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PostPosted: Sun May 25, 2014 9:01 am 
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By now I expect everyone here would be aware of the killing of six people by a UC Santa Barbara Student in Isla Vista. Obviously the tragedy has triggered a round of debate about gun control, and also a discussion on the treatment of mental illness. I wanted to discuss some of the other commentary that has been made in the media about the tragedy, however.

Suspected shooter Elliott Rodger left a 140-page manifesto and several rambling YouTube videos, where he stated that his motivation for the shooting was anger over not being found attractive by women. It seems that he was active in the Men’s Rights movement online, and posted at a forum called PUAHate (PUA being an acronym for Pick-Up Artist – the site is centred around men who are strongly hostile to the seduction community). From Forbes in an article on Rodger’s ‘disturbing internet footprint’:

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Rather than the bodybuilding and anti-PUA communities simply supporting his world views, many challenged them in the conversations I reviewed, all of which have removed from those forums but are available in cached form. “If you could release a virus that would kill every single man on Earth, except for yourself because you would have the antidote, would you do it?,” he asked in an April 2013 thread on Puahate.com. “If you were ugly, you’d still be incel,” responded one forum user referring to the group’s term for “involuntary celibate.” “Women would just have kids by using sperm banks.” Another said he’d destroy the virus and get women by being the hero. Yes, there are ugly attitudes toward women, with one person saying they’d be too stupid to realize they could break into the sperm banks, but it’s not the majority.

On a forum on BodyBuilding.com, users were even more confrontational. When Rodger complained this month about seeing a “short, ugly Indian guy driving a Honda civic [with] a hot blonde girl in his passenger seat,” other users responded to say that he was racist, that his jealously was ugly and that the secret to getting girls was to “be fun to be around” not to have money and a BMW. A user who went by the handle dtugg was especially critical of Rodger. He had apparently seen Rodger’s YouTube videos. “I see you got rid of those serial killer-esc videos on Youtube,” he wrote. Rodger responded saying his parents made him take them down, but that he planned to repost them. “I’m not trying to be mean, but the creepy vibe that you give off in those videos is likely the major reason that you can’t get girls,” responded dtugg.


Commentators who have delved into the question of motivation have raised several issues – Rodger’s mental illness and obvious instability, what impact (if any) his wealth and privilege had on how he was handled by his family and police or on his motives, or whether his postings can be dismissed as the rantings of a madman or whether they indicate a coherent ideology of misogynistic violence. The latter is the approach taken a by a number of left-wing commentators, for example, in DailyKos and The Guardian. The latter article seems to suggest that the Men’s Rights ideology was as much the driving force behind the shooting as, for example, Islamic extremism in Islamic terrorism:

Quote:
Yet, as the artist Molly Crabapple pointed out on Twitter: "White terrorism is always blamed on guns, mental health – never poisonous ideology."

If we need to talk about this tragic shooting in terms of illness, though, let's start with talking about our cultural sickness – a sickness that refuses to see misogyny as anything other than inevitable.

It was reported on Saturday that Rodger's family had contacted the police about his violent and strange videos "weeks" before the shooting. The family attorney said that police interviewed Rodger and thought he was a "perfectly polite, kind and wonderful human".

I have to wonder how much police dismissed Rodger's video rants because of the expectation that violent misogyny in young men is normal and expected.

"Dismissing violent misogynists as 'crazy' is a neat way of saying that violent misogyny is an individual problem, not a cultural one," feminist blogger Melissa McEwan tweeted.

The truth is that there is no such thing as a lone misogynist – they are created by our culture, and by communities that tells them that their hatred is both commonplace and justified.


I have to admit that I initially wondered about the possibility of ‘incel violence’ as opposed to misogynistic violence. When I first read about Rodger my mind jumped quickly to Christine Chubbuck, the Florida newsreader who committed suicide live on television in protest about not having had a boyfriend by age 29. Chubbuck, however, didn’t feel the need to take anyone else with her, and I haven’t anyone else make the connection. And of course, most incels do not seem to turn violent towards themselves or others.

In one of his final videos, Rodger stated that he was going to prove himself to be the alpha male, and take revenge on the people (both men and women) who made him suffer. In a previous video, he complained that he kept seeing happy young couples around campus, and that they spoiled his view of the nice scenery and drove him into a rage of jealousy. The degree to which his anger was directed at men in relationships as well as women is, in my view, a stumbling-block for the misogynistic violence narrative. But not necessarily a huge one.

A self-aggrandizing ‘lone nut’, a genuinely deeply mentally ill man who was tragically not identified and treated, or a terrorist committed to the cause of a violent and hateful ideology? I fear that this incident of violence will not be the last of its type.


Last edited by Túrin Turambar on Wed May 20, 2020 10:53 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sun May 25, 2014 6:22 pm 
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I think it's an "and", not an "or". Most likely, a mentally ill person who found himself at home in the violent and hateful ideology, which itself is nurtured by general misogynistic undercurrent of our culture, but also by the disproportionate value that romantic success is seen to play in determining personal worth.

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PostPosted: Mon May 26, 2014 7:54 pm 
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Institutional misogyny is hardly limited to the US or even the West. Really, it's hard to find a culture without it. The overlay of American gun culture makes it an especially volatile blend.

The thing is: under what definition was the guy mentally ill, apart from the fact he did something "insane?" Until I see evidence otherwise I am going to assume his brain was working fine, apart from being full of bad ideas corrosive to human empathy.


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PostPosted: Tue May 27, 2014 3:31 am 
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It is not a clear case of one cause or another. Misogyny culture, easy access to guns, and out of the mainstream thought patterns all played a part.

The idea to "get retribution" did not spring up in a vacuum. He was apparently on several message boards where misogyny and male entitlement were encouraged. So an important part of this puzzle was the encouragement he got from others to feel that he was doing the right thing. His idea that girls deserved to be hurt because they were deliberately enticing him, then saying "no" and embarrassing/frustrating him, is the premise he was encouraged to believe.

The gun control issue comes up every time there is a mass murder. In this case, the first three victims were stabbed to death, but no one is calling for knife control. I think that guns are far too ubiquitous in American culture, and tie into the culture of aggressiveness in an unhealthy way. Gun advocates will say that they want a gun or two for hunting or scaring away burglars, but a teenager with several serious guns is a glaring sign that something is wrong. Who sold him the guns? Did his parents know about them?

Better mental health care would be great, but it wouldn't be the whole answer. People on the autism spectrum can't be "cured". People with personality disorders can't be "cured". Even a large portion of depressed and anxious people can't be "cured". I've talked with quite a few people on the crisis hotline I volunteer on, who are very lonely. They don't know how to make or keep friends, especially romantic friends. It is sad to hear them week after week trying to figure out how to hook up with others, not realizing that it would take a very rare person to want to hook up with them.

The most recent killer might never have been capable of being a caring, sensitive person. He may not have been capable of putting himself into a girl's shoes and see that repeated threats to submit to unwanted sexual advances or suffer physical harm (otherwise known as rape) is scary and not likely to lead to what the girl was looking for in a relationship. The difference here is that unlike the people I talk to on the hotline, who feel sad, alone, and ineffectual, the mass murderer apparently felt outraged and justified in taking retaliatory action.

I don't have an single answer. All I can do is learn more about it, speak out against the enabling factors, support programs that try to make a difference, and be aware of people around me who may need support.

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PostPosted: Tue May 27, 2014 4:58 am 
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I've been trying to put together some coherent thoughts about this.

He clearly felt entitled to sex with women and frustrated that he couldn't attract a partner who would give it up for free. That sense of entitlement and accompanying frustration probably bled into his behavior and put women off and he ended up in a feedback loop that left him undateable. He's not the first or last to be in that position. He's not even the first or last to resort to violence over it. What makes him unique is he left an online trail and, rather than just go after one particular woman who rejected him, he decided to kill all the blondes.

Fortunately, no one was home at the first sorority he stopped at.

Now, was he sick or just a bad person? I don't feel like I have enough information. I did read that his family was very alarmed about something he said or did in the hours before the killing spree and they alerted the authorities that he was a potential danger to himself or others. Sadly, they pushed the panic button too late for anything to be done. Even if we can write him off as a nutcase, the fact remains that there is a rather dark streak of misogyny in our society and this person found a home within it. It would be nice if we could use this sad incident in Santa Barbara as a teaching moment, but the mental health narrative is probably going to take over, if it hasn't already (not that we aren't in sore need of better mental health services, it's just that there's another very dark factor in play here and it would be really nice if we could stop ignoring it because it isn't going to to just go away).

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PostPosted: Tue May 27, 2014 5:36 am 
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I've read some of what he and others posted on the boards where he hung out, and I wish I hadn't. It's hideous. Any attractive woman who doesn't walk up and immediately offer her body to one of these obviously superior men at first sight—any of these becomes their enemy and deserves humiliation, or in this case death.

And, of course, he had the tools easily and legally at hand to create the death. Because freedom.

America is becoming a sick, sick culture. I'm really frightened.

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PostPosted: Tue May 27, 2014 11:47 pm 
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Another element that warrants closer attention is the internalized racism he had as a half-white/half-Asian person. This was an interesting read on the issue. Essentially, his worldview placed "normal" white people at the top, followed by half-whites like himself. The rest of us rate somewhat lower - he refers to brown people of various backgrounds as alternately "inferior," "ugly," "filth" and similar honorifics.

While his worldview is twisted and extreme, unfortunately it is widespread in our society (and many others) in softer form. Common experiences among brown people in our society include hearing these racist messages both explicitly and implicitly (from other brown people, from white people, and from popular culture):

- Lighter skin (whether or not attained through having one white or fair-skinned parent) is preferable to/superior to darker skin.
- The societal standard of beauty is white, and one should hew to it as closely as possible. This has a million manifestations...the black woman who believes she needs to "relax" her hair in order to "look professional," the Asian-American or Hispanic-American child who is admonished by their parents not to go into the sun because "you'll get too dark," the East Asian-American who gets eyelash extensions so her eyes will look more "appealing." Every time brown people agonize that their eyes are shaped wrongly, their skin is too dark, their hair is the wrong texture, or otherwise judge themselves against the white standard of beauty this society has adopted and almost invariably find themselves wanting, it is a manifestation of the racism that this shooter tragically internalized.
- Because white is the "gold standard," a brown person's attractiveness/desirability is measured by their attractiveness/desirability to white people. Because I don't have racial preferences in dating, this one came as a shock to me - but I've learned that many brown people that I know are either only willing to date white people, or have a strong romantic/sexual preference for white people. Their racial (arguably racist) preference runs right into many white people's racial (arguably racist) preference for other whites, and they then feel inferior if they can't get a white boyfriend/girlfriend and have to settle for an apparently lesser boyfriend/girlfriend of a different race. These attitudes are pervasive and are far from limited to the ramblings of a mentally ill murderer. I have many white friends who have proudly and directly asserted to me that they'll only date other whites. These sorts of prejudiced statements are usually justified with inane assertions that "people can't help what they're attracted to"; the reasoning appears to be that many people's preference for fair skin over dark skin is totally coincidental and apparently completely divorced both from individual prejudice and societal racism. I don't buy it in the least. This shooter may be unusual in deciding to murder the white women and white and minority men he perceived responsible for his lack of success with (blonde white) women.* But privileging white as the standard for physical beauty, romantic desirability, and perhaps most importantly normality itself, is common among both white and brown people - and it is a form of noxious prejudice that wreaks immeasurable harm on the psyches of literally millions of brown Americans and other Westerners.

I'm encouraged that this incident is drawing attention to the societal problem of misogyny, but discouraged that thus far, the harm caused by the shooter's feelings of internalized racism has not been well-acknowledged.

*I find it perplexing that he repeatedly blames all women in his manifesto for rejection, when he only seems to have cared about the attention of blonde white women. Still more perplexingly, he doesn't really describe ever having approached or asked out women and been rejected. He just continuously complains that blonde women didn't really pay attention to him when he walked into the room and he felt invisible to them, particularly when they were with their male SoCal counterparts - essentially muscular white surfer dudes and jocks, as he describes it. His looks actually would be very attractive to many women, to the point where it seems almost certain that he WOULD have easily attracted girlfriends were it not for his compulsive addiction to World of Warcraft, his difficulties with Aspberger's, his lottery/gambling addiction, his failure to pursue any sort of gainful employment or coherent academic trajectory, and his repeatedly expressed beliefs of entitlement to money, success, and (blonde) women ... without any work involved. (He describes wanting to succeed financially through means as diverse as winning the lottery or having his mother remarry into a rich family so he could benefit socially.)

I also wonder whether being in SoCal specifically was harmful to him. Particularly given his family's ties to the entertainment industry, it sounds like he was immersed in a local subculture that places great value on appearance (and particularly on white-privileged appearance), fame, easy success, and easy money and that he felt "unfairly" deprived of these things. I wonder if he might have done better in a less superficial subculture or in a different region of the country.

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PostPosted: Wed May 28, 2014 4:00 am 
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Nel, I agree that racism (and misogyny) can be used to devalue certain groups of people. Once certain people are deemed less human, it is easier to justify and glorify harming, taking advantage of, or even kill them. There's a dividing line between what is morally acceptable to do to a fellow human being, and what is acceptable to do to an animal, and too often, whole classes of people are shoved over that line by people in power.

Tolkien certainly did it. He made his apparently evil/ugly/dark/brutish/stupid/selfish races much easier to justify killing (though Faramir didn't buy into it completely).

So racism does play a part in many killings, simply by making the act more attractive to the "superior" man doing it. Whether it made a difference in the case we are discussing, I don't know. I've been afraid to look at anymore of his rantings - just too disturbing.

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PostPosted: Wed May 28, 2014 4:26 am 
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Nel--Thanks. The more we look, the more complex--and even more disturbing--the picture gets.

It's always easier to go the "lone nut" route with these horrors...too easy.


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PostPosted: Wed May 28, 2014 11:53 am 
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Thank you, nel, for a very thought-provoking post (as usual…and far too infrequent these days.)

I think, however, that this was one seriously f***ed up person. Racial prejudice, misogyny, Asperger's, where he lived, what his parents did, sense of entitlement, mental imbalance…all these things may have played a part.

(Not so sure that playing "World of Warcraft" should be in there, though. From what I hear from my son, it's a kick-ass game.)

But from what I have read, this young man had had "issues" for a very long time. Could his parents have "done more" to help him? Could his school? Could "society" have done more? Who knows.

This was just one really f***ed up dude.

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PostPosted: Wed May 28, 2014 1:36 pm 
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I don't really have anything to add to what Jewel said.

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PostPosted: Wed May 28, 2014 5:17 pm 
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JewelSong wrote:
But from what I have read, this young man had had "issues" for a very long time. Could his parents have "done more" to help him? Could his school? Could "society" have done more? Who knows.

Impossible to say. You can throw every resource in the world at a person but if they don't actually want to get better, if they don't cooperate with the treatment, they don't.

Lots of people face the pressures and stressors and belief systems this person did. Most of them don't get violent over it but he did.

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PostPosted: Wed May 28, 2014 5:22 pm 
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JewelSong wrote:
(Not so sure that playing "World of Warcraft" should be in there, though. From what I hear from my son, it's a kick-ass game.)


It should be in there because he was fully addicted to it during his teenage years, to an extent that even he recognizes in his manifesto was gravely harmful. I think that it seriously impaired his adolescent development. Of course this has nothing to do with your son or any other recreational player of the game, any more than an alcoholic's devastating experience with alcohol has much to do with the person who is disciplined about having no more than a glass of wine or a beer each day.

p. 39: "My first experience with WoW was like stepping into another world of excitement and adventure. It was a video game world, but they made it so realistic that it was like living another life, a more exciting life. My life was getting more and more depressing at that point, and WoW would fill in the void. It felt refreshing and relieving. I was only able to play it for a few hours for my first session. It was all I would think about when I wasn't able to play it."

p. 40: "I was able to play World of Warcraft on [my mother's] computer, along with Halo 2 on Xbox Live. This was the point when my social life ended completely. I would never have a satisfying social life ever again. It was the beginning of a very lonely period of my life, in which my only social interactions would be online through video games, with the sole exception being my friendship with James. The ability to play video games with people online temporarily filled in the social void. I got caught up in it, and I was too young and naive to realize the severity of how far I had fallen. I was too scared to accept it. This loss of a social life, coupled with the advent of puberty, caused me to die a little inside. It was too much for me to handle, and I stopped caring about my life and my future. I even stopped caring about what people thought of me. I hid myself away in the online World of Warcraft, a place where I felt comfortable and secure."

p. 41: "Now that I was able to play World of Warcraft at my mother's house with no limitations, aside from school and homework, I became very addicted to the game and my character in it. It was all I cared about. I was so immersed in the game that I no longer cared about what people thought of me. I only saw school as something that took time away from WoW."

p. 45: "After the first few weeks of high school, I concluded that my time at [high school] would not be pleasant at all. I withdrew further into the World of Warcraft, neglecting my homework and spending all of my free time playing it."

p. 49: "All I wanted to do was hide away from the cruel world by playing my online games, and Independence High School gave me the perfect opportunity to do just that . . . After those short [3-4 hours/day] school hours, I had all the time in the world to do whatever I wanted, and I spent it playing World of Warcraft. . . . This was the perfect set up for a World of Warcraft addict. After school, every day, I fully indulged myself in my addiction to WoW. My only social interaction was with my online friends and with James, who would occasionally come over to my house to play WoW with me."

p. 54: "There was nothing I could really do about my unfair life situation. I felt completely powerless. The only way I could deal with it was to continue to drown all of my troubles with my online games. I played WoW really hard, leveling two new characters to 70. At mother's house, I sometimes played it for fourteen hours a day. James, Steve, and Mark [mostly-online friends/fellow gamers] would always joke that there was never a time that they saw me offline. I was known as the guy who was 'always on WoW.'"

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I won't just survive
Oh, you will see me thrive
Can't write my story
I'm beyond the archetype
I won't just conform
No matter how you shake my core
'Cause my roots, they run deep, oh

When, when the fire's at my feet again
And the vultures all start circling
They're whispering, "You're out of time,"
But still I rise
This is no mistake, no accident
When you think the final nail is in, think again
Don't be surprised, I will still rise


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PostPosted: Thu May 29, 2014 10:08 am 
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Primula Baggins wrote:
I've read some of what he and others posted on the boards where he hung out, and I wish I hadn't. It's hideous. Any attractive woman who doesn't walk up and immediately offer her body to one of these obviously superior men at first sight—any of these becomes their enemy and deserves humiliation, or in this case death.


It is part of the reality that we now live in that people holding extreme views of any type (political, social, religious, etc) can insulate themselves from mainstream sources of information and those holding mainstream viewpoints to a greater degree than ever before through the internet. Whether this contributes to these sorts of acts of violence (or, more specifically, whether Rodger would have committed this crime had he never been a member of puahate.com) is an open question.

It is also interesting to note, though, that on some of the boards Rodger was challenged. This was particularly true of the bodybuilding forums, which attract a wide cross-section of men with an interest in exercise and weight lifting, as opposed to the so-called men’s rights forums which attract a crowd that leant to his specific views on women. So maybe he had already made his mind up and nothing else would have made a difference.

nerdanel wrote:
Still more perplexingly, he doesn't really describe ever having approached or asked out women and been rejected. He just continuously complains that blonde women didn't really pay attention to him when he walked into the room and he felt invisible to them[…]


I have to admit that this doesn’t really surprise me at all. It is obvious that, among his other issues, he had none of the knowledge or skills that would enable him to initiate a relationship. These do not come naturally to many people, and come to some never at all. He seemed to be under the belief that men who did have relationships or were otherwise involved sexually with women had the women basically throw themselves at them.


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PostPosted: Thu May 29, 2014 12:20 pm 
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nerdanel wrote:
JewelSong wrote:
(Not so sure that playing "World of Warcraft" should be in there, though. From what I hear from my son, it's a kick-ass game.)


It should be in there because he was fully addicted to it during his teenage years... I think that it seriously impaired his adolescent development...


I was being somewhat facetious. And to be honest, my son (the one whom you know, nel) did tell me that he played WoW twice and then stopped because he knew that if he kept playing it, he might quit his job and never sleep because all he would want to do would be to play it.

So, for those inclined, it is obviously a highly addictive game. There was an episode of some crime show (CSI?) that dealt with how gaming companies deliberately set up their games to be addictive and target those people most likely to become addicted. Not unlike tobacco companies. Harder to prove, though.

I wonder why no one seemed to notice his extreme addiction.

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PostPosted: Thu May 29, 2014 12:32 pm 
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There are various levels of "addiction". I played a lot of games in my time and sunk a huge amount of hours into some of them. What counts as addiction? 20 hours a week? 30? People spend that much time on Golf, or training for sport. Is that addiction also? The real measure of addiction is when you want to stop but can't. What is sometimes described as addiction strikes me more as compulsion, or occasionally just dedication/devotion.

(however, this person was clearly an outlier by any measure)

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PostPosted: Thu May 29, 2014 10:29 pm 
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I don't think there is an analogy between athletic training and gaming (or any other form of consumer-based entertainment), any more than there is an analogy between someone who spends at least 30 hours a week gainfully employed and someone who spends the same amount of time on gaming. They are two qualitatively different activities.

But to the extent you are saying that addiction is on a sliding scale - in which someone who "compulsively" plays for 20-30 hours a week, every week (which I'd say is of at least moderate concern) is not as addicted as someone who (as with this shooter) describes spending every waking moment when not at school playing a single game - I certainly agree. This is like saying that someone who consistently has three drinks a night may have a low-ish level addiction, but is not on the same plane as someone who consumes two bottles of wine (i.e. ten drinks) a night. Both are engaging in unhealthy behaviors, but one is considerably further along in their addiction than the other.

****

L_M, fair point re: the shooter's inability/lack of awareness how to pursue a romantic relationship.

****

Jewel - that also makes sense. I've never tried playing WoW despite significant exposure to it (I once had a major case that involved the game), partly because it sounds like it is very addictive. Those who really enjoy it often seem to have difficulty preventing it from encroaching on other, more gainful aspects of their lives, and who's to say I wouldn't be one of them? Better not to even go there.

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I won't just survive
Oh, you will see me thrive
Can't write my story
I'm beyond the archetype
I won't just conform
No matter how you shake my core
'Cause my roots, they run deep, oh

When, when the fire's at my feet again
And the vultures all start circling
They're whispering, "You're out of time,"
But still I rise
This is no mistake, no accident
When you think the final nail is in, think again
Don't be surprised, I will still rise


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PostPosted: Fri May 30, 2014 4:33 am 
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"Better not to even go there."

That's why I never played a second of WoW. It would have dominated me. I have that kind of personality.

I know because one of its spiritual predecessors, StarCraft, sucked me in to the point where I didn't study for my 10th grade finals.

I am not in that headspace anymore, ( I survived Skyrim! ) but as a teen I would have been nailed.


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PostPosted: Fri May 30, 2014 11:01 am 
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He seems to have had an issue with obsessions in general. I 've just got around to reading his manifesto, and this section in particular jumped out at me:

Quote:
By the time I moved in, the jackpot had finally risen over $100 million. This was the moment of truth. I had been waiting all summer for this to happen. Overcome with trepidation, I spent the next week in my new room, meditating and visualizing winning the lottery very soon. I could feel the excitement I would feel once I see the six numbers on my ticket match the numbers that would be drawn. I imagined myself jumping up and down with joy once my victory was confirmed.

On September 11th, the drawing for a jackpot worth $120 million commenced. I bought a five dollar ticket and proclaimed that this had to be mine. When I saw that the winner was from California, my heart beat like a drum. This was it. Fate was being decided right at that moment.

I didn’t win. I looked at my ticket over and over again, and then at the winning numbers. No match. It was just like what happened in March, except this was worse because I had built up anticipation for the entire summer. The winner was some guy from Riverside. He took MY money. What a waste. What an injustice. I was so certain that the universe would finally grant me salvation after a life of torture and suffering. I then looked at my small, cramped room and realized that my lonely, depressing life of virginity will continue on mercilessly.

That night, I threw a wild tantrum, screaming and crying for hours on end. I had the whole apartment to myself, so there was no one there to hear me. I raged at the entire world, thrashing at my bed with my wooden practice sword and slashing at the air with my pocket knife. I even downed an entire bottle of wine, and got so drunk that I spilled my wine all over my laptop, permanently destroying it. I soaked my pillow with tears as I drifted off to sleep in my lonely bed.

On the next morning, I felt so drained and depressed. I then realized that I destroyed my laptop, so I called my mother, begging her to buy me a new one. I made up the story that the laptop randomly died and I had no control over it. After some persuading, I managed to make her agree to buy me a new one.

[...]

I had to wait a few hours for them to prepare the laptop for me, and while I waited I decided to go to the shooting range in Oxnard. I had the knowledge, in the back of my mind, that the Day of Retribution was very possible now. Going to the shooting range while I waited for my laptop gave me the perfect opportunity to gain some initial training in shooting guns, which will be the main weapons I use as vengeance against my enemies when the Day of Retribution ultimately comes to pass. I walked into the range, rented a handgun from the ugly old redneck cashier, and started to practice shooting at paper targets. As I fired my first few rounds, I felt so sick to the stomach. I questioned my whole life, and I looked at the gun in front of me and asked myself “What am I doing here? How could things have led to this?” I couldn’t believe my life was actually turning out this way. There I was, practicing shooting with real guns because I had a plan to carry out a massacre. Why did things have to be this way, I silently questioned myself as I looked at the handgun I was holding in front of me. I paid my fee and left the range within minutes, feeling as if I was going to be sick. I spent the rest of the waiting period at the Coffee Bean in Oxnard, where I sat by myself feeling absolutely disgusted. My whole world was twisted.


There are a few interesting points, including:
1. The belief that he was going to win the lottery so the universe would right itself and correct the injustice he had suffered. And, as a result, his massive let-down when he didn't.
2. His failure to appreciate the material advantages he enjoyed, like being able to get a new, high-end laptop despite never having really held a job.
3. His belief that working in an entry-level job was beneath him (which is pretty common sometimes, TBH).
4. The belief that only by getting very rich would he ever have a girlfriend and have sex. The lottery fixation was the latest manifestation of this - he had previously tried to write a book that would be adapted into a film, but realised it would take decades and he didn't want to have to be a virgin into his forties. He had also, as was discussed previously, tried to talk his mother into marrying a rich man. He could not comprehend the idea of having a girlfriend without first getting a lot of money.
5. His immaturity. I could relate to feeling some of the things he felt, but at 14 or 15 rather than 22. Indeed, his development seems to stall sometime in his mid-teens. He never shows any interest in building a career, supporting himself, or doing any 'adult' thing (beyond the most superficial ideas about relationships).
6. His fatalism - he almost abdicates responsibility for his actions, tying them directly to external forces as an unalterable cause-and-effect.
7. His final self-doubt, before he accepts that to take revenge on his 'enemies' is his ultimate purpose in life.
8. The way he drifts from one obsession to another. I can actually relate to this, something probably linked to episodes of bipolar mania. For example, at one point when I was university student I became convinced that women would not find me attractive until I reached a certain arbitrary weight, usually a few kilograms above what I weighed at the time. When I started training I weighed 74 kg and the target was 84, then when I approached 84 it became 88, and as I approached 88 it became 92 (an even 200 pounds, more or less). And so I compulsively worked out and ate protein (and probably over-trained) in an effort to reach it. I recall the incredibly bitter let-down I felt whenever I stood on the scales and saw that I had gone backwards. In fact, stepping on the scales and seeing that I had lost two kilograms was the final event before my March 2008 suicide attempt. But I never went as far down the rabbit hole as he did.


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PostPosted: Sat May 31, 2014 10:35 am 
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Quote:
I looked at my ticket over and over again, and then at the winning numbers. No match. It was just like what happened in March, except this was worse because I had built up anticipation for the entire summer. The winner was some guy from Riverside. He took MY money. What a waste. What an injustice. I was so certain that the universe would finally grant me salvation after a life of torture and suffering. I then looked at my small, cramped room and realized that my lonely, depressing life of virginity will continue on mercilessly.


To me, this is one of the biggest indications that this dude was seriously unhinged. His thought process is entirely irrational. Scary, even. The "universe would grant me salvation?" Seriously? "A life of torture and suffering?" A LIFE? What was he - like 21 years old?

What could have been going on in his mind that he assumed "the universe"OWED him something?" And convince himself that he would win the jackpot, to the point where it felt it was UNFAIR that he didn't.

Moreover, why did NO ONE pick up on this delusion?

ETA:
Quote:
he didn't want to have to be a virgin into his forties


You know, nobody HAS to be a virgin. Sexual intercourse is available for sale - legally in Nevada and easily attained. It isn't that expensive, either.

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