“Alpha Male” Elliot Rodgers’ Retribution

[Trigger Warning: Violence against women, domestic violence, guns]

“For the last eight years of my life, ever since I’ve hit puberty, I’ve been forced to endure an existence of loneliness, rejection, and unfulfilled desires. All because girls have never been attracted to me. Girls gave their affection and sex and love to other men, but never to me.”

These are words of a young man named Elliot Rodger in a YouTube video titled Elliot Rodger’s Retribution, in which he states, “This is my last video. It all has to come to this. Tomorrow is the day of retribution. The day in which I will have my revenge against humanity. Against all of you.”

His video is textbook Nice Guy/Men Right’s narcissism. At every turn, it reeks of entitlement rhetoric:

“You girls have never been attracted to me. I don’t know why you girls aren’t attracted to me. But I will punish you all for it. It’s an injustice, a crime, because I don’t know what you don’t see in me. I’m the perfect guy. Yet you throw yourselves at all these obnoxious men. Instead of me. The supreme gentleman. I will punish all of you for it [laughter].”

Unfortunately, that isn’t the worst of it. Soon, his words take a turn down an even darker path:

“On the day of retribution, I am going to enter the hottest sorority house of UCSB [University of California, Santa Barbara], and I will slaughter every single spoiled, stuck-up, blonde slut I see inside of there. All of those girls that I’ve desired so much. They would have all rejected me and looked down upon me as an inferior man if I ever made a sexual advance towards them. While they throw themselves at these obnoxious brutes. I’ll take great pleasure in slaughtering all of you. You will finally see that I am in truth the superior one. The true Alpha Male.”

Shortly after this video was posted, a mass shooting occurred near the University of California, Santa Barbara – killing seven (including the gunman) and injuring seven more. Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown states the above YouTube video appears to be linked to the shooting. This is hardly the first time that Men’s Rights movements or rhetoric (Alpha Male? Come on). have been linked to physical violence against women. Earlier this year, a young woman named Danielle d’Etremont was beaten by a man on her campus. Her attack came shortly after she stated she received threats because she showed support for feminist activities on campus.

Society tells men that if they’re “Nice Guys,” they are entitled to women’s bodies and time. So you can’t be surprised when some men take that as an edict to take what is theirs by violence. You certainly can’t be surprised that men like Elliot Rodger think violence is justified, when Men’s Rights leaders like Paul Elam tell their readers to beat up women:

“I don’t mean subdue them, or deliver an open handed pop on the face to get them to settle down. I mean literally to grab them by the hair and smack their face against the wall till the smugness of beating on someone because you know they won’t fight back drains from their nose with a few million red corpuscles. And then make them clean up the mess.”

Of course, instead of talking about these issues, the media will likely default to the usual armchair diagnosis and hand-wringing fuckery about how Elliot Rodger was “crazy” and “mentally unstable.” It has already begun with Sheriff Brown who told reporters,”It’s obviously the work of a madman.” Spoiler Alert: Unless you were Elliot Rodger’s therapist, you don’t get to diagnose him. To do so is not only actively contributing to mental illness stigmatization, but it’s perfectly plausible that it’s not even accurate. To quote Miri Mogilevsky of Brute Reason, “It is not actually ‘crazy’ to believe stuff that’s been shoved down your throat from birth.” 

We simply can’t ignore how dangerous this movement’s rhetoric is, while hoping that they’ll simply fade into the darkness. If you still think Men’s Rights and Nice Guy rhetoric doesn’t actively condone violence against women, you need to start paying attention. If you think society as a whole doesn’t tell men that they are entitled to women’s time and sexuality, you need to start paying attention. You need to be angry.

UPDATE: An extremely lengthy “manifesto” is being attributed to Rodger, and can be found here.

Courtney Caldwell

Courtney Caldwell is an intersectional feminist. Her talents include sweary rants, and clogging your social media with pictures of her dogs (and occasionally her begrudging cat). She's also a political nerd, whose far-left tendencies are a little out of place in the deep red Texas.

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  1. Ms. Caldwell,
    While I agree with much of this article and share many of your beliefs (including an extreme distrust of MRA and “nice guys”), your quote from Paul Elam is out of context and detracts from your point because of this. I had not seen this before and, disgusted, checked out the link in your article. He suggests that men should beat the women who beat men because they know a man will not fight back. While suggesting anyone should beat anyone to a bloody pulp is very wrong, this should not be taken out of context, lest you open yourself up to attacks and weakening your point.

    1. I actually don’t think the “women think men won’t fight back” context makes any difference. MRAs promote violence against women – that’s the context. Their justifications (or context) don’t change what they’re saying for better or worse, IMO.

      1. For all MRAs talk, they spend more time talking about men ‘falsely [sic] accused of rape’ (Yes, every white scion of the 1% is Tom Robinson.) than male victims of abuse. A while ago, a local MRA group even staged a “Penis Monologues”, raising money for men who had been friendzoned. (Pretending Friends somehow represents real life is no way to be taken seriously.) Why? Because The Vagina Monologues was playing at the same time.

        Actual male victims of abuse, not to mention feminists who were critics of Eve Ensler for their own reasons, were not amused.

      2. You unashamedly quote that guy out of context and think it’s justified because of your interpretation of his *real* motives, *then* you say MRAs promote violence against women without any merit. That’s a whole lot of fallacy. I guess you’ve rationalised it as a way to discard anything they have to say – they are just violence animals. The guy was SPECIFICALLY talking in self defense, to shut down a woman who is abusing him (I guess he should just let her continue?)

        Why did you even bring your favourite whipping boys into the discussion anyway? Where did he say anything about him being part of the men’s rights movement? Oh because he’s a man and he’s violent, he *must* be associated with them.

        Honestly I don’t know what you’re doing on a site containing a hint of the word “skeptic”. You’re incredibly biased and clearly no one is going to change your mind on anything.

        1. Because I know that when I am feeling threatened and like I need to defend myself, my reaction is to not only beat the crap out of the person threatening me, but to make that person clean up their own blood. Oh, wait, that’s actually not what I do at all, I am much more inclined to just LEAVE the moment I am physically able to do so. I don’t stick around to rub my attacker’s nose in the blood, because only people who don’t actually feel threatened would want to do that.

          “Where did he say anything about him being part of the men’s rights movement? Oh because he’s a man and he’s violent, he *must* be associated with them.”

          He didn’t say it anywhere that I’ve seen, but he was certainly very interested in consuming their work.

        2. Even in context, his advice is to grab someone by the hair, smack her face against the wall until she bleeds, then make her clean up the blood. That is not ‘self-defense.’ Self-defense is disarming your attacker with the necessary force to keep yourself safe. Self-defense is getting away as soon as you can. What he is advocating is violence for the sake of vengeance, punishment, and control. What he is advocating is abuse. And there is no excuse for it.

    2. In the case of this passage by Paul Elam (and pretty much everything he says) the context is just pretense. Promoting the hatred of women is his livelihood.

    3. The response to someone who is beating on you is calm, rational self-defense. Paul Elam’s statement is clearly predicated in the idea that women are meant to be naturally subservient to men and that his exercising violence against them will teach them their proper place. It’s not even obfuscated or coded – he makes it seem both easy and rewarding, especially with the comment about “making them clean it up afterwards.”
      If this was really just about not submitting to violence, this is supremely unacceptable and, indeed, grotesquely illegal and unethical behavior. The most you should do in self-defense is preventing the offense from occurring; any more is considered unjustifiable, both in the court of law and in moral behavior.

      The CONTEXT, as you put it, is extremely clear. He views women beating on men as a violation of the “natural” order of men dominating women and advocates men assert their supposed “superiority” to restore the “natural” order. It’s classic MRA bullshit and, in- OR out-of-context, this is vile and dangerous nonsense.

  2. Time to stepout into a minefield. In many ways, I am a Nice Guy as described above. To my knowledge, no female have ever been attracted to me and subsequently have been single all my life. Now I know that i have no entitlement to no one, and that the main problem lies with me. But still, there times when this makes me so desperately lonely, that I can understand why a male mind could try to protect itself by blaming all females, especially when society preaches that there always is someone out there that is meant for you.

    This is an idea that must be moved to the dumpster, instead we must teach that if someone is interested in you, or if you are interested in in someone, you must put in effort to keep/make them interested. Also, young people should be trained on how to behave when you are interested in someone and as well when someone is interested in you. Today, this is done by trial and error between (young) people that find someone they are attracted to and have the guts to act on it. Therefore we get people like me, who despite have left my teens a few decades ago still have no clue on how to behave towards a female that I am interested in, no idea if someone is interested in me ,and perhaps more importantly, no idea on how to change this state.

    If society is to stop the Nice Guy Narcissist, change must be made at an early stage.

      1. I completely agree with Heina. Pretty much all of the self-described “nice guys” I have met in my life think they deserve a super-hot (by society’s standards) woman. Most women who are still more conventionally attractive than these “nice guys” are not acceptable. They think they are owed a hot woman.

        1. You know, I agree what you just said is true of a lot of these supposed “nice guys”. However, I think it’s equally unfair to them to automatically assume astrofys is one of them. I know this is off topic from the horrible incident that just happened, but I just had to chime in. I agree with the whole “nice guys aren’t entitled to sex” thing. Who a woman or man chooses to be with is entirely up to them and you have to respect their decisions regardless of whether or not you feel you would be a good match for them. That being said, yes …guys (nice or bad) have to stop feeling that there’s some horrible injustice going on because the woman they’re attracted to didn’t choose them. However, I also feel that genuine nice guys are starting to get caught in the blast radius of this subject being discussed. Look, I’m one of those “nice guys” that often has problems getting women to go out with him too. So I know what you’re going to say “oh, just the pretty ones right?” Let me debunk that. I’ve been able to go out with many pretty women. It just so happens, by chance, that our personalities didn’t line up and I didn’t enjoy being with them. Now, I could’ve pretended to be into them just so I can have a regular sex partner for a while, but why live a lie? I wanted to move on and meet a girl that I truly connected with. Like you ladies have taught me. Don’t go for flash and hotness. Go for who you connect with. I don’t consider myself that visually attractive either, I feel its rather silly for me to try to date only really beautiful women (although I wouldn’t turn her down if she was both crazy beautiful and our personalities connected) However, it so happens that the girls I’ve been into lately have been very against what the media would normal teach us to be into. That’s right, women with physical traits most men find to be in the minus column, heh heh … my friends were raising quite a few eyebrows at my pursuits. But you know what? I didn’t care what people thought. I really enjoyed the personalities of these women. However, after trying to pursue anything past friendship, they rejected me. Women that the other women in my life have totally approved of, have rejected me. So no, not all “nice guys” go after just what you called “hotties”. Sometimes we have bad luck because we have bad luck. Simple. You know what? I didn’t feel bitter about any of those rejections. If they’re not into me, then they’re not. I’ll hopefully meet someone that is. Just have to keep trying. Also, when it comes to the shallow part of attraction between the sexes, let’s not pretend its only guys that are the ones making poor choices due to physical attraction.

    1. There are a couple of problems with this.

      First, why do you call women “females”? Are women like rats to you, adequately defined by scientific gender assignment alone? You might want to think a bit about what makes you want to call women “females” instead of women.

      Another is this:

      “instead we must teach that if someone is interested in you, or if you are interested in in someone, you must put in effort to keep/make them interested.”

      I’m disturbed by the notion that you think it is not only OK to “make” someone be interested in you, on the grounds that you are interested in that person, but that this is so desirable that we must teach kids that this is the thing to do.

      It’s not the thing to do. Rom-coms tell this story about the guy who is persistent and wins the lady’s heart, but this is not actually how romances typically happen off the screen. If you are interested in a lady and she is not interested in you, and you won’t leave her the fuck alone, that doesn’t win her heart, it just makes you look like a creep who doesn’t take “no” for an answer.

      No is an answer, and it’s one you have to accept. Not accepting it means that you are an unsafe person to be around. If I tell you I don’t want you to buy me a drink, and you =insist= that you’re going to do it anyway, what other “no” of mine are you going to disregard? What if I next tell you that no, I don’t want to have sex? Will you disregard that no, also? This is how rape happens, is what I’m saying. At the very best, a person is behaving like a rapist by refusing to accept a “no,” and at worst that person actually commits rape.

      “still have no clue on how to behave towards a female that I am interested in”

      Here are two quick bits of advice:

      First, don’t treat “females” like they are somehow different from people. How do you treat people that you are interested in? In other words, if you see someone and you think, “this is a cool person, I would like to be friends,” how do you behave? Act like that. Women are people. Treat them like people.

      Second, don’t reserve your interactions with women for ONLY when there is a potential sexual payoff for you. Make friends who are women. Become friends with women. Not because you are sexually interested, but because women are people who are interesting as friends the same way men are interesting as friends. A Nice Guy will make friends with a woman in whom he invests considerable sexual attraction, in the hopes that one day she will sleep with him, and for no other reason. An actually nice guy will make friends with women who are interesting and fun to be around, because they are interesting and fun to be around. Some of those women may sleep with him, because he’s a nice guy who takes an interest in them beyond the sexual. Others will not, and he’ll be fine with that because being friends with a woman is its own reward, the same way as being friends with a man.

      1. “Second, don’t reserve your interactions with women for ONLY when there is a potential sexual payoff for you. Make friends who are women. Become friends with women. Not because you are sexually interested, but because women are people who are interesting as friends the same way men are interesting as friends.”

        So much this. The idea that men and women can never be friends is part and parcel to this entitlement ideology. It’s a symptom of the greater disease. It teaches us to treat one another as prey, not as fellow sapient beings with interests and value beyond that of our most salient anatomical features.

      2. “First, why do you call women “females”? Are women like rats to you, adequately defined by scientific gender assignment alone? You might want to think a bit about what makes you want to call women “females” instead of women.”

        You might want to think about the fact that you’re lumping all females into the adult category that is; “women”. that includes prepubescent girls, just past puberty girls, and teenagers of all ages.

        i really hope you don’t work as a babysitter for a living.

        1. It’s interesting that we’re talking about an adult man’s romantic life and how no “female” has ever been attracted to him, and your mind immediately leaps to babies and tweener girls.

          1. Not at all. The topic is the use of the word “female” instead of “woman”. “Woman” = “adult female human” so using “female” where “woman” seems much more natural suggests that the writer wanted to be more general than the word “woman” allows. I.e. they wanted to include either non-adults or non-humans. Pointing this out is not evidence that one is a closet paedophile or bestialist – it follow directly from the original posters word choice.

            (I keep getting bugged by this, e.g. when the news media talk about a ‘female police officer’ instead of ‘woman police officer’.)

          2. You know what else is interesting to me? That when a dude uses “female” instead of “woman,” he never says, “Well, I don’t really understand the difference, but I’ll stop because I know it bothers you.” The response is always some excuse for why it’s okay to use a term that women say over and over is offensive, some rationale for why “female” is okay and, by implication, women are being irrational for objecting to it.

            astrofys was discussing his romantic life, and used “females” to describe the people that he wishes were attracted to him. Given no other context than this, he clearly meant that as a synonym for “women.”

            Resorting to the “Well, he could have meant any female human!” completely disregards the context of his words – there is zero indication that astrofys was talking about tweeners – as a means of excusing the use of the term. If you want to discuss female humans in totality, the phrase “women and girls” exists and you could use it if you gave even the first shit for what women tell you offends them.

          3. @Filias Cupio I had thought female police officer was correct? Police officer being the noun, female being an adjective used to describe the gender of the police officer. My rubric has always been that female is appropriate as an adjective, and woman/women as a noun. Is that wrong? If so, I need to amend my rubric, as that is something I try to be careful about.

          4. Mankoi:

            “Female police officer” is technically correct. You wouldn’t say “man police officer” so “woman police officer” makes equally little sense.

            Although I would wonder why merely “police officer” isn’t sufficient to describe a woman who is a police officer. In most contexts, it’s weird to call out a woman’s gender when you would not similarly call out a man’s.

          5. @skeith Thanks! I was worried for a moment that I’d had it wrong for years. And you’re absolutely right, I can’t think of any good reason to specifically mention the gender of a police officer, or anyone else really, unless it’s somehow important to the story.

          6. “It’s interesting that we’re talking about an adult man’s romantic life and how no “female” has ever been attracted to him, and your mind immediately leaps to babies and tweener girls.”

            Not really. You expressed confusion over use of the term “female”.

            Skeith “First, why do you call women “females”? ”

            That showed you didn’t understand that the word “female” applies to all ages. Possibly because you view all females as viable sexual partners (and thus use the adult term for all female humans that is “women”), possibly because you’re too uneducated to understand the proper usage of the word. Which one it is, I can’t only guess.

            But I enjoy teaching so was merely helping you to understand the proper use of the term, especially as your ignorance was clearly getting in the way of you participating effectively in the conversation.

            Nice try at trying to flip the accusation of pedophilia back on me slick.

          7. “Not really. You expressed confusion over use of the term “female”.”

            LOL! You think I’m confused? You are the only one who is confused.

        2. I think you’re reading too much into it, honestly.

          Most likely, he just used the word “female” in place of “woman” and didn’t give it much thought.

          Is that a little silly? In this context, yes. Don’t read an entire backstory into it, though. You have no evidence for that, you have no proof that someone using the term “female” generally intends the meaning you are espousing.

          Remember, some people just aren’t very careful with using words. You can criticize that, if you like, but don’t move into libel.

          1. It can also be just a social group thing. I’m in the army reserves, and the military uses male/ female, and I’ve started to do the same.

          2. @ Weatherwax
            Yeah, there’s that, too.

            There can also be poetic/prosaic reasons for using “female” instead of “woman”, depending on the context.

          3. The poster (skeith) was trying to impugne the author by suggesting choice of language suggested some sinister motive.He was essentially committing the furtive fallacy.

            I was merely giving him/ her a taste of his/ her own medicine. And before you say it; yes I was being a dick. But it’s nothing personal, I swear! :D

            The person in question was clearly used the word “female” when discussing the totality of his entire life which would therefore make it proper usage as we can all safely assume that he was at one point a pre-teen and a teen before reaching adulthood.

            Come on people, are you seriously going to miss something so obvious and belabor what is a silly point?

          4. Ah, yes. “Silly.” Of course it’s silly, women are only asking you to stop dehumanizing them! So fucking silly, right?

            It’s not fucking silly. WOMEN have asked you to stop using dehumanizing language, and you come up with shitty reasoning why you think you should keep using it, then just tell us, “Hey, I know I”m being a dick, but you’re just so silly! And I enjoy teaching!”

            You’re a condescending, patronizing asshole who NEEDS TO STOP USING FEMALES, and stop getting so fucking defensive about it when WOMEN are asking you to stop dehumanizing them.

            I get the feeling you think you’re an ally. You aren’t.

          5. Let’s unpack what just occurred here.

            Dude 1: Females.
            Me: You may want to reconsider using that term in place of “women.” It’s offensive to women, and here’s why.
            Dude 2: What women want is completely unimportant, and your explanation for why dudes should stop doing this offensive thing did not meet my personal standards.

            Philip R., ladies and gentlemen! The embodiment of rape culture!

        3. Well, if there ever was a better example of mansplaining, I’d be shocked.

          “I enjoy teaching”

          Are you fucking KIDDING ME HERE?

    2. I can understand how you feel. When I was younger I was always frustrated that women seemed to never be interested in me while I knew men who were obviously jerks who seemed to do quite well finding women. As I got older I realized two things. One, quite often the women who went for these jerks weren’t women I would have been interested in a long term relationship with anyway. I.E. I had nothing in common with them. Two, and more importantly, the main reason I was alone was I didn’t work very hard at not being alone. I grew up being told both by my fundamentalist religious upbringing and by movies that love/relationships are supposed to be a matter of “fate” of some sort. That if working for it was wrong somehow. My religious upbringing in particular taught me that God would simply provide a “suitable mate” for me. As someone who was a bit introverted in the first place this suited my mindset well because it excused me not making an effort. Of course I didn’t blame women for my loneliness, I just figured god’s plan was for me to be single right then.

      Even after becoming an atheist it took me years to overcome this sort of conditioning, By the time I was 30 I finally realized that it was MY fault I was single, mostly because when I was interested in someone I got nervous and froze up and often just never asked. Of course the only way to get over these sort of emotional barriers is practice, forcing myself to date. For a long time it felt awkward, doubly so because I felt like I was learning lessons that most people learned when they were 10 years younger, but slowly I got over it, and after dozens of dates, and several failed relationships I met someone I clicked with, we’ve been together a year and a half, got married in March. Really, most of it is just effort, and the willingness to risk rejection. The reality is that you WILL be rejected, usually many many times more than you won’t be. Dating is, in many ways, a numbers game, and the only certain way to find out if someone is interested is to just ask them.

      1. I’d like to know what religion you were a part of. I’m Christian. I was always taught love was a choice and that it’s not something you fall into. Also Looking a Paul’s teachings being single and celibate was recommended. And I was single for 26 years. Plus studying molecular bio in college made thinking about boys easier. I mean yeah I like guys, but I always focused on friendship. I agree with what was said above. See people as people. If you focus less on sexual or romantic rewards you may/may not get from someone, as if they’re this living slot machine, and instead see someone who seems interesting and just treat them like a person you’ll get way farther, and no matter what you’ll have always gained a friend.

    3. Several problems here:

      “To my knowledge, no female have ever been attracted to me and subsequently have been single all my life.”

      That might be no woman you’re attracted to has ever been attracted to you. But beyond that, women don’t have a responsibility to be attracted to you. As someone wiser than me said, “Women aren’t machines you can put niceness coins in and fun sexy times pop out.”

    4. Quick question: why are you referring to women as “females”? Are you a Ferengi?

      Less flippantly, when you say “a female” rather than “a woman” it has a distancing and dehumanizing effect. It sounds like you’re talking about a specimen or a different species. People tend not to like it when you do that to them.

    5. There’s definitely a vacuum out there to be filled – non-misogynistic, non-PUA, non-MRA social help for socially awkward folks who are lonely and don’t know where to turn or how to start. I highly recommend reading through Dr. Nerdlove’s site as a good starting point:

  3. i would lay a decent amount of money that every woman this dude ever met (justifiably) gift of feared the hell out of him. i don’t think it’s overstating the case OR stigmatizing mental illness writ large to call him crazy, and i don’t think it’s giving him a pass, either. there are plenty of MRAs who confine their violence to voting republican and emailing girls rape threats.

    1. I’d plead no contest to that bet. I’m waiting for the inevitable round of interviews with people who interacted with him – there’s bound to be a number who “didn’t know this was coming” but I’ll bet anything that there will be people who come forward saying that he was an aggressive creep. Crack open his computer and we’ll probably find all sorts of alarming MRA activist crap.

  4. Looking at it without his later violence, the first part of his rant is almost pathetic. No, Elliot, you don’t have any right to sex. But then…

    “On the day of retribution, I am going to enter the hottest sorority house of UCSB [University of California, Santa Barbara], and I will slaughter every single spoiled, stuck-up, blonde slut I see inside of there.”

    I almost wouldn’t take this seriously, except for the history of people who have actually done this type of thing. And of course, Elliot Rogers now joining those infamous ranks.

    “Crazy” doesn’t even really describe it. Entitled, self-righteous, misogynistic…

    1. That he casts his statements in pseudo-Biblical phrasing really makes me raise my eyebrows. I wonder whether this is just standard pomposity or if he had some sort of religious background which might have additionally motivated him.

        1. I agree – I was curious rather than asserting. These sort of pompous declarations are not limited to the religious remotely, and most MRAs tend towards the libertarian spectrum – small surprise, most conspiracy nuts do, too. Something about libertarianism really brings out the crazy.

          1. In the United States at least, religious and religious-esque language is part of the common vernacular. Our society is so stepped in it, even I (atheist for decades) sometimes lapse into it, and I’m not too fussed about that.

          2. Are the men with Rebecca Watson Derangement Syndrome to blame because they are misogynistic pricks or is Rebecca Watson really to blame? According to Dawkins it is the latter.

            Vile political philosophies attract vile people. A political philosophy that preaches the value of self interest above all else as a positive good is going to be pretty nasty. But libertarianism is pretty mainstream compared to the Montana Militia or the Pick Up Artists. And the Militia and the PUA actually tell people how to act. So I really don’t think it unfair to say that Timothy MvVeigh’s murder of 200 people in the Oaklahoma city bombing was a consequence of the militia movement and the right wing talk radio jocks who spent their time telling listeners to shoot for the head when the FBI comes round.

            I have been pointing out that the whole PUA scene is a scam run by folk that include convicted confidence tricksters and people we have tried to convict for some time. Turns out Rodgers had found out the same thing and joined a group called PUA-HATE that seems to be even more horrible than the PUAs themselves:


        2. According to The Telegraph, “[h]is online writings also disclose the full extent of his anger. He was a regular poster to an online message board called PUAhate (for self-styled haters of ‘pick-up artists’) in which male participants express anger at what they call the ‘seduction community’ and their failure to meet women.” So although his rhetoric does sound very MRA, if this is accurate, it’s representative of a brand of misogyny that actually sees itself as anti-PUA. I don’t think it’s safe to make assumptions about exactly what kinds of beliefs poisoned him.

          My thoughts are with the families and friends of those killed and injured, and the members of the community that has been violated. I was at Virginia Tech in 2007, so I can understand some of how they must be feeling right now.

          1. I’m not sure that I believe that PUAs and dudes who blame PUAs for their failure to pick up women are meaningfully different. Both groups think they are entitled to women and are just quibbling over who gets ownership.

        3. And now you bring PUAs into it when he was extremely anti-PUA… wow. I’m going to have words with the friend who linked me here…

          1. Those two segments (PUA and anti-PUA) are essentially the same, they’re just arguing over which of them gets to treat women like property. Have fun with your friend, though!

          2. marke: The rhetoric of so-called “mens’ rights activists,” “pick-up artists,” and this shooter share as a core subtext (and frequently as overt text) the idea that womens’ bodies, and sometimes emotions, are resources that men have a right to claim and control. In the case of PUAs, the framing is that women can (and, often, should) be manipulated with a set of tricks into giving up what a man wants. Another framing, the rhetoric of the “nice guy,” presumes that there is, or ought to be, a just system that rewards men who behave “properly” with access to women, and if they behave properly but aren’t awarded women, then that is a violation of the social contract. I can easily imagine how someone strongly committed to the “nice guy” narrative would resent the PUA approach as unfairly gaming the system. In this case, the shooter’s rhetoric seems to have been strongly influenced by the “nice guy” narrative, which might explain why he may have been anti-PUA. (Assuming that the Telegraph article is accurate. When I have had direct knowledge about similar stories, I have found that journalists can bungle even the most basic details nearly endlessly.) But at the core, they share the same basic presumption that women are resources to be controlled by men. If instead you believe that women are human beings with the same rights to autonomy as anyone else, none of these viewpoints look very different, as Courtney says. I happen to think it’s useful to try to examine how misogyny expresses itself differently through different professed beliefs, but it’s also useful to identify misogyny as the common thread linking them, as Courtney has done.

            marke, I hope the words you’re going to have with your friend are, “Thank you for providing me with an alternative viewpoint from what I normally consider. I will approach it with an open mind and try to understand the source of the difference between these views and my own, and consider honestly the possibility that I may be wrong.” However, considering how quickly you jumped to the straw man and ad hominem fallacies in order to attack this post in your first comment here, I suspect you’re more interested in being identified as a “Skeptic” than in employing the tools of skepticism to analyze your and others’ beliefs to improve your understanding of the world. Is that really who you want to be?

          3. It’s very relevant. He was a failed PU who had no “game”, became bitter and so joined the anti-PUA crowd.

            And by “anti-PUA” I don’t mean he felt that their views on women were horrendous and predatory, I mean he felt the product they were selling didn’t work and he’d been cheated.

            Unfortunately, the PUA/ anti-PUA boards have scrubbed his presence clean of all his posts on their forums so there’s no longer any way to verify that unless some clever individual thought to archive the posts in the name of truth.

          4. The reason he was anti-PUA was because he learned PUAs were a scam. He still believed there was a One Guy all the women wanted to sleep with, and he could be the One Guy. It just happened that the PUAs were telling him lies, but, while most of us know it’s because the One Guy does not exist, he thought it was because they were getting all these women by being the One Guy so of course they wouldn’t tell other guys how to.

            To use a religious metaphor, it’s like saying a Lutheran isn’t a Christian because he disagrees with the Church on certain issues.

  5. The forces in society which combine to make this entitlement complex bullshit possible need to be stopped.

    I can’t even wrap my head around the idea that I’m “owed” anything by a woman, sexual or otherwise, for literally ANYTHING I do. I can’t even understand this notion that I’m supposed to be distressed at being a virgin at this or that age; like this is some sort of great tragedy and that there’s something wrong with me for just not being that engaged in it. I’m aware that I’m not exactly normal by any means of gender/sexual orientation identification, but I know cis-males who don’t subscribe to this ideology, either. Perhaps as importantly, I don’t associate with those who -do-.

    Where in the hell is all of this coming from? I guess I can try and piece it together…
    Young men are bombarded by the culture left and right with this absurd notion that there’s something desperately wrong with them if they remain a virgin for so many years and that women can be bought and paid for, that women are manipulating men and holding them back, that if a man just cleans up right and acts a certain way then he will be “rewarded” with an affirming sexual encounter. All of this is fucking vile, of course, but how does that translate into the Elliot Rodgers of the world? Assume someone is more vulnerable to this type of propaganda, and I’ve seen the type in my own college days and online – they get into a mindset where they think they’re owed and they’re pissed off about being “denied” what they are supposedly “owed.” You have people like my former brother-in-law who didn’t believe men and women could ever be friends because of sexual tension – even as a teen I just kind of stared at him without understanding what the hell he was talking about, but apparently that’s a major belief a lot of people have?
    Then you get the MRA types who turn the entire female half of the species into an out-group “other” that’s plotting and conspiring against you. Sure, now we’re getting into paranoid ideation and the conspiracy mindset. Now it’s starting to become more clear. The entitlement culture is rearing its ugly head.

    Just like conspiracy theorists the MRA nuts rail against the agents and institutions of the conspiracy and begin to fantasize elaborate plots to “restore” their “natural” order, which inevitably involve massive amounts of violence against women. If you’ve ever seen the comments on Glenn Beck’s forums ( had a great bit on that) you see arch-conservative nuts armed insurrection being a magical cure-all for their perceived ills in the “commie-socialist-fascist” government (never mind that the people advocating it are the very sort of people to whom fascism is extremely palatable and their solutions often resemble those of fascist dictatorships.)

    Now I’m starting to see where the Elliot Rodgers come in. Mix in crypto-fascist ideology, paranoid ideation, and a healthy mix of violence fetishization with someone who is particularly vulnerable to this type of propaganda and of questionable emotional stability and you have a recipe for a mass murderer.

    This needs to stop, and it needs to be pulled out by the ROOTS. The idea that we’re “owed” sex is virulently toxic and Elliot Rodgers has stepped up to become a stellar example of what this sort of thinking leads to.

    He isn’t an aberration of the MRA movement, he is its -crystallization-. He is the natural end result.


    UC Santa Barbara isn’t very far from where I live. I don’t know anyone who died there, but it feels like it’s in my own backyard. It could have happened at my alma mater UCLA, or it could have happened right next door at Saddleback Community College. There’s more Elliot Rodgers out there waiting to be triggered, but more than that, the forces which create them are dangerous and destructive enough on their own.

    All right-thinking people should be opposed to them. For those inevitable deniers and apologists (yeah, I’ve already seen them in the comments)…

    You’ve seen the results. You’ve been warned about the consequences of this ideology. Now it’s your turn to step up and do something.

    1. Oh and you’re right about that. I think the foundation of this is the sense of entitlement but I don’t entirely blame men for having it. The media is saturated with the message that women are men’s rewards for doing everything from buying he correct toothpaste, car, or cologne. Sex or rather the promise that a man will get it is used to sell EVERYTHING!

      Is it any wonder so many men believe that they are entitled to women’s bodies. More specifically the type of blonde hotties they see in show after show, movie after movie where the hero gets the girl, and TV ad after TV ad. Sex is taught as a must have and that if you do all the correct things you’ll get it. So of course it’s utterly galling for some men, to have followed all the instructions they’ve been given, and still be rejected. According to their teachings, that’s not how it’s supposed to be. Women are supposed to fall into their arms just for wearing the correct wristwatch or drinking the right vodka.

      In fact, it’s incredible to me that any men escape this thinking at all.

      1. I think it’s a terrible tragedy. I’d imagine it’s even worse when a young man didn’t have decent role models or exposure to alternative ideologies growing up. We can’t divorce the men who hold these views from blame for them entirely, but I do agree that the problem’s root is in society’s expectations and demands. After all, is it any surprise that many Saudi men grow up thinking that women are fragile creatures to be cloistered when that’s what their society tells them is right? Those few who break out of this maddening mindset are remarkable.
        Good societal values can uplift and enlighten people. Bad societal values poison and degrade them. We live at an interesting time when the forces of entitlement are under siege, and we need to help accelerate that process as much as we can.

        That’s a great article, by the by, I remember reading it.

        1. I’m going to go ahead and name what Paul and lakitha are talking about: it is rape culture. Which is a thing that needs to be addressed and attacked, separately from, and in addition to, the disapproval/sanction/condemnation (depending on severity) we assign to the actions of people operating under its influence.

          I don’t think either of you would disagree with that, but I feel like the term needs to be used here.

          1. Wow, I butchered that. Edit:
            “Indeed. Honestly, I was remiss in not mentioning it myself.”

  6. Don’t believe a word this guy said, nor should you. He’s had sex, even if he claimed that he hadn’t. May not have been with the people he wanted, but he had it. A guy with his resources, who was bent on getting laid, would have achieved that goal well before the age of 22. The son of a Hollywood functionary, running in that circle, whining that women didn’t want him? What he’s claiming is ridiculous.

    Question is, he’s been to numerous therapists, according to the family, so what were the drugs that he was given, how long was he on those drugs, how long was he in therapy, and who were his therapists? The staging of his rant is as if he’s quoting from a script written by someone else. Sorry, but there’s nothing authentic about this monologue,

    1. “There’s nothing authentic about his monologue.”

      Except, you know, the fact that he went and acted on what he said.

      1. Sorry, but what he did and why he did it, two different things. If he’s lying about his sex life, then he’s lying about why he did it, and he’s lying about his sex life. Hope that clears it up for yass….

        1. What the fuck, dude? You seem to be more concerned about this guy lying than the fact that he just murdered six people. Do you have some kind of conspiracy theory you’re itching to share with us? How ’bout you keep it to yourself?

          1. I would also note that he has no proof that he’s lying. He just assumes that he is.

            I quote: “So, if YOU say that it’s possible that he had sex, then you acknowledge he’s a liar”

            Note that this is a basic logical failure. He’s equating possibility with certainty.
            Sure, it’s POSSIBLE that he had sex, and that he MIGHT be a liar, but that it’s POSSIBLE for him to have sex doesn’t automatically mean that he’s a liar.

    2. I’m just tilting my head at this one. You don’t have a shred of proof for any of your assertions, just a vague mongering about it not making sense to you, personally. Your argument from personal ignorance is not sufficient reason to dismiss the facts of the case as they have been presented thus far.

      From my point of view, Rodgers seems authentically full of himself and authentically pathetic. His speech holds this out. As evidence, I cite everything he did. Unless some evidence comes along to contradict that, it represents the most reasonable reading of the event.

      1. Sorry, but you’re the one who believes everything put in front of him and if you’re that stupid, then I’ll tell you so. If he’s delusional, then why would you believe anything he puts on a vid? Because it’s on a vid. The only evidences that you have is from someone who is supposedly so crazy, he shoots at random people. I guess you believe what some falling down drunk tells you, or the folks standing by the side of an offramp, claiming that they’re vets and want god to bless you. You’re an idiot if you believe anything put on youtube…

        1. Your … argument, such as it is, is incoherent. It is possible that he had sex, but felt like he was entitled to more than he was having. Or with different people than the ones with whom he was having it. He certainly felt entitled to more sex than he was having.

          “he shoots at random people”

          Your comprehension skills are lacking. The people weren’t random.

          1. Why don’t you have someone read what I posted, and then try to explain it to you in a way you can understand. First off, he claims he’s a VIRGIN, I’m guessing that you know what that means. So, if YOU say that it’s possible that he had sex, then you acknowledge he’s a liar, which is what I posted initially. If he’s a liar, then why in the world would you believe anything else that he says? What you posted was that “It Is possible,” meaning you have no idea who he was, his background, or anything else, You’re simply pulling stuff out of your orifice, because everything you know about this guy comes from a seven minute vid, from a guy who you tacitly admit is a liar.

            And as far as random is concerned, you have proof that he knew the people that he shot, he premeditated to shoot these particular people? Saying he’s going to shoot women doesn’t mean that they’re not random women, that they were in wrong place, wrong time.

          2. Do you know what the word “virgin” meant to him? Many people think they are virgins if they haven’t had PIV intercourse, and literally anything else is not sex. It is possible to have what most people would consider to be sex and still think of yourself as a virgin. You don’t know what this guy thought was “sex” and you don’t know that it matches up with your definition of the word. In fact, you know jack-all and you’re just running with assumptions.

            “And as far as random is concerned, you have proof that he knew the people that he shot, he premeditated to shoot these particular people?”

            Do you have proof that he didn’t? Do you have proof that they were “at the wrong place at the wrong time” in a literal sense, and not in the sense that they were in a location where he went because he expected to find them there?

    3. I guess I’ll just leave this here. Seems a bit odd to write over 100 pages about his life, naming names etc and detailing all the times he was rejected and bullied and why he evolved to hate women, just to, I dunno, cover up the fact that he was actually having lots of sex, and hated women and wanted to kill them for some other reason? Then again, you’ll probably have something to say about the “authenticity” of this too, so I’m not really sure why I’m bothering.

  7. I think it’s understandable for most people–men and women–to want sex and relationships and feel disappointed when they don’t. It’s a pretty normal part of life. Feeling ENTITLED to it, on the other hand, that is clearly unhealthy and comes from culture. A big part of it is that society looks down on people who don’t achieve these things (especially relationships for women; especially sex for men).

    Fiction is the worst, though. There are so many terrible messages that media gives men about romance that I’m sure everyone is familiar with, and which have all been discussed at length (and some of which were touched on by lakitha earlier). I compiled a list, though, because when you see them all together it’s kind of overwhelming:

    -The male protagonist gets the girl (and aren’t we all the protagonist?)

    -Sex is something men obtain from women. Not only does this instill an entitled and antagonistic attitude about women and sex, it probably makes men a lot worse in bed.

    -Persistence pays off. It’s a cheap way for a writer to create conflict.

    -Love at first sight! It’s done for the opposite reason–writers want to focus on external obstacles to the relationship, without spending time on its development.

    -There is One True Love for everyone. Not only does it obviously create entitlement, but it makes some men resent women for having had past relationships.

    -If you’re suffering and have low self-esteem, a woman will sex-fix you. (It occurred to me yesterday that the Manic Pixie Dream Girl is the Mary Poppins of sexing).

    -Most men are brutish lesser hominids, so a Nice Guy is a genuine novelty.

    -By casting women within a narrow range of body types, men think they deserve not just women in general, but women in that range.

    -If a woman is moderately or unconventionally attractive she has probably never been hit on in her life, so she’ll be grateful to you, the only one who has seen her true beauty. This doesn’t get talked about much but it’s really insidious, and common among guys who consider themselves more thoughtful and sensitive than others.

    1. That’s not even a particularly exhaustive list. It goes on and on and only gets worse from there.

      1. True. I forgot pedestaling and the assumption of the male gaze/pathologizing the female gaze, and probably other stuff.

  8. @chuckstar1 “Don’t believe a word this guy said, nor should you. He’s had sex, even if he claimed that he hadn’t. May not have been with the people he wanted, but he had it. A guy with his resources, who was bent on getting laid, would have achieved that goal well before the age of 22. The son of a Hollywood functionary, running in that circle, whining that women didn’t want him? What he’s claiming is ridiculous.”

    This is virgin shaming in a nutshell. Couldn’t get laid by 22? That’s impossible. There’s so much sex going on, so many parties where “everybody gets laid”, that Occams razor clearly states he’s lying. No wonder he felt he had nothing to live for.

  9. He wrote a 100,000 word manifesto which, at the end, includes these choice bits:

    “Women are incapable of having morals or thinking rationally.”
    “Women are like a plague. They don’t deserve to have any rights”
    “In an ideal world, sexuality would not exist..All women must be quarantined like the plague that they are…in order to carry this out, there must be a new and powerful type of government under the control of one divine ruler, such as myself”
    “The first strike against women will be to quarantine them in concentration camps … the vast majority will be deliberately starved to death … a few women would be spared .. kept and bred in secret labs .. artificially inseminated”

  10. Courtneycaldwell

    The Southern Poverty Law Center has been covering this sick extensively as well,

    Elliot Rodger, Isla Vista Shooting Suspect, Posted Misogynistic Video before Attack

    Elliot Rodger, Isla Vista Shooting Suspect, Posted Racist Messages on Misogynistic Website

    Shooting Suspect Elliot Rodger’s Misogynistic Posts Point to Motive

      1. Courtneycaldwell,

        You’re welcome. Hope it is off use to you.

        By the way, someone on twitter going by the name Nora Augustus, just referred to Elliot Rodgers as the Anders Brevik of MRAs and I think her statement might be accurate. Both of these guys are violent hate filled psychopaths who seems determined to get their message out at all cost.

    1. The articles report long posts about being ‘involuntary celibate’. Do these guys really find it so difficult to find a prostitute? Hugh Grant didn’t when he was in town.

      They talk about women as if they are prostitutes.

      1. Three reasons why that might have been tough for him, 1) Prostitutes try to feel a guy out when they talk to them to make sure they are safe usually. 2) UC Santa Barbara is in a wealthy white area which means that vice laws are heavily enforced for the purpose of political gains to the detriment mostly of minority women. You can allways tell that this is the case because p[rices will go up in those regions of the country, Southern CA and Dade county Florida are some of the worst. So there was probably a strong fear of arrest. 3) Most likely he wanted a relationship $300 for an hour of throw and go isn’t a relationship.

        1. He had a car and the Internet. Ten minutes of research would have provided him with plenty of options under $300/hr.

          I don’t think he was really after a relationship, what he wanted was the status attached to having a ‘hot’ GF.

  11. This comes courtesy of a Slate article:

    When news of the shooting broke, PUA Hate members attempted to absolve themselves by critiquing Rodger’s sex appeal (“Short lower third and gay midface, with zero brow ridge,” one decided), ridiculing his mother’s looks, and scrambling to assert authority among themselves. (“Only high-T guys should be allowed to give advice here. Nich, can you add that as a rule?” one poster said). Another poster suggested that Rodger was such a Beta that no one would care if he’d murdered people. “Nobody gives a shit about some socially deprived, narrow-clavicle twink with a delusional sense of self. He’s a poser,” he said. “Nothing will come of this, you sensationalist losers. Certainly not national coverage.”

    Nobody gives a shit about Rodger, so the thinking goes that nobody will care about this shooting. It so obviously, clearly, chillingly, never crosses this poster’s mind that people might care about Rodger’s victims. His victims, as far as the info on the post at that point, was that Rodger had shot two women, so obviously NBD, amirite? The only thing that’s ever interesting about a shooting is the shooter, so if Rodger isn’t interesting nobody is going to care.

    The story is here:

    The post in question is still available from Google archive here:

    It is “colez” posting a little over halfway down who expresses the opinion that it’s the shooter’s characteristics alone that determine interest in a shooting.

    Now, it’s true that a lot of shootings happen in the US every day and it doesn’t get national coverage. Determination of whether a shooting reaches national-coverage level is predicated partially on number of victims, but to a larger degree on the social characteristics of the victims. A bunch of elementary-school children, especially white ones, are going to captivate the nation’s news. A middle-class white family, also. Two poor black youth not so much.

    There is only so much news that can be reported, especially on the national level – bandwidth is not unlimited in terms of time on both the newscaster’s and the news watcher’s ends – so picking and choosing is required. However, the manner in which the picking and choosing occurs has some patterns that are extremely disturbing, and “colez” kind of inadvertently put his finger onto why: some folks are just not viewed as being worthwhile and their lives are not viewed as being worthwhile. When they are victims of crime, the public shrugs. Women are often slotted into this category of “not worth the attention when they die.” I think the college/privilege factor worked against that somewhat here, but so many women are murdered in gendered violence and the public shrugs.

    1. skeith, this is very interesting (if disturbing); thanks for sharing it.

      I’m not very well versed in social psychology, but I’m aware of a model for the phenomenon of dehumanization that identifies two components: agency and identity. We assign full humanity to those who we perceive as having agency and as sharing our group identity. People who share our identity but are perceived as having diminished agency are pitiable, and we care strongly when bad things happen to them — such as children and in our culture frequently women. People who identify outside our own groups but who are perceived as having agency are dangerous, potential enemies. People who are not part of our groups and are not perceived as having agency are fully dehumanized — often, to middle-class Americans, like the homeless, or poor people living in inner-city communities.

      It sounds like you’re identifying something similar here. Murder victims are, absent any greater context, viewed with diminished agency. Whether we care about them depends only on whether we identify with them. On the other hand, the public is often very interested in mass or serial murders committed by middle-class, often white, often young men even if the victims are identified as outsiders, perhaps because the murderer has a natural claim to agency and an apparent claim to in-group identity. To avoid the discomfort of realizing that a fellow human being much like yourself committed such a heinous act, it becomes necessary to find ways to diminish the murderer’s agency, in-group identity, or both.

      It sounds like you’re saying that “colez” didn’t even consider the victims because for him (I’m figuring the masculine pronoun is a safe guess, though you never know) they were already fully dehumanized, which makes sense. It’s also interesting to see others’ immediate reaction to identify traits that would withdraw in-group identity from the shooter, in this case supposedly “low-T” facial features (classifying him as a “beta” might also be an attack on his agency), defending the group identify from the cognitive dissonance of association with a murderer while simultaneously minimizing the importance of the crime.

      I think it’s important to fight this culture by committing to the notion of the full humanity of everyone in these crimes: victims, perpetrators, families, enablers, commentators, whatever.

      At Virginia Tech in 2007, the shooter killed 32 people before killing himself. In the middle of the night a day or two after the shooting, anonymous members of the community placed 33 stones on the Drillfield (our main quad) as an impromptu memorial. The following night, someone removed the 33rd stone. When the university built a permanent memorial modeled after those stones, only 32 stones were placed. I understand the desire to remember only the victims and let the perpetrator be forgotten. And while I may hate the person who murdered so many members of my community, I cannot forget that he was also one of us. Since then, once or twice a year, there has been another story of another mass shooting, and I remember that terrible day, and I grieve again, and I think of how the affected families, friends, and community must be feeling. But I also think of those anonymous few who, when our pain was most raw, chose to place that 33rd stone on the drillfield. So long as we choose it for ourselves too, that is a bit of humanity that no one can take from us.

      1. The more you dig into this muck, the worse it gets.

        The Puahate thread has a dozen posts. None of them expresses any concern for the victims. The only concern is what the attention might mean for them. They don’t even stick together. They rather obviously hate each other as much as they hate women. So is it really even misogyny? Looks to me like they are just a bunch of losers whining to each other about being losers.

        The wayback machine archives for the site are patchy but what I see is that there seem to be rather a lot of people peddling PUA schemes on the site. Which is again par for the course. By far the most likely people to get caught by a scam are the people who have already fallen for it. ‘Revictimization’ fraud is the term its also known as reload fraud.

        The gangs that do advance fee frauds like nigerian letters sell their mailing lists to other fraudsters who will offer to get the money back – for an upfront fee.

  12. And the advertisement in my left margin is for a ‘dating site!’
    Sex is an immensely powerful motivator. How does an apparently privileged and reasonably ‘educated’ young man.
    a) completely fail to grow into normal social connections with men or women.
    b) how COULD someone take the PUA culture seriously?

    Entitled to have sex with people you hate? Rehearsing scripts to achieve ‘closes’ with people who would have to be morons to listen to a second of this drivel. I’ve tried to read the book ‘The Game’ about a journalist’s entry into that subculture. I couldn’t stand it. The pseudo science, the ‘evo-psych’ horseshit, the relentless contempt towards women and the accompanying indifference to actual sex. The mind boggles…

    1. a) Statistics my good man! 1) He lived in areas where the number of men to women in his generation was significantly higher than parity. 2) Youth attraction is largely a socio-economic construct marketed by big corporations (Disney) and explicitly controled. If he doesn’t act like a ruffian or look like a pop star it would affect his chances. 3) Acting to desperate annoys people, men and women, that reduced his chances and finally 4) HE WAS SOCIALLY ISOLATED, it’s kind of hard to meet a girl if he was widely unacknowledged.

      b) He took it seriously because he was desperate and saw no other way out. Remember the guy who self immolated in Keene during the last election cycle? Same deal, he was an MRA leader, he took it too seriously. although if you want me to do a series on cognitive dissonance, alienation, shared group psychosis and the influences that social networking has had on these I would be very happy to, just leave a comment on my discussion page in my youtube channel.

    1. Actually upon examining his page further almost half of the people he subscribed to were PUAs. He Subscribed to them all in the beginning then started progressively getting more childish in his subscriptions later on focusing around Pokemon. I guess maybe he absorbed some of their BS and lost his mind. Although this might be the first case of it happening with this group… I’m going to dig around his social networking pages more.

      1. No, he probably, do to being a “nice guy” disassociated himself from the MRAs, while failing to grasp that nearly every bit of BS he said was right out of their playbook, much the same way that proto-fascists only think other people are fascists, not themselves, while constantly whining about everyone else’s fascism. And, since you seem to have a reading comprehension problem, he visited PUA sites because he imagined that part of the “problem” he had is that PUAs “cheated” him out of dates, by being better at cheating women into sleeping with them. I.e., he didn’t like them, because he thought they where using tricks to get what he deserved, but they didn’t. The underlying logic still being, “I deserve this, and am not getting it.” Taken in that context, its hardly a surprise (this directed at the fool Theon below), that he would also shoot guys, who where with the women. After all, by his logic, they where probably with them due to PUA tactics, and thus culpable in “cheating him out of sex”. But, that would just be my guess.

        1. I think he was trying to identify with the PUAs never realized that it was a scam. Got suckered in when he was desperate and started getting more bitter afterwards. People remember things through skewed perspectives. Also that thing is 134 pages, I’m not reading it.

          I don’t see any MRAs on any of his social networks. This guy was PUA influenced. Still I’ve never heard of a case of shared psychosis similar to male histrionic personality disorder resulting in a mass shooting. I wonder if he felt automatically rejected from the PUA community, They seem to choose one or two kids to pick on to unify their groups when they go and sell their scam tactics.

          You are right that his problem was with women, but if you watch his videos he had a problem with anyone other than him getting affection. Even if I am right and this kid was influenced by PUAs for a period prior, he was definitely mentally ill and as much as you are demonizing him, shit like this can be probably prevented by people just talking to the kid that is a loner and looks like he’s having problems. One of his classmates even said so in the comments section of his video. I’ve been that kid people avoid you, no one talks to you.

          Also I would suggest that if at 22 he still liked Pokemon maybe his parents overly sheltered him and inhibited his development.

          1. Your determination to empathize with this guy and excuse his behavior is quite predicable. Because that’s what the “he must have been mentally ill!” argument is: an excuse. It’s an ableist excuse to boot.

            Look, I don’t usually say anything when people who are mentally ill are the butt of casual ableism like this, but it’s becoming quite offensive, just the sheer massive scale of it all. Everyone wants to say he was mentally ill, and even try to define mental illness so that those who go on shooting sprees are automatically included. Are you thinking at all about the people who have documented mental illness, who struggle with it, are discriminated against because of it, and suffer abuse as a consequence of it, when you assign this dude a mental illness that you are unqualified to diagnose based on something you read about him on the internet? I mean, has it actually crossed your mind that you are making a medical diagnosis over the internet on a stranger you’ve never met when you say that? And that as a consequence you are grouping him in with a discriminated-against and frequently-abused demographic and thereby indirectly tarring all mentally ill persons with Rodger’s crime? Did that occur to you even once?

          2. “Also I would suggest that if at 22 he still liked Pokemon maybe his parents overly sheltered him and inhibited his development.”

            While I personally don’t think much of Pokemon as a matter of taste in quality/type of entertainment, that’s one hell of a judgemental thing to say. Sometimes, people just like things like that, for no better reason than because they do. It isn’t an inherent reflection of childishness.

          1. @skeith No not really one person having a select and SUPER RARE mental illness does not define everyone with a mental illness. It’s only fair, I’ve seen guys like this before they all ways end up in cults and to be entirely honest I’m not surprised he killed people. As much as he had a mental illness it was very clear from comments by his classmates on his videos that NOBODY EVEN TALKED TO HIM. The kid was heavily alienated which is very common in mass shooters. However him having a mental illness does serve as a way to explain his behavior.

          2. You are not qualified to diagnose someone with a medical condition over the internet without ever meeting them. And I know you’re not a medical professional of any stripe, because medical professionals know that even attempting to do that is unethical to the extreme, not to mention actually impossible to accomplish.

            So don’t fucking tell me that this guy was so obviously mentally ill when you have zero grounds whatsoever for that except your own fucking prejudice.

            Let me tell you what this “he must have been mentally ill” meme is: it is middle-class straight able white dudes finding some excuse for why a middle-class straight able white dude exactly like themselves managed to kill a bunch of people that does not implicate themselves in any fashion. It’s an attempt to assign an invisible attribute to him so middle-class straight able white dudes can say, “This guy was NOTHING like me!” and end the discussion without asking themselves any uncomfortable questions. It’s a means to ignore all of the cultural messages that beat down on all people every day that say that women are commodities to be “won” and that sex is a thing that men deserve, that all these flippant middle-class straight able white dudes also completely believe but don’t want to examine at all.

            And it throws people who are actually mentally ill under the bus to accomplish this self-satisfied backpatting, all this reassurance that WE middle-class straight able white dudes are nothing like THAT middle-class straight able white dude, so that middle-class straight able white dudes can protect their feelings and not have to think about any of this.

            Don’t ever fucking tell me that saying “this murderer was just mentally ill!” is any ANY different from saying “this murderer was just black!” or “this murderer was just poor!” and expecting that to explain everything. Just don’t fucking do it.

          3. @skeith, no but I am qualified to tell if a cult has had an effect on a persons behavior, PUA is a cult, it affected his behavior. Foile a duex IS SUPER RARE and a foile of histrionic personality disorder in a male outside of PUA is NEARLY UNHEARD OF. After he broke from the cult he was clearly suffering from a psychotic break, which you can tell from the fact that his interests were regressing and becoming more child like and then he just had a really severe episode. I have not demonized him here at all.

            If anything I actually identify with the kid, look for a theme with these younger kids who get caught up in this PUA shit, they are small, the white ones all have dark features. They all LOOK the same and that is really their main commonality. As much as we can agree this kid was no angel it is very clear that the world around him influenced him to the point he got to and this wasn’t just all shit inside his head. At the same time one cannot ignore the fact that it is clear that he had issues relating to affection that would probably could have been helped with emotional or cognitive therapy.

            Please take out your psychological victim hood issues elsewhere, I personally have severe social anxiety disorder and have since I was 3. I still barely interact with people 25 years later, I don’t stand on my condition and exploit it like it is a crutch that can explain all my faults away nor do I give even half of a damn what people think of me because I have this problem.

          4. “If anything I actually identify with the kid”

            No shit. You think that isn’t obvious? You’re looking for a reason why this dude could do something that you, who identify with him, couldn’t possibly do, and so you assign to him an invisible attribute that, let’s reiterate, you are not qualified to diagnose over the internet on a stranger you’ve never met. Nobody is qualified to provide internet diagnoses, let alone you, no matter what your qualifications in whatever area is your expertise. What you are doing is giving him a medical diagnosis, illegitimately, in order to “understand” and other this guy who, other than being a murderer, is so much like yourself, so that you do not have to examine the beliefs that you, yourself, hold that he expressed in murder.

            Fucking stop it. Your anxiety disorder does not exempt you from ableism. No disability exempts anyone from engaging in ableism. Stop making excuses, for Rodgers and for yourself.

      1. I finally finished Elliot’s manifesto yesterday, and I wouldn’t say he supported any movement, men’s rights or otherwise. All he cared about was getting laid, and having a beautiful blonde “girl” to validate his existence. I say “girl,” because that’s how he referred to young women his age. He hated women because the one or two times he worked up the courage to say ‘hi’ to someone he found attractive didn’t result in the ‘girl’ fawning all over him, and he hated any guy who was able to have sex with a “girl.” PUAHate claimed to expose PUA lies. When Elliot joined PUAHate, he probably believed they could help him get laid and find a beautiful blonde girlfriend.

        So yeah, he was anti-PUA because their tricks didn’t work for him, but he wasn’t really an MRA, either.

      1. I honestly couldn’t get past the fact that the first line which seems like it’s used for activating some sort of milieu control in select readers, ones which I assume have been traumatized. What makes this crap any different than the MRA or PUA stuff? You know the MRAs hunt for these kinds of fallacies to take advantage of right? My advice would be to analyze the PERSON AS OPPOSED TO A SINGLE PIECE OF WORK the next time you try your hand at analyzing a shooter. Especially since you only had to go halfway down his user feed to find out that for years he was subscribed to TONS OF PUAs and that PUAs and MRAs don’t directly interact.


        Seriously, this kid was a victim of brainwashing FROM AN ORGANIZED MISOGYNIST GROUP. Which is a much bigger story than whatever he could have said prior to the incident.

      2. I actually do have an issue with the trigger warnings myself. You omitted murder.

        Seriously, though, the dude’s entire motive was women. Women wouldn’t sleep with him, so he goes off and decides to murder a bunch of sorority girls. (Of course, he uses a slur to refer to how they’ll sleep with anyone.) Failing that, he murders one woman, several dudes, and finishes the bloodbath with a suicide. He scribbled out (Well, pounded his keyboard…) over a hundred friggin’ pages of how evil women are.

        That dude who attacked a Jewish community center and a retirement community, none of his victims were Jewish, but he was still motivated by anti-Semitism.

      1. Think about that for a second his plan was to go on a shooting spree but was dependent on him being let in through the front door. Logic fail much? I can just picture some girl going up to the door and thinking “I’m not letting him in here with a gun drawn”.

  13. This piece starts:

    “[Trigger Warning: Violence against women, domestic violence, guns]”

    Here’s the body count according to Wikipedia:

    “Four people were killed during the shootings. They were identified as Katherine Cooper, 22, and Veronika Weiss, 19, both students at the University of California, Santa Barbara, who were killed at the sorority house; Christopher Michael-Martinez, 20, another UCSB student who was killed at the Isla Vista Deli Mart; and the perpetrator. Three other men were stabbed to death at the attacker’s apartment prior to the shooting spree; their identities are currently unreleased, but they were confirmed to be the attacker’s roommates.”

    It seems that he killed 2 women and 4 men. “Violence against women”, this is the trigger warning? What exactly is going on here?

    1. His comments in the video, which were helpfully transcribed in the article, detail violent acts he planned to carry out against women. Those comments, detailing Violence against women, could be triggering for people – regardless of what gender lines the body count actually fell upon. Hence why it’s included as a trigger warning.

  14. Sure, it just seems VERY strange (and slightly disturbing) to know the real body count of the massacre (4 men, 2 women) and see “Violence against women” (but not “…against men” as well) as a trigger warning in an article about the issue, even if the numbers were reversed.

    1. Well, the article wasn’t about the body count, so that TW wouldn’t have been relevant. But please, do continue with your “WHAT ABOUT THE MENZ” screed.

      1. Coutney, look at Elliot’s youtube channel and other social networks first please. The guy was clearly a PUA that didn’t realize it was a scam, then went crazy… I can’t find 1 MRA on his FB, Twitter or Youtube. He is subscribed to Real Social Dynamics and about a dozen other PUAs on Youtube.

  15. OT:


    Generally speaking, yeah, I do think the overall picture is what matters regarding equality among humans, and progress is good no matter where it happens, so I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it, at all.


    But like I said, your TW choice seems weird to me in light of the actual events, your reasoning doesn’t help that much.

    1. The actual event is that this dude resented women for not giving him sex. He resented other men for getting the sex from women that he felt he deserved.

      The actual event is that he attempted to break into a sorority house, just as he stated his intention was in his video, and kill all the gendered-slurs in there. The only reason he didn’t was because he couldn’t get in, and he did, in fact, kill two of the women there. Then he went on what appears to be a generalized spree of frustrated killing, since his intended targets were unavailable.

      But yes, let’s definitely discuss THE MENZ because they are super-important and the women are not remotely important.

  16. skeith, I think the guy had serious problems and I’m not saying that we should talk about the men, just pointing out that the TW choice seems very out of place in light of the real massacre victims.

    FWIW, to me, the most interesting thing to discuss and think about is what it was that made him think and act the way he did.

    1. What made him act and think the way he did was his own predilections interacting with the pervasive gendered sexist rape culture of the US. How is complaining that the TW doesn’t mention THE MENZ accomplish the furtherment of that discussion?

  17. (Ok, I definitely don’t agree that the US has anything even resembling a rape culture, but that’s another discussion altogether.)

    I don’t know, by being more accurate and respectful to the actual victims and the overall picture? Can’t see it being a bad thing, but leaving it out clearly makes at least some of the readers wonder what exactly is going on here.

    1. That’s only another discussion if you’re interested in finding a non-gendered reason for Rodger’s killing spree, and in completely ignoring his lengthy and explicit declarations that his reasons were gendered. Which is obviously your objective here, so I think you and I are done. I, personally, am interested in reality.

    2. (Ok, I definitely don’t agree that the US has anything even resembling a rape culture, but that’s another discussion altogether.)

      No. It isn’t another discussion. It’s the same discussion.

      It wasn’t until fairly recently that spousal rape – largely husbands raping their wives – was still legal.

      Recently a husband drugged his wife and filmed himself raping her. He admitted to the crime, and was found guilty. The judge gave him NO prison time and told the victim she should forgive her husband for drugging her and raping her while he filmed it.

      And the what about the Stubenville (sp? I’m on my phone) wherein the rape of an underage, passed out girl was filmed and photographer, and she, the victim, still took most of the blame?!

      You can’t say something like this and refuse to talk about it.

      And you’re WRONG. This guy felt SO ENTITLED TO SEX, that he killed people over it. AND HE ONLY KILLED MEN BECAUSE H COULDN’T GET TO THE SORORITY – he punished men and women because the women he felt entitled wouldn’t fuck him.

      That is the very definition of rape culture. And it effects men, too: Men in prison get raped and people think it’s funny and an appropriate punishment rather than barbaric. Basically people want to create rapists (I’m prison)because ha ha, so-and-so deserves to get raped!

      The fact that you can read this guy’s manifesto and still deny that rape culture exists is not only disgusting but mind bogglingly stupid.

    3. “(Ok, I definitely don’t agree that the US has anything even resembling a rape culture, but that’s another discussion altogether.)”

      Really? You mean besides how rape victims are always asked about their sexual history? How girls are told their virginity is the most important thing in the world? How boys are told that if they don’t want sex all the time, something’s wrong with them? Those “how not to get raped” lists that make their first mistake by assuming rapists are strangers, when, three times out of four, they’re someone you know? (Source: RAINN, which got it from the US Department of Justice) Oh, and politicians who talk about “legitimate rape” and how you can’t get pregnant from it? These same politicians opposed the VAWA renewal because it would grant tribal governments the power to prosecute non-Indians for domestic violence?

      Just so you know, male victims don’t fare any better. We’re just less numerous. But even children’s cartoons make jokes about it. And if your rapist (except not really, since the FBI defines rape as being forcibly penetrated, since all sex involves penetration apparently) was a woman? Well, again, if you’re not obsessed with sex all the time, society says there’s something wrong with you. Also, there’s the meme that an erection is somehow consent. But hey, the MRAs can harass your distaff counterpart in your name.

      And women raping women? Transgender? Intersex? I don’t know of any stereotypes about those, because that would involve recognizing these people exist. (Okay, there’s the stupid “Surprise! She’s a man!” meme.)

      But you’re right. Rape culture doesn’t exist. It’s just a culture that makes getting away with rape extremely easy, to the point that less than 2% of rapists actually see jail time.

  18. I think it’s clear that he had problems and hate towards women (who he clearly also wanted to love and receive love from), which is very very sad. I’m not here talk about that issue, just pointing out the TW choice that I found problematic. I will discuss this issue IRL, I’m pretty sure my internet discussion forum word limit is close to an end, it’s just too slow.

    1. A more general trigger warning would have been less useful–the murders were based in misogyny. Do you honestly think it’s more traumatic for us men because the trigger warning didn’t mention that he killed men?

      1. I ignore TW, so to me arguing about those is like arguing about keywords for a news article used to help with searches on a website.

    2. You’re not here to talk about the issue; that’s fucking obvious. You’re here to concern troll. Why are you more concerned about the TW than you are the horrific events that is the subject at hand. That’s disturbing.

      “I will discuss this issue IRL, I’m pretty sure my internet discussion forum word limit is close to an end, it’s just too slow.


      How utterly patronizing and condescending, not to mention fucking STUPID. This is an internet forum. YOU came to an internet forum to interior our discussion and concern troll us. We aren’t going to discuss this with you “IRL.” Wtf is WRONG with you?! It doesn’t even make sense. Do you honestly expect us to meet you for tea next Tuesday and discuss this?!

      You came to us, dude. Jfc.

      1. I read that as, “I’m on a 300 baud modem and Skepchick takes an hour to load.”

  19. I haven’t been able to will myself to watch the clips, but the transcripts sound almost exactly like Seung-Hui Cho’s tapes made before the Virginia Tech massacre. The relentless delegation of blame, the sense of unquestioned personal self-worth…only a conspiracy could account for his failure.

    So Rodgers grew up in a society that divides men and women from any normal social contact right through adolescence. For whatever reasons, he was so naive that he bought into the rhetoric of the PUA subculture. On finding that PUA’s are lying con-men to their male customers, just as much as to their female ‘targets,’ he doubles-down on his stupidity.

    I would not dismiss the notion that Rodgers had some mental impairment to match his social/political/gender impairments.

  20. “This guy felt SO ENTITLED TO SEX, that he killed people over it.”

    Agreed, and it seems that he had very serious mental issues.

    “AND HE ONLY KILLED MEN BECAUSE H COULDN’T GET TO THE SORORITY – he punished men and women because the women he felt entitled wouldn’t fuck him.”

    According to Wikipedia the first three victims were his 3 male roommates, before the shootings:

    “Three other men were stabbed to death at the attacker’s apartment prior to the shooting spree; their identities are currently unreleased, but they were confirmed to be the attacker’s roommates.”

    Where did you get the fact that he only killed them because he couldn’t access the sorority?

    1. Its obvious he killed those men because he felt they were getting something he wasn’t: sex, from “hot blondes”. You are ignoring all context. And concern trolling.

      I thought you weren’t here to discuss the actual topic? I also thought you were above discussions on internet forums you bring yourself to/

      1. Racial hatred probably played a big part in this tragedy as well. If you look at that Wikipedia link, he was a vile racist fond of lording his half white status over Asians and others.

    2. If you read his manefesto (not that I exactly recommend it – it’s not an easy read), you’ll see that he killed his roommates first so that he could have the apartment to himself while he murdered more people. Those murders were a means to an end and were otherwise unrelated to his goals. His specific plan was to go to the sorority house and kill all of the women there because they wouldn’t have sex with him, and afterwards to just kill anyone else he ran into that he felt like killing. He wasn’t able to get into the sorority house so his plans went a bit awry but his goal was to primarily kill women.

  21. “A more general trigger warning would have been less useful–the murders were based in misogyny. Do you honestly think it’s more traumatic for us men because the trigger warning didn’t mention that he killed men?”

    Maybe (but unlikely) I have misunderstoof the whole idea of TW, I certainly don’t need them for anything, so I might have a blind spot, I just thought they were there to help people avoid being hurt (or more) from something they read or see in an article, etc. In this case I think it’s clear that if the TW doesn’t include male victims some people might have a problem with it, so the same logic should apply. I wouldn’t use any TW’s in my own article, just thought that this was a weird choice.

    1. I thought you were at your internet forum limit, why are you still typing? This is wildly off topic. Google resources about trigger warnings.

  22. Well, I came here to present my view on the TW choice, I feel like I’ve done that, and I don’t aim to continue too much, I’m not trying to imply I’m above internet discussions, and am not trolling in any way.

  23. “We aren’t going to discuss this with you “IRL.”

    What? Ok, I didn’t for a second mean it like that. Of course I meant that I will discuss this with the people I meet in my real life, which is probably in a different country where you and most of the other posters here live :) English is not nearly my first language.

  24. “Why are you more concerned about the TW than you are the horrific events that is the subject at hand. That’s disturbing.”

    I wrote this earlier:

    “FWIW, to me, the most interesting thing to discuss and think about is what it was that made him think and act the way he did.”

  25. I find the mental illness angle frustrating because it seems like a scapegoat. When the question of “why did this happen?” is raised, saying “He was a madman” or “he was having mental issues” is a convenient way of stopping talking about what else might be wrong. If you can blame it on someone’s mental health it’s easier for people to dismiss it despite the fact that mental illness doesn’t happen in a vacuum and doesn’t mean someone was just acting at random. Dumping the blame here both stigmatizes mental health issues and ignores the social causes of such behaviour.

    1. There is a difference between mental illness and a personality disorder.

      It seems rather unlikely this guy needed the MRA or PUA groups to turn him into a people hater. A more interesting question would be whether the rhetoric of those groups pushed him into acting on his violent nature. And that is quite possible. It is a sad and rather bizarre fact that the last words of a murder victim are most likely to be some variant of ‘are you going to shoot me’. Obviously meant as ironic or sarcastic by the speaker, the words are taken by the shooter as an encouragement. Confessions frequently start ‘well he TOLD me’ to shoot him.

      So I don’t think the possibility that the MRA/PUA rhetoric might be a factor is ridiculous. But by far the biggest factor enabling yet another US spree killing is the guns. Before blaming anyone else, blame the the NRA.

      The other strong possibility is that the MRA/PUA scene attracts violent women haters. Which is not to say that every person involved is a violent women hater. But where else would those types go? Its a similar problem with libertarians, anti-government philosophies that praise selfishness are going to attract a lot of rather nasty types.

      1. “There is a difference between mental illness and a personality disorder.”

        Could you define the difference, please? I work as a librarian for an NHS mental health trust, and I’ve always seen personality disorders defined as a subset of mental disorders. They’re listed in the DSM-5 in exactly the same way as other mental disorders.

        1. Personality disorders may be caused by illness but are not necessarily the result of illness. Schizophrenia is unambiguously an illness. That is why the manuals list mental disorders not mental illnesses.

          Since Personality Disorder are defined by behavior I find the folk saying that you can’t diagnose them based on his behavior to be wrong. Moreover I notice that virtually without exception the statement ‘you can’t blame mental illness’ is followed by a pivot to blame the cause that the poster want’s to blame.

          I don’t regard a personality disorder as necessarily an ‘excuse’ either. Often it is merely a description of the obnoxious behavior.

          We should not surrender the definition of ‘nuts’ to mental health professionals either. There is a long history of the medical profession using their purported expertise as an excuse for bigotry. Not so long ago they diagnosed homosexuality as a disorder and before that they were telling women they were having the wrong sort of orgasms and prattling on about the dangers of masturbation.

          Stabbing three people and shooting six for no logical reason makes a person a madman by any reasonable definition. And if the people wearing white coats disagree then we need different people wearing the white coats.

          1. “Personality disorders may be caused by illness but are not necessarily the result of illness. Schizophrenia is unambiguously an illness. That is why the manuals list mental disorders not mental illnesses.”

            Schizophrenia is listed in the DSM-5 as a mental disorder too. What makes schizophrenia “unambiguously an illness” and borderline personality disorder not?

            You didn’t really answer my question earlier: what is the difference between a mental illness and a personality disorder?

      2. You might find this interesting:

        Kendell, Robert E. “The distinction between personality disorder and mental illness.” The British Journal of Psychiatry 180.2 (2002): 110-115.

        from that article (which I’d recommend reading all of if you have access): “The historical reasons for regarding personality disorders as fundamentally different from mental illnesses are being undermined by both clinical and genetic evidence. Effective treatments for personality disorders would probably have a decisive influence on psychiatrists’ attitudes.”

        1. There is a current trend in neurobiology to say that physical differences in the brain can manifest as different mental diseases and disorders, so the urge is to look for brain differences whenever a disorder exists. Frequently, differences are found.

          While this isn’t wrong, I don’t think it is the whole picture. I can have a skin disease that manifests as acne; I can also put chemicals on my face with the result that acne happens. In both instances there will be physical changes in my skin, but only one was from an underlying disease. The other instance was a result of actions that I voluntarily took.

          The brain is very plastic, much more so than we used to think. We used to think that the brain was essentially fixed at adulthood, and damage to the brain was irreversible. We now know that this is not true.

          I would be interested in research in the other direction: instead of taking people with personality disorders and looking for brain changes as a cause, instead look for brain changes as a consequence.

  26. Quote: —–
    Spoiler Alert: Unless you were Elliot Rodger’s therapist, you don’t get to diagnose him. To do so is not only actively contributing to mental illness stigmatization, but it’s perfectly plausible that it’s not even accurate. To quote Miri Mogilevsky of Brute Reason, “It is not actually ‘crazy’ to believe stuff that’s been shoved down your throat from birth.”

    I’m not a trained therapist, I didn’t know Elliot Rodger, and I don’t know anything about him other than watching his manifesto on YouTube. But, based on what I’ve seen and read, here is my armchair psychologist diagnosis…

    Elliot Rodger had trouble relating to people, both men and women, but he longed to find a girlfriend, so women were his main focus. His family claims he had Asperger’s. Whether that is true or not, they appear to be placing the blame for his actions on Asperger’s. Asperger’s is not a mental illness, and it doesn’t predispose anyone to violence. If anything, it might have contributed to his social awkwardness, but his family seeing it as a mental illness could only do more harm than good. They didn’t understand him. No one understood him. Elliot believed something was very wrong with him, until…

    Enter the MRA, who would tell him that it isn’t his fault he can’t form meaningful relationships with women — it’s the women’s fault. MRAs are as bad as many churches, who prey on those who are going through difficult times, give them a community to “support” them, and brainwash them into believing things they didn’t previously believe.

    It’s possible that Elliot may have believed some of those things before the MRAs got a hold of him (his family could be to blame, if he did), but either way, it’s a plague in our culture that needs to be cured. MRAs need to catch up with the men who are more enlightened, who realize that women are people who deserve the same rights and responsibilities as men. To me, a true alpha male is someone who recognizes that women are people, doesn’t feel threatened by the idea of equality, and may even find intelligence in a woman to be sexy.

    If the MRAs hadn’t sunk their claws into Elliott Rodger, he might have ended up being a nice guy who happened to be shy, and he might have had a chance at a meaningful relationship if he hadn’t developed such a hatred of women.

    All that said, I’m not saying Elliott Rodger wasn’t responsible for his actions. If he had survived this rampage, I would have supported a life sentence in prison, because even if he felt he was justified, he still knew his actions were illegal and would cause a lot of distress to a lot of people. I just don’t think he would have felt so driven to do what he did, if the MRAs hadn’t brainwashed him.

    1. I don’t know how accurate his manefesto is, but if it is at all accurate, groups like PUA-Hate came into the picture for Elliott long, long after his thoughts had tended in that direction. He was drawn there because he already thought like them, he stayed for the validation it brought him. The MRAs as a small, isolated group didn’t brainwash him. Rather, there was a lot of misogynistic culture-at-large that played into his mindset. Women and sex were prizes, and those prizes were unfairly awarding themselves to brutish, undeserving men. This is a larger cultural issue, because those are messages that are broadcast everywhere, not just in small, isolated, dirty pockets of the internet.

      1. @Amy,

        Now that I’ve finished reading his manifesto, I think you’re right. He did seem to have thoughts of torturing and skinning people before he got involved with PUAs and MRAs. Unfortunately, he didn’t talk about them much, so it’s hard to say for sure when he got involved with them, but I definitely agree that the culture he was immersed in played a huge part before he did. I have also read a cached copy of a topic on the body building site he joined, and some of them might have helped push him over the edge, too.

        I’ve always hated it when someone blames a video game for someone’s shooting rampage, but I think Elliot’s escape into World of Warcraft may have also played a role. I don’t think it was so much the game itself, but the culture within the game. I’ve never played WoW, but as I understand it, it’s one of those online games where players can converse with each other, and a lot of the players treat women in the game like absolute crap.

        Elliot certainly had a misogynistic attitude. When he saw a “beautiful blonde girl,” he said she would be the perfect girlfriend for him, even though he didn’t know anything about her, and it seems obvious that he never would have considered a woman who was smart, interesting, caring, etc., if she wasn’t blond and “beautiful” on the outside, whatever his idea of “beautiful” was. He also wanted a “beautiful blonde girl” to give him validation, as a symbol of status. He claimed he wanted love, but he didn’t know what love is.

        His mother dated some wealthy men. He wanted her to marry one of them so he could be wealthy, but she didn’t want to get married again after Elliot’s father. He told her she should make a sacrifice for him and marry a rich guy. He believed if he was wealthy, he could get any “beautiful blonde girl” he wanted. He was self-centered, and obviously didn’t care about his own mom’s happiness, despite the fact that she gave him everything he wanted, as long as she could afford it, according to his own words.

        If Elliot had made friends with guys more easily, he might not have worried so much about “obtaining the perfect girl” to gain social status, and might have “settled” on someone whose company he actually enjoys.

        If society didn’t lead him to believe that physical beauty was the most important attribute in women, he might not have been so narrow-minded in who he would date.

        If society didn’t impress upon him the idea that caucasians are superior to all other “races,” he might not have simultaneously felt inadequate for being half-Asian and superior for being half-caucasian.

        If society didn’t treat people who are struggling financially as though they’re trash, he might not have felt too embarrassed to have friends over when he lived with his mother in an apartment in a “lesser” part of town.

        Based on Elliot’s own words, we can see that he was a misogynist, and he did feel entitled to women because that’s what society made him believe. At the same time, he felt inferior for his racial and financial status, which is also a problem with our culture.

        I apologize for my disjointed thoughts here. It’s hard to get a good grasp of what was going on his head and what caused it, because it can’t be blamed on any one thing. If we try to put anything in a nutshell here, I think the closest we can get is his shyness combined with our culture, and the Hollywood culture he lived in might be a little bit worse than average.

  27. It may be that speculating about the possibility of mental illness or emotional disturbance has the effect of perpetuating mental illness stigmatization to some people, but I don’t think that fact alone should prevent us from bringing it up as a possibility. Going beyond the known facts and making specific armchair diagnoses is not appropriate at this time. And it’s not to say that he was technically insane. But based on statements made by his own family, including his parents and his aunt, and just the sheer nature of his “manifesto” and Youtube videos, the possibility of Elliot Rodgers suffering from severe disturbances becomes ever more likely.

    What I do think I agree with you on is the fact that in the hands of a deluded individual like Elliot Rodgers, extremist and irrational propaganda can have disastrous results. But based on what I’ve seen SO FAR of this story, I think it’s more likely than not that Elliot was disturbed to a degree that institutionalization was probably the best option. I don’t know the personal details of his family life and psychiatric care so I can’t speculate on why that was never able to happen. But here we go again…… so many warning signs to disparate to be noticed until they exploded into violence.

  28. Actually I think talk and cognitive therapy plus 1 day of treatment for folie a duex probably would have done it. This whole thing was very preventable isf someone had sat down and talked to the kid..

      1. (A quick, but important, correction — his parents suspected Asperger syndrome, but he was never diagnosed with it. We cannot blame mental illness or autism for this.)

        1. Kylee, that link is at odds with the Wikipedia article, which seems to be based on

          and also with the (usually reliable) Australian Broadcasting Corporation story

          “Alan Shifman, lawyer for Peter Rodger, said Elliot had “highly functional Asperger’s syndrome” diagnosed as a child. ”
          That statement was pretty clear cut, not “media fuckery”, nor “armchair diagnosis”.

          Highly functional Asperger’s syndrome is distinct from ordinary Asperger’s – according to Wikipedia. It may not be the whole story, but it surely played some part, along with inadequate gun control, in converting PUA hate philosophy into mass murder.

    1. I never knew there was a name for it, but folie à plusieurs eloquently describes my thoughts on how Elliot Rodger was pushed over the edge. Thank you, funwithlogic. I disagree that one day of treatment would reverse the brainwashing, but it’s good to see that this phenomenon I’ve long suspected is recognized in psychiatric circles.

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