Both the YouTube.com video and the (Internet accessible) “Manifesto” of the slain Elliot Rodger, the 22-year-old who slew 6 other young people, seriously injured thirteen others, and reportedly killed himself during the police chase in Isla Vista, California this past Friday, May 23, 2014, present two different sides of this deranged young man. On the one hand, he portrays himself to be a vindictive, petty, vengeful young man in the YouTube.com “Retribution” video. The Manifesto, however, is the work of an articulate, thoughtful, sensitive, and very organized person. His thoughts of hate could be construed as those of a spoiled child who was not appeased when his whims were not catered to. Furthermore, his vengeful sentiments might be viewed as predictive of wrongful prospective behaviors that few foresaw would lead to the resultant deaths, injuries, and property damage. If they had been known, those concerned should have instigated timely intervention in order to prevent them.
With regard to his stated desire for sexual fulfillment, I believe he was seeking to meet that need through a loving relationship. Possibly, at his age, flirtations may have been satisfactory but he demeaned others who boasted of their sexual encounters although he admits to feelings of jealousy as well. The need for sexual fulfillment in a young person is profound and can be at times overwhelming, but had he crossed into Nevada after learning to drive he could have paid for sex and found some gratification.
Even so, the fact remains that he wantonly sought “retribution” from innocent others depriving them of their lives and/or happiness. His parents, as he reported, took an interest in his wellbeing but their efforts did not help him sublimate his desires although they often pampered him. Also, he did not obtain adequate counsel from the mental health community to help him channel his anti-social plans and frustrated sexual desires. Unhappily, he was a powder keg seething with envy and jealousy on the verge of exploding in a college town.
I think it sad that the stigma of mental illness is still palpable today. Our minds’ health is a critical component of each us. They must also be developed, nurtured, and cared for just as are the needs of our physical bodies. Although, Elliot Rodger felt he had a keen intellect, he did not pursue its development to a level which sufficiently challenged him. Nor did he apply himself to any activity other than to his computer games. Again, it is disheartening that professional help did not intervene quickly enough to have prevented Elliot from carrying out senseless acts which resulted in yet another mass casualty shooting.
Here is a website with his “Manifesto”, “Retribution” YouTube.com streaming video, other commentary and links.
June 6, 2014
As I examine Rodger’s Manifesto, or memoir, his dark intentioned foreboding declarations, viz.,
“Ever since my life took a very dark turn at the age of seventeen, I often had fantasies of how malevolent satisfying it would be to punish all of the popular kids and young couples for the crime of having a better life than me. I dreamed of how sweet it would be to torture or kill every single young couple I saw. However, as I said previously in this story, I never thought I would actually go through with these drastic desires. I had hope inside me that I could one day have a happy life.
It was only when I first moved to Santa Barbara that I started considering the possibility of having to carry out a violent act of revenge, as the final solution to dealing with all of the injustices I’ve had to face at the hands of women and society. I came up with a name for this after I saw all of the good-looking young couples walking around my college and in the town of Isla Vista. I named it the Day of Retribution.
It would be a day in which I exact my ultimate retribution and revenge on all of the hedonistic scum who enjoyed lives of pleasure that they don’t deserve. If I can’t have it, I will destroy it. I will destroy all women because I can never have them. I will make them all suffer for rejecting me. I will arm myself with deadly weapons and wage a war against all women and the men they are attracted to. And I will slaughter them like the animals they are. If they won’t accept me among them, then they are my enemies. They showed me no mercy, and in turn I will show them no mercy. The prospect will be so sweet, and justice will ultimately be served. And of course, I would have to die in the act to avoid going to prison.
That is when I realized that this threshold existed, and if I crossed it, I will have to carry out this Day of Retribution. It has remained stagnant in the back of my mind ever since, until this point. After dropping my Spring classes at Santa Barbara City College, I knew that the Day of Retribution was now very possible. I even wrote about it in my diary, but I later tore out the pages because I feared someone might find them. A shiver ran through me, realizing how twisted my world had become, that I would have to resort to doing something that I would consider unthinkable a few years ago. I didn’t want to do it. I wanted to live. Thinking about the Day of Retribution made me feel trapped. I wanted a way out.”
I wonder if health care workers should not have noticed his intentions and motivations leading them to take steps to help him overcome these wrong-minded feelings and potential unlawful inclinations. He needed serious help or incarceration as he had already acted out his aggressions against innocent people by spilling his coffee on them at various times without any provocation whatsoever.
PS: In the aftermath of this tragic series of events, I feel that we must consider two other important social responsibilities which have been on the minds of enlightened Californians, as well as others in the United States, for sometime, and these are 1) access to and control of firearms; and 2) assessing culpability – societal costs, recompense, and punishment/rehabilitation. In spite of the death of the assailant (whom I refuse to refer to as a “suspect”), what if he had survived? What course of action(s) should take place after such mass shootings? He is guilty (but insane? delusional? culpable but must pay for his wrong-doings by incarceration for life with/without the possibility of parole?)! These issues too are calls for action by responsible citizens (through our right to vote/lobbying our elected representatives AND protected by the “Bill of Rights”).