“I thought it was a publicity stunt for a second there and then he threw tear gas over the crowd,” witness Paul Oterman told Sky News. “As soon as he let go of it I could feel it in my eyes and I could tell something was about to go really wrong, and then he started firing shots into the crowd.” And by the time the smoke had cleared at Century 16 in Aurora, Colorado, twelve people were dead.

I overslept after last night’s Lawrence of Arabia screening at the Academy, and woke up to this 40 minutes ago.

Who didn’t silently nod when they heard about this and say to themselves “here we go again”? Or more to the point, “Only in the U.S. of A. — birthplace and nurturing ground of the suppressed rage mentality, the underground militant gun culture and the ‘going postal’ experience.” Is there another country in which something like this could have conceivably happened? Yeah, plenty. If your basic qualifying term is “conceivably.” But we all know the truth of it — wiping out people en masse is an American way of losing it and settling scores and bringing things to a climax.

It’s happened many, many times before. A nutter lives in the attic or the basement of the rural American experience, and sometimes he pops a cork. The dark, twisted side of the lone avenger/tough hombre mentality comes home to roost. I’m not like anybody else. One day they’ll see and they’ll know. One day they’ll pay the price. “One day a huge rainstorm will come down and clean all the scum off the streets”…or whatever it was that Travis Bickle said.

We all know the simmering Travis mentality, and that it’s not something you hear very much about in England or France or Italy or Germany. Okay, Norway…yes. Scotland or England, okay. But we own this shit. We are the father of it. That and our non-existent gun-control laws and the right-wing politicians who fight for the right of God-fearing Americans to buy automatic weapons and tear-gas canisters and bullet-proof vests.

There is a kinder, gentler, more compassionate way of life in other countries. I’ve been around and I’ve felt the vibe over there, and I’ve been around the rural areas of this country and felt the vibe also. If I could I would live overseas full-time and visit this country for extended stays. There is nothing uglier or more repellent than a well-armed American nutbag who just can’t take it anymore.

I’m sure we’ll hear before long that the assailant, 24 year-old James Holmes, posted thoughts on a blog or in a chatroom or on Twitter.

One of the injured was a three-month-old infant. What kind of lowlife parent brings a baby to a midnight show of a super-loud, power-punch action film? I’ll tell you what kind. The kind that says “I’m too young to stay home and miss out…this is my life and somehow I’ll fit the kid into that.”

Update: The notion of Warner Bros. execs thinking about possibly cancelling commercial shootings of The Dark Knight Rises, as reported by TheWrap‘s Sharon Waxman, is nothing short of ludicrous.