On Elliot Rodger

[Content Note: Violence; misogyny; privilege; disablism; racism.]

Friday night, Elliot Rodger, a 22-year-old man went on a shooting spree, killing six people: Katie Cooper, 22; Veronika Weiss, 19; Weihan Wang, 20; George Chen, 19; Cheng Yuan Hong, 20; and Christopher Michael-Martinez, 20. Rodger was also killed, reportedly by his own hand. An additional 13 people were injured.

Despite the fact that Rodger left behind a manifesto detailing his hatred of and contempt for women, who he felt owed him sexual gratification, and a video expressing the same sentiments, immediately the narrative became that Rodger was "crazy," and/or that the Asperger's with which he'd been diagnosed as a child was responsible for his murder spree.

tweet authored by me reading: 'Dismissing violent misogynists as 'crazy' is a neat way of saying that violent misogyny is an individual problem, not a cultural one.'

Over the last four days, I have pushed back on this idea. A Storify of my tweets is below the fold.

Or, you can just read my timeline here. I also strongly recommend reading the timelines of the following people: Amadi, Imani Gandy, Amanda Levitt, Jessica Luther, Sydette, Liza Sabater, Dr. Jane Chi, Lauren Chief Elk, Tina Vasquez, Angus Johnston, Elon James White, and Jordan Banks. Please feel welcome to leave links to other recommended commentators and/or articles in comments.

I don't have much more to say than I've already said on Twitter, but I do want to make the point (again) that mentally ill people are more likely themselves to be victims of violence than perpetrators of it.

Yes, we do need better mental healthcare access. But Rodger, a highly privileged man from a wealthy family, had access to great mental healthcare—his family could afford it, and he was getting treatment—but one of the things about which we have to be honest is that most mental health professionals are not equipped to address entitled misogyny as a psychological or behavioral concern.

And the reason for that is because we don't culturally regard entitled misogyny as a psychological or behavioral concern. Rodger was, after all, merely taking the basic precept of a patriarchal system—that men have ownership of and are entitled to women—to its extreme.

(Which is to say nothing of the fact that mental health professionals are not mind-readers. They can only address that of which they're aware.)

He holds the ultimate accountability for his actions, but we need to not pretend that these murders happened in a vacuum. It's no way to honor victims to refuse to acknowledge the cultural failures in the shadow of which their lives were taken.

My sincerest condolences to the survivors of Rodger's victims. My fervent hopes to the injured survivors that they have access to the care that they need to heal.

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