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Too Many Potential Elliot Rodger Types Perceived as Normal

Emil Photo Again Edited 61b7dabb61239

“I could have been Elliot Rodger …” So goes the storyline of more than a handful of self-hating, misogynistic males in the wake of the UCSB tragedy. I’m sure many have been shocked back into reality, counting their blessings that they never made it into Elliot Rodger’s league.

Let’s hope.

But I wonder how many potential Elliots there still are in this gun-enabled society.

Frankly, as a father of a college-age daughter, I worry more about all the minor league Elliots still out there. The ones who are saying, “He went overboard, what’s right with me?”

Indeed, what’s right with them is they aren’t crazy—not yet.

But they still tend to like violent video games, drink too much at the kegger, and, by their actions toward women, act as if they are young college Neanderthals in training.

Oh, and “Game of Thrones” tends to be their favorite TV show.

We’ll never notice these Elliots. They’re perceived as normal.

OK, I know, you can’t judge a book by its cover. A few harmless louts do exist on campus.

But wouldn’t it be nice to see an outbreak of manners in this coarse world? It is the tragedy of the modern day that any notion of courtship and romance has been lost. (It’s ironic that Rodger saw his well-dressed GQ loutishness as being so superior to the T-shirt and jeans campus lout that in his mind “got all the girls.” There is no difference.)

Loutish male behavior is pretty standard these days. And the pop culture from TV to music to movies to video games tends to glorify its values all the time.

And when young guys can’t get their lout on, then what happens when they seek corrective action through guns and violence?

How else do we see Elliot’s “Day of Retribution” but as his video game solution to real life?

Guns were what he knew. He had rejected mental health correctives as jokes, not as providers of answers, never mind justice.

Psychiatrists with a Freudian bent may talk a good game, but their answers usually revolve around drugs.

Rodger questioned that.

Writing in his manifesto, Rodger was at least sane enough to reject taking the drug Risperidone. Under the generic name for Respirdol, it’s known as a medication used to treat schizophrenia and manic states of bipolar disorder among young adolescent males. If you’ve watched any TV recently, you’ll see all the ads from modern ambulance chasing lawyers looking for users of the drug who may have experienced one of its side effects—enlarged breasts.

Surely, Rodger must have known about that enough to avoid taking it.

Yet, had he seen the big cash awards lawyers have gotten from the drug companies, he might have taken his meds in order to get wealthy and correct his perceived  girl problem.

But vanity won out in the end.

Rodger was described as being under the radar when authorities were questioned why they couldn’t intervene.

That he wasn’t a “bad enough case” isn’t really an acceptable answer.

That’s why I hope we don’t forget Rodger too quickly. There are a lot of college age guys out there just like him who aren’t quite in his league. Not yet.


Emil Guillermo writes on issues of race for the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (  Like him at ; twitter@emilamok

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