On May 23, 2014, in Isla Vista, California, 22-year-old Elliot Rodger killed six people and injured fourteen others near the campus of University of California, Santa Barbara, before killing himself inside his vehicle.
The attack began when Rodger stabbed three men to death in his apartment. Afterwards, he drove to a sorority house and shot three female students outside, killing two. He drove past a nearby deli and shot to death a male student who was inside. He began to speed through Isla Vista, shooting and wounding several pedestrians and striking several others with his car. Rodger exchanged gunfire with police twice during the attack, receiving a non-fatal gunshot to the hip. The rampage ended when his car crashed into a parked vehicle and came to a stop. Police found him dead in the car with a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.
Before driving to the sorority house, Rodger uploaded to YouTube a video titled “Elliot Rodger’s Retribution”, in which he outlined details of his upcoming attack and his motives. He explained that he wanted to punish women for rejecting him and that he envied sexually active men and wanted to punish them for being sexually active.
After uploading the video, Rodger e-mailed a lengthy autobiographical manuscript to some of his acquaintances, his therapist and several family members. The document, titled “My Twisted World: The Story of Elliot Rodger”, was made available on the Internet and became widely known as his manifesto. In it, he described his childhood, family conflicts, frustration over not being able to find a girlfriend, his hatred of women, his contempt for couples, his disgust for interracial couples, and his plans for what he described as “retribution”.
In the horrific aftermath of school shootings, distraught communities struggle to make sense of these seemingly senseless acts. Despite massive media coverage, we know little about what drives young perpetrators or how they rationalize their acts. In this breakthrough analysis, Dr. Peter Langman presents the psychological causes of school shootings and offers unprecedented insight into why certain teens exhibit the potential to kill. He shows how to identify early signs of possible violence and offers preventative measures that parents and educators can take to protect their communities.