I fell down the rabbit hole of Elliot Rodger’s manifesto tonight. I don’t know what happened. I’m not usually one to latch onto true crime stuff. I’m still not entirely sure who Casey Anthony is, or if she’s the chick who killed her roommate in Italy or the other one. I’m bad at this stuff.
But in my continuing effort to avoid anything Kardashian related, I ended up with a link to the manifesto. Manifesto. Such a weird word for the stupid, racist, entitled shit that I read. It gives it a weight and gravity that elevates it unnecessarily. I mean, the only reason anyone, like myself, read it was because of the tragedy in Isla Vista in the hopes that it has some insight into why shit like this happens so often (in America, at least. Only in America.). The manifesto is interesting ONLY because the guy that wrote it killed a bunch of people and then himself. Had he just been some whiny brat that the police had stopped ahead of time, it wouldn’t be worth anything.
And now, after tumbling down that dark path I really don’t know how I feel.
Rodger was obviously an unreliable narrator. As he recounted events from his past that shaped him, there was such animosity and rage and a complete disregard for any semblance of truth. In the same paragraph he talks about hanging out with his friends, he goes on to lament that he is lonely and no one wants anything to do with him. By his own admission that’s false. So it’s difficult to take anything he says at face value.
Sure, it’d be easy to blame the parents. He was a kid that was shuffled between houses after his parents divorce. But the complete vehemence he had towards otherwise normal decisions makes that difficult. This is a kid who actually wrote about how his mother not marrying a billionaire was some affront against him (this wasn’t even about his mother having that choice in front of her – Rodger just thought that she should attempt to woo a billionaire).
Look, I get it. He was lonely. Been there. I think everyone with a pulse has. But most of us don’t assume that our loneliness is an affront to our existence – that we are owed a full and complete life and friendships out of the box without putting any effort into it. This is a kid who would drop classes if there was a couple in it because their holding of hands made him so angry.
It is shit like this that makes me not want to have children. Not because I’d be bringing innocents into a world (at least in America, always in America) that has dramatic gun violence episodes like this all too often. It does. And I would. But more so that it seems so difficult in this generation to raise someone that isn’t a piece of shit and I don’t know that I have the strength and energy for that. How do you force your kids not to place value in emptiness and vapidity when the Kardashian’s are still popular. Hell, I’ve mentioned them twice here and I still couldn’t pick them out of a lineup. I used to love going to school and learning about science and nature, but half the country is taught to fear education. We live in a world where leading political figures haven’t made up their mind about evolution. That’s like voting for someone for whom the jury is still out on gravity. It’s fact. You don’t get to pick and choose which of those you believe. They’re true either way.
We live in a time where a game show host can call you racist because you don’t want the earth to die. Nothing makes sense any more. So, I get it. I get wanting to put a big buffer between yourself and everyone else. But like most rational people, that manifests itself in me in wanting to live abroad. Or taking my dog into a nice cabin in the woods. It doesn’t make me want to murder random people for the sin of not exalting me.
I don’t know why Elliot Rodger killed all those people. Any suggestion of blame on his parents, or his descent into the World of Warcraft, or the movie Alpha Dog would be reductive at best. There are a lot of reasons. And none of them are easy. And after reading his 137 page rant on humanity full of racism, misogyny, and entitlement, the scariest thing for me was that he made a decision he wanted to kill people and was able to walk into a place and get a gun easily for that purpose. And he used it. And yet we still won’t make any attempts to make that a more difficult process.