Today, I checked my Twitter, tweeted irately about various things, and made an obligatory memorial day status. And as I scrolled down, I saw an article from ThoughtCatalog, entitled “Don’t Use A Tragedy to Further Your Own Agenda.” I already disagree with this statement, because if tragedies don’t serve as an impetuous for change, they’re just a waste. Something bad has already happened, and I’d like to see as much good come out of it as possible – I suppose it’s part of my love for cosmic balance. I think there can be respect and mourning alongside an acknowledgement of what went wrong and how to fix it.
So, expecting to find an article that I didn’t agree with, but could respect, I clicked on the link. Boy, was I wrong.
The author chose to attack female activists who responded to the recent Isla Vista murders, saying that the women had failed to check their facts prior to calling patriarchy. Much of the article hinged on the fact that not all of the victims were females, however the article failed to take into account the fact that the first three male victims were Rodger’s roommates, whom he chose to kill due to a misguided desire for revenge.
The real information that we need to consider – the information that indicated patriarchy and misogyny as perpetrators – existed before the murders themselves. Rodger had a vendetta against women; he believed that they had not paid him the attention he deserved. The women he chose to shoot were random; they were not known to him, and they had not personally rejected him. He killed them because he wanted to “punish” women for not paying attention to him. And in many ways, Rodger is a pitiful figure – rejection can be damaging to a person’s psyche, and information has been released indicating that he was seeing a therapist, and trying to work through some issues he had.
However, that doesn’t excuse his actions, or the reasons for them. Rodger felt that all women were to blame for his social isolation. He blamed an entire gender for not giving him what he felt he deserved. Rodger felt that he deserved women’s adoration – that, in fact, he was entitled to it. And while not all men go to such extremes, the fact is that we send men that message from a very young age. Men are told – especially when unpopular when young – that someday they WILL be successful, and girls will realize their mistakes. It’s standard rhetoric we feed the bullied, abused, and undervalued. And while this rhetoric comes from a good place, it can lead to a sense of entitlement. If someone equates success with the adoration of women, as soon as a one feels like they are entitled to success, they feel they’re entitled to women as well. It’s troubling, and when we look at the Rodger’s speech and actions in the days prior to the massacre, you can see the evidence of that thinking.
Was Rodger mentally ill? Current evidence points to yes. Was the massacre a tragedy? Undeniably yes. While both of these things are true, the fact is that Rodger’s though processes in the days leading up to the Isla Vista shootings were intensely misogynistic, and his actions – killing roommates who he felt didn’t value him properly, and killing random women to right imagined wrongs – were as well.
If you’re curious, here is the original article: http://thoughtcatalog.com/gordon-avery/2014/05/dont-use-a-tragedy-to-further-your-own-agenda/
And if you would like a better researched and less specious source for information, here is this: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/dad-daughter-devastated-named-elliot-rodger-manifesto-article-1.1805983