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  • Why mass killers need to explain their plan: Column

    USA Today - 05/26/2014

    Thanks to a seven-minute YouTube video and a 141-page autobiographical tale of a troubled life, we have a fairly clear idea of why 22-year-old Elliot Rodger took to the streets of an ordinarily tranquil oceanside community in Southern California with enough guns and ammo to carry out a bloodbath. Even before the names of the six victims killed and the 13 others wounded during Friday night’s rampage in Santa Barbara were publicly released, we had the benefit of the gunman’s own words to help us make some sense of what seems to be such a senseless act of violence.

    The chilling video that Rodger recorded while seated behind the wheel of his BMW, the same vehicle later used to facilitate his rampage, spoke volumes about how calm and collected this disturbed young man remained in anticipation of his planned assault. Even more telling was the lengthy and chronologically sectioned manuscript in which Rodger recounted the details of his unhappy youth and frustrating adolescence.

    Why would this young man devote so much time and energy to reporting on his pitiful existence? Why would he then publicly distribute a document that hardly portrays him in a positive light?