Saturday, May 24, 2014

Virginity, Rejection, and Violence: The Story of Elliot Rodgers

Just a disclaimer: I don't know Elliot Rodgers.  I don't know why he did the things he did other than what all of you have probably seen or read by now.  I have no special insight to this other than the fact that both he and I are romantically inexperienced and in our 20s.  So take everything written here with a grain of salt.

As most of you probably know, Elliot Rodgers, 22, of Southern California gunned down six people on Friday and wounded several others in what was most likely a pre-meditated murderous rampage.  What caused this to happen: his apparent history of rejection by women he liked.  He was just a younger, more high profile (sort of) version of George Sodini.

I hope it goes without saying that my thoughts and prayers go out to those impacted and their loved ones.  Anyone who knows me knows I abhor violence of any kind.  It's a sad relic of our evolutionary past and the sooner we shed it the better.  Whatever Mr. Rodgers problems were, they surely were not solved by opening fire on a group of random women (aside from the fact that it's just plain wrong to kill people, period).

Here's the part where I might get some hate mail.  Maybe.

I'm concerned how this will play out going forward.  How people will react and what they think should be done.  There's always a jump to conclusions whenever something like this happens.  Someone blows a building up and people say Islam caused it.  College student shoots up his campus and people blame it on him being a quiet Asian guy.  A 22 year old kissless virgin kills a bunch of people and suddenly we have to be suspicious of anyone who can't get laid.

To be perfectly honest with you, I like having the internet as a place to vent.  And, there's a lot to vent about.  I often wonder why some guys get girls easily and I don't, or why some women are so hung up on the wrong kinds of guys.  You wonder what the hell is wrong with you, or conversely what's wrong with everyone else.  If we start scrutinizing everything someone writes or says in frustration as a potential danger to society then we lose something.  The overwhelming majority of people who post on the internet about how they can't get a date or the last girl they thought was interested stood them up at a restaurant, are not violent people.  They should be allowed to be sad or angry about their disposition, so long as they don't cross the line into physical violence.

The other upsetting thing I see is how this justifies certain prior beliefs people have.  There's an implicit opinion in some circles that men who can't get laid are only in that position because women are picking up on their sexism, either implicit or explicit.  That "Forever Aloners" or "Incels" or "Love-Shy" people have no right to complain and really deserve their lot in life.  That kind of attitude does not help, and I don't want that to be our response.  Yes, Elliot Rodgers was probably a creep but that doesn't mean that every guy who has a hard time with his romantic life is too.

I don't know if things would have been different if Elliot Rodgers had managed to find himself a girlfriend.  Maybe, maybe not.  I can't make that assessment given what we know and are likely to ever know.  What I do know is that this isn't a cause to start demonizing people who happen to share his lack of experience.

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