Breaking . . . Mother of James Holmes Makes Clarifying StatementPosted: July 23, 2012
For the past few days, the corporate media has been reporting on a phone call made to Arlene Holmes, the mother of alleged mass murderer James Holmes. ABC News’ placed a call to the Holmes family home in San Diego, CA in the early morning hours after the shootings in Aurora, CO. ABC reported that Mrs. Holmes immediately said, “You have the right person.” Since that time, multiple media sources have reported over and over again that Arlene Holmes was not surprised to learn that her son had gone on a murderous rampage.
Personally, I never interpreted Mrs. Holmes’ words in that way. I assumed that she was saying that, yes, she was the mother of a man named James Holmes who lived in Aurora, CO. It turns out that my interpretation was the correct one.
Today, Lisa Damiani, the Holmes family attorney, read a statement from Arlene Holmes in which she attempted to clarify the media narrative. She explained that the reporter asked her if she was Arlene Holmes and if she had a son, James Holmes, who lived in Aurora, CO. She then said “You have the right person,” indicating that she did have a son by that name. She then asked the reporter why he was calling and he told her about the shooting and asked for a comment. She told the reporter that she needed to find out of the person in custody was really her son. She the said that she would call the police or go to Colorado.
UPDATE: The full statement is reproduced at the end of this post.
I have to say that I am disgusted with the way the media covers horrible stories like this. Can any of us possibly imagine what it would be like to be awakened by a phone call from a national news organization announcing that your son has committed an unspeakable crime? The cold-blooded way that the media confronts families is sickening to me.
I am as fascinated by stories like this as anyone, but I try my best to be fair in evaluating what I read and hear. Unfortunately, the media narrative has probably been set in stone already and will continue to be reported again and again, as people judge this family and hold them responsible for their son’s actions.
I was also surprised to learn from the press conference that the family has not been contacted by Aurora police. It may be that James doesn’t want police to contact them. He’s an adult and legally can make his own decisions.
Another interesting thing the attorney said was that the family does not wish to discuss their relationship with James at this time. I don’t want to read anything into this, but the statement is suggestive that there may have been some kind of difficulty. I don’t want to be guilty of the same behavior that I’m criticizing, so I’m going to wait until there is more information.
TMZ has a breaking news story on this now. As soon as someone publishes the full statement, I’ll link to it here.
UPDATE: Here is the full statement from Arlene Holmes from Politico:
Arlene Holmes, the mother of Colorado theater shooting suspect James Holmes, says that ABC News mischaracterized her when it reported that her initial statement to the reporter, “you have the right person,” was a reference to her son.
“This statement is to clarify a statement made by ABC media. I was awakened by a call from a reporter by ABC on July 20 about 5:45 in the morning. I did not know anything about a shooting in Aurora at that time,” Holmes said in a statement this afternoon, read to the national press by attorney Lisa Damiani. “He asked if I was Arlene Holmes and if my son was James Holmes who lives in Aurora, Colorado. I answered yes, you have the right person. I was referring to myself.”
“I asked him to tell me why he was calling and he told me about a shooting in Aurora,” she continues. “He asked for a comment. I told him I could not comment because I did not know if the person he was talking about was my son, and I would need to find out.”
In the first paragraph of its initial report on Friday, ABC News reported that it had identified the correct James Holmes because his mother “told ABC News her son was likely the alleged culprit, saying, ‘You have the right person.’”
I don’t know who the reporter was that made the phone call to Arlene Holmes and then twisted her meaning; but he or she should be fired. Brian Ross had previously reported that a Tea Party leader named Jim Holmes might have been the shooter. He should be fired too.