Boy Interrupted: Where Elliot Rodger's Life Took a Turn
© Jack Cashill
Not ones to let a good crisis go to waste, progressives of a certain stripe looked at Santa Barbara’s Friday night massacre the way pre-schoolers might a pony under their Christmas tree.
Three immediate narratives emerged from Twitterdom even before the bodies were counted and sorted.
The first and most expected was given voice by Richard Martinez, the father of one of the victims, Chris Martinez.
“Why did Chris die?” said Martinez at a Saturday press conference. “Chris died because of craven, irresponsible politicians and the NRA. They talk about gun rights, what about Chris’ right to live? When will this insanity stop?”
It is hard to fault a grieving father his outrage, even if misdirected. It is easy to fault those many pundits who exploited Martinez’s grief and gleefully spread his message across cyberspace.
Had they paused just a half a day they would have learned that the killer, Elliot Rodger, had stabbed as many people to death as he had shot to death. For good measure, he ran over a few more in his BMW.
Does the “insanity” extend to knives and cars? Should Triple A have shared the blame with the NRA? Is it possible that the politicians in question are not “craven” but conscious of their fellow citizens’ constitutional rights.
Rodger had honored all of California’s stringent gun laws. He had committed no prior crimes. To prevent a future killer like him from buying a gun would require the kind of security screening an Edward Snowden or a Bradley—excuse me, “Chelsea”--Manning got, and we’ve seen how well that worked.
For a while on Saturday, a second theme pulsed through Twitterdom, and that was “white privilege.” This lasted until it became known that Rodger’s mother was an ethnic Chinese from Malaysia.
Rodger, in fact, was as Asian as Obama is black. And it is a good thing he was. The first three people he killed were Asian.
Had Rodger been “white,” the media would have immediately moved Asian-Americans out of the educationally “privileged” box back into the ethnically victimized minority box.
Of the three narratives, the loudest and most insistent came from radical feminists. Those who saw—or heard about—Rodger’s deranged video manifesto were convinced that he, like the rest of male America, had not been properly socialized.
Of course, Rodger had not been properly socialized. He was a deranged little dude who hated men as well as woman. Four of the six people he killed were men.
Several of the feminists who impulsively wrote about this incident insisted on seeing women only as the victims of what Jessica Valenti in the Guardian calls “our cultural sickness – a sickness that refuses to see misogyny as anything other than inevitable.”
Yes, there is a sickness afoot in the land, but feminists have no more hope of curing it with sexual harassment laws or enforced sensitivity training than Rodger did with his “day of retribution.”
Valenti and others on the left failed to see that this sickness set in when they and their ideological allies began to dismantle protective institutions of lasting value like family, community, nation, faith, and married love.
Had they bothered to read Rodger’s lucid, well written, 140-page memoir/ manifesto titled “My Twisted World,” they might have seen how they contributed to it.
His father Peter Rodgers was an aspiring British film director who uprooted Elliot from his native England when the boy was five and moved the family to Southern California.
This move was disruptive enough, but the real disruption occurred two years later. Like so many Californians, Rodger’s mother and father divorced. No big deal!
Not surprisingly, it was California that initiated the nation’s first and most progressive no-fault divorce law. The state did so in September 1969, just weeks after the Manson murders.
Those murders should have caused state officials to rethink their rush to undermine marriage.
The common thread among the otherwise attractive, well-educated “Manson girls” was that they came from broken homes. Once their own families fell apart, they proceeded to look for love in all the wrong places.
So too would Elliot Rodger. “I was absolutely shocked, outraged, and above all, overwhelmed,” wrote Rodger of his parents’ divorce.
“This was a huge life-changing event.” Rodgers does not blame his parents or their divorce for his subsequent failures, but he could have.
Before the divorce, Rodger “thought a man and a woman had to be married before living together in such a manner,” but when his father promptly found a new girlfriend, Elliot “was completely taken aback.”
Through his father’s adventures, he began to see sex as a commodity, something one purchased through money, good looks, and “cool,” an intangible that eluded Rodger as much as it obsessed him.
One Twitter post in defense of the parents sheds unwitting light on the world Rodger inhabited.
“ Elliot Rodger's parents gave & gave & gave,” reads the tweet. “Money. Housing. Resources. Therapy. Life Coaches. They got the police involved. Nothing happened.”
Here is what their parents did not give their son: a home, a neighborhood, a community, a church, a faith, a God, their time, their attention.
This was a “sickness” that infected men and women equally. A generation or so ago a woman might have looked for a man who was kind, loving, pious, generous, faithful, hard working.
As Rodger saw it, women instead looked only for men who were hot, hunky and/or rich. And in his soulless, sex-obsessed Southern California circle, he may have been right.
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