I had a different entry prepped for today but as I was browsing through my news feeds, I read about Elliot Rodger and I couldn’t help but talk about it.
On April 23rd Elliot stabbed 3 of his flat mates, shot 2 people dead and left a couple more injured after posting a series of disturbing videos on Youtube. (I’ll put the videos or their links below for you guys.) According to his family he was disturbed and acting differently for awhile, this was confirmed by Santa Barbara Sheriff Department as some of their deputies had several interactions with him including a welfare check leading up to the shooting.
Ultimately, he ended crashing his BMW where he was found with one gunshot wound to the head. The conclusion to his promise of retribution in a Youtube video upload made a day before the intended shooting was grim, all those rants of loneliness and not fitting in finally catching up to him.
Looking at how he set up that day, it was definitely pre-determined. Acquiring the gun, taking down his videos then reuploading them, making a particular video indicating his worries and the reason for the actual rampage- making women pay for his misery, that took some deliberating before he actually went with it.
What puzzles me however is the casual manner by which he approached the massacre. He stabbed his flatmates, people he probably knew for the 2 years he was in college. Then he grabbed his gun, shot 3 people 2 in front of a sorority house in his campus (even knocked on the door but settled for shooting the ones outside), one outside a deli with obvious eye witnesses and CCTVs and proceeded to shoot random pedestrian as he drove on in his BMW.
People could easily say he’s a sociopath or his morals are questionable or he’s a disturbed young kid but then how do you address that. Do you toughen Gun Laws, lessen violence in video games, disallow Youtube rants or whatever else everyone thinks is to blame? To be honest, this is highly reminiscent of the Virginia Tech and Berkley and many other shooting sprees where a normally okay individual snaps and starts shooting or stabbing people to death. I mean, do they even really snap or were they always that way, we just failed to notice?
If we blame the circumstance or the environment of the shooter then haven’t we done enough tweaking since the Columbine shooting? What else should we change? If we blame the shooter, shouldn’t we ask how he came to be a maniac shooting random (or not so random) civilians? Was it the peers, his school or other people around him? How do we fix that? Was he born that way? Are people with tendencies of being morally less adaptable safe to integrate in the society?
There are so many questions swimming in my head since I read a couple of articles on him. This particular topic is one of those which I find difficult to let go for some reason. I first encountered it in depth as a motion for a debate in the uni and since then I’ve done a couple papers and bought books about similar situations where people go on a relatively unexplainable rampage. It’s difficult to delve deeper into it because most of these shooters either kill themselves or are shot by police officers in pursuit so we’ll rely on their videos and stories from people they knew to piece the puzzle together.
I’ll end this now relatively long entry with a question: do you think we have learned from the Columbine?
-I just need to add that Elliot’s Manifesto for an anti-women group gave me chills, not in a good way.
–As promised, here’s the link to Elliots channel on youtube which is still up by the way.