The question posed in the title is a question that has been making me wonder for a good decade: why is there on two different sides of the world with two different cultures, the same age of mentally/emotionally disabled men doing heinous acts of mass murder.
I don’t need to be a medical doctor to understand that Elliot Rodger had severe mental illness. We can label him a douche, a product of rape culture, white privilege, male, evil, fame seeker, MRA, and I even heard the term playa hater. The list can go on and on.
Any label fits with what we feel is wrong with society. We can toss it on to him and feel better. But the only label I heard that really felt poignant and was not out of emotional anger were those labeling him mentally ill, as his speech and actions were psychopathic and a showed Aspergers Syndrome.
We all have agendas and ideologies. I have my own, as I view of this kind tragedy as an act of terrorism. I am someone who saw the horror of a terrorist attack overseas (I was at and should have been dead during the London bombing in 07′.) That changed how I viewed the world, just like a woman being assaulted, or a boy being bullied.
We know and understand tragedy and make sense of it through our experiences and beliefs.
For me, these “American” attacks always make me think of suicide bombers more than Columbine, and a disturbing thought keeps entering my head seeing this last one: is Elliot Rodger any different from a suicide bomber?
This not just an American problem but the first major issue of globalization–the issue of mentally ill men using violence to make meaning for themselves in a world that has no place for them.
Americans, we can get caught up in a myopic and self-centered worldview. We forget we are in a global world. We are also a country where discourse gets caught in the red tape of political correctness and also forget that men of the same age are committing the same crimes just using a bomb instead of a gun all over the world.
Researching this, I was surprised to see that many of these “men” do not come from poverty but of stable and middle to upper middle class families–even suicide bombers, “Analysis of Hezbollah suicide bombers shows that incidents of suicide bombing attacks increase with current income and with the degree of altruism towards the next generation.Hezbollah suicide bombers come from above-average wealthy families, and have an above average level of education. The willingness of more educated people to engage in suicide missions suggests that education affects deeply one’s view of the world, enhancing sensitivity to the future.”
Americans tend to toss aside Muslim attackers as a political issue, other worldly, or the work of “The Enemy”, but why are these men any different from the Americans causing the same violence? When we take aside race and religion and focus on sex and age, I see a similar scary work at play–mentally ill men using violence against a world they do not fit into and despise.
This could be a 300 page thesis but it appears we have two societies that have no idea how to handle the mentally ill and both are making these men sicker, as the middle east and America both have religious roots that are poisoned and perversion of each countries predominant faith.
America’s Christianity is posturing and hollow. We don’t live or encourage the Sermon on The Mount. We do worship celebrity and celebrate men who have power and status. Our culture is a neo-caveman Darwin philosophy that can be shown through videos and images: look at me, I’m enough, see what I have, I am the alpha male.
Elliot Rodger’s speech was a reflection of this worldview, a critique of it and yet desire and longing to be part of it. His disability made him see things with uber-rationality, without emotion and saw this is a society that is built on men feeling self-esteem though amassing power and “pussy.”
This country, and maybe much of civilization is built on idolatry of status (read about our American founders, even George Washington knew being a General and winning a war was the only way to improve his status and land a mate he desired) and it is present day men that are worshippers of the perversion of the American dream that is antithesis of Christian Faith.
For a country that feels suspicious of teaching evolution, we unconsciously follow and encourage the worse of it as men are valuing the same virtues of our cavemen ancestors and seeing women as a way to validate themselves, to increase self-esteem, and measure up in a cruel and competitive world.
American society is (and maybe always has been after the industrial revolution) following the worst of natures law–the one who has the most or best looking women are the best. Self-esteem is pushed on boys from every influence of a misogynist culture on how well they do with women.
This is nature and this society worst ills and it leads to great unhappiness. The term of this mentality in men has been labeled ‘rape culture’, but I pause on using that term as it is becoming politicized with certain agendas of “sex negative feminists”. But I will agree though there is a “culture” effecting mentally disabled men and by their late teens and twenties they act out violently.
Where America champions the prowess of the sexually active male and has a schizophrenic relationship with women: show your skin, be hot, but don’t be a slut. Muslim countries are also very sexual dysfunctional toward sex as well. Women are covered and unequal. They are even separated. They are property and where the mentally ill American male is left to video games, social media, and high school bullying to find only peace in his own alienation and delusions where he is the star of his own violent movie, the young Muslim man with mental illness instead is preyed on by the radicals of the Masques. Where the white american male becomes a diluted noir hero of one in his mind, the young Muslim man finds meaning and acceptance in the radical Masques.
Both men are suffering (not saying they are good, but any mental illness not treated properly leads to suffering) and maybe could be helped if both regions had some healthy way to deal with illness but neither cultures and regions do.
Where the American has individualism that leaves mental illness mixed with psychopathy that leads only to alienated loneliness, the muslim man with the same illness can take his alienation and illness and be easily preyed upon in the Masques. The mentally ill make for a great radical muslim/future suicide bomber and it’s truly disgusting how these men in the middle east are preyed upon to carry acts of violence.
I personally feel more tragedy for the suicide bombers because they are pawns in a broken system where The Masque (the radical ones preaching violence against the west) are the only support they really have as America has much more mental illness awareness and there are no men going out to recruit lonely mentally ill alienated men.
The leaders of terrorist groups turn these men into weapons, literal bombs, while the untreated lonely young male in America becomes a ticking time bombs of destruction.
While I hear many well-meaning people screaming for gun control and I appreciate their motives, it will not stop the problem. If one group can make homemade weapons, why can’t the other?
Gun violence is just the visible effect of the disease, it is putting a Band-Aid on an infection. Arguing about guns can go in a weird areas, you can argue if Rodgers didn’t have a gun he might have decided to make massive bomb like Timothy Mcveigh. With technology moving at a fast pace, a new weapon could come. So the question goes back to how stop or manage the disease from the start–literally and figuratively.
Mental illness and psychopathy and countries that have no way to prevent, but probably enables and unintentionally encourages this behavior is the real ill.
The world is becoming more fast paced (and not in a good way), social bonds, and religious institutions are becoming more corrupt. Individualism and idol worship in the west, radicalism in the middle east and both are leaving the mentally ill prey to their own illness and or prey to radical Muslim terrorists.
This is dark and harsh truth to accept because I don’t have (and I doubt few do) a solution on how to stop these acts.
I don’t see American culture and society really taking mental illness seriously and will continue to argue indirectly about the issue and getting nothing done. I don’t see Pakistan, Lebanon, and Saudi Arabia and other countries that let Radical Islam run rampant while Despots rule do anything about this either.
The greatest threat to us evolving into a less violent animal will be figuring out a way to deal with those left behind by our advances as a species.
If there is any good news, it is these tragedies that show how much people are disgusted and worried by these men. While the attackers can propped up by social media and the traditional kinds, the majority of voices are becoming less violent and wanting a better and healthier culture that is realistically achievable.
Yet, while tools of globalization could make for a better society as whole, there will be those few tragic individuals who remain sick and dangerous. We must figure out whether it is through protection or prevention to find a solution to deal with these men, because they are not going anywhere and my greatest worry is there are many more of them all around the world.