Our idea of Elliot Rodger is a description of who we are

June 2, 2014

Monday, June 2, 2014

Good morning:

Just as light passing through a prism separates into beams distinguishable from each other by color, our reaction to Elliot Rodger and his day of rage, which ended with his suicide after killing six and injuring 13 students, is a reflection of our knowledge and sensitivity to debilitating mental illness. The national reaction, this blog’s reaction as a community within that larger group, and our individual reaction identifies who we are and where we stand. As such, it is worthy of independent study to increase our understanding of ourselves.

Individual perception is a selective interpretation of information we acquire through our senses. We use our brains to assemble that information into something we recognize and understand. The resulting idea is what we call reality.

Individual perception of reality may vary from person to person due to differences in sensory detection and past interpretations of reality. This is why we often see what we expect or want to see.

Scientists use the term experimental bias to describe this process and they design experiments to exclude it. For example, in a blind study to determine the effect of a drug, participants will be separated into two groups. One receives the drug while the other receives a placebo. Participants in both groups do not know if they are receiving the drug or the placebo. To further exclude bias, the people who administer the drug do not know if they are administering the drug or a placebo.

The New York Times has an article today that informs us about the opinions that various adults in his life had about him and the effort to get through to him.

I have changed my initial opinion of Elliot Rodger from he was a rich and incredibly spoiled brat to he was a rich and desperately sick human being afflicted by a compromised sensory detection system and a compromised memory storage system that further skewed his interpretation of reality.

I now have compassion for Elliot Rodger which I did not have when I wrote my first post.

I believe empathy and compassion are our signature characteristics. I do not believe we would have survived the last ice age without them.

How we react to Elliot Rodger and his day of retribution defines who and where we are.

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Elliot Rodgers: A rich spoiled brat UPDATED BELOW

May 25, 2014

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Good morning:

Elliot Rogers wanted all the “blonde sluts” at UC Santa Barbara to know that he is the “perfect alpha male” for them, so he recorded this video to explain how incredibly cool he is and why he decided to slaughter everybody creating “mountains of skulls and rivers of blood.”

As I watched and listened, I was struck by how privileged and self-centered he was.

Here is the heart wrenching statement, from a father, who lost his son:

UPDATE 1

Here’s Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown’s press conference yesterday.

The UK Guardian is reporting today,

On Sunday, Santa Barbara’s county sheriff, Bill Brown, blamed failures in mental-health treatment for the fact that Rodger’s behaviour had worried people around him and precipitated three contacts with police, most recently last month, but had not caused an intervention that might have averted the slaughter.

“I think the fact of the matter is, there’s a general lack of resources in community mental-health treatment generally,” he told CNN on Sunday. “There’s also probably a lack of notification by healthcare professionals in instances when people are expressing suicidal or in certain cases homicidal thoughts or tendencies.”

An attorney for Rodger’s father said Rodger was diagnosed as a high-functioning patient with Asperger’s syndrome and had trouble making friends. “The Rodger family offers our deepest compassion and sympathies to the families involved in this terrible tragedy. We are experiencing the most inconceivable pain and our hearts go out to everyone involved,” the family said in a statement on Saturday.

Here’ wikipedia on Asperger’s syndrome:

Asperger syndrome (AS), also known as Asperger disorder (AD) or simply Asperger’s, is an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) that is characterized by significant difficulties in social interaction and nonverbal communication, alongside restricted and repetitive patterns of behavior and interests. It differs from other autism spectrum disorders by its relative preservation of linguistic and cognitive development. Although not required for diagnosis, physical clumsiness and atypical (peculiar, odd) use of language are frequently reported. The diagnosis of Asperger’s was eliminated in the 2013 fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) and replaced by a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder on a severity scale.

The syndrome is named after the Austrian pediatrician Hans Asperger who, in 1944, studied and described children in his practice who lacked nonverbal communication skills, failed to identify their peers’ emotions, and were physically clumsy. The modern conception of Asperger syndrome came into existence in 1981 and went through a period of popularization, becoming standardized as a diagnosis in the early 1990s. Many questions remain about aspects of the disorder. There is doubt about whether it is distinct from high-functioning autism (HFA); partly because of this, its prevalence is not firmly established.

The exact cause is unknown. Although research suggests the likelihood of a genetic basis, there is no known genetic cause and brain imaging techniques have not identified a clear common pathology. There is no single treatment, and the effectiveness of particular interventions is supported by only limited data. Intervention is aimed at improving symptoms and function. The mainstay of management is behavioral therapy, focusing on specific deficits to address poor communication skills, obsessive or repetitive routines, and physical clumsiness. Most children improve as they mature to adulthood, but social and communication difficulties may persist. Some researchers and people with Asperger’s have advocated a shift in attitudes toward the view that it is a difference, rather than a disability that must be treated or cured.

Although Adam Lanza, the Newtown shooter, was diagnosed with Asperger’s, violent behavior is atypical. Here’s Barbara Goodman of webmd.com,

Indeed, psychologists and psychiatrists agree that people with autism or Asperger’s are not more likely to commit violent crimes than members of the general population, but they say in very rare cases, it can happen.

Last, but not least, here is a link to Rodgers’s 140 page manifesto (H/T to Towerflower)

I still think he was a rich spoiled brat.

UPDATE 2

NBC News is reporting:

he three victims who were stabbed in the apartment of the man who unleashed a rampage in the college town of Isla Vista, California, were identified by authorities Sunday, two days after the violent spree.

The victims were identified as Cheng Yuan Hong, 20, and George Chen, 19, both of San Jose, and Weihan Wang, 20, of Fremont.

Authorities said that Hong and Chen were listed as tenants at the apartment of 22-year-old Elliot Rodger, who was suspected of causing the rampage. It was unclear if Wang was a roommate, too. All three were students at the University of California Santa Barbara.

Rodger was suspected of stabbing the three “repeatedly with sharp objects,” Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown said Saturday. “It was a pretty horrific crime scene,” Brown added.

UPDATE 3

Boston.com has this report about Elliot’s parents frantically driving to Isla Vista after they found out about the manifesto.

Elliot Rodger’s parents raced to his Santa Barbara-area community after his mother saw his online threats, but they heard the news of a shooting on the radio as they were driving on the freeway.

They later learned their son had killed six people, wounded 13 and then — authorities say — took his own life.

The Los Angeles Times reported Sunday that mother Chin Rodger got a call from her son’s therapist shortly before the shootings Friday about a ranting email sent by their son.

Then the mother found his video vowing to kill people.

Family friend Simon Astaire tells the newspaper that Chin Rodger alerted authorities and set off with her ex-husband, director Peter Rodger.

But by the time they arrived, officers confirmed their son had gone on a rampage.


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