Victims and their families are still struggling with the recent tragedy that happened Friday May 23, 2014 when Elliot Rodger killed six people, injured 13 and then took his own life.
Many news sources state that Elliot Rodger was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome and many people may be under the impression that other people who have Asperger’s may be a threat to the public.
Asperger’s syndrome is characterized by significant difficulties in social interaction, nonverbal communication and restricted repetitive patterns of behavior and interests.
It is a genetic disorder and no evidence has confirmed that environmental factors are a cause. Asperger’s is typically diagnosed between the ages of four and eleven.
It has been hypothesized that individuals with Asperger’s are prone to violent or criminal behavior however there is no data to support that theory. There is more evidence that suggests that children with Asperger’s are victims rather that victimizers.
People with Asperger’s also have the ability to block out emotions. Although they may be subjected to bullying or even abuse, they are not emotionally affected by these things. They do not care about “fitting in,” what people think about them or social status.
In Elliot Rodger’s manifesto, he describes that he was content in his childhood up until he became a teenager. He was able to make friends and communicate with other people just fine. He described how affected he was when he did not get his way which led him to crying a lot. He also desired to “fit in.” He deeply cared about what other people thought of him and he strived to be a part of the “cool” crowd.
None of these symptoms point to the fact that he had Asperger’s syndrome. It is clear that he was misdiagnosed by the professionals who were treating him. This misdiagnosis could have been the difference between life and death.
Upon watching Elliot’s YouTube videos and reading his manifesto, there is, a more obvious mental disorder that he suffered from that would have prevented him from obtaining a firearm.
Elliot Rodger’s videos and manifesto indicates he was a sociopath. Sociopathy or Psychopathy is a personality disorder characterized by antisocial behavior, diminished empathy or remorse, narcissism and bold behavior.
Juvenile Psychopathy appears to be related to negative emotionality such as anger, hostility, anxiety and depression. Environmental factors can play a large role including limited involvement of the father with the boy, family disruption and detrimental treatment by peers.
Elliot’s father was present but his interaction with Elliot was limited. He describes his parent’s divorce as being significantly disturbing to him and he was subjected to severe ridicule and bullying from his peers. He was narcissistic because he felt entitled and that he was a “God.” He could not understand why girls would choose such inferior boys to him because he was the ideal boyfriend.
He was intelligent and manipulative. He was able to manipulate the police that he was not a threat to the public after his concerned parent saw his videos. He was immature and unable to cope with rejection.
Anyone can do the research then compare that research to Elliot’s videos and his manifesto. It was evident that he was a sociopath caused by environmental factors. If he would have been correctly diagnosed, he never could have legally purchased a firearm. He could have gotten proper treatment thus averting the death of six people and himself.
Elliot did everything he could to achieve his goal of being accepted but failed. Overtime his mental health began to diminish. He fell deeper and deeper into his delusions of his grandiosity. He was a ticking time bomb and since he did not receive the proper treatment, his only goal in life became revenge on those who he felt were somehow more privileged than him.
This goes back to the question related to mental health. It is clear that mental healthcare in the United States is far from great. It is unfortunate that in many situations, patients are misdiagnosed and left free to do unfavorable acts on society.
Bullying is also another big issue regarding this case because it only caused his mental state to decline. This disaster should be another wake up call to adolescents of how bullying can lead to detrimental consequences.
In this instance, blaming lawmakers for his ability to purchase a gun is not relevant at all. Even without a gun, Elliot Rodger wanted revenge and would have still carried out his deadly plan against society.
This was an ill-fated event with many contributing factors. The focus should be on properly diagnosing patients with mental health issues especially when there are such noticeable signs documented by the patient. We should all hope that this tragedy would lead to mental health professionals paying closer attention to their patients.