James Holmes Was an Intensely Awkward Flirt

The Atlantic
James Holmes Was an Intensely Awkward Flirt
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James Holmes Was an Intensely Awkward Flirt

The most substantial piece of news in The New York Times profile of James Holmes, the Aurora, Colorado mass shooting defendant, is that he asked a peer about something called dysphoric mania, then told her he was "bad news." This was the same peer the intensely shy Holmes apparently tried to flirt with in the months before he allegedly opened fire on a movie theater, killing 12 and wounding 58.

RELATED: Most Documents Related to Aurora Shooting to Remain Sealed

It's still unclear if a doctor diagnosed him with the condition, which "combines the frenetic energy of mania with the agitation, dark thoughts and in some cases paranoid delusions of major depression," according The Times' Erica Goode, Serge F. Kovaleski, Jack Healy, and Dan Frosch, in the most in-depth look yet at the details of Holmes' life. Through the minutiae remembered by his fellow students, his neighbors, and his Web history, we get to know an intensely shy, lackadaisical, intelligent student who did not socialize well. Much of the new information supports the initial impressions Holmes' classmates and neighbors had given to reporters in the days after the July 20 movie theater shooting. But among the anecdotes from people like the local bartender who saw Holmes drinking alone, one in particular illustrates the difficulty Holmes apparently had connecting with people, as he tried to forge a romance, per The Times:

A student with whom Mr. Holmes had flirted clumsily — he once sent her a text message after a class asking “Why are you distracting me with those shorts?” — said that two messages she received from him, one in June and the other in July, were particularly puzzling.

Their electronic exchanges had begun abruptly in February or March, when she was out with stomach flu.

“You still sick, girl?” she remembers Mr. Holmes asking.

“Who is this?” she shot back.

“Jimmy James from neuroscience,” he replied.

After that, she said, he sent her messages sporadically — once he asked her if she would like to go hiking — though he would sometimes walk right past her in the hallway, making no eye contact.

The article is worth a read in full, over at The New York Times.

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