I have mixed feelings about how to discuss mass killers who leave manifestos explaining their behavior. In a way, I wish we could all collectively ignore their writings and never even mention their names. For example, in all my writings about the Newtown massacres, I have tried to avoid mentioning the shooter’s name. Why enlarge his notoriety when notoriety was his motivation for the attack? I feel the same about the guy who just shot up the UC-Santa Barbara campus. Shortly before he went on his rampage, he sent an online friend a 137-page manifesto explaining why he felt compelled to slaughter innocent people. By reading his manifesto, we are giving him exactly what he wanted. Yet, we do want to understand these killers, if only so we have a better chance of protecting ourselves against them in the future. In this case, the guy admits that jealousy and envy basically ruled his world from about the time he reached 4th Grade and realized that he was the shortest kid in his class. He also claims to have suffered from bullying, which is probably the most common theme with these cases. But, in the end, the guy was just bug-nuts.

I am not part of the human race. Humanity has rejected me. The females of the human species have never wanted to mate with me, so how could I possibly consider myself part of humanity? Humanity has never accepted me among them, and now I know why. I am more than human. I am superior to them all. I am Elliot Rodger… Magnificent, glorious, supreme, eminent… Divine! I am the closest thing there is to a living god. Humanity is a disgusting, depraved, and evil species. It is my purpose to punish them all. I will purify the world of everything that is wrong with it. On the Day of Retribution, I will truly be a powerful god, punishing everyone I deem to be impure and depraved.

So, yeah, we can learn something from his manifesto, but the actual person is best left forgotten so as to not to encourage the next maniac.

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Martin Longman is the web editor for the Washington Monthly. See all his writing at ProgressPond.com