Deciphering mass shootings at colleges

Jacob Sisneros, Freelancer

In the wake of another mass shooting shocking the nation on Friday, May 23, the media predictably rushed to act as vultures, picking apart the rationality that motivated the shooter.

The problem with this thinking is there is no rational reason why 22-year-old Elliot Rodger went on his shooting rampage in Isla Vista, near the University of Santa Barbara campus.

Rodger’s situation is unique because he left behind a large digital footprint, including a cringeworthy 141-page manifesto and numerous YouTube videos, detailing his reasoning for the attack.

Attempts to decipher the remnants of Rodger’s mind are futile because he was an unlikely concoction of dangerous influences. The result was a backward thinking man who did not value human life.

Washington Post columnist Ann Hornaday wrote an article placing partial blame on the movie “Neighbors.” She argued “outsized frat boy fantasies like ‘Neighbors'” supplemented Rodger’s frustrations. This argument not only falsely accuses both Seth Rogen and Judd Apatow, but also ignores the fact that Rodger had mental health issues that had a larger effect on his sense of reality.

Rodger was diagnosed with Asperger’s at the age of 7 and reportedly worked with several therapists to try and deal with the problem. Since Rodger lacked the social skills to make friends or even approach women, he decided to cope by condemning both men and women as less than him.

It is important to note Asperger’s is in no way linked to violence, but it played a role in creating a frustrated, illogical man who responded in a violent way.

This particular shooting incident is also unique because gun restrictions would have done nothing to prevent it. However, this hasn’t stopped the political debate over gun control. A number of conservatives claim if everyone had guns the incident would have been stopped, while many liberals have come to question how Rodger got hold of the guns he used in the incident.

These arguments add nothing to the conversation and selfishly make the incident into an empty political talking point when there is nothing that hasn’t already been discussed after the countless other shootings.

In response to Rodger’s misogynistic rants, the #YesAllWomen movement has emerged on Twitter to decry misogyny and harassment of women in modern society. This seems to be the only positive outcome of the horrible shooting, because it has provided a platform for women to share stories of harassment by men. The movement is intended to change society’s perception of women and take a step toward equality between women and men.

While Rodger in no way represents the viewpoint of the average man, his tirades illustrated that the modern view of women assisted in the creation of a monster. He based his life solely on the desire to sleep with a woman and deemed his life a failure because he was a virgin.

As a college community there are a few things that can be done to decrease the likelihood of such meaningless violence. We must do all that we can to eliminate misogynistic viewpoints. With the reported sexual assault last fall and the notice on Saturday, May 24 about the police investigation into two alleged incidents involving harassment of a female student, it is clear De Anza College is not an entirely safe campus.

One way we can eliminate misogyny is to teach men not to live their lives based on the misguided idea of sexual conquests of the opposite gender.

Rodger didn’t have a support group of friends to help resolve his issues peacefully and as a result he felt alone in the world. We must provide an accepting environment at De Anza and reach out to those in need of help to ensure nobody feels left out.

None of the shooting incidents that have been so common recently are simple issues. But if we focus on taking a positive step toward preventing future incidents, we have done our job as a society.