Saturday, May 31, 2014
Elliot Rodger, age 22 / Mass Murder at Isla Vista, California / Near UC Santa Barbara
I’ve read a large portion of Elliot’s ‘manifesto.’ Manifesto: Haven’t you grown to hate that word? It once was a respectable word generally meaning setting forth one’s public policies. Not now – from the Unabomber (Ted Kaczynski) to Elliot Rodger, serial killers and mass murderers have a name for their insane, written, invariably and extensively published ramblings.
I’m not going to show a picture of Elliot Rodger. The one we’ve all seen kind of gives one the creeps. I’m not going to quote his words, I’ve thought about them enough. I do have some thoughts about this tragedy, based on my life experience. And, some of you might be interested.
First, please don’t blame this tragedy on guns. That explanation is so ill-considered and uninformed that it hardly warrants an explanation. Guns are ubiquitous in American society and always have been. For those of you who can remember back fifty years – as I can. Could you name one family during that period who didn’t have some sort of gun in the household? I never lived in a major city like some of you have. Perhaps, big city dwellers can think of a family; but I can’t. I wasn’t exactly raised in the ‘boondocks,’ just typical America where people hunted for sport and to augment their food supply; or just enjoyed plinking. I was shooting a BB gun in grade school; pistols, rifles and shotguns in Junior and Senior High School. Guns can’t explain Elliot. No, something is different about our modern culture and it isn’t guns.
To blame guns is simplistic. It is an explanation used by politicians to simplify a very complicated issue. To say we need more gun control is a nonsensical cliché, and an inane answer to a complex issue. Yes, of course, guns can kill. Knives can kill. Cars can kill. Each method of which Elliot used in his rampage. He also planned arson to increase the body count.
Well, it might be said, he hated women; sorry I don’t buy it. I think that was the rationalization of his twisted mind. After all, he also planned to kill his stepmother and brother. If he hated women, he would have wanted nothing to do with women. It sounds to me like he desperately wanted a relationship with a woman. He railed at the injustice of being a 22-year-old virgin. Well, a short drive to Nevada in his parents’ purchased BMW, wearing his five hundred dollar sweater, would have solved that problem. More likely, Elliot hated himself.
So what caused this?
I think the number one problem is the overall breakdown and ineffectiveness of our mental health system. We used to put the mentally ill in hospitals, sometimes against their will, so that they could be treated. Now, they live under a bridge and beg on the streets. Society has failed these people. Society failed Elliot and his victims. Elliot was a troubled, to say the least, young man who had been receiving psychological therapy from the age of eight. He was a person that should have never been allowed to purchase a gun ‘legally;’ but he did. And, as we know, California has some of the strictest gun laws in the Nation. Someone, probably more than one so-called medical expert, failed Elliot and society; and contributed to the death of six innocent young people.
Secondly, the news media deserves some of the blame. They give too much publicity to these events. They tell us everything we didn’t particularly want to know about the murderer’s background, family, friends, etc. They create an instant celebrity. And why do they do it? Three reasons: money, money, and more money.
Third, our children are overexposed to violence to the point of being desensitized by movies, television, video games, etc. That’s modern entertainment folks.
Fourth, I think, based on my experience, if we knew the whole story we would learn that there were serious family issues and trauma involved – as seems to be the case in many of these murder sprees by young men and boys.