On May 23, 2014, 22 year old Elliot Rodger unleashed a massacre in Isla Vista, California, stabbing to death three men in his apartment before driving around town shooting three college students. A striking aspect of this tragedy was how much it resembled a horror film, with Hollywood savvy Rodger, the son of the assistant director for The Hunger Games affecting an evil chuckle in the web videos he posted, fantasizing about turning humanity into mountains of skulls and rivers of blood.
And like the killer in a 1980s slasher film, Rodger targeted sexually active young adults, stating in his manifesto:
I often fantasized about barging into their rooms while they were having sex and slashing them to death with my knife.
In his manifesto, Rodger, a self-proclaimed virgin, is obsessed with taking revenge on those who have more sex than he does. In the slasher sub-genre, the killing of the sexually active had become such an overused cliche that it was openly parodied in the 1996 film Scream. This slasher convention, largely originated with Halloween (1978), where the killer first murders his sister after witnessing her going upstairs to have sex with a boy, and then returns to his small town to murder other sexually active teenagers (the only survivor being the virgin played by Jamie Lee Curtis). In Friday the 13th (1980) the killer targets sexually active camp counselors because they were making love while a young boy allegedly drowned. In Silent Night Deadly Night (1984), the killer dresses up like Santa Claus and punishes sexually active young people for being “naughty”. In all of these films, the murders occur on a single day (Halloween, Friday the 13th, Christmas); similarly, Rodger did all his killings on May 23, which he labeled “the day of retribution”.
From his manifesto, and other online comments, what bothered Rodger most was not so much his virginity, but the fact that women rejected him for men he regarded as inferior to himself (full-blood minorities, short men, ugly men, non-rich men, dumb brutish jocks). Nothing makes humans angrier than that which violates our expectations. In his manifesto, he describes the rage of learning about a black boy’s sex life:
And then this black boy named Chance said that he lost his virginity when he was only thirteen! In addition, he said the girl he lost his virginity to was a blonde white girl! I was so enraged that I almost splashed him with my orange juice. I indignantly told him that I did not believe him, and then I went to my room to cry. I cried and cried and cried, and then I called my mother and cried to her on the phone.
How could an inferior, ugly black boy be able to get a white girl and not me? I am beautiful, and I am half white myself. I am descended from British Aristocracy. He is descended from slaves. I deserve it more. I tried not to believe his foul words, but they were already said, and it was hard to erase from my mind. If this is actually true, if this ugly black filth was able to have sex with a blonde white girl at the age of thirteen while I’ve had to suffer virginity all my life, then this just proves how ridiculous the female gender is. They would give themselves to this filthly scum, but they reject ME? The injustice
In a bodybuilding discussion forum, he similarly ranted over an Indian boy:
Seriously, today at my college I saw this short, ugly Indian guy driving a Honda civic, and he had a hot blonde girl in his passenger seat. What on earth is up with that?!?!?! I would climb Mount Everest 10 times just to have a girl like that with me. I drive a BMW Coupe and I’ve struggled all my life to get a girlfriend. What’s wrong with this world?
In the manifesto, the rage of learning about an Asian boy’s sex life:
I came across this Asian guy who was talking to a white girl. The sight of that filled me with rage. I always felt as if white girls thought less of me because I was half-Asian, but then I see this white girl at the party talking to a full-blooded Asian. I never had that kind of attention from a white girl! And white girls are the only ones I’m attracted to, especially the blondes. How could an ugly Asian attract the attention of a white girl, while a beautiful Eurasian like myself never had any attention from them?
Rodger apparently grew up feeling special because he was half-white, and I suspect his mother told him all the girls would swoon over his exotic Eurasian good looks and he was even given a BMW to further entice them. So when women not only didn’t swoon, but rejected him for mono-racial shorter Asians with crappy cars, it added insult to injury in his twisted young mind, and he lashed out violently against his Asian roommates. It reminds me a bit of Rae Dawn Chong who was a rising mixed race star in the 1980s. When she first met Oprah on the set of The Color Purple circa 1985, she assumed this unknown overweight full blood black woman was no competition for a thin, pretty mixed race light skinned star like herself. But when Oprah went on to become the richest and most influential African American of her generation and Rae Dawn turned into a has-been, she lashed out in a horrific racist tirade.