Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Who's to blame for a killer?

We may never know what drove Elliot Rodger to go on a killing spree in Santa Barbara, Ca. What we do know is that he was a seriously disturbed individual with a death wish and demented sense of revenge. He apparently blamed women who wouldn’t sleep with him for being a virgin — like there’s anything wrong with that at the tender age of 22 — as well as the guys who beat him to the punch.

Elliot Rodger killed seven people, including himself, and injured a dozen or so others. His list of weapons included a knife, a hammer, two machetes, a BMW, and three pistols. You can rest assured the mainstream media will fixate on the guns. They always do.

Hindsight is 20/20. His parents found out about his YouTube rant, in which he promised to kill as many people as possible, alerted authorities, and set out to Santa Barbara to stop him. 

They were too late.

Apparently he killed his three roommates with the hammer, the knife, and the machetes. He then went to a sorority house where he killed two sorority sisters on the sidewalk. He left the sorority house and drove around town randomly selecting his victims, killing one more innocent pedestrian before turning the gun on himself.

Reading his manifesto, it’s unbelievable that he truly felt as he did. What’s even more unbelievable is that no one knew he was nuts. Instead of trotting out the tired, old argument for banning guns, we need to start concentrating on the real problem. Quite frankly, there are too many crazy people roaming loose on the streets.

Now, crazy is a relative term. I’m sure we all have certain oddities that others might find strange. I’m not talking about locking up every eccentric in the country. What I’m talking about are danger signs. There’s no way Elliot Rodger wasn’t exhibiting them. He was obviously in therapy. Did his therapist know he was fantasizing about going on a killing rampage? Let’s hope not. But did he or she see signs that he might be violent?

Again, that’s quite subjective, but those of us who live in the real world know when someone is dangerous. A friend of mine who works with the animal rescue folks told me recently of a guy who cut the front legs off a cat. That guy should not only be punished for what he did, he should be watched like a hawk for the rest of his life. That’s the kind of person who ends up a serial killer or a multiple victim killer like Elliot Rodger.

One critic, Ann Hornaday from the Washington Post, was quick to blame Hollywood for white men promoting “escapist fantasies” that “revolve around vigilantism and sexual wish-fulfillment.” She went on to say Rodger’s misogynistic delusions were channeled through “male studio executives.” She singled out the movie “Neighbors,” and the movie’s star, Seth Rogen, and director, Judd Apatow. Apatow specializes in coming-of-age movies in which the inexperienced, immature guy gets the girl. Apparently, Ann Hornaday finds that distasteful.

We can blame Hollywood. We can blame video games. We can blame the “gun culture.” None of that gets us anywhere. There have been slasher movies as long as I can remember. Sure, some video games are violent. And, yes, we are a society that cherishes our Second Amendment right. All of those elements have been around for a long time. By blaming them, we ignore the obvious.

Too many people are too screwed up in the head, and too few of us take the time to notice.

Phil Valentine is the host of the award-winning, nationally syndicated talk radio show, The Phil Valentine Show.


  1. Nice article Phil.
    Although there are many theories floating around out there as to why people do this and how to "spot the signs", there seem to be even more theories on what to do with these folks once they are identified.
    As a cop, I can tell you this- there are more and more people like this walking amongst us, because there is no place to put them. They don't need to be in jail if they have been identified but have not yet committed any violent acts.
    When we do find these types, we can take them into custody if they are deemed a danger to themselves or someone else. Here in Tennessee, they will then be evaluated by a state contracted "crisis team" person at the local hospital or jail. In my experience, many are deemed fit to be released. If not, they are committed to a regional mental health facility. Again, they are evaluated there as to whether they need to stay for treatment, but again, in my experience, they will be back in society in a week or two.
    You see Phil, there is no where- at least in Tennessee, to keep these folks long term. It's an ugly cycle that takes care of a problem in the short term, but unfortunately sometimes ends up costing lives in the end.
    And of course, like so many problems in our twisted society, it all comes down to dollars.

  2. Phil-

    What I believe it boils down to is the parents. Whether or not they remained married is beside the point... just because they're divorced doesn't mean their responsibility to raise their son properly didn't end at the same time. Instead of being proper parents, they just threw trinkets at the kid... basically saying, "Here's a check.. go away."

    With the life of privilege this kid was raised under, when do you think he heard the word "NO" from Mommy or Daddy? So he grows up constantly hearing "yes"... and then when some girl in the real world tells him "no", he can't handle it~!

    ...just my $.02