Second Base in Santa Barbara, James Christie

Second Base in Santa Barbara

Elliot Rodger couldn’t get to second base with girls in Santa Barbara, so he killed them. Then he killed himself.

His father’s lawyer, Alan Shifman, confirmed that twenty-two-year-old Rodger was being treated by multiple professionals. Aah, the child was diagnosed at an earlier age of being a highly functional Asperger’s syndrome child.

Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown said it was very, very apparent he was severely mentally disturbed” while Doctor Adam Lankford, quoted in The Mail on Sunday: commented that Rodger, a student at Santa Barbara City College and a complete failure with girls, “the classic rampage killer: young, male, isolated and sexually frustrated. And he appeared to have a pronounced victim mentality. … He blamed his suffering on others, and therefore felt his violence was righteous.”

The three people he stabbed to death at his apartment, the innocent victim who died at a deli, the two Delta Delta sorority sisters shot to death on the University of California Santa Barbara campus, the cyclist whose leg he mangled and the two survivors in hospital with “critical” and “life-threatening” injuries would undoubtedly disagree that Rodger was in any way righteous. Police officers later found him dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head in his BMW, the car itself containing three 9mm semi-automatic handguns, two Sig Sauers, a Glock pistol and forty loaded magazines containing about four hundred rounds of ammunition.

For me, two separate strands of thought came out of this sick atrocity:

First, Elliot Rodger was an Asperger. I am an Asperger. Neither of us got kissed at college, we were both complete failures with girls and we were both frustrated.

But when interviewed, Shifman referred to Rodger as a child six times We were not children. Rodger was twenty-two when he killed himself, I was at college from the age of eighteen to twenty. I learned to laugh at myself, and this self-deprecation appeared in one paragraph early on in the first draft (later revised…) of Dear Miss Landau

I was thirty-one before I first had sex and in my forties before I’d taught myself how to manage socially and relate to women. Since they are apparently from Venus and I was a Vulcan, you can perhaps imagine the problems. Logical autism did proffer certain advantages, though. I was a sexual inadequate for so long that I had, seriously and logically, to come to terms with and control my male ego. So when I did finally manage to pick up some pretty obvious hints from a pretty inebriated woman, I just did my best, tried to remember the rules, and gave her as good a time as possible without going off half-cocked. I was pleased to discover I was quite good at it, and with my exceptionally low mileage I considered myself a good reconditioned model with plenty of power left in the engine and lots of love still to give.

I wasn’t that happy about admitting to the world that I hadn’t found out about the facts of life until I was thirty-one, but at the time of writing I felt the best thing to do was be honest about it and get it out of the way.

Elliot Rodger went another way, and I do not feel the fact he was an adult with autism could be offered as any excuse for his actions. In general, people with autism consider facts first and feelings afterwards so an Asperger, in my opinion, should be even more aware than a neuro-typical of the difference between right and wrong. Rodger obviously had other problems (people can suffer from more than one personality disorder at a time and autism is no barrier to other hang-ups…) but in the end, there can be no excuse for his actions. He knew what he was doing, and what he was going to do, as his YouTube declaration made perfectly clear.

Second, I’ve become more and more concerned about America’s gun control controversy every time I’ve gone there; and been quite worn down with the vitriol of the arguments I’ve read on social media back home. I personally feel that the sheer amount of guns in circulation is far too high, that the Second Amendment should have withered on the vine decades ago, and that any belief that a bunch of “patriots” with rifles could overthrow a government which has air supremacy and nuclear weapons is patently ludicrous.

However, as Rod Dreher of The American Conservative said in an exceptionally well-crafted article about America’s gun control impasse:

“Americans seem incapable of honest debate among ourselves about what our permissive gun laws do – and not do – with the chronic bloodletting.”

So rather than rehash the same tired old lines, I’ll look at it from a slightly different angle.

A cold, logical angle only an Asperger or sociopath would even want to consider.

Elliot Rodger’s arsenal was legally purchased.

The only certainty in all of this is that, sooner or later, there will be another mass shooting in America. Innocent men, women and children will die. In war, the military tends to call this collateral damage.

A phrase favoured in the States and an excuse for amassing such arsenals is that “freedom is not free,” implying that they’ll need them if they have to fight for their freedom.

Given the amount of guns in the U. S. though, there will inevitably be more accidents and/or atrocities while they hang around waiting to combat tyranny.

If America is willing unquestioningly to accept the killing of its own citizens as “collateral damage” in the fight for “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness,” I do not think any written argument can make them change their minds.

If, however, even one tiny inkling of doubt enters one single mind as a result of these words, I hope it might lead to a glint of light pointing back to the sunlit city on the hill and an end to America’s impasse over gun control.

And if not? Well, I’ll guarantee you one thing. Just one.

There is another Elliot Rodger out there. And sooner or later he will strike.

James Christie's blog: Scots and British? Still Shifnal’s Son!
Talent, How Not to Train or Keep It… James Christie, Writer.

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Avatar of PatByrne Publisher of Pat's Guide to Glasgow West End; the community guide to the West End of Glasgow. Fiction and non-fiction writer.

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