Authorities have counted at least three cases of copycats since last Friday’s shooting in a Colorado movie theater, reports the Denver Post. Each invoked the shooting, even though no one was hurt. On Sunday a Maine man was arrested in his car with a cache of guns, including an assault-style rifle. He told investigators he had watched “The Dark Knight Rises” the night before. He had clippings about Aurora in his car. He allegedly said he was on his way to kill his ex-boss. On Saturday, a man in Los Angeles County made inappropriate remarks referencing the shooting while waiting for the Batman movie to start. On Friday, a drunken Arizona man raised a ruckus at a “Dark Knight” showing and sent moviegoers running for the exits when he grabbed a backpack — which held a half-empty bottle of liquor.
“Copycats fall into two categories: people who make threats and people who pose a threat,” said Dr. Del Elliott, founding director of the Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence at the University of Colorado. While mass killers often fit a profile — usually white, male, highly intelligent, loners troubled by personal failures — bad actors who invoke mass killers’ crimes aren’t as easily defined, Elliott said. During the weeks after the Columbine High School shootings in 1999, at least 3,000 similar threats were made at U.S. schools.