Note J Holmes use of language relevant to the topic of mental illness. Consult the 2 sources to answer the following 4 questions in the following order. The actual questions are italicized:
- Questions for PART 1: Referring only to pages 1-25 (called “PART 1”) of his personal journal, answer the following question: Why is J. Holmes considered mentally ill? What does he talk about? What are his concerns? Please defend the argument that he IS mentally ill in this section by looking at his language. Make sure to offer a definition of mental illness (obtained from any reputable source) before you present an argument that he is mentally ill and refer to specific language in his journal to defend your argument that he is mentally ill. You have no choice here–argue he is mentally ill and dig around his journal for evidence to defend that conclusion.
- Questions for PART 2: Referring only to pages 26-36 (called “PART 2”) of his personal journal, answer the following question: Does J Holmes still seem mentally ill? What does he talk about? What is his tone? Why or why not? Here, I want you to take a look at how the Homes’ language changes. Tell me whether you believe whether he still seems mentally ill in this part of the journal based on your reading of his text and your definition of mental illness. Basically my goal in asking you this question is to get you to think about what mental illness means to you in terms of a person’s capabilities and ability to use rational thought.
- Questions for video testimony: Watch J. Holmes courtroom testimony of his mass murder in the given video link. My question is simple: Is this someone who you would describe as mentally ill? Why or why not? Be specific here–point to his language in the video to defend your position. What does he talk about? How well does he remember and describe event? Does he describe a disorganized and chaotically-executed mass murder or does he describe an organized and methodical one?
- Summary: Given the totality of your interpretation of the sources and your answers to questions #1-#3, do you think J. Holmes is mentally ill? Why or why not.
There is no right or wrong answer to questions #2-#4. Don’t feel pressured to continue to say he is mentally ill in #2-#4 because he was officially diagnosed as such at trial. I want you to take some time to really consider what mental illness means to YOU. Ultimately, I want you to profile this guy for me broken down into the domains listed in 1-4.
If you have trouble reading Holmes’ journal, here is an unvetted typed version Holmes’ notebook (Links to an external site.)