Of course, the question gnawing at everyone impacted by the crime is that of motive. It is a confounding scenario; a wealthy, 64-year-old man who, according to his brother, had no strong religious or political convictions, stockpiles an arsenal of firearms and meticulously plans an attack on a random group of people in the audience of an event which has basically no political, moral, or religious significance. What could have motivated him to do this?
The most common and most likely answer is that he was insane. Probably he had some kind of psychotic break and was delusional. A history of diagnosed mental illness would go along way in giving credence to this theory. On the other hand, an absence of any history of psychosis, along with a void of religious and political zeal, should lead us to consider another less likely but nonetheless plausible possibility. Perhaps he was demon possessed?
I realize that to most sophisticated, modern westerners, insanity and demon possession are synonymous, since one would have to be insane to believe in demons. But this view is based on unexamined assumptions held in place by the nebulous-but-iron-fisted authority of the status quo. It is a view that can only be held by a willful blindness toward the evidence.
Richard Gallagher is a highly credentialed, board-certified psychiatrist and a professor of clinical psychiatry at New York Medical College. Last year, in an article for The Washington Post, Gallagher explained his role as one who is often called upon by spiritual leaders to distinguish between mental disorders and demon possessions. He confirms what most clear-headed people know—that the vast majority of those who claim to be afflicted by demons are not. But in light of the evidence, he is also aware that, "Despite varying interpretations, multiple depictions of the same phenomena in astonishingly consistent ways offer cumulative evidence of their credibility.” He goes on to explain, "As a psychoanalyst, a blanket rejection of the possibility of demonic attacks seems less logical, and often wishful in nature, than a careful appraisal of the facts. As I see it, the evidence for possession is like the evidence for George Washington’s crossing of the Delaware. In both cases, written historical accounts with numerous sound witnesses testify to their accuracy.” (For one example of such evidence, read this article from The Indianapolis Star. Also, The Rite, starring Anthony Hopkins is much to the point as it is based on well-documented real life events).
Gallagher is also taken aback by, "doctrinaire materialists who are often oddly vitriolic in their opposition to all things spiritual.” When it comes claims about the reality of demonic forces, the vitriol can be explained by the realization that if there is a devil then there must be a God, and God is the greatest threat to our libido and our bank account.
In any case, the problem with scientific opposition to the supernatural is that it is so unscientific. There is a whole body of evidence supposedly scientific people simply refuse to consider. Eye rolling at the suggestion of the supernatural is the adult version of plugging one’s ears and chanting “La la la...I can’t hear you!”
With this in mind, it's important to remember that evil is most destructive when its existence is unacknowledged. The doctrinaire materialists Gallagher speaks of bring to mind a story I once heard about a deaf man who lived in a war zone. He wound up getting shot because he was oblivious to the battle that raged all around him.