m. Thursday to remove them. Two NYPD officers suffered injuries while trying to eject two disorderly movie-goers from a showing of The Dark Knight Rises in the Bronx. A NYPD male officer suffered lacerations to the head and finger and a female officer suffered ringing in her ears after being hit in the head. Flores and Sanchez were charged with assaulting police officers.
(7.) Wednesday, July 25, 2012. Brooklyn, New York, New York.
Unnamed male, 60. A Department of Education worker was taken into police custody after he told police he was obsessed with the Colorado movie theater massacre suspect when authorities questioned him about photos of the alleged shooter he had at his office desk. Police responded to DoE’s Brooklyn technology offices Wednesday night after receiving complaints of the employee’s suspicious activity. They found a photo of suspect James Holmes on the employee’s computer screen and photos of the alleged killer “all over his desk,” a source familiar with the investigation said. The staff member was not at work when police arrived at the offices. Police went to his home, where he allegedly told them he was obsessed with Holmes. He told police Holmes reminded him of himself when he was younger and that he sympathized with the accused killer because he doesn’t like his co-workers. The man seemed dazed and appeared to be drinking. Police found pill bottles and alcohol in his apartment. The employee lunged at cops while inside his apartment, sources report. He was taken into custody and brought to Bellevue Hospital for a psychiatric evaluation.
(6.) Tuesday, July 24, 2012. Lexington, Kentucky.
Steven Kennedy (above), 28, a University of Kentucky political science student, is facing terroristic threat charges after he emailed a picture of the Batman character, “the Joker” to a school administrator, Terry Allen on Tuesday. The email was viewed as a threat in light of last Friday’s mass killing in Aurora, Colorado at a premiere showing of The Dark Knight Rises. The student reportedly emailed the picture after a complaint about the administrator was investigated and dismissed. Kennedy was arrested on a charge of Third Degree Terroristic Threatening, and entered a plea of not guilty to the misdemeanor at his arraignment in Fayette District Court.
Kennedy allegedly sent Allen an email on July 24th, asking why no one was responding to his emails, according to the warrant. “Kennedy then sent Mr. Allen a picture of the Joker from the Batman movie, and the Joker is holding a playing card and smiling,” the document said.
Kennedy was released on bond, and scheduled to appear before Judge T. Bruce Bell on August 8, for a pretrial conference.
Read more here: http://www.kentucky.com/2012/07/26/2271633/university-of-kentucky-student.html#storylink=cpy
Timmy Dean Eike (above), 18, a senior at Woodward High School, was arrested on Tuesday night and police seized a shotgun, rifle and 250 rounds of ammunition from the bedroom of his Woodward home. He bought the 20-gauge shotgun July 5 and the rifle July 9, as well as handcuffs and a ski mask, the records show. A taxi driver, Travis Ballard, reported to authorities that Eike’s relatives told him they had witnessed Eike watching videos of the 1999 Columbine, Colorado, school shooting while loading his 20-gauge shotgun. Eike was then charged Wednesday in Oklahoma City federal court with illegally possessing firearms and with making false statements to purchase the weapons. He was being held Thursday in the Logan County jail.
The taxi driver, Ballard, reported to the Woodward County sheriff’s office that Eike had talked that day of avoiding arrest for murder. Eike had used the taxi service regularly in recent months to get from his home to a job at Walmart.
“During these trips, Eike had been asking Ballard very odd questions. Eike had been asking Ballard about how to hide dead bodies and what countries will extradite back to the United States,” agent Chad Oubre with the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives wrote in a court affidavit.
“On July 22 … Eike asked Ballard if he had a warrant for his arrest, how hard the police would look for him. Ballard stated it would depend on what the warrant was for. Eike replied, ‘It would be for murder,'” the agent wrote.
(The name “Eike” means “edge of the sword.”)
(4.) Monday, July 23, 2012. Waunakee, Wisconsin.
Waunakee police are investigating a threat made on ESPN’s website a week ago to shoot people in a movie theater during a screening of The Dark Knight Rises, similar to an attack that happened on July 20 in Colorado. According to a search warrant filed in Dane County Circuit Court, someone using the screen name “Penn State Joepologist” posted on July 23, “I’M GOING TO SHOOT PEOPLE AT A BATMAN SHOWING NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!”
According to the warrant: The IP address for the person posting the comment belonged to TDS Telecom, which provided subscriber information for a home in Waunakee.
After police arrived at the home they found a 27-year-old man seated at a computer, and he admitted to police that he had been on the ESPN website and may have commented in a chat room when others were talking about the movie theater shooting in Aurora, Colorado, in which 12 people were killed and injured 58 others. But the Waunakee man, who is not being named by the State Journal because he has not been arrested or charged with a crime, told police that he didn’t recall making any comments about shooting anyone.
Waunakee Police Chief Kevin Plendl said he couldn’t discuss details of the case while it’s being investigated but said that police “absolutely” investigate threats of this nature that come to their attention. The man and his mother gave police consent to check the home for evidence of a planned movie theater attack, but the search warrant does not mention finding any. The computer was seized with the permission of the man’s mother for analysis.
(Waunakee is a western suburb of Madison. “The Only Waunakee in the World,” as the natives would have it. ~ R.H. “Waunakee” means the “peaceful one.”)
(3.) Sunday, July 22, 2012. Sierra Vista, Arizona.
Michael William Borboa (above), 27, apparently intoxicated and with a backpack, caused “mass hysteria” during a screening of The Dark Knight Rises and about 50 people fled the Cinemark 10 in the Mall at Sierra Vista. Off-duty Border Patrol agents tackled him and he was arrested by authorities.
(2.) Sunday, July 22, 2012. Norwalk, California. Clark Tabor (above), 52, was arrested at a showing of The Dark Knight Rises after witnesses said he made threats and alluded to the Aurora shooting when the movie didn’t start. Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies were called at 5:15 pm to the Norwalk cinema after moviegoers said Tabor (with a backpack) shouted: “I should go off like in Colorado. Does anybody have a gun?”
(1.) Saturday, July 21 – Sunday, July 22, 2012. Maine Turnpike, Maine.
Suspect Timothy Courtois (above), 49, took a gun to a Saturday afternoon showing of The Dark Knight Rises.
When arrested on Sunday, Maine State Police found an assault rifle and several handguns, 10,000 rounds, and found newspaper clippings about the theater shooting in suspect’s newly purchased black Mustang that is like those used by the Maine State Police. He was stopped on the highway going 112 mph, and then said he was on his way to kill an employer. Other weapons were found at a search of his home.
Source, and see more here.
(000.) Saturday, July 21, 2012. Aurora-Denver, Colorado.
Yeom Pyo Lee (shown above), a fellow PhD student of James Holmes at the University of Colorado, made a phone call to police threatening violence if James Holmes was not released from police custody. According to KDVR, “someone called from [his] phone and threatened violence if Holmes is not released.” Although the call came from Yeom’s phone, police were unable to determine if he was the one who made the actual call. After receiving the threatening phone call, police began to question whether or not James acted alone. Police questioned Yeom on July 21, but determined, “There is no reason to believe that he is involved.”
(00.) Friday, July 20, 2012. Worcester, England, UK.
An inappropriate cinema attendant walked into a British showing of The Dark Knight Rises dressed in a gas mask – just hours after Colorado gunman struck wearing the same costume. The prank took place at the Vue cinema (above) in Worcester on Friday, less than 24 hours after the massacre in Aurora. While the trailers were in progress, one of the cinema attendants entered the screen room wearing a gas mask and stood to the side looking at the audience. As one eyewitness said, “This is exactly as the gunman in Colorado was reported to have been dressed,” as Bane.
(0.) Friday, July 20, 2012. Aurora, Colorado.
Suspect James Eagan Holmes (shown above; this mugshot was released days after his arrest). Initial event. See here (Dark Knight Shooting: 12 Dead, 58 Injured).
“Other readers were concerned about the potential for copycats. Susan Goewey of Vienna wrote this: ‘Studies and interviews indicate that many mass shootings are carried out because the perpetrator wants to be famous. I highly recommend that the Post editors read the book The Copycat Effect by Loren Coleman.
‘If they do, they will stop putting photographs of these disturbed killers on the front page of the paper. By using this . . .image, you are giving James Holmes exactly what he wants, and are perhaps stimulating copycat fantasies in other sick minds.'” ~ Patrick B. Pexton, “Photos of James Holmes draw readers’ ire,” Washington Post, July 27, 2012.