In the Aftermath of the Elliot Rodger Tragedy, Society is Still Ignoring the Real Causes of Youth Violence
“I was so overwhelmed by the brutality of the world that I just didn’t care anymore.” -Elliot Rodger, describing how he felt in 9th grade
It can’t be stated any clearer: Until we as a society address and remedy the neglectful, abusive and inhumane ways that our society treats children, violent tragedies will continue as the most disturbed of these children lash out their pain on society. How many more tragedies will it take before our society addresses the real causes of violence?
Two weeks ago, a 22 year old young man, Elliot Rodger, stabbed three young men and then went on a shooting rampage outside of the University of California, Santa Barbara, murdering two young women and a young man and injuring at least 13 others. Elliot had left behind numerous YouTube videos as well as a 141 page “manifesto”. In his manifesto, Elliot documents the emotional abuse and neglect he suffered by his family as well as the chronic peer rejection and severe peer bullying he endured. There is some speculation that he was on the Autism spectrum, which would explain his struggles with social skills, his struggle to process emotions and his rigid and obsessional thinking patterns. Elliot writes with painful detail about the angst he suffered during his life and the overwhelming loneliness and neediness that led to him developing severe psychological pathology and a fantastical hatred of stereotyped groups of people that personified those who rejected him. His hatred and violent speech leading up to the murders are chilling to read. However, what is even more chilling is realizing that this youth had been screaming out for connection and comfort for years, enduring what he perceived as crushing and overwhelming emotional pain, yet this message has been completely ignored, overshadowed and missed by the mass media and their viewers. [...]