29 May 2014

Bloody tantrums

Just before the recent Santa Barbara mass murder, the murderer* posted a video rant explaining himself.  Indeed, it reveals much more than he realized.  David Futrelle has the complete transcript along with commentary.  Here are some excerpts:

For the last 8 years of my life, ever since I’ve hit puberty, I’ve been forced to endure an existence of loneliness, rejection, and unfulfilled desires. All because girls have never been attracted to me. Girls gave their affection, and sex, and love, to other men but never to me. I’m 22 years old and I’m still a virgin. I’ve never even kissed a girl. I’ve been through college for two and a half years, more than that actually, and I’m still a virgin. It has been very torturous. College is the time when everyone experiences those things such as sex, and fun, and pleasure. But in those years I’ve had to rot in loneliness. It’s not fair. You girls have never been attracted to me. I don’t know why you girls aren’t attracted to me, but I will punish you all for it. It’s an injustice, a crime, because I don’t know what you don’t see in me. I’m the perfect guy, and yet you throw yourselves at all these obnoxious men, instead of me, the supreme gentleman.....

All those popular kids who live such lives of hedonistic pleasure while I’ve had to rot in loneliness for all these years, they’ve all looked down upon me every time I try to go out and join them. They’ve all treated me like a mouse. Well now, I will be a God compared to you. You will all be animals. You are animals, and I will slaughter you like animals. I will be a God, exacting my retribution, on all those who deserve it. And you do deserve it, just for the crime of living a better life than me. All you popular kids. You’ve never accepted me, and now you’ll all pay for it. And girls, all I’ve ever wanted was to love you, and to be loved by you. I’ve wanted a girlfriend, I’ve wanted sex, I’ve wanted love, affection, adoration, but you think I’m unworthy of it. That’s a crime that can never be forgiven. If I can’t have you, girls, I will destroy you. You denied me a happy life, and in turn, I will deny all of you life. It’s only fair.

I think I have an idea why women didn't want anything to do with this guy, but let that pass.  The amazing thing about this rant is its whiny, entitled, self-pitying character.  He went out and killed a bunch of people because he couldn't get a girlfriend.  He took a setback most people experience now and then in life -- failure to attract a romantic partner -- as some great cosmic injustice, an epic crime against him that justified bloody revenge.  On the most basic level, he was silly.  He had physically become an adult while mentally remaining at the level of a child who pouts and screams if he isn't immediately given a lollipop.

Where did he get the idea that it's OK to be like that?  How on Earth does a person manage to reach the age of 22 without ever learning that facing a certain amount of adversity and disappointment with fortitude is part of being an adult?  Why did he think that women owed him sex, any more than he himself would have owed it to someone who approached him but whom he found unattractive?  Even if he was lacking in introspection, he was seeing therapists -- didn't any of them manage to get these things across to him?  Didn't anyone ever explain that if he couldn't get a girlfriend, he needed to work on his own character and social skills rather than wailing that reality is what it is?

When I first heard about this, I thought it bolstered the case for legal prostitution, but I'm not sure if even that would have helped.  He didn't just want sex, he wanted to be loved, without taking any trouble to be lovable.

There are others out there like him, too, or at least like him enough to take this infantile video whinefest as a serious manifesto (here are a few).  How many of them are there, and how dangerous are they?  How many pouty toddlers in men's bodies are out there ready to explode in lethal temper tantrums if they don't get the lollipop?

As usually happens in such cases, the anti-gun crowd is trying to exploit this to push their own cause, even though half the victims were stabbed, not shot.  The real issue is how these startling failures in the human maturation process are happening, and what we can do about them when they do.

[*I have my reasons for not referring to such people by name.]


Blogger LadyAtheist said...

I read much of his written autobiography/manifesto and he was clearly a narcissist. He believed good things should come to him without him doing anything to earn them.

He shared a room with his sister for several years and yet he considered women a mystery. Huh?

Others have said that he barely ever talked to people and he didn't look people in the eye when he did. So... he expected women to throw themselves at him, and he imagined the men who got sex didn't actually talk to women, just showed up and they were literally chick magnets.

I'm not sure that society as a whole can be blamed, since he grew up in a Hollywood family. His mom was friends with George Lucas and he went to movie premieres with her. His dad was a producer and had a big house.

His main beef with his hated stepmother is that she limited his time playing computer games. How dare she interfere with him doing something he wanted to do??!?!?!

He really was lacking in insight into himself and any understanding of other people. I doubt that there are many people running around who are as sick as he was, but there are many on the continuum.

His main form of socializing was playing computer games, and the only achievement he was proud of was reaching a particular level with a game character. Did the game character give him an alter ego that compensated for the inadequacies of his true personality? I suspect yes, and perhaps that is happening to other obsessive gamers too. I hope someone studies what games do to a kid who has stunted emotional development.

29 May, 2014 08:16  
Blogger Tommykey said...

I was a bit of a late bloomer myself when it came to relationships and it didn't happen to me until I was 25. Yeah, I got frustrated and angry at times, but it never occurred to me to commit murder over it. An important part of the solution was understanding that the problem was not with other people, it was with me. That's the problem with these "Nice Guys", they fail to grasp that they might have more success with women if they could work on making themselves at least somewhat interesting. Learn to surf, become a certified scuba diver, take up rock climbing, volunteer some time for a good cause. There's lots of things to do that can help one achieve personal growth, confidence and a sense of earned self worth.

29 May, 2014 10:01  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That boy was weak as hell. He's so concerned about what other guys were doing instead of building himself. One downside is that they might start profiling quiet guys.


30 May, 2014 05:06  
Anonymous Ahab said...

"I'm the perfect guy..."

His utter lack of self-awareness and empathy is shocking. It apparently never occurred to him that women avoided him because he was an entitled, misogynist sociopath. I worry about how many other people are out in the world who think like him.

Several news articles and commentary pieces have pointed out the Pick-Up Artist lingo he used and the similarities of his ideas to those of so-called Men's Rights Activists. I'm relieved that people are talking about misogyny and violence now, and scrutinizing the PUAs and MRAs.

30 May, 2014 07:52  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Lady A: He certainly didn't have a legitimate beef about being deprived. By the standards of most people in history he lived a life of great privilege.

The idea that women are somehow mysterious and bizarre is oddly prevalent in some circles. To hear the MRA/PUA types talk, women are like some kind of alien species to be conquered through ingenuity. It's very odd.

The fixation on computer games is weird, but I once heard of a guy who committed suicide because his favorite TV show was canceled, so I suppose it can happen with any form of entertainment.

Tommykey: That's the normal and healthy reaction. The amount of narcissism it would take to go out and kill people over this is surreal.

Vic78: I wonder how quiet he actually was, though. The fact that he was going to therapists suggested that at least his parents knew something was wrong.

Ahab: It's disturbing to think that his involvement with those circles might have helped push him over the edge, but the rhetoric a lot of MRA/PUA types use is shockingly irresponsible.

30 May, 2014 11:14  
Blogger Unknown said...

I couldn't finish more than a couple of sentences of the transcript. One of the aspects of Asperger syndrome is a lack of empathy. He was also at the age that schizophrenia comes out. Although, in truth, I'll bet his feelings are not that different from most 15 year old boys. And that gets back to the Asperger thing. If there is a social component to this it is that every week or so someone shoots up a group of people because their lives aren't right. It didn't have to be girls or love--it could have been car troubles. Certainly when there was trouble in Syria and then in the Ukraine, that supposedly sane American ideal John McCain thought the best thing to do was to start killing people.

I think that Marge Gunderson at the end of Fargo had it right (although you can substitute anything for money), "So that was Mrs. Lundegaard on the floor in there. And I guess that was your accomplice in the wood chipper. And those three people in Brainerd. And for what? For a little bit of money. There's more to life than a little money, you know. Don't ya know that? And here ya are, and it's a beautiful day. Well. I just don't understand it."

All societies at all times had unstable people who did things that the rest of us can't really understand. But for an advanced culture, we are awfully violent.

30 May, 2014 15:54  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Frank: If genuine mental illness was a contributing factor, that's actually somewhat reassuring -- at least there are things we can do about that.

Maybe were more violent as a society because we're less good at spotting mental illness and treating it before it reaches this stage?

30 May, 2014 16:04  
Blogger Unknown said...

@Infidel753 - Well, there clearly was some mental illness. I mean, normal people don't do that kind of thing. But on the violence issue, I'm sure there are a number of things going on. For one thing, I think our dog-eat-dog mentality makes things worse. If corporate raiders can just take over other companies, why can't you just go out and kill people you think have harmed you? Also, there is the whole thesis of American Nations, which I find really interesting but haven't made an conclusions as of yet. I'm thinking of reading it again. I'm a left coaster, and he has us so pegged. Just the same, there are other countries with similar histories that don't seem to have quite the problems we do. Then again: they have better access to healthcare! Again: when a country just says, "Sink or swim!" it isn't surprising that some decide to drown others as they go down.

Oh, speaking of mental illness, I just watched The Bridge. I've been meaning to write about it. A film crew spent a year filming on the Golden Gate Bridge. Someone kills themselves on it every two weeks. The filmmakers themselves saved the lives of six people. It is sad and heartening at the same time. Most of the people have real mental health problems and often drugs works incredibly well. There is a lot we can do for both the suicides and the murderers. Or maybe I just think that because it's too depressing not to.

31 May, 2014 10:02  
Blogger Ahab said...

Frank and Infidel -- I urge great caution in attributing blame for the rampage to his Aspergers Syndrome. Aspergers makes it difficult to understand social cues, but it doesn't prevent people from having moral empathy (the ability to value other human beings as worthy of moral consideration).

The shooter was clearly unstable, but the full nature of that instability remains to be investigated. The instability also needs to be seen as part of a bigger picture, in which his hatred of women, entitlement, and hunger for power were all parts.

31 May, 2014 12:41  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Frank: I'm a bit skeptical of attributing things like this to society at large, just because most people who have similar experiences in the same society don't react the same way. The key, whatever it is, must be something specific to him. And as I pointed out in the article, historically most societies have subjected people to much greater stresses and injustice than our modern one does.

Ahab: Good point that "mental illness" covers many specific things which are quite different from each other.

I certainly don't regard violent behavior, in itself, as a sign of mental illness. Violent behavior is natural to most primates, certainly including humans. It does look like there was some kind of aberration in this case, though.

I wonder if Faye Kane will post anything about this incident. It seems like a natural subject for her.

01 June, 2014 08:25  
Anonymous Ahab said...

The New York Times just published an article on the shooter's mental health struggles. Something of interest to the discussion?


02 June, 2014 07:36  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Thanks for the link. It looks like no one really knows what the problem was -- mental illness can be very hard to diagnose. And even if the mental illness itself doesn't produce violence, it can produce isolation and frustration which in turn lead to violence.

The coffee and water gun attacks on women should have been warning signs.

02 June, 2014 11:03  

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