Monday, May 26, 2014

Understanding Elliot Rodger

Photo Credits: CNN
Life is unfair, we all know it. Like it or not, some of us will be hit harder than the rest. Some of us will suffer the fate of lonelier, poorer, sicklier and worse off than the others. After all, life follows a normal distribution. Not everyone can have a set number of friends, earn the same amount of income as everyone else and have the same amount of love as the rest of the population. 

That is life. It favours the strongest, and eliminates the weakest. Our society is built on these very principles itself. People who have more success, who are better looking, who are wealthier and who have more talent will undeniably move further in life, while those who do not share the same amount of luck will find themselves being left behind. Those who cannot fit in will often be ignored, erased from the attention of society, and often with dire circumstances. Take for example the recent shooting in California, involving a guy who swore retribution against those ignored him, the girls who rejected him.

While the internet and authorities attempt to find a source to blame for the incident, from the ease of obtaining a gun (which I think is one of the key factors contributing to such a high amount of shooting in the US, but that's another issue altogether) to his supposedly "mental disorders" to the failure of the deputies to arrest him (which is totally not their fault, or else we would see hordes of people getting carted away for suspicion to harm others), I cannot help but notice how chillingly similar the type of thinking that I used to have as compared to him.
Of course, my obsession with sex was not as big as his (seems like all his life is dominated by how sex should shape your life) but somehow all his talk about being excluded from society with no one to understand him was something that struck me. I remember feeling like this before, back in hall, all alone and in isolation. The pain was unbearable, but what was the scarier thing was how the pain was translated into a deep seated hatred for others. Elliot Rodgers, the Boston Marathon bombers, the Sandy Hook shooter and the Virginia Tech shooter all shared one similarity, they were alienated and cut off from the rest of the society. Exclusion bred hatred, and in a way, without a functional social support in place for them, they were pushed off the edge and resorted to lashing out at the society which they deemed was the enemy.

It is hard blame them though, knowing how they were systematically excluded because of their "weirdness". Now some people might question why don't they seek help when they are already facing so much trouble, but honestly, when you have this idea that the whole society is against you, would you go back to the society to ask for help? Isolation does scary things to your mind, and it is something that builds up over the years until it becomes something so scary that you can no longer undo in one day. In Rodger's case, I suspect that it was the divorce at a young age, coupled with the bullying that goes on in his school that created the Rodgers that we see in the video.

If he had one best friend who talked to him, or a supportive family member, things would have turned out very different instead. One cannot simply blame it on his mental issues and leave it at that.

The scary thing is, with the increase of the usage of technology today, it is easier for us to be cut off from the rest of the world. Already we are seeing how an increasingly number of guys, for example in places like Japan and South Korea, are having less and less of a social contact, leaving those who are socially awkward preferring the company of their computer rather than the company of a human being. It's a vicious cycle, how you can just keep to yourself when you start working, and no one will notice. I'm being serious.

The scarier thing is how no attention is given to this specific population of guys who are ignored and shunned by society.

Of course it is hard to gauge actually how many people who fall into this type of criteria, people who spends a lot of time alone with almost no social contact, but it is something that we need to start looking into. Humans after all are social creatures, and to deprive an individual from it would only turn them into a ticking time bomb. Social isolation is a scary thing, as research has proved it, and with the ease of how you can be socially isolated nowadays, perhaps it is time governments take a hard look into it. 


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