Whenever a disturbed White man or boy with easy access to guns goes off and commits mass murder, the nation collectively hangs its head low and looks for ways to humanize this brand of monster.
This happens for numerous reasons. The most obvious being that when you’re White, you are afforded the luxury of not being immediately deemed the kind of brut that all of the “others” are depicted as. Never mind that White men are primarily responsible for these shorts of mass killings in recent years.
Likewise, when the subject of mental illness comes up, it often feels like a cheap method of deflection given those suffering from mental illness are found to be more likely to be victims of violence than they are perpetrators. Of course, it’s easier for most politicians to pay lip service to the plight of mental illness than take on the gun industry that has allowed angry idiots like Elliot Rodger access to the weaponry flooding our country.
The same goes for the fact that if everyone truly cared about servicing the needs of the mentally ill— this means you, NRA when facing backlash—-we’d all be pushing for mental health spending to be restored to pre-Reagan administration levels.
That said, there was clearly something wrong the mind of Elliot Rodger. Something is awry if you want to go out and kill a bunch of people. Even so, this campaign to make him seem less “crazy” doesn’t minimize the reality that there is a culture present that emboldens people like him to operate under the unfortunate impression that he deserved certain privileges— which spurred him to harm those who would denied him what he felt he was owed.
As Rodger himself said in his disturbing final video, “Tomorrow is the day of retribution. The day in which I will have my revenge against humanity.”
And what exactly did humanity do to him? He explained: “For the last eight years of my life, ever since I’ve hit puberty, I’ve been forced to endure an existence of loneliness, rejection, and unfulfilled desires all because girls have never been attracted to me.”
Rodger also spoke of representing the “true alpha male.”
There are other reports now that show he was not wealthy, but had access to those with money— making him all the more resentful of things he didn’t have. Insensitive or not, but boo damn hoo to this miserable pariah of society. If there is a hell, may be he sitting directly on a hot coal in the seventh circle as he awaits being dropped in a deep fryer.
I’ve read that his family tried to intervene before the rampage, but somewhere along the way, I wonder if someone ever informed him that his genitalia did not give him some sort of magical power to get whatever attention from girls he thought he was owed. Having a male orga is not the same thing as holding the key to whatever it is you think you’re entitled to. Patriarchy has many a pitiful sap confused about life and how it should work.
It gives these the men idea that women are something to be won—which is all about their perceived source of power, and ultimately, their sense self worth. Rodgers himself said, “I deserve girls much more than all those slobs.” Combine that with the sort of rampant misogyny that continues to plague us and we’re all potentially prone to die at the hands of some emotionally scared lunatic who can find a gun as fast as he can a fast food restaurant. All because he wasn’t getting any.
And when I say misogyny, I’m referring to folks like Glenn Beck, who days after Rodger’s killing spree, aired a rape comedy skit to peddle the theory that not as many women are raped as studies suggest.
Worse, as Salon’s Mary Elizabeth Williams notes in a recent piece, there has been unfair treatment of the “evil bitch” Elliot Rodger claims is the inspiration behind his acts of murder. Ever classy, the New York Post ran bikini pictures of the woman in question and deemed her “the aspiring model whose childhood rejection of Elliot Rodger lit the fuse that turned him into a murderous madman,” subtly shading the fact that she “barely remembers him.”
Expecting restraint from the New York Post is about as reasonable request as me holding a kiss-in at a KKK rally, but that doesn’t make the publication’s decision to run that story that way – along with her name – to be any less despicable. It plays right into the sort of warped frame of thinking that helped provoke Elliot Rodger.
I’m all for discussion about Elliot Rodger, but not in the context of ‘that poor misguided soul,’ nor ‘sexy blonde’s rejection turns man into murderer.’ Mostly because he may not be as much an outlier as we think he is. This culture of male entitlement has to change. Otherwise, we’ll only be discussing these monsters far more frequently.