Friday night, May 23rd, Elliot Rodger stabbed three men to death in his apartment. He then got behind the wheel of his BMW and proceeded to murder three more people and injured thirteen others before dying of a gunshot wound to the head. He did this because he was a virgin. This isn’t speculation. In a blood-chilling video entitled “Elliot Rodger’s Retribution”, (link includes a transcript; the video itself is incredibly hard to watch) the 22 year old delivered a long rant about being a virgin, about how since he hit puberty he has been afflicted with unfulfilled desires. He was 22 years old and had never even kissed a girl. In college he felt as though he were surrounded by a world that he was not allowed to participate in, a world of sex and desire and love that he was cruelly excluded from. He wanted sex, but women refused to be attracted to him. He complained that it wasn’t “fair” that everybody else got to experience “sex, fun and pleasure” and he was left out.
He couldn’t stand how women would snub him, a self-proclaimed “supreme gentlemen”, while throwing themselves at “obnoxious brutes”. For these crimes, in his words – “the crime of living a better life than me” – they deserved to die. Because they supposedly forced him to suffer, they deserved to be made to suffer in return.
And so he killed six people and sent thirteen more to the hospital.
I wrote a little about this on the NerdLove Tumblr on Saturday when things were still fresh, but there’s still a lot to unpack here – about virginity, about society, about entitlement and – most of all – about hatred and pain. This isn’t a simple issue and we shouldn’t let it be. Because it’s about so much more than just one lone nut killing people. It’s about what it means to be a man.