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Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Automatically Labeling Killers As "Psycho" (More Elliot Rodgers)

Ever since Elliot Rodgers became notorious, I've see lots people throw the "psychopath" label around, so here are a couple of comments I found correcting that.

"Just a point of pedantic contention: Elliot Rodgers was not a psychopath. If he were, he wouldn't have anxiety about his lack of success with women. Really, he would probably - excuse the pun - be a lady killer. I have an issue with the characterization of spree killers as pyschopaths because its dismissive: he didn't just kill people for the fun of it, he was angry with his environment. He was certainly a narcissist from what I saw, but a psychopath? Nope, way too emotional."

"I'm not too sure how "psycho" has been popularized, but the net effect is undeniable, and it's somewhat similar to the charge of "terrorist": a "bad" person, someone who does something evil because they are evil themselves.
For the majority of people, it ends there, and it's really a progressive replacement for "this man is (possessed by) the devil". But even for slightly smarter people, as you point it, it's extremely misleading. Psychopathy is a lower-than-normal concern for other people's feelings, and by dismissing people like Elliot Rodgers as psychopaths, these people are essentially saying that there was no cause to these rampages, "it's just the way they are, and as, as a matter of fact, are totally not like me!". It's as convenient as trying to pretend we would have acted differently in the Milgram experiments, but it's not the truth. Normal humans are capable of very surprising things, and Rogers was simply a particularly emotionally fragile person, who in mental agony and had the means to get a gun and enact his vengeance fantasy. But that could be any one of us, torture a man long enough then give him a gun an point to the source of his agony, and see what happens.
After all, don't we excuse women who kill their husbands in their sleep with the "battered woman syndrome"? Why be so specific? A lot of people who suffers mental torture can break down and kill, and they aren't all psychopaths."

This is neither sympathy nor hatred for some guy I have never met. I simply believe Elliot snapped because he was a bundle of traits that society stigmatizes, and his family issues were more fuel for the fire. It's easier to pretend like he was born this way, born insane, but if Elliot wasn't half-Asian, small in stature, and a virgin, the chances of him ending up like this would have been slimmer. If those traits were the ones idealized rather than stigmatized, he probably would have been more narcissistic, but too busy drowning in positive attention to even concoct his plans (he spoke of loneliness).

If you think having a nice car or some other expensive possession somehow makes one blind and deaf to society's opinions, then I disagree, despite the proverbial starving kids in Africa who would love Elliot's privileges (sue me). His desire for some blonde model is no different than a girl's desire for a tall guy with a six-pack. All generic visages of beauty, yet when Elliot yearns for this like he has been conditioned to, he is shamed. Why is it not "just a preference" when he did it?

The sad truth is that nobody cares about males. I've seen many people label emotionally hurt men as "the next Elliot Rodgers." I've seen many more say, "Elliot was just a psycho. Let's leave it at that." That says something about the people who inhabit this world. They're so educated that they refuse to look further into these issues. They refuse to believe, that perhaps, society creates its own monsters. Too hard to sleep at night?

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