Monday, May 26, 2014

The Day Of Retribution. On Elliot Rodger, the Butcher of Santa Barbara.

This post is about the slaughter carried out by Elliot Rodger in Santa Barbara.  It is about violence, the hatred of women and the general hatred of humans.  Consider carefully whether you wish to read it.

1.  The Recent Events

Elliot Rodger, 22,  spent last Saturday killing people in Santa Barbara, California.  He first brutally stabbed to death three men in his apartment:  Cheng Yuan Hong, 20, George Chen, 19 and Weihan Wang, 20, then got into his BMW with  his three semi-automatic legally acquired guns and headed to that UCSB (University of California, Santa Barbara) sorority  he had rated as having the largest number of pretty tall blondes, the kind of womanflesh he wanted to have on his plate but was denied because the damn dinners had rights to refuse him!

He planned to kill all women inside the sorority, but was stopped by the fact that nobody opened the door however hard he banged on it.  Poor Elliot!  Things always worked out against him.  No wonder he was filled with such rage, as witnessed by his manifesto for the butchering or "the day of retribution."

Instead, he shot at the three young women standing outside the sorority building, killing Katherine Breann Cooper, 22, and Veronika Elizabeth Weiss, 19.  The third victim is still alive and I hope that she will recover.

What Rodger tells us in his manifesto is that this is the plan he had for killing people because he was owed that retribution for all the sex he deserved but wasn't getting while other men were getting it:

First horribly carve up men in his apartment, then kill all the sorority residents, then just  drive around the place shooting and hitting people with his car.  With the exception of failing to wipe out the sorority, his plans were going pretty well.

He next killed Christopher Ross Michaels-Martinez, 20, at a local delicatessen.  He was probably chosen randomly, as "one of the animals,"  Rodger's view of other humans.

No more immediate deaths on his rampage through the streets, though his car drove into two bicyclists (and two other individuals) and his bullets hit pedestrians walking by.  In all, six victims were killed,  seven other individuals were hurt on this "day of retribution."  Two of the hurt remain in serious condition.  I hope all of them will be made as whole as possible.  I hope those who loved the dead (including those who loved Rodger) get some peace.

The day ended with Rodger's suicide.

2.  What Happened Before?

In reverse time order:
Just a day before the slaughter, Rodger posted a YouTube video about his plans.  The video is now removed but I watched it, and has a transcript of it.   It is a monologue promising us the slaughter that followed.  Rodger places the blame for his loneliness and suffering firmly on the shoulders of women, especially those of tall, white blond-haired women:

College is the time when everyone experiences those things such as sex, and fun, and pleasure. But in those years I’ve had to rot in loneliness.
It’s not fair. You girls have never been attracted to me.
I don’t know why you girls aren’t attracted to me, but I will punish you all for it.
It’s an injustice, a crime, because I don’t know what you don’t see in me. I’m the perfect guy, and yet you throw yourselves at all these obnoxious men, instead of me, the supreme gentlemen.
I will punish all of you for it. (laughs)
On the day of retribution I am going to enter the hottest sorority house of UCSB… and I will slaughter every single spoiled, stuck-up, blonde slut I see inside there.

Rodger's parents tried to desperately find him when they saw the video.

In April, a family member asked the police to make a welfare check on Elliot Rodger.  He passed the check with flying colors.  The interviewer(s) found him a perfectly polite, kind and wonderful human.

Later another policeman described the results of the slaughter as "the work of a madman."

At the time of the welfare check, Rodger was relieved that the police didn't search his room where he had at least two semi-automatic guns in readiness.

Rodger clearly suffered from mental problems.  He had been receiving treatment, based on his manifesto, for several years.  What the treatment consisted of is unclear, but in this case the mental health system cannot be said to have  completely failed a sick person. Indeed, I'm not sure there is any effective current treatment for what Rodger's manifesto reveals, except for involuntary confinement which could have protected his victims but would not have done much for him.  As far as I gather from the manifesto, Rodger received help in learning social skills, perhaps an attempt to relieve the loneliness he suffered.

His autobiographic manifesto suggests that he was bullied at school.

3. Reactions

These are of the expected type and often reflect the writer's position on the political map.  That Rodger had access to semi-automatic weapons made him a very efficient killing machine.  That he suffered from clear mental problems was also pointed out.  That he was a misogynist of rather extreme nature is given at least a nod in most places (though at least one writer disagrees on that as the cause for the massacre).  Whether he indeed was "a madman," in the sense of an isolated, impossible-to-prevent-but-horrific event or whether something could have been done to prevent the massacre also seems to depend on one's general slant about such things.

Comparisons to the 2009 killings by George Sodini, also  described as a loner who felt women need to be punished for spurning his advances might have been useful.  Both cases are about men who felt that they were entitled to have sex, that those who refused to hand it over on demand deserved punishment, and that punishment was not incommensurate if it meant death.  Both also felt great pain and perhaps self-pity because they were not receiving their fair number of voluntary f**ks.

In the primeval slime areas of the Internet, some comments argued that the killings were the fault of women who refused to give some pussy, even though by doing that they could have prevented murders.  From the comments attached to the now-removed YouTube video (the cleanest one of those which expressed the view):

He's not a bad looking guy. Why wouldn't chicks go out with him? If they had been nicer to him, this wouldn't have happened. 

And the saddest reaction to the story is this one:

UCSB senior Kyley Scarlet, who lives next door and has served as president of her own sorority, said all three who were shot are sorority members, but neither of Alpha Phi nor her own.
Scarlet said she was very disturbed by the video describing his anger at sorority girls.
"It's hard thinking my actions, being part of a sorority, led him to do this," she said. "When I saw that video I was shaking and crying."

4.  The Role of the PUAHate Site

Some have pointed out that Elliot Rodger participated at one Manosphere site, (now inactive), where he wrote about his views on women to a membership which failed to disagree with him.  Indeed, he received support for those views, and nobody made a negative response to these comments he made there in April:

It must be accepted, but not embraced. Human society should never be allowed to degenerate to such brutality. The problem is women, they are primitive in nature and incapable thinking rationally. If they are allowed to choose who to breed with, humanity will never advance. Look at civilizations over 100 years ago. In a way they were much more civilized, simply because women were restricted and controlled. It was a much better world to live in.


Eventually these frustrated men won't be able to take it anymore and will explode in rage and fury, and the female population will suffer the consequences, as they rightfully deserve. Once women are brought to their knees, things can be reformed. The sooner this happens, the better.

On the other hand, his participation at a bodybuilding forum did get some pushback.

The crucial question to answer here is a simple one:  Did Rodger's participation at the PUAHate site affect his readiness to slaughter?  Did the support he received for his warped ideas strengthen them?

One might argue that his manifesto reveals the same strand of misogyny from the beginning to the end, whereas his visits to the wonderful world of extreme woman-hating sites were quite recent.  But when did he write his manifesto?  My impression is that he completed it right before the planned May 24, 2014 slaughter, which would have allowed his new "learning" about "alpha males," "beta males" and "incels" (involuntarily celibate people but only men as women's involuntary celibacy is a non-thing in that world) to have colored his views about his misfortunes and the causes of his suffering.*

Note, also, the language he uses in the YouTube threat:

All those girls that I’ve desired so much, they would’ve all rejected me and looked down upon me as an inferior man if I ever made a sexual advance towards them while they throw themselves at these obnoxious brutes.
I will take great pleasure in slaughtering all of you.
You will finally see that I am in truth the superior one. The true alpha male. (laughs)

Bolds are mine.

The second question I cannot help having concerns the fact that Rodger is by no means the only person on the misogyny sites who expresses these kinds of opinions.  Are we to simply assume that all the other enraged (enraged!) men who blame everything bad that ever happened to them on women are simply using their freedom of expression without any further consequences coming out of it?  Chatting to each other about the perfidy of women, the necessity to restrain and cage them, just sharing their feelings about women in a supportive environment?   And this would never make anyone do what George Sodini and Elliot Rodger did?

What is the responsibility of such sites?  Why are extremely hostile comments not moderated?

Rodger wrote this about the PUAHate site in his manifesto:

The Spring of 2013 was also the time when I came across the website  It is a forum full of men who are starved for sex, just like me.    Many of them have their own theories of what women are attracted to, and many of them share my hatred of women, though unlike me they would be too cowardly to act on it,.
Reading the posts on that website only confirmed many of the theories I had about how wicked and degenerate women really are.  ….
The website PUAHate is very depressing.  It shows just how bleak and cruel the world is due of the evilness of women.

So there's the sharing of misogyny, at least, something in which he didn't have to feel all alone.

5.  The Manifesto

I read through the 140-page manifesto, trying to understand Elliot Rodger's mind.  

As the shortest possible summary:  

He comes across as a severely troubled individual, narcissistic, megalomaniac, expecting to be adored and adulated and falling into rage when this does not happen.  The pattern is evident even in his descriptions of a happy childhood.  The happiness depended on him getting what he wanted, and what he wanted was to be the center of attention, a member of the "cool group," never to be denied anything he desired.  He wanted to be rich, to live in luxury, to be looked up to, to have the hottest blonde by his side as he walked towards the sunset on the beach.

These desires in a teenager are not unusual, perhaps.  But what certainly IS unusual are his reactions when the ideal world failed to materialize. Those were extreme rage and the assigning of blame to others, including vast groups of individuals in terms of "all women."  He also expressed racist anger at men who were not white for having white and pretty girlfriends, because he ranked himself above them.

He bases his sufferings on comparisons to the richest, most handsome, most privileged of all people, and his failure to find himself among that group made him rage.   That  his life was financially comfortable, that he seemed to have a mother who did everything for him ("At mother’s house,  all of my needs were met with excellent precision, whereas at father’s house…") and an acceptable albeit distant father  didn't matter at all.

His suffering is real, his life probably was subjectively pure torture, his reactions out-of-proportion to what happened to him.  What would have been an ordinary (or better) life to many was full of painful failures to him, because he interpreted almost everything except extreme adoration as rejection.

Because of the misogyny he so plentifully expressed, I read the manifesto looking for examples where he would have been rejected by women.  Oddly enough, there are none, unless we count a girl who pushed and yelled at him in childhood, because he first bumped into her.  Other examples are of the type where a woman he smiled at didn't smile at him, where a woman he said "hi" to didn't respond.  If female rejection was what he mostly blamed for his suffering, where is that rejection in his manifesto?  Or did he expect women to flock to him, without any necessity to make an effort to meet them or talk to them?

I cannot say for certain.  But the impression I got is that he never approached women at all, that he expected women to approach him, and when they did not, he felt enormous pains of rejection.

If anything, the actual named women in his life were all overly kind to him, with the possible exception of his stepmother who tried to set limits to his behavior and assigned him chores such as cleaning which he felt were beneath him and belonged to the hired help.

I am not a psychiatrist and cannot give psychological diagnoses on the basis of reading something of this sort. I cannot tell what the role of the bullying he faced at school might have been, and I cannot tell if anything could have been done to relieve his pain and suffering.  But the role of entitlement, the role of narcissism and the role of god-like thinking in the manifesto makes me fear that ordinary therapy would not have worked.  I may be wrong, and would be glad to be found wrong.  Still, I feel for his parents and for his family who clearly tried to help him over a period of many years.

The manifesto concludes with his plans to kill lots of people, especially women and men who have sex with women.  He writes:

Women should not have the right to choose who to mate and breed with.  That decision should be made for them by rational men of intelligence.,  If women continue to have rights, they will only hinder the advancement of the human race by breeding with degenerate men...

There is no creature more evil and depraved than the human female.

Women are like a plague.  They don’t deserve to have any rights.  Their wickedness must be contained in order to prevent future generations from falling to degeneracy.  Women are vicious, evil, barbaric animals and they need to be treated as such.
 He also suggests that most women should be put into concentration camps, to be starved to death, while he watches.  Some would be saved for breeding in laboratories where they would be inseminated with male sperm and where women's animal natures would be bred out of them.

6.  Conclusions

This has been a difficult post to write, a difficult post to write in the correct tone, a difficult post even to think about.  And I have failed in finding the correct tone, failed in the distance I should have had, perhaps failed on the side of cold and hard anger myself.  The victims of the massacre deserve my focus, not its perpetrator, and even though I justify my writing about the perpetrator as a search for greater understanding I'm not sure that I achieved that.

Yes, Rodger was a troubled individual with severe problems.  Yes, he managed to slip through the police net, yes, he was able to buy three semi-automatic guns, apparently with no questions asked.

Perhaps all that is the framework, the flow-chart of what happened.  Still, the contents of his hatred were largely about women, not as individual women but as some thing he deserved to have, as some thing which deserved punishment when it refused to be available on command.  Yet reading his manifesto suggests to me that that no woman had actually rejected him in some particularly painful manner.  And of course the people he killed had nothing to do with Rodger's life or with his problems. They were the sacrifice his anger deserved, in that last god-like state.

But Rodger learned his thinking about women (and about other races and the help in his home) somewhere.  It can be learned in many places, including some places on the Internet where the concept that women, as a class,  owe men sex is not unknown.  It is that belief which probably drives some men to the PUA and similar sites where the hurt they feel from real or imaginary rejection by individual women creates a toxic mix with the rage they feel at women who have not delivered the sex those men believe they are entitled to. 

Rejection is something most human beings will experience.  It hurts.  It is part of life.  You will, however, get over the hurt.  That simple fact should be taught more widely, together with healthy coping mechanisms which can be used when the inevitable rejection happens, whether it is by a love interest, by a job or by a college.

Nobody is entitled to have sex on demand, just for existing.  That second simple fact should also be taught more widely, together with the interpersonal skills which help someone look at a possible love or sex object as a human being.  Flipping the mirror like that, astonishingly, raises one's chances of getting laid, too, because people want to be loved for themselves, not as the menu selection for the night.

Certain Manosphere sites teach the exact opposite of these two simple facts, and that is where their potential harm lies.  What the role of the site might have been in the butchery of Elliot Rodger is something we will never know.  But that site certainly didn't change his mind or his misogyny, and it's not unlikely that similar sites can turn more vulnerable minds onto the dark paths.

*The theories of the world these sites propose are as follows:  

In the past all (heterosexual) men had lots of sex because women needed to find a male provider, so they sold sex in exchange for bed and board.  Now, because of feminism, women no longer need to do this.  Therefore, they all flock (based on an evolutionary pseudotheory, combined with some stuff about alpha wolves in artificially created wolf-packs (the actual wolf packs in the wild are led by grandpa and grandma wolves)) to a small group of alpha males, men who are at the top of the society, but who are also rude, arrogant bastards who treat women like the scum women are.  The rest of the men are beta males, those who are always also-rans, those who now can't get any sex at all, because the alphas are getting it all.  Indeed, beta males will never pass their genes on, which means the ultimately failure in the evolutionary race!

The solutions to this "dilemma of extreme harems of just a few alphas" vary, but usually the idea is to kill feminism.  If women had to sell sex for bed and board, then beta males would get more of it.  In general, this part of manosphere doesn't believe in any women's rights.

The other ideas come from Pickup Artists (PUAs) who teach betas how to come across as alphas, how to hunt for pussy in the best possible manner.  The PUAHate site dislikes the PUAs because of their pyramid schemes and because the hunting instructions don't  work.  But the PUAHate site also hates women for not spreading their legs enough or at least not to the correct men.

Now I wrote all that with sarcasm, but these are the actual beliefs of those sites.  That we don't see a few "alphas" with giant harems matters not a whit, that the way these theories treat women (as prey, dinners, something that is a rack for vaginas) doesn't matter,  that all those sites mean "alpha females" (the most gorgeous women only)  when they talk about "women" is irrelevant.  The idea is that all men are entitled to the small number of truly beautiful and desirable women.  

Because the theory doesn't regard women as individuals, it assumes that all women (whatever their looks, age and other characteristics) can get any amount of sex they wish to obtain, that the whole female gender must be somehow forced to give sex to all men who wish to have it.  Because the women "have" all the sex that these heterosexual men feel entitled to.

(Added later:  A recent example of this particular type of thinking and what it leads to in the minds of those who believe in it.)