Tuesday I was flipping through the news online and came across an article about Elliot Roger, the kid who killed six people and then himself over the weekend. I had been avoiding that story because I really didn’t want to know any more about it. But I read that article so I would at least know what happened and in that article was a link to Roger’s manifesto.
I don’t know what made me click the link, but I read the entire 137 page rant and the only thing I felt when I finished it was sad. Just sad. The biggest and most overwhelming theme was fear, then loneliness, and as I read, I could feel this kid disappearing into a fog of helplessness.
Over the last few days I’ve heard lots of different slants. He never should have had a gun. His parents should have done something. Some people are just evil and there’s nothing to be done for it. And I started to wonder if I was a little crazy for being able to relate to him on some level.
at what point does a frightened, awkward little boy start cementing ideas about society and how his world functions? At what point does a parent say, “Hey, maybe he’s not going to grow out of this on his own.” I know his parents tried to help him – and had been trying for years. Was it already too late? Because at some point, it was definitely too late for him – but that also means that at some previous point, it wasn’t too late. When did that chance disappear forever?
Because … yeah. I’ve been there. I’ve been the socially awkward kid. I was afraid of lots of things, looking stupid, getting laughed at, spiders, meeting new people. We’ve all been there. For me, those fears turned into anger that eventually turned into rage. Suicide was not only a logical answer, it was the only answer. And yet … I didn’t do it and even when I was planning it, I never thought to take anyone else with me. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I felt like it was all my fault but I can also see that had I extrapolated that out a little, it soon would have been someone else’s fault. That’s how fear works. Every time you get a handle on it, it morphs into another emotion.
Every emotion we feel is based in either love or fear. I saw nothing but fear in his writing, along with over-the-top drama, rage, indignation, entitlement, misogyny, and pain – all based in fear. So I can’t help but think that he could have been put back on the right path if someone had gotten to him in time, at that moment just before he shut himself off completely.
This one wasn’t about guns. He used a knife, his car and guns. It wasn’t even really about women because although he laid out every single insult and every single wrong that he had collected over 22 years, not one time did he mention that he was turned down for a date. He did document all the times he wanted to talk to a girl but “knew” she would reject him. He never tried.
I want to be clear that I am in no way defending his actions. Seven families, including his own, will never be the same because of what he did. I can’t even imagine what those families are going through.
What I walked away with is that we are all a little cracked, but some of us break more easily. We can’t fix anyone else. We can’t even help them unless they allow it. But we can all make an effort to see what’s behind the curtain. We can try to find a good quality about someone we dislike, because everyone has at least one good quality, right? We can look around, outside our own lives, every once in a while and see who we find.