California killer got 'twisted' down pat

ASSOCIATED PRESS / YOUTUBE Elliot Rodger thought he was "a kissless virgin" because he was short. Actually, he was just a vile jerk.
ASSOCIATED PRESS / YOUTUBE Elliot Rodger thought he was "a kissless virgin" because he was short. Actually, he was just a vile jerk.
Posted: May 29, 2014

ELLIOT RODGER could not get a woman to sleep with him. The reason he remained "a kissless virgin" at 22, he believed, was that he was small of stature. If he were built more like the hulking, brutish men he imagined were getting laid daily by an ever-changing harem of hotties, the shrimpy Rodger said, he might've enjoyed the sex he craved.

If only Rodger had hired a hooker, his six victims might still be alive. Instead, this pouty-lipped son of a Hollywood director went on a murderous rampage, taking the lives of those who'd filled him either with contempt or longing. He then took his own life.

If only he'd had the decency to die alone. But these cowardly marauders never do. They take innocents with them for company.

Not every person who is mentally ill is violent. And not every violent person is mentally ill.

I'm no shrink, but I confess that when I heard of the carnage Rodger wrought Friday on the Santa Barbara campus of the University of California, I presumed he was mentally ill and off his meds. But then I read his ridiculous manifesto, "My Twisted World: The Story of Elliot Rodger" - 140 pages of tedious, chilling, self-aggrandizing and entitled pap. And I came to a different conclusion.

Rodger wasn't mentally ill. He was a narcissist, the monstrous kind - think Joran van der Sloot, without the pecs - who act with rage when the world won't recognize their magnificence and treat them with the deference they deserve.

Rodger didn't remain a virgin because he was short. If stature alone determined allure, Danny DeVito would be single.

Rodger remained a virgin because, as evidenced in "My Twisted World," he was a narcissistic jerk: self-involved, self-pitying, overprivileged and underaccomplished, with delusions of grandeur that were laughable given his low work ethic.

No girl in her right mind would've given him the time of day, let alone her virtue. No girl in her wrong mind would've deserved the abuse he'd heap upon her. And no girl who wasn't a babe was even worthy of his attention since Rodger yearned only for girls whose looks - not hearts - enthralled him.

His manifesto reveals that Friday's "Day of Retribution" was in the works for three years. But his dissatisfaction with life and feelings of entitlement date back to his third birthday party; he threw a tantrum when the first slice of cake was served to a friend, not to him.

It's downhill from there, with Rodger recounting every slight ever done him. He describes a fellow kindergartner at his exclusive private school as "a rotten little prick." He deliberately excludes a kid named Joey from his sixth birthday party "out of revenge." He grows to detest a friend who becomes popular with girls. He laments his mother's small house, despises his father's new wife, blames his lack of "cool kid" style on parents who are clueless.

And all this before junior high.

In this self-pitying autobiography, the word "hate" appears 92 times; "girls," 295 times; "sex," 191 times; "self," 234 times; "kill," 54 times.

The word grateful? Just three times.

Forgive? Just six.

Kindness? Zero.

Rodger's sympathizers - he will have them - will say that he was troubled, that the mental-health system let him down (he had a therapist) and that his own parents called the cops for help on the day he went on his killing spree - all for naught. They will say that, if only the right help at the right time had been available, the slaughter could've been averted, a tortured soul relieved.

Reading "My Twisted World," I'm not so sure. Rodger was obsessed with all the wrong things - money, privilege, sex, ego, status. And he lacked even a rudimentary acquaintance with virtues like generosity, forgiveness, joy, good humor, empathy or - the most redeeming virtue of all - gratitude.

He attended private schools. Moved into increasingly more glamorous homes. Didn't need to work to afford the car he drove, the college education he pursued, the many overseas vacations he enjoyed - some of them, he bragged, before the age of 5.

I don't believe it was mental illness that made him see the glass as half-empty. I think it was a darkness in the center of his character, an unfillable hole he was born with, a shameless sense of entitlement that could never be sated.

Rodger wasn't mentally ill. He was evil. You can't medicate that away. You can only fear it, and recoil in horror when it has its way.


Phone: 215-854-2217

On Twitter: @RonniePhilly



comments powered by Disqus