Yes, a terrorist. Not “suspect,” not “Mr. Holmes,” not “promising student” with a PhD in neuroscience, not a man that dyed his hair red. This was a pre-meditated act of violence against a large group of people. James Holmes walked into that theater in Aurora with gas canisters, a gas mask, body armor, and MULTIPLE GUNS. The police caught him in the parking lot WITH WEAPONS DRAWN, yet he was detained without being beaten, tasered, shot, or killed because he is white. There is no way to argue that fact when you examine how suspects are apprehended for lesser crimes.
Look at the MEDIA COVERAGE surrounding this murderer. His booby-trapped apartment was referred to as “vexing and unique" by the chemists that were consulted just to allow police to safely breach the premises. All the background information being pulled up about him is positive: his education, his “bright” educational career, his summer spent as a counselor to underprivileged kids at a summer camp, his apparent lack of interest in guns. Those that knew him were “shocked” that he would commit such a crime.
To contrast that, examine how they chose to portray the late Trayvon Martin and his murderer, George Zimmerman. (I still feel there was no justice for this boy and his family.) Zimmerman had a history of racism, defied direct police orders, and shot an unarmed teenage boy. Despite all of that, the dedication the media showed to justifying Trayvon’s death are astounding. The victim was demonized. Since when does someone’s background change the circumstances of an unarmed boy being killed?