I’m going to be honest: I really didn’t want to write this post. The Santa Barbara Shooting have already been covered by so many people – many of them far more qualified than me – and the mere thought of giving a killer like Elliot Roger any more publicity makes me sick right to the stomach.
Unfortunately, Elliot Roger is but a symptom of a much larger disease in society, one that needs to be exposed and discussed as much as possible if we are to have any chance of preventing such a tragedy from ever happening again. So in this week’s post, I’ll be examining how we as society helped create the monster that was Elliot Rogers.
I’ll be dealing with it in two parts, spread over today and tomorrow. Today’s post will be a brief summary of Elliot Roger’s motivations (as if you needed more reminders) and tomorrow’s post will discuss how our society conditions men like Roger to believe the things he did.
Before we begin, I just want to make something absolutely clear: I will not be discussing whether or not Elliot Roger was mentally ill at the time of the shooting. As it stands at the time of writing, the state of Rogers’ mental health has yet to be determined and anything I say would just be dishonest speculation on my part. I’m also not going to comment on the alleged failure of law enforcement officials to heed the warnings from Roger’s parents who initially brought his troubling and violent behaviour to their attention.
Instead, I’m going to focus on Elliot Roger’s justification for going on the shooting spree as laid out in his many grotesque videos and the 100+ page “manifesto” he wrote and published online. And before you ask, I will not link to any of these. I refuse to provide them with any more traffic.
According to Roger, his intense anger against women and the world in general stemmed from the fact that he was seemingly unable to attract the attention of any girls at college. Elliot writes in his “manifesto” that his reason for attending Santa Barbara in the first place was because of its reputation as “sexually active”. For someone who was desperate to lose his virginity, it seemed like the perfect place to study.
From his videos and “manifesto”, we can see that Roger believed that he was fully entitled to the attention of the women around him. However, when this failed, Roger responded with anger and violence. Roger describes a moment when he’s just listened to a friend describe his numerous successes with other women (also note the extreme racism):
“How could an inferior, ugly black boy be able to get a white girl and not me? I am beautiful, and I am half white myself. I am descended from British aristocracy. He is descended from slaves. I deserve it more. I tried not to believe his foul words, but they were already said, and it was hard to erase from my mind. If this is actually true, if this ugly black filth was able to have sex with a blonde white girl at the age of thirteen while I’ve had to suffer virginity all my life, then this just proves how ridiculous the female gender is. They would give themselves to this filthy scum, but they reject ME? The injustice!”
Sadly, this kind of attitude is all too familiar to anyone who’s spent time online (something I’ve written about before).It’s not hard to find attitudes disturbingly similar to Roger’s, to the point where people have actually set up a Facebook page glorifying his actions. But why could this possibly be? Tomorrow, I’ll discuss exactly that.
To the friends and family of those killed, I offer my sincerest condolences.