I’ve learned more about the Nice Guy Mass Murderer since my post on Saturday. For example, he actively advocated for women not to have power to decide whom they fuck. That goes beyond rape apologia into rape advocacy. He was especially angry about men of color socializing with pretty white women. He was biracial (white father/Asian mother) and identified overwhelmingly with whiteness. He characterized women as “evil, sadistic beasts” for sleeping with the wrong men—wait, not even sleeping with them, necessarily, just hanging out with them!, which sort of makes sense about as much as “the food is terrible and the portions are too small” until you see that he wasn’t thinking of women as companions, but as objects to possess and control. I started a hashtag on Twitter: #ElliotRodgerFunFact. Nowhere near the scale of #YesAllWomen, but I’m still pleased to see other people using it.
The mass murder didn’t start outside. Three people were found dead in Rodger’s apartment. At least two of them were his roommates.
This story here from the AP makes me feel a lot worse for Rodger’s parents. I’m sure we’ll wait a bit longer and find out more about how they brought him up, and they’ll be at least partly culpable for his developing such a heinous view of the world, but for now, it seems that his parents were trying to keep their son from joining the ranks of mass murderers. They were really trying, but how do you really handle it when you think your son is a danger to society? He was seeing two counselors, which is noteworthy, and his mother (her name is Chin Rodger, though she’s not named at the Yahoo link) saw his videos in April and got in touch with one of the counselors. The story sounds very much like the police department is trying to deflect blame for not recognizing the danger Elliot Rodger posed when they had the chance. The counselor called a mental health service, which called the police, and the police say they weren’t aware of any videos. Maybe the part about him making homicidally threatening videos got lost in the chain of communication, but that’s the sort of question the police might have tried to ask before they made their assessment.
I’m also hearing from various sources that Elliot Rodger was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, which is part of the autism spectrum, as a small child. ACCORDING TO FAMILY FRIEND MR. SIMON ASTAIRE, this is untrue. The family long SUSPECTED that Elliot was on the autism spectrum, but he was never diagnosed. It’s cringe-worthy to see speculation about Nice Guy Mass Murderer being an Aspie, as it’s inevitably followed by people equating Asperger’s to mental illness, and mental illness to his inclination to violence. Here’s the thing: researchers have tried to find a correlation between autism and violence. They’ve found no such correlation. EVEN IF our Nice Guy Mass Murderer was on the spectrum, it should not be used to portray autism as a cause of violence.
Whatever mental health problems our Nice Guy Mass Murderer had, he wasn’t left to struggle all alone. He was seeing therapists and his parents were involved in his life. Whatever mental health issues were troubling him, he was able to present to the police as a nice kid, so they let him go on his merry way. He was not isolated, or neglected, or in such dire mental health that he lacked control over his actions.
ETA the part about Rodger not actually being diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome.