It is easy to identify someone like James Holmes as a crazy person, probably of the paranoid schizophrenic variety, who unfortunately went undiagnosed. He doesn't appear to have any clearly radical ties to political or religious fanaticism, though preliminary indications are that he was raised as a Christian, and perhaps was still practicing, according to a local pastor.
However, on reflection, the violence committed by Mr. Holmes pales by comparison to the violence committed by many heroes of the Bible. Killing a dozen people was pretty much a normal day for a guy like Samson or Joshua or Moses, who frequently ordered the wholesale slaughter of other tribes or even of their own followers who disobeyed them. Mr. Holmes has nothing on the Crusades or the Inquisition or the various purges and pogroms ordered by religious leaders against those deemed "heretics". Even more contemporary individuals like Jim Jones or David Koresh make Holmes look like a veritable lightweight. He might have planned his crime for a few months, but these individuals planned theirs for years.
Strangely, while most people can instantly describe a man like Holmes, who thinks he is "The Joker", as certifiably nuts, a great many people are not able to draw similar conclusions about David Koresh, or Jim Jones. The reason seems clear. Koresh and Jones masked their paranoid delusions behind religion, which is unjustifiably declared off-bounds for criticism in much of traditional American culture. This is particularly true in the Bible-belt, where constant excuses are made whenever religious people say or do crazy things.
By the way, the same pastor who thinks that Holmes may have attended his church in the weeks before the massacre says that he is A-OK with God allowing this massacre to take place because "God doesn't make us robots". So apparently Mr. Holmes would have gotten no useful counsel from this church. Heck, perhaps they would have encouraged him to do it just to show what a wonderful thing "free will" is.
Can you believe that the blood is not even dried, and this scumbag is already making excuses for why you can't blame an allegedly all-powerful being for not caring enough to intervene. Ain't the free will excuse grand? By their logic, if you leave a handgun on a playground it's not your fault if kids play with it and kill themselves or others. After all, those kids had "free will" dontcha know, and "God doesn't make us robots".
See, apparently, if God had made Mr. Holmes's gun jam after the first bullet then this would have negated the "free will" of all humans, and turned us into robots. Yeah, that's the ticket. That is the kind of baloney that religious apologists are in the business of selling . It's so ridiculous, it almost makes Holmes look a little closer to sane by comparison.