Elliot Rodger is one of those mass murderers whose ego led him to leave behind a voluminous explanation of his thinking in the days leading up to his crime.
That he was mad there can be no doubt, but behind the chilling words and cold, calculating murder plot lurks a startling revelation: He may not have been abnormal.
By abnormal I mean outside the bounds of what would be considered the norm for society at large. In reading through the voluminous manifesto and the transcripts of his videos, it becomes clear that Rodger in many ways was fairly typical of young people today.
He came from privilege, but he didn’t appreciate it, interminably whining about other people who have more.
He was completely full of himself, complaining about how he couldn’t even get a girl to hold his hand much less have sex with him, a “crime” made all the more villainous because he himself was “magnificent” in his own words.
He believed himself to be inherently superior — not just in some vague sense, but in the sense of believing himself to actually be above humanity.
He had no belief in God. The phrase “god” appears in his manifesto 13 times. Once is in the word “godfather,” once is in the title of his father’s film “Oh My God,” once is in reference to God in the context of that film, once is in his description of a girl whom he calls a “goddess,” the other nine times are all in reference to himself:
- “On the Day of Retribution, I would be a God to them.”
- “I briefly fantasized about being a god as I looked down upon them all.”
- “I am like a god, and my purpose is to exact ultimate Retribution on all of the impurities I see in the world.”
- “I will be a god, and they will all be animals that I can slaughter.”
- “Everyone will fear me as the powerful god I am.”
- “I am more than human. I am superior to them all. I am Elliot Rodger… Magnificent, glorious, supreme, eminent… Divine! I am the closest thing there is to a living god.” Etc.
The only subject that seems to appear more often in the manifesto than Rodger’s presumed godhood is the topic of sex, specifically the evil of women who deny it to him who is the superior being.
“If women continue to have rights, they will only hinder the advancement of the human race by breeding with degenerate men and creating stupid, degenerate offspring. This will cause humanity to become even more depraved with each generation,” Rodger wrote.
Smell the budding eugenicist yet?
The twin dogmas of atheism and evolution were at work in this young man’s brain. The railing about impurities in the animals of the human race is survival of the fittest taken to its logical extreme. The declarations of godhood bear the stamp of atheism. After all, if there is no God, capitol G, then that leaves you as the god of your own little world. It just took a narcissist like Rodger to admit it.
Rodger had other problems in his background, like an unstable home life where his parents were divorced and he was angry because he lost his comfy bedroom at his father’s house when Dad had a new baby with the second wife, a woman who irritated Rodger because she wouldn’t let him play World of Warcraft, a video game that glorifies violence.
Another sore point for Rodger was that his father spent most of the family’s fortune making a documentary called “Oh My God,” exploring people’s answers to the question of “what is God?” While the tone of the film is mostly evenhanded, there is a strong note of atheistic cynicism present. In an interview from 2009, Rodger’s father said one of his goals for the film was to find out if “religious people” were causing all the world’s problems.
It’s not clear if Rodger picked up his implicit atheism from his father or society at large — probably both. In any case, he picked it up and ran with it.
That seems to be a thread in many of the most notorious mass killings. At some point, the killer turned his back on God, then humanity, then came to see himself as a sort of god who could arbitrate life and death for people.
At Columbine, the killers were reported to have asked their victims, “Do you believe in God?” then shot them if they said yes.
James Holmes, the shooter in the Aurora murders, came from a Christian family but never participated in church activities, the family’s pastor said. At the time of the shootings, the pastor had not seen Holmes for six years, leading to the conclusion that whatever his upbringing, Holmes had fallen away, a de facto atheist.
Tucson shooter Jared Lee Loughner — who killed a judge and wounded a congresswoman — was an avowed atheist who “was really fascinated with semantics and how the world is really nothing – illusion,” according to one of his friends.
Calls for gun control after incidents like the ones in Santa Barbara, Columbine, Tucson and Aurora are really just the opportunistic words of statists preying on people’s fears.
The real common roots of most mass killings have nothing to do with guns, which in the end are just tools, no more good or evil than the people holding them. The causes of mass killings are social isolation and often drug use leading to mental illness, but coupled with a profound emptiness that has been planted in the hearts of untold numbers of schoolchildren who have been taught that there is no God and that they themselves are just a random assemblage of molecules, an accident of the universe.
Is it any wonder then that some of the more unstable would try to elevate themselves to the status of gods with the power of life and death in a desperate search for some kind of meaning?
There is a sickness in our culture, and it’s only getting worse.