In the wake of the shooting at a movie theater in Aurora, Colo., a support group has rallied around the alleged gunman, James Holmes.
More than two dozen Holmes-related Tumblr pages have sprouted up since the shooting. Referring to themselves as “Holmies,” many supporters use the suspect’s pictures in avatars. Most of the bloggers are teenagers, sharing and reblogging mugshots and signs that say “I Love The Holmies.”
Holmes, 24, was charged with a total of 142 criminal counts including 24 counts of first-degree murder on Monday. He was arrested on July 20, after allegedly killing 12 people and wounding 58 at a local midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises.
Tumblr users such as FreeHolmes urge fans to write to Holmes — including in the page a link to the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office inmate mail procedures. The blog’s subhead reads, “This is going to be 90% pictures and I must admit I’m on James side.” On the page, there’s a collection of James Holmes GIFs, caricatures and fan-made comics.
Tumblr user JamesHolmesLover86 explains participation in the trend: “As a James Holmes supporter, I do not support what he did. I support him in the sense that I feel bad for him and that his mental state was not in the right place. People are so quick to judge him when there’s probably a lot more going on then what we know about.”
Some who noticed the social media trend have taken to Twitter to convey their unease.
Some teenage girls have created a fandom around James Holmes and call themselves “Holmies”. I can’t decide if I’m angry or sad.
— Frank McDevitt (@frank_mcdevitt) July 31, 2012
Good morning: these people are horrifying. tumblr.com/tagged/holmies
— Meredith Modzelewski (@meredithmo) July 31, 2012
Tumblr is not the only social media site to host supportive sentiment for the alleged shooter. A James Holmes Facebook fan page with about 800 “likes” was recently removed. While “incredibly distasteful,” the Facebook page didn’t violate the company’s terms and conditions, a Facebook spokesperson told CNN. It is unclear who took the page down.
Mashable has reached out to Tumblr for comment about the content.
Should companies be responsible for taking down user-created content considered distasteful? Share your thoughts in the comments.
Screenshot of Jamesholmie.tumblr.com.