Another mass murder this week. This time a 22-year-old man from Santa Barbara, Calif., Elliot Rodger, the son of a Hollywood assistant director, stabbed three men to death in his apartment and then used his car and two 9mm pistols in an attempt to kill as many more people as he could. He succeeded three more ti-mes, killing two women and another man.
He didn’t act out of backward religious fanaticism and he wasn’t the bullied emo who was pushed too far and he wasn’t a political extremist. No, Elliot Rodger was none of those things; he ended six lives—and then, thankfully, his own—because the girls he decided should date him didn’t want to date him.
Elliot Rodger died a 22-year-old virgin. He’d probably murder me for saying that.
People like Elliot Rodger tend to leave manifestos, and he did, but this is the social media age, so he also left a trail of message board posts and YouTube videos chronicling his, I guess we have to call it madness, but maybe it’s just the extreme form of an attitude scores of men—particularly young, white, affluent men—appear to share:
Women are a commodity, and sex with women is a right.
There’s a video making the rounds, shot shortly before his rampage; effectively a trailer for it, in which Elliot Rodger sat in his BMW and detailed his plans to kill “every spoiled, stuck-up, blond slut” at the “hottest sorority” at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Presumably, some of these are among the many, to hear Rodger tell it, who have rejected his advances, which seems to have confounded him as he considered himself “the supreme gentleman.”
Watch the video if you haven’t. I’ve seen people say it’s chilling. I found it the hollow squeal of one of the digital world’s great cry babies, complete with little fake, maniacal giggles sprinkled wherever the would’ve-been pick-up artist thought they’d make him seem the most cool.
The video would be easily dismissed if Elliot Rodger hadn’t killed six people soon after upload. But he did, which means those six people died because Elliot Rodger was a rank misogynist with a fundamental misapprehension about the way the world works.
To me, the most telling facet of his perceived plight and all-too-real attitude can be found in his manifesto, which checks in at more than 100 self-important pages, by the way.
“I was desperate to have the life I know I deserve,” he wrote.
Let that sink in for a moment. I’ll wait.
I don’t know about you, but you know what the life I deserve is? The one I make for myself.
You know what the life you deserve is? The one you make for yourself.
You know what the life Elliot Rodger deserves is? The one he’s not living right now because that’s the one he made.
None of his victims deserved the lives Elliot Rodger gave them.
Speaking of deserve, neither Elliot Rodger nor any male like him deserves the love of a woman. Neither do any actual men. None of us are entitled to a woman’s companionship, relationship, sex, or anything else in between, and we’re certainly not deserving of any of these things by declaration, which seems to have been the creed by which Elliot Rodger stopped living.
I’ve been married for 15 years and I have what I consider to be the best relationship of which I am aware. My wife and I earned our happiness because that’s what a relationship, especially a marriage, is. It’s work, it’s respect and it’s absolutely nothing you’re issued after enrollment in or implementation of, pick-up artist techniques.
Those are real, by the way, folks. Look them up. Women are referred to as “targets” in those particular guidelines.
Elliot Rodger was what’s known as a PUAhater. He belonged to an online community dedicated to despising the pick-up artist movement not because it’s misogynist cowardice, but because it didn’t deliver to him what it promised.
What he deserved.
And so ends Elliot Rodger. The supreme gentleman whose 22 years of not having sex—or any other female attention, to hear him tell it—convinced him everyone else was at fault for his complete lack of the thing he decided was value. It was the girls, you see, who should have realized what a special gift it was to have the attention of one such as he. They didn’t, and so they, and the men they did favor, naturally had to die.
Elliot Rodger was crazy; that’s easy to say.
Elliot Rodger was a cracked mirror; that’s not as easy.
But it’s probably true.