James Holmes, the suspect in the shooting inside a movie...

James Holmes, the suspect in the shooting inside a movie theater in Aurora, Colo. Credit: University of Colorado

For so long now, we've been expecting our villains from far away. Immigrants here illegally. Terrorists from abroad. People traveling great distances to take our jobs, blow us up or steal what we find precious.

And yet again: The larger danger lurks much closer to home, where it usually does, in the Dark Knight of the mind.

Writer-director Christopher Nolan makes this point in his new Batman film, exploring the torture of a vigilante, bemoaning the dim prospects for justice in this world. The only possible redemption, Nolan seems to say, comes from addressing our most private fears.

In his rampage at a Colorado movie theater, alleged shooter James Holmes was certainly effective at piling up the bodies. But the real-life gunman has no future as a tortured Batman villain. He couldn't even keep his story details straight.

Scary smart, anti-social, dressed like a refugee from Comic-Con, the 24-year-old neuroscience grad student may have dyed his hair red and called himself "the Joker," even though the Joker has green hair and doesn't appear at all in "The Dark Knight Rises."Holmes was armed to the teeth, then gave himself up immediately. He booby-trapped his apartment, then warned police that he had. The shooting was, said Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, the work of a "very deranged mind." "It's nothing I've ever seen before," Aurora Police Chief Dan Oates said.

And none of it came from abroad. The guns were bought legally, it seems, from two local stores. The motivation was hatched inside a twisted mind.


1. Glock .40-caliber semiautomatic handgun

2. Smith & Wesson AR-15 magazine-fed assault rifle

3. Chemical and explosive booby traps

4. Ballistics helmet, bullet-proof leggings, Kevlar vest, throat protector, groin protector, gas mask, tactical gloves

5. Remington 870 12-gauge shotgun

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Public-policy blueprints can be totally irrelevant, special-interest advocates or naive do-gooders talking to no one but themselves. The New York League of Conservation Voters has just done it right. With its new "Blueprint for a Greener Long Island," the group lays out a smart, specific agenda for boosting LI's economy and environment together: Downtown revitalization projects, transit-oriented development, mixed-use municipal buildings. They aren't just saving the snail darter here. "A healthy environment and strong economy are the keys to Long Island's future," says president Marcia Bystryn. Debate, discuss, read: nylcv.org.

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