The initial publication of this article erroneously identified Peter Rodger as an associate producer for "The Hunger Games". His title has been corrected.
Santa Barbara, California residents experienced a harrowing Friday night, when Elliot Rodger went on a shooting spree that took the lives of six innocent people. According to a Saturday, May 24, 2014 ABC News report, Rodger was identified by his father's attorney, Alan Schifman, as the shooter. Rodger died from a gunshot to the head.
Peter Rodger, an assistant director for "The Hunger Games", is allegedly the father of Rodger. (Many scenes from the debut of "The Hunger Games" movie trilogy were filmed in Shelby and Charlotte, North Carolina.) Peter Rodger and his family are said to have sought psychological and police help for their son. Elliot Rodger posted several disturbing videos to YouTube, including the one included here. (Source)
In his final YouTube video, Rodger details his reasoning behind the massacre that occurred on Friday evening. In the video, entitled "Retribution", Rodger laments his loneliness and the hostility he felt toward "popular kids, who live such lives of hedonistic pleasure," and "all the girls I have desired so much". Rodger threatens to enter a sorority house at UC Santa Barbara to exact revenge on the women who have rejected him.
The video goes on to lay out Rodger's case for why he, "the supreme gentleman", should not have had to "rot in loneliness" and suffer such a dismal life while women threw themselves at "obnoxious brutes". Rodger warns that he will punish women for not being attracted to him.
Rodger's demons are the demons of many
Undoubtedly, Rodger had mental health issues. According to some sources, he was under mental health care. However, on another level, Rodger felt entitled to the sex, love, and adoration of the women he desired. He blamed other people for his unhappy life. At 22, he was fatalistic in his views of the world around him and the decisions other people made.
Discussions of mental illness and evil always arise when killings happen in mass. Whether people are killed in mass or singularly on Chicago or Charlotte streets, lives are still taken because of someone else's deep-seeded personal demons. Many will look at Rodger and dismiss him as a "head case" or anomaly, but is he really?
Rodger seemingly absorbed rejection and internalized his feelings of unworthiness in detrimental ways. Many people cope by reproducing narcissistic feelings of superiority and acting to blame others when they don't get what they feel they deserve. Thankfully it is uncommon for those coping mechanisms to become mass killings, but all too common for those irrational coping mechanisms to become detrimental.
It is not easy to label people who will seek retribution of hurt feelings by taking someone's life. If it were easy, many murders would not occur. Many of the killings, rapes, and abuses that happen all over the world would not occur. However, it is simple to self-examine.
Today, it becomes all too common for people to point the finger and never own their own choices, decisions and consequences. At what point will society teach a person that he or she cannot always control how the world will treat him or her, but he or she can control how to react to it? When will society start showing people that a bad day today, a bad month this month, or a bad year this year, is not forever?
No one seems to want to acknowledge personal flaws. Everyone wants to paint a utopia of acceptance and entitlement. That is not reality. Though many will love, accept, and want you, there are many others who will not. Though many will appreciate and welcome you, many others will reject you and dismiss you. People meet you as they are, not as you desire them to exist. For every rejection you receive, there is acceptance further down the road. However, your greatest acceptance is accepting yourself.
There is no excuse for choosing to damage someone, including yourself, just because you feel hurt, unwanted, or unpopular. Society is a bastion of contradiction. In one wave society tells you everyone should accept you; in another, it tells you what you have to morph into in order to be acceptable. You cannot depend on society. You must learn to treat people well, and move forward when you feel mistreated.
Self-acceptance is made more difficult when you continuously seek the approval of others to feel whole within yourself. Sometimes family support is nothing more than a crutch. You have to own your demons and work to exorcise them. You have more power over your life and fate than the people you relentlessly give the control over to. If you need professional help, seek it out early and often in order to learn how to face your issues and deal and heal. However, do not depend solely on professional guidance. You must take the steps necessary to make your life better.