All indications are that prior to this incident, Mr. Holmes was a young, white, accomplished male with no prior criminal record or even a hint of unwillingness to conform to accepted social norms. He didn't have on a hoodie, or wasn't walking around with his baseball cap turned sideways. He wasn't the wrong color. He obtained his weapons legally. Obviously, someone like him should never be stopped and frisked by the police for no reason at all. Because really...what kind of danger could someone like that cause?The 24-year-old man police say opened fire early Friday on a movie audience was a doctoral student at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, described by those who knew him as clean-cut, quiet and responsible.
In the summer of 2008, Holmes had worked as a counselor at a summer camp in Los Angeles.
In 2011, just about 700,000 people in New York were stopped on the street, put up against a wall, and searched for suspicion of carrying a weapon. Almost all of them were Black or Latino. A weapon, which could be anything from a pocket knife to a handgun, was found just 1.9% of the time. In 2002, the NYPD stopped and frisked 98,000 people, usually during the course of an arrest or "hot pursuit" investigation. The racial distribution somewhat matches New York's demographics. For all the work put into Stop and Frisk, millions of people of color simply thrown up against a wall and patted down simply for being outside, NYC's annual number of murders declined from 587 to 532. What's interesting is that despite the overwhelming number of frisks being conducted on Blacks and Latinos, the rate at which illegal weapons were actually found was higher for Whites.
Some folks are going to dismiss Mr. Holmes' brand of murder as "crazy" or "sicko" or whatever. I don't know. I'm no psychologist. What I do know as that we have our law enforcement priorities all wrong in this country. Racial profiling doesn't work. If it did, how would it have stopped Mr. Holmes?