In just about any comment threat on the Isla Vista shooting you can find on the web, someone is arguing that the shooter was “mentally ill” or “psychotic,” which means that misogyny had nothing to do with the crime. I responded to this in the last post — there’s no indication he was psychotic, and it’s doubtful any court in America would have let Rodger off on an insanity defense.
A few more observations:
First, it has long seemed to me that most Americans know next to nothing about psychiatric disorders, and basic information about mental health and psychiatric disorders ought to be taught in school, maybe beginning at middle school level. If nothing else, it might be useful to know that if your reclusive offspring insists on keeping his windows taped shut and covered with black plastic bags, he probably shouldn’t be allowed access to sharp objects, never mind guns.
Second, it seems to me that if Rodger’s videos showed him ranting about gays, Jews, racial minorities or the government, we’d be seeing a different reaction.
From what I have read, Rodger tried to break into a sorority house, and when he failed he shot three young women who were outside of the house — two killed, one wounded — then started shooting random people, killing one young man. He had already killed three young men who were in his apartment, two of whom were his roommates. So that was personal. The fact that he killed more men than women is supposed to be “proof” that it wasn’t about misogyny, in spite of the fact that he had explicitly said he wanted to break into that sorority house and kill women in it.
Let’s consider that after killing the three not-Jewish men in his apartment, he had attempted to break into a synagogue to kill Jews. He failed to get in but shot and killed two rabbis who were outside, then drove around and randomly shot another man, who was not Jewish. He left behind videos ranting that Jews were ruining his life and he wanted to break into a synagogue and kill them. Would anyone now be seriously arguing that antisemitism was not an issue?
And as far as crazy is concerned, there are entire websites of comments from men not substantially different from what Rodger said in his videos. For that matter, look at politicians. A Florida state lawmaker was ranting last week that the Common Core curriculum would turn students gay. Has anyone checked to see if that guy owns guns?
See also Echidne of the Snakes.