Why Elliot Rodger Killed 6 People... and Himself
Sunday, 25 May 2014
In case you haven’t seen it yet, a 22-year-old named Elliot Rodger went on a killing spree, stabbing to death three people, shooting three more, and then turning the gun on himself.
Before doing so, he posted a video on YouTube in which he talks about his rationale:
Out of curiosity, I watched it, though I usually prefer avoiding the news since there’s always another death, always another killing... yet in a rather mixed batch of emotions, covering everything from horror to rage to sadness to recognition, I knew exactly what I was seeing.
Because I think a lot of young males in Western society go through what Elliot went through – I know certainly I did – and while it’s easy (and undoubtedly true) to say that had he hung in there a few more years, his life would’ve gone dramatically differently, as would have the lives of his victims, it’s worth taking a moment to understand what was going on inside the man that prompted him to do things he could never take back...
... and also, for anyone bothered by thoughts of following a similar path, what he should have done instead.
What I notice when I watch that video of Elliot is that his speaking patterns, the way he describes his life, and much more sounds a LOT like how I used to sound back in my pre-pickup days... a LOT.
Everything from about how excluded he is, to how everyone else has done this to him, to how much enjoyment everyone else is getting out of his or her life and how he’s the only one who isn’t a part of things.
I know this is not an uncommon mindset. There are not a ton of young guys going through this, percentage wise, but there’s enough that this isn’t some rare place to be in your life.
It’s not just an American phenomenon. I’ve seen young guys in Asia
going through it too.
It happens in Europe. I’ve had guys contact me from Africa to talk
about being frustrated and hopeless with women, and I don’t doubt there
are some there feeling exactly this bad as well.
Every time this feeling erupts forth into real world violence, the news media acts like it’s some shocking, surprising, totally unexpected event, and that the perpetrator is an inhuman monster who cannot be related to.
The problem though isn’t that he isn’t relatable – he is, if you take a moment to understand where he’s coming from.
The problem is that he did not take the time to relate to others himself – and this is the source of all the woes that men in his position (my former self included) experience.
Why Couldn’t He Wait?
I learned about Elliot when one of my buddies shared his video, saying, “This guy killed a bunch of people because he never kissed a girl – guess he didn’t know how to use Google.”
I watched the video. It’s clear Elliot was smart. He has a good voice, and he’s very articulate. He looks pretty cool, honestly. He’s got that cooped up, edgy “I’ve never been laid and I know you can tell” energy about him, but everybody’s got that until he’s taken his first lover. That’s how it goes.
Thing is, when I watch this video, all I can think is, “God DAMN it, Elliot, if you’d just hung in there a few more years you would’ve been up to your EYEBALLS in pussy, I guarantee it!”
6 innocent people are dead now and he’s killed himself too because he couldn’t wait.
Why couldn’t he wait?
Why didn’t he find Girls Chase? Why didn’t he use this site?
Or perhaps, even had he found it, he would’ve just thrown it out as hype and nonsense. Who needs that... I’d rather go just kill somebody.
[EDIT: I just checked out Roosh’s article on Elliot over at ROK (good article; you should read it), and apparently Elliot was an active member of PUAHate.com, which until this past weekend was a place where guys who’d mostly never tried hung out saying that it was impossible to pick up women... they didn’t discuss GC much on there, though they did say that my article “Don’t Let Her Go” implies I am a weirdo rapist or something... so I guess that’s why – it isn’t that he didn’t know how to Google, it’s that he did, and just didn’t believe it]
When you are deeply depressed, you are firmly focused on the present time only, with perhaps some regretful nostalgia for the past, and zero ability to conceptualize a remotely appealing future.
You look ahead, and all you see is darkness after interminable darkness... one long, endless stretch of days that never end, filled with suffering and humiliation and defeat, watching everyone else around you enjoy the things that you can never have.
So, of course, you get desperate for a way out, and you become filled with resentment, wanting to get revenge on all those stupid, ignorant people out there who are enjoying themselves mindlessly without knowing or caring what you are going through and dealing with.
What you MISS is that other people are NOT stupid or mindless.
They’re NOT insensitive.
They’re NOT living perfect lives.
But you don’t see this, because the further into depression you are, the more focused on yourself you become in a sort of desperate fight for self-preservation, and the farther and farther your ability to empathize with other people falls into the pit.
Convinced into a Corner
I spent a lot of time in a very dark place as a teen. Each day was torture – of trying to be cool, but knowing I was probably failing; trying to get girls’ attention, but usually not getting it; trying to be smooth, but usually being stilted.
Time went by slower then than at any other time in my life. The days ticked by, each second seeming to last an eternity. I felt like I was trapped in some kind of prison of the infinite, from which I could never escape. The only time I was free from it was when I was asleep.
I struggled with bitterness and resentment – everyone around me had friends; I was hearing all the stories about boys kissing girls; before long I knew they were going to be having sex. I was being left behind. Me! An honors student whom everyone said was the funniest person they knew, the coolest guy they knew, the most independent guy they knew, the most creative guy they knew... it wasn’t just unfair. It was horrific. It was some sort of great cosmic joke... just like Elliot, I’d worked hard to make myself into someone great, and instead I found myself standing there entirely left out.
So, one day, the inevitable thought occurred to me: well, I’m probably going to kill myself anyway, so I might as well take some of these people all enjoying their idyllic lives with me.
I thought about it for a few minutes – at first I felt relieved; okay, now I know what I have to do.
But as I turned it over and examined it logically, I realized something that made the thought immediately shift from relieving to utterly horrifying: all these people are working just as hard as I am to fit in – they all are fighting to win at dating and mating and popularity and life JUST as hard.
It isn’t some kind of game where I’m the only player. EVERYONE is a player. And the ones who are winning are winning because they’ve figured out what it takes to win.
If I’m not winning, the logical conclusion isn’t that it’s because the world is unfair and I’m doing what I’m supposed to to win and just being cruelly deprived of that...
... instead, it’s that I’m NOT doing what it takes to win, and that I need to take things back to the drawing board instead, and figure out exactly what it is the guys who are cleaning up have figured out that I have not, and exactly what I need to be doing differently to get the results that I want.
I had convinced myself into a corner of inaction, I’d realized, following a “success formula” I’d picked up somewhere that didn’t work, and now I needed to throw that formula out and find one that DID work and do that instead.
The world I was living was a lie. I needed to wake up.
Thus, instead of going farther down the path of desperation, I reinvented myself that year. And while that reinvention didn’t give me the tools I needed just yet to bring women into my life, it set me on a path – one that would finally enable me to start succeeding later on into the future from then, and eventually led to me reaching a place where I’d outpaced all those guys I used to sit and stew about doing so much better than I was with women.
And when I watch Elliot’s video, all I see in it is a version of myself that didn’t stumble on that realization... and I just want to slap him across the face and yell, “Wake up, you fool!!”
Because the way is clear, and it’s already laid out in front of you.
All you have to do is open your bloody eyes. It’s all around you.
Elliot was too blinded by his own smarts and calculations and
self-satisfaction to see it, though.
So who owes you, anyway?
Do I owe you? What do I owe you? What’ve you done for me that I owe you it?
How about that girl over there? What’s she owe you? She owe you some sex, does she?
Here’s the problem with the entitlement mentality lots of people end up with in depression, and that often DRIVES that depression: it’s that they start viewing other people as some big, agglomerated group of oneness.
As if she and her and that guy and this other guy over here and that girl in the checkered shirt are all in alliance together with each other, and against you.
And that’s why the killing spree happens. Because here’s the trippy part about mass shootings: these are nearly always tied to suicide, which Denys de Catanzaro has hypothesized (and published a lot of research on) comes down to a mathematical calculation we do in our heads about our own likelihood to reproduce.
What a mass shooting seems to be, so far as I can tell, is someone who’s already calculated that he’s on the way out deciding that before he goes, he’s going to thin out the members of an out-group of competing individuals who are not part of his in-group.
Thinning the Competition
This is my own theory, so bear with me while I flesh it out. If you aren’t familiar with the theory around evolution and suicide, this probably sounds pretty alien, so let me cite the backing for this.
In “Reproductive status, family interactions, and suicidal ideation: Surveys of the general public and high-risk groups”, published in the journal Ethology and Sociobiology, de Catanzaro writes:
“Evolutionary modeling predicts an erosion of self-preservative genetic expression in the conjunction of low reproductive potential and burdensomeness toward kin. Although culture and pathology clearly bear on human suicide, some of its emotional concomitants could reflect such evolution. A survey probing reproductive behavior, quality of family contacts, and suicidal ideation was administered to samples of the general public of Ontario and high-suicide-risk groups, including elderly, psychiatric, criminal psychiatric, and homosexual individuals. Within each sample, variance in suicidal ideation related to reproductive and family-social variables. Social isolation and perceived burdensomeness toward family were especially correlated with suicidal ideation.”
... and in “Evolutionary limits to self- preservation”, also in Ethology and Sociobiology, he writes:
“A simple mathematical formula can be derived, on the basis of inclusive fitness theory and notions of reproductive value, to represent the residual capacity of an individual to influence his inclusive fitness. This formula involves the individual’s remaining reproductive potential in his expected natural lifetime, plus the summated impacts of his continued existence on the remaining reproductive potentials of each of his kin, each weighted by the coefficient of relationship. In theory, this quantity should predict the extent to which self-preservation is optimally expressed in that individual. For asocial species, the value will vary from zero up to the maximal reproductive value observable, and the logic of the Medawar-Williams theory of senescence should apply directly. However, for highly social species like our own, it can be demonstrated that negative values can also obtain, given the conjunction of low residual reproductive potential and burdensomeness toward kin. Much empirical evidence suggests that outright self-destructiveness is often found in circumstances of such conjunction.”
In other words, what de Catanzaro is saying is that it seems that suicide occurs when an individual’s subconscious has gauged his likelihood to reproduce vs. his overall impact on the survivability of his genes, taking into account any possible burdens he places on his family’s reproductive odds.
That is, an individual who calculates that the likelihood he reproduces is almost nil, and that the burden he will place upon his family to provide for him, direct their time and energy away from helping other children of the family or additional family members, and things of that nature, is too great, will decide that he is a failed organism who is dragging down his genes’ likelihood of being passed on by negatively affecting his family and other closely related individuals – so will remove himself as a burden.
What I theorize is happening in these mass shootings – notice that the individual almost never targets his own family – is that his subconscious is calculating that these individuals he is excluded by and cannot relate to are out-group competitors, and by taking a few of them with him he is opening up more opportunity for his surviving family members.
For a simple example, let’s say you have a tiny village in the middle of nowhere comprised of three families, Family A, Family B, and Family C. Family A has a son who’s depressed, and keeps getting rejected by the girls in Families B and C and is excluded from hanging out together by the boys in Families B and C. Ultimately he decides he will never get anywhere with them, and always be alone, and in a bitter, resentful rampage he goes and spears a bunch of people in Families B and C, then drowns himself.
Now what’s likely to happen?
Everyone mourns... but there is a lot more of Family A’s members left than there are Family B’s and Family C’s. Therefore, despite the anchor he was on Family A’s likelihood to reproduce for a while, on the way out he actually managed to increase the likelihood that Family A’s genes prosper, since there will be more of them to reproduce now than there are of Family B’s and Family C’s.
Also, notice that these murderous rampages are almost always of individuals in the prime of their reproductive years?
No one drives to an old folks’ home and goes killing people.
Nor do old folks feel the need to go on murderous rampages themselves.
It’s always young men, in the prime of their lives, who are sexually unsuccessful, and they always target as their victims out-group (to them) individuals who seem unrelatable and “othered” to them and who are otherwise apparently sexually successful.
They’re thinning out the competition to make more room for their surviving, successful relatives to pass on their genes.
Snap Out of It – They AREN’T the Competition
I doubt many people reading this article are considering embarking on a mass killing spree.
But I’d bet my bottom dollar there still ARE plenty of people who feel some degree of resentment toward others out there enjoying things they themselves are not enjoying.
Could be women.
Could be money.
Could be anything.
That “othering” you’re doing leads you to out-group these people as unrelatable. You quit empathizing with them, and just resent them, as if they owe you something.
Well, they don’t owe you nuthin’. Not a damn thing.
Wake up. If you’re living in a world where you think that “everyone else” is enjoying life and only you are left out – like I used to, like Elliot did – you’re living a lie.
Because everyone else is suffering. They’re all confused and unsure. Most of them are copying one another, trying their best to fit in. You’re probably trying to be different and wondering why it isn’t working, but different only works a small percentage of the time, and that’s true with anything – you want to learn music, or tennis, or sales, you do it by copying the best and going from there, not by trying to “be unique.” Only once you’re already good at doing what the best do do you branch out and “express yourself.”
No one cares about what makes you special – just like you don’t care about what makes anyone ELSE special. Seriously – did you EVER sit there thinking, “Wow, John is just so special because he [John’s good qualities]”?
Of course not. So if YOU don’t think that about anyone, why would anyone think that about you – because Hollywood told you so?
No. Wake up.
They’re not the enemy and there’s no reason to resent them. But
they’re not going to save you either. They’re just people.
Read the article on depression:
Read the article on victim mentality:
Read the article on obsessing over one special girl:
And read the article on what REALLY works with women, and why:
I got into this line of work in large part because I know how close I came to a lot of bad things going down in my life when I was younger and without guidance, and I wanted to get stuff out there that could show anyone who is where I WAS that the only reason he’s even there in the first place is because his thinking is all tangled up and he’s looking at things with blinders on.
All you see when you are in this mentality is the view from a tunnel. It’s like being trapped in Plato’s allegory of the cave and thinking that the shadows are people.
They’re not. They’re the lie. The truth is what you cannot see.
Stop waiting for something to happen that’s never going to happen, quit blaming other people, and get out there and go make your life better.
Follow the examples of people who are already doing what works, and stop listening to media bullcrap about how you have to be a nice guy or really funny or whatever Everybody Loves Raymond is telling you works with women. It doesn’t. This does. Or get a natural friend and copy him. Or move to some exotic country where women are easier for men of your background and demographic, like Eastern Europe or South America or Asia is for many men.
Fact is, among all those “other people” out there having fun, nearly all of them is leading a far less fun, exciting life than you think they are on the outside, and you won’t know that until you really get to know them.
And when you really put the screws on and upgrade your life by emulating guys who know what they’re doing, you will find you so quickly outpace all but the very best of those guys you used to think had it all that you won’t believe it.
They aren’t the competition. Know what the competition is?
It’s the faulty mental models you’re working with trying to do whatever it is you’re trying to do (get girls, make friends, make money, whatever).
Frankly, I wish someone would’ve put me in the car right next to Elliot Rodger when he was filming that YouTube video. I would’ve smacked him in the face, then immediately taken him out to the boardwalk or a bar and had him kissing a girl within an hour or two.
I can’t personally run around the world saving everyone who’s on the brink, of course, but I shouldn’t have to – that’s why I built this site and put articles like this on here.
So if you’re feeling in the least bit desperate or resentful, this is my slap in the face to you.
And if you’re 22 and you still haven’t kissed a girl, read this, and make this your mission in life until you pull the damn thing off: “How to Kiss Girls in Public and Have It Go Great.”
You have no excuse. And other people are not the enemy, or competition.
It’s your own damn head that is.
So fix it.
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