Like the many serial killers and mass murderers who have been fetishized before him, James Holmes, the 24-year-old suspect in last month’s horrific shooting in Aurora, Co., now has his own slew of adoring fans. They call themselves Holmies, and use the popular image-centric blog tool Tumblr to obsess over all things Holmes. Besides digging up every possible photo of their deadly dreamboy, the Holmies have taken to creating animated gifs, often superimposing Holmes’s head onto a different body. They also share conspiracy theories regarding Holmes: Tumblr user AllHail-Jamesus writes, “you really just never know anymore, James possibly being innocent is really not that far fetched. open your eyes, open your mind, educate yourself on the evils of the government.” Another delves into a more in-depth theory, involving the UN, the CIA and the FBI. One blogger, named RomeforHolmes, even managed to obtain Holmes’s spring 2012 school schedule. Then there is the inevitable sexual imagery, with countless variations of Holmes’s face photoshopped onto penises, penises photoshopped onto Holmes’s face, and of course, Holmes’s face photoshopped into scenes from porno films.
Whatever these (presumably) girls think they’re doing, they sure are defensive about it. When asked by a reader how she feels about the 6-year-old girl who died during the shooting, Tumblr user nerdvirginsforjamesholmes replied, “I don’t give a F***. people die EVERY SINGLE F***ING DAY,” naturally without the asterisks. The cartoonish vulgarity of the pro-Holmes movement suggests that it’s largely done for shock value, an insiders’ giggle-fest where one can try a sociopath’s hat on for size. Perhaps the convenience of the name, Holmies, is too tempting to resist for some (“Columbiners,” doesn’t roll off the tongue quite so gleefully.) No matter what the appeal, it’s nothing new, and nothing for the Internet, of all things, to be shocked about. The body count Holmes allegedly left in his wake is truly shocking; a bunch of teens’ inability to comprehend the severity of murder, combined with a lack of etiquette and cloaked by the cozy cover of online anonymity is not. We just hope their future children don’t stumble upon letters like this while digging through old files: