Elliot Rodger's Manifesto Analyzed
By Jessika Endsley
Elliot Rodger was responsible for a mass shooting in Santa Barbara, California on May 23, 2014. He killed six people and wounded many more before killing himself. Elliot left behind a long manifesto, which many people across the country are reading and trying to understand in an attempt to know "why" this happened, and how to prevent it. With diagnostic words being thrown around (including Asperger's Syndrome) with little to no thought, careful attention must be paid to the information that Elliot left behind.
The Early Years
Elliot Rodger began and ended his life as a very privileged, spoiled brat. Much of his manifesto gives details of his privileged childhood, from being well-traveled at age four to private pre-school when his family finally settled in California, to having his own nannies. He was prone to emotional tantrums when he did not get his way, and this continued throughout his life. Other than his parents divorce when he was seven years old, he remembered childhood fondly. He had a lobster lunch for his seventh birthday and his best friend was a girl named Maddy. He tended to get jealous when his friends paid more attention to others, but this was the only sign of any real personality issues that he exhibited early on; taken by itself, it isn't that big of a deal. His life was good, and in his manifesto, he acknowledges this fact about his early years. He would miss the ignorance that accompanied them and remembered, in detail, what caused his misery.
Elliot's view of the world and what being successful meant was largely based around the ability to acquire female companionship. His father earned his respect by getting a new girlfriend so quickly after the divorce, and Elliot decided that this was definitely an admirable trait. Although the new stepmother was not his favorite person due to her inclination to punish him (even by sending him to his room when a friend was over - how horrifying) he had no real conflict with women during his childhood. Everything written about his childhood is written in longing for the ignorance he had before the evils of puberty; he noted that he didn't know that during and after puberty, other boys would be embraced by girls and he would be shunned.
"I realized that there were hierarchies, that some people were better than others." - age 9
Elliot was aware of social norms to a very shocking degree. This child knew exactly what was required to be a part of the sought-after "cool" crowd, and he did put much emphasis on such. He prompted his parents to take him to a salon at age nine to have his hair dyed blonde, so as to be "more admirable". He was pleased when other children decided his hair was "cool" and reveled in the attention for several days. The obsession he had with Pokemon was ended as soon as his peers deemed it lame, and he replaced it with the "cool" option of skateboarding, quickly acquiring a skateboard for both his mothers house and his fathers. If Elliot ever indeed had a restricted interest or an obsession, it was with being one of the "haves" in society - a cool, popular person. He adapted easily to the friends he desired to have, and did everything he could to fit in with them. These are not traits of someone on the Autistic Spectrum. These are traits of a spoiled child who may grow into a somatic Narcissist if given the chance.
"Only after the advent of puberty dues the true brutality of human nature show its face. Life will become a bitter and unfair struggle for self-worth, all because girls will chose some boys over others."
Ego issues became more apparent as Elliot got older. He quit skateboarding immediately when younger kids were able to perform better tricks; he had no real passion for the sport unless it would increase his likability. He was elated to be able to dance with girls at a middle school dance, adding that it would be the "only" positive experience with girls he would ever have. He may have even decided this would be the case that very night; he never again attempted to befriend a female. His carefree childhood would soon be far behind him as he fell into a puberty of delusion.
Elliot Rodger hit puberty and his entire world, from his own perspective, came crashing down. While many people go through difficult issues in puberty and are riddled with confusion and awkwardness, Elliot felt he was special in his. He became very afraid of girls due to an experience at camp when a girl pushed him after he bumped into her and proceeded to scream profanities at him. This bad experience with one young girl who was startled and angry massively contributed to his phobia and obsession with women in the years to come.
"Cruel treatment from women is ten times worse than from men. It made me feel like an insignificant, unworthy little mouse."
In his world, the measurement tool for a man's self-worth was women. Being embraced by women meant the man was worthy of respect; the more women, the better. Being rejected by them was intolerable. Being ignored by them was intolerable. Women were shocking beings to Elliot, even when he first saw a picture of the naked human body. He felt even more traumatized when he first saw pornography at thirteen years old, proceeding to cry on the way home and feel a great deal of shame about what he saw. He was terrified of women, but only women could satisfy his ego. As he observed his peers, he determined that the more aggressive a boy was, the more likely girls were to like him. Unfortunately, he carried this observation from middle school to high school and then into the real world.
"Not getting any sex is what shaped the foundation of my miserable youth." - 13
In middle school, Elliot began to socialize less. His usual play-dates happened less due to moving and due to his friends taking up different hobbies or being too busy with other friends, while Elliot spent long hours playing World of Warcraft after his mother moved into an apartment, which he deemed "embarrassing and low-class." He failed to recognize that his social life dwindled due to his own extremist gaming rather than the move into an apartment. His laziness and vanity killed his social life, and he took solace in World of Warcraft and Halo. Elliot was very socially aware and knew that acting "weird" would gain him attention, and however negative it may have been, attention was very important to Elliot. He needed to be seen and he needed to be noticed. He much preferred to be bullied and teased over being ignored, and although he would prefer being "cool" to being "weird," he had no tolerance for being ignored whatsoever.
"Infamy is better than total obscurity."
Freshman year did not make Elliot any happier. He grew very angry and upset when he learned that other fourteen year old boys were already sexually active. This shocked him, because he still felt like a child. He didn't know how this was possible, and hoped they were lying, but to his dismay, a friend offered proof of his own sexual activity. He was sinking further into self-imposed isolation and failed several classes due to his excessive playing of World of Warcraft. He was sent to summer school, where he passed the time waiting to go home and play more.
Elliot was taken out of school at age fifteen after becoming severely distraught about the way the bullies were treating him. His parents kept him out of school until they could decide what to do to alleviate his emotional pain and suffering, finally deciding on a smaller school. Elliot found the new school to be peaceful, although he did not respect the other students because they severely lacked in the "cool" factor. As he grew further into the teenage years, Elliot had no desire to learn to drive like his peers did. His overwhelming preoccupation with what others thought about him was only drowned out by his persistent video gaming.
As Elliot moved closer to becoming an adult, his hatred and bitterness towards women and sex in general intensified. He felt that it was a clear sign of the lack of justice in the world that his close friend was born into a richer family than Elliot, much less that he had an active social life and sex life. This friend had everything Elliot felt he could not have. He spent three weeks in France and enjoyed the socializing that he participated in while in the bars. It was a brief taste of what "normal" teenagers got to experience before he traveled back to his lonely life in the United States.
He began thinking about how the world could be run fairly and justly by preventing anyone from having a sex life. Elliot felt that too many people were given pleasure they did not deserve through sex, and that he was being persistently denied this pleasure. Despite the fact that he feared women and would not approach them to try and establish any kind of relationship, he placed blame firmly on the women for their supposed preferences. He felt he was entitled to what others seemed to attain so easily, and if he could not have it, no one should. He spoke to a close friend about these thoughts, and his friend quickly learned what was driving them..
"I began to have fantasies of becoming very powerful and stopping everyone from having sex...If I can't have it, I will destroy it." - 17
Elliot was surprised with a plane ticket to Morocco to go live with his stepmother and her family. He despised the country and threw a tantrum; his parents wanted him to try life somewhere else, away from the bullies and World of Warcraft. After a failed attempt to run away, he was sent to Morocco for what turned out to be only a long, tearful week. Relieved to be back home in the United States once more, he tried to develop a new found enthusiasm for life. He enrolled in a single class in college. His stepmother arrived back home soon after, and kicked him out of his fathers house permanently. He called his father weak for not preventing this from happening. Elliot still decided to push forward by doing nothing at all in an attempt to attain the life he wanted.
Elliot's mother began dating a wealthy man and Elliot asked her to marry him, or any wealthy man, so that he could "finally" be a part of a rich family. His mother asked him to stop suggesting such and grew angry when Elliot asked her to sacrifice her own well being for his happiness. He began lifting weights to look more like the muscular men that women liked, but still made no real attempts to make contact with them.
"I frequently went on walks around my mothers neighborhood in the desperate hope that someone would befriends me or a girl would talk to me. Nothing of the sort ever happened." - 18
Elliot Rodger, narcissist spree killer
At age eighteen, Elliot got his drivers license and his mother gave him her old car when she got a new one. He began to feel more like an adult than a child, finally. He specifically chose his new college of Moorepark due to the amount of blonde women he saw on the campus. Elliot was determined that every hate-filled thought from his past was due to his inability to acquire a beautiful, blonde girlfriend, which he hoped to find at his new college. He gave up hope quickly; he observed far too many happy couples walking on campus in the precise area where he had fantasized about walking with his own future girlfriend. Since the sheer amount of women at the college had not granted him his wish, Elliot decided that becoming a rich writer would attract all of the blonde women he could ever ask for. He never actually wrote anything worthwhile until writing his manifesto.
Elliot began a pattern of dropping his college classes in a fit of rage when he grew sick of observing a particular jock and his girlfriend flirting in his class. Since he was only taking one class and feared his mother would no longer support him upon learning he had dropped the class, he called a friend and quickly got a job. To his dismay, the job was a menial custodial job and he quit within a few hours. He said it was "beneath" him, being the self-entitled brat that he was. He showed much disdain for anything he considered not to be a part of the upper class, exhibiting and extreme superiority complex mixed with his undeniable self-loathing. His parents showed some pity for him, and when Elliot was nineteen, they began talking about a plan for Elliot to move to Santa Barbara. He was excited at the prospect of a renewed life in an active area. He would surely be able to lose his virginity there.
Elliot dropped his sociology class on his first day in Santa Barbara, unable to cope seeing yet another jock with what he viewed as his "ideal" girlfriend. He had no concept of women as people; he didn't seem to realize that women had their own opinions, preferences, and thoughts. They were only walking measurements of a man's self-worth - purely sexual objects. He felt it was a massive injustice that no one reached out to him when he was in public in Santa Barbara, although he still made no attempt to speak to anyone of either gender. He did attend a karate class for a short period of time, but quit when his closest friend, James, was disturbed by Elliot's vicious hatred and violent thoughts. Elliot didn't know why James did not share his bitter enthusiasm since he himself was also a virgin. This same friend was very nervous about Elliot while at a birthday party due to a male at the table being very attractive and charming. Elliot had made it very clear tot his friend that he hated men who could attract women. This uncontrollable anger would lead to the end of James' friendship with Elliot.
Some men get to have beautiful girlfriends like that, and some don't. I am among those who are denied such a pleasure, and that is why I hate life." - 19
Elliot's mother decided that it would be worth it to pay $900 a month for Elliot to have an apartment in Santa Barbara. He knew that she was growing weary of dealing with him on a daily basis. Elliot quickly had conflict with a roommate because the black boy mentioned having had sex at a young age with a white woman. Elliot didn't understand how a black man (who he perceived to be a lesser being due to his race) had been granted sex with a white woman, when Elliot himself was still a half-white virgin. He determined that the female gender was mentally flawed for not preferring an "intelligent gentleman" like himself, and he was disturbed, shocked, and traumatized by this discovery. He had no concept of women being attracted to personality and to various kinds of them and didn't understand that the amount of time he spent picking out his "fabulous" shirt and doing his hair had not barring on a woman's attraction to him. His disdain for women grew more intense with each day, leading him to have severe fits of rage when seeing attractive couples walking around Santa Barbara. He began to think of assaulting couples in public, particularly one blonde girl and her Mexican boyfriend he saw while visiting with his father. It was not long before he began assaulting couples.
"I had to make up for all the years I lost in loneliness and isolation, through no fault of my own! It was society's fault for rejecting me. It was women's fault for refusing to have sex with me."
The first physical assault on a couple that Elliot partook in was at Starbucks when he observed a blonde woman with her "punk" boyfriend. He felt intense anger and followed them to their car, splashing his coffee all over them before running away. This would not be the last time he used coffee as a weapon, later splashing hot coffee on two girls he saw standing at a bus stop who did not return a smile he gave them. His violent thoughts were intensifying as he assaulted people In public in this petty fashion. In his writing, he repeatedly expressed a desire to pull the skin off of his "enemies." His rage against couples and pretty women was interfering with his ability to eat in public, attend classes, and function daily in general. It was no longer just jealousy; it was a phobia. He was convinced, despite his lack of attempts to make friends or speak to women, that they treated him with disdain.
"I wanted to kill them slowly, to strip the skins off their flesh." - 19
He had no real problems with his new roommate, Spencer, but was sure he had a psychological problem with his presence. Elliot was uncomfortable with his self-imposed isolation being judged by others. He stopped calling the few friends he did have because they were unpopular and therefore he could not benefit from them. Elliot's obsession with the superficial continued, and he returned to Santa Barbara after winter break with a new persona and a suave accent in hopes of being desirable. When this new persona did not turn his life around and his Facebook-stalking of a girl from his math class revealed that she already had a boyfriend, Elliot dropped the class and all hope was ended of the life he wanted in Santa Barbara.
Day of Retribution - the Massacre
"Those girls deserved to be dumped in boiling water for the crime of not giving me the attention and adoration I so rightfully deserve!"
Elliot narrowed his life choices down to two extreme options: he would either win the lottery, or he would have to end his life after getting revenge on the world. He did not register for another class because he was set on these two options. Soon after returning to Santa Barbara, he verbally attacked college students in a park, full of rage, before shooting them with a water gun and then running away. The adrenaline it gave him was intoxicating. It seems he was already practicing for failure before even learning he had lost the lottery. When he learned that someone else had won, he attacked his bed with a fake sword and stabbed the air with his pocket knife. He drank a bottle of wine in his room during an emotional tantrum, drunkenly spilling it into his laptop and ruining it. When his mother agreed to reimburse him for a new one, he spent time at the shooting range while waiting for the laptop.
"There I was, practicing shooting guns because I had a plan to carry out a massacre." - 21
After another emotional breakdown due to losing the lottery, Elliot's parents became very concerned and worried about him and decided to send him to a psychiatrist. He hastily bought a handgun before winter break and sent links to PUAHate.com for his parents to read, "confirming" his theories on why women were not attracted to him, the magnificent gentleman. As Elliot spiraled further downward into self-pitying depression, he decided he would plan for five months before acting on his anger and hate in the name of "justice."
"I wanted to kill as many attractive young couples as I possibly could." - 21
A young counselor that was assigned to help Elliot only evoked more anger from him because he was young, attractive, and he was even more jealous of his social skills counselor because he had slept with women before. For a short period of time, he also worked with a female counselor (who he only agreed to see because she was blonde) and when she moved, he never again would speak to a female counselor, determined that it was the same thing as hiring a prostitute. He would refuse to take any advice from his counselors because they did not to wish to help him in his fight against society. He would never make any real effort to acquire the life he wanted, and would continue to blame women and society in general for his "misfortune."
Elliot went to a party in Santa Barbara in hopes of losing his virginity at age twenty-two. But, rather than making conversation with any of his peers, Elliot drunkenly attempted to push girls off of a ledge onto the concrete below after observing them talking to other males. To his dismay, the brutish males decided to push him off the ledge instead, injuring his leg. He limped back to the party to retrieve his stolen sunglasses and got beaten up for the first time. He limped home, and at the hospital the next day, he lied about what happened and the case was eventually dismissed because there was no proof of either party's story. Elliot had been asking for trouble by assaulting girls at a party, and he knew it.
"If girls had been attracted to me, they would have offered to walk me to my room and take care of me. They would even have offered to sleep with me to make me feel better." - 22
Although advised by several mental health professionals that he should move from Santa Barbara due to the rowdy party culture that resulted in his injury, Elliot still concluded that he would be forced to kill. Elliot even expressed his disdain for women to a long-term friend, who asked him not to do anything rash, and Elliot assured him he would not. This was the last time he saw this friend. Soon after, his stepmother bragged to him about his little brother, Jazz, and how he would be a young actor and that he was very socially adept. This is when Elliot decided he would indeed have to kill his little brother and his stepmother; if Elliot couldn't have that life, neither could Jazz. He also decided that he would enjoy killing his two new, nerdy roommates in their sleep as well. If they had been more pleasant, however, he asserted that killing them would have been less pleasant. Only superior people were worth the guilt.
"...They will realize their crimes when I slaughter them all on the Day of Retribution. How dare they reject a magnificent gentleman like me!" - 22
The original date for the Day of Retribution was April 26, 2014, and he began to boy more guns and ammo. Phase one of his Retribution would be to silently lure the people of Santa Barbara into his apartment to kill them after murdering his roommates. The second phase would be to punish women for what they had denied him, namely by attacking a nearby sorority house. The third and final phase would be to kill his little brother and step-mother before killing people on the streets in an SUV (although he ended up using his BMW.) Elliot planned on ending his life in an overdose, peacefully. Of course, this did not pan out exactly as planned.
Elliot postponed his plans until May to avoid killing his father. He posted videos on Youtube, demanding an explanation by women for why they were not attracted to him and secretly hoped someone would offer him sex. No such thing happened; instead, men posted comments making fun of him, and he was reported to the police for the suspicious videos. Shocked by seven police officers pounding on his door, he assured them that he was not suicidal, and decided to keep a loaded handgun with him in case they returned and he needed to kill them before escaping. He was told his mother had reported him, but he could not confirm this. He removed many of his videos.
"If they had demanded to search my room...that would have ended everything." - 22
In the final pages of his manifesto, Elliot gives details of the evils of women and of what should be done to prevent future generations of men from suffering from them. He assured the world that sex is the most evil concept known to man, and that women are in control of this evil, ignoring the fact that sex is the foundation of procreation and human life. He believed that women are not capable of morals or thinking rationally because of their commonly chosen type of man. Elliot knew that he hated women because he had not had their companionship, and deluded himself to the very end that this was not his fault, but the fault of the entire female gender.
There has already been much speculation about what caused Elliot Rodger to become what he was, as a common human response to tragedy is to analyze and prevent. If he indeed had any form of Autism, he had not been made aware of it, and it does not show in any way in his own writing or in his video. Elliot Rodger had no real obsession outside of sexual fetish-phobia, and was very aware of social norms. He adapted to new situations fairly easily as a child - something that he very uncommon in Aspergers Syndrome. But whether or not he had it is irrelevant, because it did not cause him to hate women or to commit murder.
Elliot Rodger very clearly had severe Narcissistic Personality Disorder and severe Social Anxiety. No mental illness made him a hateful, spoiled, self-entitled child of a man. His personality did. He was handed the very best from birth, onward, from new cars "just so he would feel better" to new wardrobes and apartments as his parents tried desperately to make him happy. Elliot had no concept of work, and this translated into his social life. He was lazy and self-indulgent; many men less attractive than Elliot, with less money and no red-carpet experience, have grown up to marry beautiful women. Elliot refused to try and refused to approach others even to make friends, much less to make small-talk with any women. To say that this shooting could have been prevented by women, or that it was not a sexist act, is to say that women everywhere should make a conscious attempt to offer sex to lonely shut-ins in order to not be shot. Elliot was a Narcissist who believed himself so superior that he should not have to lift a single finger to get the life he wanted, and no amount of psychological counseling or hand-outs would have prevented his delusions from growing more intense with age.
It could be argued that Elliot should have been locked away due to his mental state, but Elliot was not insane. He did not experience psychosis, and he knew the consequences of his actions. Elliot was well aware that he was using women as a scapegoat for what he called his "miserable and pathetic life." In his final days, Elliot was more calm than he had ever been, because his social anxiety was dying the closer he got to death - and the closer he got to becoming a murderous god. Seven people are dead, and only one of them can truly be blamed.
"I am the closest thing there is to a living god." - 22