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Was shooter Elliot Rodger living vicariously through a video game character?

Seven are left dead by Elliot Rodger
Seven are left dead by Elliot Rodger
Photo by Spencer Weiner/Getty Images

A 22-year old drive-by shooter went on a killing rampage Friday night near a Santa Barbara university campus that left seven people dead, including the attacker, and seven others wounded, authorities said Saturday.

The gunman, Elliot Rodger, son of Hunger Games second unit director, Peter Rodger, got into two gun battles with deputies Friday night in the beachside community of Isla Vista before crashing his black BMW into a parked car. Deputies found him dead with a gunshot wound to the head, but it wasn't immediately clear whether he was killed by gunfire or if he committed suicide.

Since the horrific killings, journalists, psychologists and parents are trying to figure out why he cold bloodily killed. Was it complications of Asperger’s disease, lack of gun control in California or was he angry because girls rejected him? Probably none of these are major contributors to his actions but only excuses.

As I’ll point out in this article, Elliot appears to be acting out a script of a violent video game character.

Last Friday night, there were other victims, lucky enough to have lived through it. Alexander Mattera, 23, said his friend Chris Johnson, was walking out of an Improv comedy show when he was shot in front of a popular pizza place. He stumbled into a nearby house, bleeding.

Another visibly shaken student told the police she was approached by the driver of a black BMW who flashed a handgun and asked "Hey, what's up?" The student, who didn't provide her full name, said she thought he was carrying an airsoft gun and kept walking. She said seconds later, she felt something buzz by her head and quickly realized they were bullets.

Kathrin Schirazi Rad got a call from her 21-year-old son, Adrian Timothy Petersson, who told her in a shaky voice that he had been knocked off his skateboard by a BMW being chased by police about 9 p.m. Friday. He hurt his shoulder, but he went home after being checked by first responders to the scene. "He was in shock," said Rad, who lives in Sweden. "He saw some plastic bags and said somebody must have died. He couldn't confirm anything, he was pretty shaken up. It was so many things happening at the same time."

Rodger also stabbed his three roommates to death before continuing on his shooting rampage. On May 23, Elliot stabbed Cheng Yuan Hong, 20; George Chen, 19 and Weihan Wang, 20. They were all his roommates who were found dead with multiple stab wounds when police arrived. Elliot was living with them at the Independent Living Institute in Santa Barbara, according to CBS. According to the site, it “serves handicapped, developmentally delayed, and under-educated individuals in the areas of independent living, academics and vocational skills.”

Before his rampage, Elliot Rodgers created You Tube videos in which he talked about his plans for murder in a somewhat eerily scripted voice. Reporter Aaron Klein points out that from his eerie laugh to specific quotes in his chilling YouTube diatribe, mass shooter Elliot Rodger seems to be channeling, perhaps even mimicking a specific character from the violent Warcraft video game.
It has been widely reported Rodger was an avid Warcraft player. His online manifesto states he would retreat deep into the game for hours per day and would dream of Warcraft when he went on family vacations and could not play. It seems he could not separate himself from the stories, characters and struggles within Warcraft, living in a fantasy world of his own.

What has been missed until now is that quotes from his final YouTube video announcing his murderous intentions seem to come from the Warcraft character known as Garrosh Hellscream, whose twisted pursuit of dominance and power lead him to hate the Warcraft races, including his own.

In his last YouTube video, Rodger stated in what seems like prepared remarks, “If I had it in my power, I would stop at nothing to reduce every single one of you to mountains of skulls and rivers of blood, and rightfully so.” Aaron Klein compares Rodger to official Hellscream sound files which utter the exact same words.

From an overview of the game, it’s written, “Garrosh, son of Grommash Hellscream, first learned of his father's heroism when Thrall encountered the young orc in Outland. The seeds of pride were planted. Garrosh spearheaded Horde victories in Northrend and, as Warchief, consolidated Horde power amidst the chaos of the Cataclysm. But his visions of orc supremacy by any means have brought the armies of the world crashing down upon Orgrimmar... a final reckoning that Garrosh himself awaits with brutal relish.”

It’s not known why Elliot felt so empty inside or needed to live and die “with brutal relish” within the fantasy world of a video character, but the games were his life. Did he kill as Elliot or as Garrosh? It seems that Elliot was acting as if he were Garrosh in his pursuit of dominance, superiority and power. We may never know if anyone could have prevented him from fulfilling the demands and goals of his Warcraft character.

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