In regards to this Marine’s photo, it’s probably ‘real’ and probably incorrect.
Marines are teamwork-oriented folks that focus on excelling at tasks in the context of an overall team objective within the given rules. They carry a lot of programming as far as ‘how things are done’, both tactically and as far as what you might call ‘fighting fair.’ They view everything through the lens of Marine philosophy. While I have the utmost respect for the Marines in their ability to work in a highly proficient and synchronized manner, thinking out of the box ain’t their strong suit.
This shooter is an asymmetric warfare poster child. He took the best available technology for a limited amount of money (probably closer to 5k than 20), utilized terrain to his utmost advantage (dark clothing while in darkness, light and noise distraction from movie, room full of obstacles and only two feasible exits, homemade chemical bombs, element of surprise), and then surrendered, knowing the police’s ROE would prohibit them from killing him once he did.
For whatever his point was, he went about it very efficiently.
He’s not crazy by any means; far from it. This took quite a bit of research, forethought and precision. Nothing a dedicated and resourceful mind couldn’t pull off, but also nothing that a ‘normal’ person would consider. Having the will to shoot 50+ people in cold blood is the factor the Marine can’t fathom, but it’s the one that makes all other things possible. Once you have the will, the means are very available to an intelligent and patient man.
Not to fully dismiss the Marine’s opinion, but it’s out of his field of experience. As a former intel guy with SOF experience and more than a long weekend dealing with our Islamist friends, I’m not unused to red cell operations and know quite a few people who still are in the game. Looking at things from an enemy’s standpoint is a different way of thinking and viewing the world. The easiest mistake is to assume they are a mirror reflection of you. They’re not.
Being strong enough to take a hill against armed opponents isn’t the same skillset as being able to spot weakness in a much larger opponent and capitalize on it. This Colorado shooter isn’t some kind of super killing machine; just a dedicated man who denies himself any limits but understands the limits of others (terrain, confusion, fear, police protocol) intrinsically. Marines are creatures of objectives and limits, and have a hard time fathoming people that have none.
It's mainly the Left that's trying to dismiss any possibility at all that he was politically motivated. They make no mention of the fact that the movie (Dark Knight...) bashes the Marxist 'Occupy' movement. That Holmes said to arresting police officers: "I am the Joker", the enemy of pro-Capitalist, pro-Conservative Batman. But even people here are automatically rejecting the possibility. Seems they have short memories and don't recall that most of these lunatics do ultimately turn out to be members of the far Left. Giffords shooter was a Leftist, as was triple-murderer Amy Bishop, the nut who crashed a plane into the IRS building, the 'unabomber', etc, etc.