Elliot Rodger has made a name for himself, just as he wished. All over the internet, writers and journalists are speculating about why he killed himself and six other people. Over at Slate, writer Amanda Hess has even lowered the bar to blaming the Pick-Up Artists and associated others for turning Rodger into a killer. She denies this a bit in her piece, of course, perhaps to make her argument look more legitimate, but blame them she does:
I do not blame the Pick-Up Artist community (or its somehow even more deeply tortured counterpart, the Anti-Pick-Up-Artist community) for the deaths of seven people. The man who committed this horrific crime is responsible for this heinous act. But I was interested to see how these groups are reacting to the news. It is disturbing, if not surprising, that they are using these murders to reinforce their hatred of women and “Beta” men, and to cement their own status at the top of the pyramid.
Why did seven people die in Santa Barbara last night? It would be wrong to pin the crime on Internet forums that indulge in self-hatred, then project it on to everyone else. But they’re certainly not the solution. Misogyny and violence against women is a social problem as well as an individual one. The fact that these men see “game” as the remedy to all personal and social ills is perhaps the greatest indictment of the way they view the world.
As many people have pointed out, Rodger killed more men than women, including himself. Of course, the men he killed don’t count; the main story here is that women were targeted and it makes for a more sympathetic story. Also, writers like Hess above can use the killings to really stick it to Pick-Up Artist types that she sees as deserving of blame. It’s all political fodder.
Judgy Bitch makes the best interpretation I have seen thus far:
The fact is that Elliot’s outburst does indeed highlight an issue of central importance to the MHRM – the inadequate, almost non-existent treatment of mental health problems for young men. Socially, our treatment seems to be to wait until the tortured young man puts a bullet in his own head, and just pray that he doesn’t take innocent victims with him.
As a strategy for health, it’s not working very well.
Compare that to how we respond to women who are mentally fragile after giving birth. We screen for Post Partum Depression and throw money and resources into keeping both the women and their children safe, because if we don’t do that, a lot of babies will end up dead. Women struggle with mental issues, too, and take it out on the innocent. But rather than ignore those women and hope for the best, we create programs designed to identify and help them.
Perhaps it is the feminists and their supporters who block funding and education going to boys’ and men’s issues that are to blame. Case in point? Warren Farrell tried to give a talk in Toronto about suicide in young men and other topics and was accosted by nasty feminists who did not want him to speak.
As a psychologist who has worked with men and boys for over 20 years, I can say that our society is devoid of programs and help for mental health issues for men or we try to give help that is not helpful. We focus on women and forget that boys and men have problems too. Instead of blaming Pick-Up Artists, or feminists for that matter, why don’t we look for real solutions when it comes to men and boys who feel desperate enough to harm others? Perhaps then, we will be on our way to reducing these mass killings.