By now, you’ve read or heard about the terrible tragedy in Santa Barbara last week: some rich white kid shot up a college campus apparently missed the one thing that would validate his entire existence.

A hot babe:

The “pretty blonde girl” blamed by Santa Barbara murderer Elliot Rodger for his violent misogyny is “devastated” and living in fear, her father said Monday.

“The whole thing is so creepy,” the protective dad shuddered, saying he fears a “copycat” killer will now target his daughter. “It’s scary. Even though he’s gone.”

Rodger, 22, pinpointed his Woodland Hills, Calif., middle school crush as the person who triggered the rage that ultimately drove him to murder six people and wound 13 others in a horrifying rampage Friday night.

He was 22, and this was ten years ago. She’s two years younger than he is. This is a problem of lonnnnng standing.

He was under treatment by a psychiatrist. His folks (dad is a film director, an assistant director on The Hunger Games. Grandpa shot the famous Bergen-Belsen concentration camp photos when Allies liberated the camp. I can’t snark on that.) had money. Elliot Rodger wasn’t a bad looking guy, had money and had a famous dad.

He was about as privileged a kid as you’ll ever find. He had everything going for him and yet it wasn’t enough.

The police knew about him, even visiting him on April 30, but failing to search the premises after his parents notified them of his very disturbing YouTube postings.

Had they searched (no warrant was issued) they would have uncovered the licensed and registered firearms he had stashed away in anticipation of this incident. How does a kid under serious psychological care obtain legal weapons?

The father (eta of one of the victims) correctly points his fingers at the craven politicians who stand in the way of true gun reform, who genuflect at the feet of the NRA.

But there are others, too, who share a small measure of blame. Like the cops. Like the psychiatrist. Even the guys who beat the crap out of him a year ago because he was drunk and pushing girls off a cliff by a beach. If they had called the cops too, there might have been a bit more warning here.

A lot of people also blame the men’s rights movement, and there’s an element of that, too, in that it allowed Rodger to justify his feeling that he was oppressed by society. He clearly hated women, but it’s also apparent that he hated men too, especially if they were demonstrating any romantic feelings to a woman at all.

The parents, too, might have called his psychiatrist and pleaded with him (we can be pretty sure it was a man) to contact the police with the video evidence and warn them. I’m not sure that the doctor would have done anything – and maybe that’s how it all worked out anyway – but at least the attempt to get this kid the help he needed would have occurred.

But at this point, finding out who to blame will be small comfort to a community in mourning.

It would be easy to analyze Rodger in the vacuum of his homicidal megalomania. That lets the rest of society avoid the overarching tougher questions.

Every woman has, at some time or other, been subjected to some form of abuse at the hands of a man. And every man has, at some point in his maturation exerted undue pressure and attempted to exert power over a woman.

And I suspect an honest discussion of women’s behavior would find that the mirrored effect as well, at least in terms of exerting power and influence over a man, even if only as a self-defense mechanism.

You see, growing up into adulthood is difficult, adolescence is a minefield of emotions and raging hormones and confusion. Adolescence is about gaining control over yourself but more, over your environment. The vulnerability any teenager feels, the exposure to ridicule and social pressures, manifests itself in all kinds of offender behavior.

Once into maturity – and note I’m talking about emotional maturity, not physical. Some people never will reach emotional maturity – these feelings subside, and we are truly adults.

And it doesn’t really matter whether society is patriarchal – it is – or matriarchal – it’s not – or even gender-blind. We can revamp the entire emotional curriculum of life and try to eliminate all traces of power struggles and it won’t change the fact that growing up is scary and leaves us each feeling naked and different.

Until we can figure out how to smooth the passage from childhood to adulthood, we’re setting up generations of kids to act out. And that is the real tragedy of the Elliot Rodger story.






13 Replies to “#YesAllWomen”

  1. I realize he made some mysogynistic rants, but he killed six people. Four of them were men so our hashtag is #YesAllWomen, and we are talking about the tradegy for women, the fear for women and what the event means for women. The fact that four men were killed has slipped away into irrelevance because… Because two women were killed?

    No I’m not a member or the MRA or anything like that. I am just commenting on the insanity of searching for sanity in the acts of an insane mind. The guy was not misygonistic, or barbaric, or anything else that carried a shred of purpose. He was just insane. There was no reason for what he did; he did it because he was nuts.

    And the next guy who was lonely and nuts and wants to be noticed will look to the media attention that this guy got and will decide that he can go out the same way he did. “I’ll get me a gun and kill a bunch of people, women so that they’ll pay attention because dead men don’t count, and then I’ll be in all the headlines for weeks. Then people will notice and know who I am. They won’t ignore me any more.”

    1. Jay, you have to admit that his rants and postings in the immediate period leading up to the slaughter indicate his real anger was at women. Yes, he hated men, and I think I pointed that out.

      but it’s also apparent that he hated men too, especially if they were demonstrating any romantic feelings to a woman at all.

    2. Jay, if “simply nuts” was all there was to say about a sick mind then there wouldn’t really be much need for the fields of psychology and neuroscience.

  2. My understanding is that it was the parents who alerted the police to check out their son. They obviously also ensured he received psychological counseling. And I saw reported that they frantically tried to get a warning out the same morning, as soon as they learned about his creepy manifesto and youtube video, alas it was too late.

  3. The gun lobby’s dangerous game: How it preys on people like Elliot Rodger
    by Amanda Marcotte

    ….. The gun industry, through its direct marketing and through industry front organizations like the NRA, has settled on a marketing scheme they’ll never openly admit to but which is completely evident in their press releases, advertisements and other marketing materials. They target men who have high levels of insecurity when it comes to issues of masculinity and power, and suggest that buying guns will make them feel powerful and manly and chase those insecurities away.

    The centerpiece of the pitch is the fantasy of putting down a home invader. Anxious men are encouraged to believe there’s a high chance that someone will break into their home—their castle—for some raping and pillaging, and that they can play the role of the brave and stalwart hero by shooting the invader. (A corollary pitch is the power fantasy of armed resistance to some vague government “tyranny,” where the insecure man gets to imagine himself as a brave resistance fighter, his masculinity put beyond a shadow of a doubt as he gets to play at being a revolutionary.)

    That a gun in the household is far more likely to cause an accident, or be used for suicide or interpersonal violence than to fend off a home invader doesn’t matter. It’s a fantasy of masculinity, used to paper over insecurities, and facts cannot compete.

    That these power fantasies used to sell multiple guns are explicitly masculine is hard to dispute. For one thing, gun manufacturers don’t really try to hide it. The Bushmaster rifle Adam Lanza used to murder elementary school children in Newtown, Connecticut was advertised in magazines with the tagline, “Consider your man card reissued.” Doesn’t get more blunt than that in admitting that the customers are concerned about not being masculine enough and the gun is being sold as a panacea.

    Other ads collected by Mother Jones show the same anxieties: Guns being sold with promises that they will make you more soldier-like, more powerful, and even more sexually vigorous. Between these ads and the NRA-stoked fantasies of shooting down a home invader, the pitch to men is obvious: You may be a soft-handed, khaki-wearing suburbanite, but with this expensive arsenal at home, you will be The Man. No wonder men are three times as likely to own guns as women.

    In the world of masculine power fantasies, women exist merely as objects with which to prove your manhood, either by protecting them from the imaginary hordes of rapists at the door or by having them around showing skin to demonstrate how heterosexual the men are. Women who speak up for themselves or, God forbid, actually disagree with the manly men are disruptive to the power fantasy and regarded as human garbage.

    More at the link

    1. OMG!

      Last month, the head of Uttar Pradesh’s governing party told an election rally that the party was opposed to the law calling for gang rapists to be executed. “Boys will be boys,” Mulayam Singh Yadav said. “They make mistakes.”

      1. India state minister on rape: ‘Sometimes it’s right, sometimes it’s wrong’

        Home minister in BJP-run Madhya Pradesh state describes rape as a ‘social crime’ in comments playing down rapes.

        Reuters, June 5

        New Delhi – A state minister from Indian prime minister Narendra Modi’s ruling party has described rape as a “social crime”, saying “sometimes it’s right, sometimes it’s wrong”, in the latest controversial remarks by an Indian politician about rape.

        The political leaders of Uttar Pradesh, the state where two cousins aged 12 and 14 were raped and hanged last week, have faced criticism for failing to visit the scene and for accusing the media of hyping the story.

        A regional politician from Modi’s own Bharatiya Janata party (BJP), said that the crime of rape can only be considered to have been committed if it is reported to police.

        “This is a social crime which depends on men and women. Sometimes it’s right, sometimes it’s wrong,” said Babulal Gaur, the home minister responsible for law and order in the BJP-run central state of Madhya Pradesh.

    2. This situation, which gets weirder by the day, seems like a bit of both:

      AP/Reuters: Pakistani woman stoned to death by her family because they disapproved of her marriage: police

      LAHORE, Pakistan — A 25-year-old woman was stoned to death by her own family in front of a Pakistani high court on Tuesday for marrying the man she loved, police and a defence lawyer said.

      Nearly 20 members of the woman’s family, including her father and brothers, ambushed her and her husband out front of the high court of Lahore, attacking her with batons and bricks in broad daylight before a crowd of onlookers, said police official Naseem Butt.

      CNN: I killed my first wife, stoned Pakistani woman’s husband says

      Islamabad, Pakistan (CNN) — The husband of Farzana Parveen, the Pakistani woman stoned to death for refusing to participate in an arranged marriage, told CNN he killed his first wife so he could marry Parveen.

      Authorities said the first wife was killed six years ago.

      “I wanted to send a proposal to Farzana, so I killed my wife,” Mohammad Iqbal said Thursday in an interview with CNN.

  4. Globe and Mail Hatred of women, not Islam, fuels Pakistan’s honour killings , by Omar Aziz

    The practice of murdering daughters and sisters who defy familial wishes and supposedly muddy the ‘honour’ of the family is practically a social institution in the tribal belts of South Asia and the Middle East. But before the reflexive Islam bashers begin clearing their throats, it is useful to remember that such crimes have no basis in Islam, which teaches that marriage is a consensual and equal partnership.

    The tribal practice is grounded instead in an antediluvian, violent hatred of female sexuality. Not a fear of sexuality, mind you, but a deeply entrenched loathing of it; where the clan’s entire sense of esteem is defined by the chastity of its women. Thus, the woman’s right to self-determination must be negated. Her genitals must be controlled. Her sexuality must be denied. She is to abide by the dictates of her father and brothers or face violent punishments. What we call ‘honour killings’ – a placid and useless term – should actually be called human sacrifice, because such murders-of-shame are relics from our premodern days when humans sacrificed one another based on various superstitions. Notice the almost universal correlation today between honour killings and illiteracy or general lack of education.

    The extreme patriarchy of Parveen’s father and brother – of countless fathers and brothers around the world – is rooted in a fundamentally totalitarian understanding of male-female relations. For ultratraditional, ultraconservative men like Parveen’s father, only absolute dominion over the daughter’s reproductive choices will suffice. Anything short of this is warrant for murder. The logical conclusion of this grotesque thinking is genital mutilation or murders so horrific one wonders how such crippling inhumanity poisoned the patriarch’s mind in the first place. More at the link

    What bothers me particularly is the fact that in the face of continued suppression of female sexuality, east and west (slut shaming, removal of reproductive rights, etc), we have to put up with men bragging about the sexual privileges they give themselves.

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