Elliot Rodger And Privilege: The New Mental Disorder?
On the day after the Elliot Rodger Massacre, the media, and its audiences try to grapple with what he had done. People struggled over the theories, the questions, and the constant repeat of information. There’s been a struggle to find logic as they read over his manifesto, questioned the police, and mental healthcare officials. Politicians moved in to push related bills into place, such as healthcare and gun control.
It’s barely been twenty-four hours, and officials and the media came down to one conclusion: Since there is no “logical” reason for his murders, he was simply mentally ill. I feel a strong anger towards this, and exhaustion–a similar occurrence happened just a year and a half ago at a movie theatre. Just like that, all was excused because of mental illness.
The massacre was obviously premeditated. I will spare the linkage of his video. Even though there were warning signs, Mr. Rodger was able to present a picture of normalcy and gentile when officials settled to question him months before his murders. I have to point out that health officials are health officials for a reason: They retained their rank from an expertise that they honed in for most of their lives. They took the situation seriously, and knew what questions to ask, and what small details to look for in someone mentally unhinged.
Rodgers was a normal human being with growing a hatred for a group of people. A privileged human being who was pathetic and arrogant. And like all humans with privilege… He threw a tantrum.
It would make many more uneasy at the idea of a sane person killing others. Society tries to implant that only crazy people kill, only crazy people hate minorities. It’s a continuous problem of stigmatizing mental health. While I do agree that there needs to be more focus on healthcare, I don’t agree with making Elliot a poster child of “what happens when crazy people are allowed to run around unmediated.” It adds to the stigma that anyone with any sort of disorder is dangerous, whether it be ADHD, depression, bipolar, or schizophrenia. These stigmas openly bar a person with a mental illness from having opportunities to have healthy relationships and jobs. It places them in an ever-continuing vicious cycle.
Years after Columbine, it was revealed that the two shooters were not who they actually were on tv– they were the very reverse of what was revealed in the days after. The media portrayed introverted, bullied nerds–nice kids pushed over to the edge by their peers.
Friends of mine remembered the days in high school when teachers would zero in on them, treating them as a threat and as loose cannons, when all they needed was therapy to learn how to appreciate themselves. They were not harmful to the school or any of the students. Being treated as a threat only encouraged self-hatred that took years to work out. The media and everyone around them encouraged a stigma that made more sense than the actual picture.
Elliot Rodger did not have a mental disorder, as with many other men that were reported the same. His manifesto targeted a specific group of people to vent his anger. He was unable to connect with other human beings. He had an inflated belief that his access to certain groups was a right. He poured hatred over a constantly targeted group throughout our history. Rodgers was simply a terrorist and a murderer.
A kid who threw a tantrum because he couldn’t get everything he wanted. That’s not a mental disorder.
This begs to question what we are encouraging in our own society. If it’s a repeated pattern of violence, it is not just an individual, but something inherently unhinged in our own society.