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Could Elliot Rodger Have Been Stopped?

Whatever anti-gun laws are forthcoming, don’t expect them to be of any hindrance to the next Elliot Rodger.
Related: From PJTV's Trifecta: "Why Are Maniacs Like Elliot Rodgers Allowed to Roam Free?"

by
Jack Dunphy

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May 28, 2014 - 11:58 am
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The impulse is natural, sometimes even healthy.  When some great horror occurs, something so seemingly irrational, the mind seeks a rational explanation and therein some way to prevent future horrors.  If in retrospect we can identify the path a killer followed from the innocuous point A to the increasingly ominous points B and C and finally to the atrocity at Z, then we can say, “If only we (or they, or someone) had done something then, at the first sign of trouble, this wouldn’t have happened.”

Yes, this is natural and healthy, but it is often a delusion.  And in the case of last week’s murders in Isla Vista, the handy focus of this delusion is the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department.  And after all, why not blame them?  We have it from the Elliot Rodger himself, who in his pre-rampage manifesto described an April visit from deputies.  “If they had demanded to search my room . . . That would have ended everything,” he wrote (italics and ellipses in the original).  So there you have it: the killer himself says the police failed to stop him.  Why look elsewhere for someone to blame?

If only it were that simple.

I’ll leave the deep examination into Rodger’s psyche to others, but in reading his manifesto and watching the videos he posted online, in coming as close as we might to understanding what impelled him to Friday’s savagery, it’s important to remember that he was a narcissist, a type very familiar to most police officers.  So convinced was he of his superiority to the lesser beings surrounding him that he found it unfathomable that they, even with their modest intelligence, failed to recognize it.  And like many narcissists, especially those in the criminal class, Rodger was manipulative.  So much so, in fact, that he continues to manipulate people even in death.  His manifesto, which will be parsed for the duration of the news story, contains not only his murderous fantasies but also an appeal for sympathy.  If only people had been nice to me, he tells us from the grave, I wouldn’t have done it.

Do not be taken in.  In this respect Elliot Rodger was like most men one finds in prison: full of rationalization and justification for the behavior that resulted in their incarceration.  Was he mentally ill?  No doubt.  But was he insane in the sense that, had he survived, an insanity defense would have been available to him?  Not a chance.  Such a defense requires that the accused be incapable of knowing the wrongfulness of the acts he is charged with.  The degree of planning and subterfuge Rodger engaged in clearly demonstrated he knew the consequences of what he would do, which is why he was so explicit in his plan to commit suicide when confronted.

And we can be grateful he was confronted quickly.  For all the bloodshed, the spree lasted but ten minutes, and it ended only when, as is so often the case in mass shootings, he was pursued by armed people determined to stop him.  It has become hackneyed to say it, but yes, the bad guy with guns was stopped only when he came up against the good guys with guns.

Comments are closed.

Top Rated Comments   
No...no...NO!

Elliot Rodgers was NOT "mentally ill", Mr. Dunphy, and you know this very well.

He was MORALLY ill...he was EVIL.

He knew quite well that what he was doing was wrong, he just didn't CARE.

By what path he arrived at his evil is as much a subject for theololgians as it is for psychiatrists to ponder, but let's not consign Rodgers to the bughouse because it isn't correct to label him as "Bad".

This creature had reportedly been in therapy since he was 8 years old, and one wonders if as many years of some good old "fire and brimstone" would not have been better "medicine" to put his mind right.

At least he might have met a nice girl at church...
13 weeks ago
13 weeks ago Link To Comment
For people who ask "Could Elliot Rodger have been stopped?," the answer is "No." Because until he actually started murdering people, there was no homicidal maniac to stop. He was just a miserable little bastard, and there's no law against being a miserable little bastard.

Since human beings have free will and extremely complex minds, you cannot reliably predict what they'll do. What makes a miserable little bastard a mass murderer is a decision - "Today, I'm really going to do it." That decision is hidden from everyone. Until it occurs, there's nothing.

We shouldn't stop trying to identify "likely" suspects and preparing for incidents like this. However, we shouldn't succumb to the illusion of control - the idea that with enough information and enough restrictions, we can eliminate dangerous people. Never going to happen.
13 weeks ago
13 weeks ago Link To Comment
The best way to stop a bad person with a gun is with a good person with a gun.
13 weeks ago
13 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (50)
All Comments   (50)
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Great article, and good pont aobut how there may be no realistic way to stop all these shootings. Its already obvious no gun measure ever proposed would have stopped a of these guys, most of these shooting happened in strict gun control states, and in this case half of his victims did not die from his guns anyway. Locking up the mentally ill seems more appealing, but as this article states, how do we deal with the civil liberties implications, and the problem that psychiatry really has no reliable way to seperate a strange guy with some mental probems, from a likely mass killer. The only possibility I could see is a way to not lock them up, but just have a way to say somebody is mentally unbalanced enough they should not have a gun, and ensuring their residence is searched to get the guns, although even that might lead to a lot of innocent people being searched, and could even be a precursor for political abuses. And even there, the guy in Conneticutt got his guns by murdering his mother and stealing her legal guns, how do you stop that, by saying the parents cant have guns either. I think the best measure is to ban gun free zones, and let people carry guns for self defense, using the theory that a bad guy with guns is best stopped by good guys with guns. It wont completely stop them, but if they face armed opposition quickly, it will at least significantly limit the number of their victims, and possibly deter successors.
13 weeks ago
13 weeks ago Link To Comment
The grief of Mr. Martinez is real, but must be counterbalanced. Where are the parents of the other murdered children telling us that if their kids had had guns is might have been avoided? Their voices should be heard as well.
13 weeks ago
13 weeks ago Link To Comment
Yes, his grief is real, but his reaction is irrational. It does not need to be counterbalanced, but refuted.

13 weeks ago
13 weeks ago Link To Comment
Actually, if his handguns were not locked away, he could have been arrested. Guns not in California DOJ approved containers are a crime if left unattended.
13 weeks ago
13 weeks ago Link To Comment
Why didn't Kamala Harris stop this before it occurred?
13 weeks ago
13 weeks ago Link To Comment
Kamala Harris tried, and is still trying, and will continue to do so. But, with all her might and main, all her nazified gun laws, he played HER game so he could then play HIS game. The issue is never the hardware, it is always the software. The hardware only does what its told to do. Stupid Harris (and her ilk) has no way to control the software. It likely drives her barmy... oh, wait, she already is, with her prissified nanny thinking.
13 weeks ago
13 weeks ago Link To Comment
Criminal tendencies are not a mental disorder. Folks with criminal tendencies can be identified in the K-12 years. Tendencies are in types such as killing, robbing, fraud etc. Having a mental disorder typically ruins the success of carrying out crimes. A person with a yen for killing will do that in a bar fight, gang activity, or holding up a store. If they have a mental disorder, they will do horrendous killing and ruin any chance of escape.

A society concentrating on maximum privacy and individual rights and equivalency in all lifestyles including that of mental illness will not want to take notice of criminal tendencies. The rare combination of a person with killing-type criminal tendencies and a mental disorder will instead be dealt with after the fact.
13 weeks ago
13 weeks ago Link To Comment
Our crass society and our feckless media is a breeding ground for these murderous losers.

Look at what has happened since the tragic event. The murderer's manifesto has been read. His motives made public and tweeted across the globe. The issue has been debated across every news outlet and talking head forum. The event has dominated the headlines.

We have given this loser the public stage he sought. And this brutal act will be 'copied' again and again until we stop it.

13 weeks ago
13 weeks ago Link To Comment
I'm thinking the people who could have done something is his therapists. They probably knew he was thinking about doing something, but they didn't report it.
13 weeks ago
13 weeks ago Link To Comment
They aren't allowed to, unless it's imminent. Basically, thanks to the mental illness lobby, unless they can almost PROVE a patient is about to do something violent, they are ending their careers if they say anything.

Say, what could go wrong with policies like that?



13 weeks ago
13 weeks ago Link To Comment
Could Elliot Rodger Have Been Stopped? Maybe legalizing prostitution would have helped. He'd still be short and socially awkward, but I'm guessing he'd be somewhat less angry and frustrated if it were easier for him to buy sexual experience.

Elliot Rodger showed that he was perfectly capable of killing people knives or running over them with a car. A law wasn't going to stop him from buying guns.
13 weeks ago
13 weeks ago Link To Comment
The issue wasn't women rejecting him or not getting sex. The issue to him was that very beautiful women were not throwing themselves at him all the time with no effort on his part. He seemed to think that is what the world owed him since he was better than all the guys who seemed to get girls without being as totally awesome as he is.

Prostitutes won't solve that problem and might even make it worse.
13 weeks ago
13 weeks ago Link To Comment
"I'm guessing he'd be somewhat less angry and frustrated if it were easier for him to buy sexual experience."

You don't understand sex above the animal level.

Buying it is satisfying only to the most shallow and degraded of male animals. More often than not, such are unintelligent, too.

ER would still have known he was rejected. Simply buying a place to deposit semen would not have changed his anger one bit. More likely, it would have inflamed it.


My condolences to your wife, if you have one.



13 weeks ago
13 weeks ago Link To Comment
The Day After a Deranged Gunman Shoots 3 to Death in Santa Barbara
—Prompting Calls for America to Emulate Gun-Control Europe—
4 Are Gunned Down in Brussels (see the shocking surveillance video)

http://no-pasaran.blogspot.com/2014/05/the-day-after-deranged-gunman-shoots-3.html

Less than 24 hours after three people were shot to death by a California madman
(not counting himself, while his three other victims were stabbed to death)
— prompting attacks on America's gun culture (not least by Michael Moore) and
calls for the U.S. to emulate gun-control havens such as those in Europe —
a gunman in Brussels hustles through the hallway of a museum,
quickly unpacks a long gun and opens fire, killing four in the process.
(PS: You get no points for guessing what kind of museum it is…)
…/…

Much more commentary at the link,
for those who might be interested, including
a dispassionate and in-depth study into the issue of gun control…

(Note to Michael Moore: Brussels is in Belgium; and Belgium is
in Europe; neither is in, or anywhere near, the United States.)
13 weeks ago
13 weeks ago Link To Comment
My fear is, the next Elliot Rodgers will live in a state where the gun control laws are onerous enough he won't bother with a gun and will just build a big bomb. I'm actually surprised suicide bombing hasn't become popular in the U.S. with all the attention they get in the Muslim countries.

13 weeks ago
13 weeks ago Link To Comment
Even if the gun control laws are onerous... criminals don't obey laws. Once the decision is made to kill people, the miscreant will aquire the tools to do that.
13 weeks ago
13 weeks ago Link To Comment
but this criminal DID comply with every one of California's Gold Star Gun Laws... universal background check, ten day waiting period, one gun per month max, ten round magazine capacity, mandatory registration, no provate sales, only "approved" handguns, no "assault rifles", etc. Whcih altogether proves beyond any question that such laws do NOT reduce "gin violence".
13 weeks ago
13 weeks ago Link To Comment
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