Spree Killer’s Father’s Open Letter

Elliot Rodger (courtesy abcnews.com)

[ED: The following is the text of an open letter from Peter Rodger, father of the Santa Barbara spree killer]

It has been one month and three days since my son [Elliot Rodger, above] did the unthinkable. There has not been one conscious second that I haven’t been thinking about the pain and suffering he caused for so many. The ripple affect of his actions has spread to countless thousands. I mourn for the loss of the young women and young men whose lives he ended. I feel for the victims and their families more than for the loss of my own son . . .

I do mourn for the lonely boy Elliot was, who disappeared because of a monster of an illness in him that none of us knew was so severe. I wish I could turn the clock back. There are so many “If only’s.”

I tried my best to do my duty as a father, but obviously my best was not enough. My duty now is to do as much as I can to try and stop this from happening again. Too many lives are being lost. Law enforcement professionals, teachers and health workers on the frontlines of the mental health crisis bear too much of a burden. And countless families struggle in silence with the consequences of mental illness each day.

We have to try and stop this. It will be a long journey involving the personal choices of individuals and families, public discussions, mental health reforms, a change in the culture – you name it. My sincere hope is that I can help by telling my story.

None of us understood what was in Elliot’s head – he hid it from not only his family, but also from mental health professionals and law enforcement. Looking back now through a tragic hindsight, I have begun to understand that there are traits, markers if you will, that family members can look out for in loved ones.

It’s important to note that the vast majority of mentally ill people are not violent. I am only speaking from my perspective and in the hope that families may be informed, vigilant and more able to take action. I am painfully and honestly trying to both reflect and learn more about what markers matter most. I am sharing my story and my initial reflections in an effort to save others from the kind of pain and suffering that Elliot caused.

To help families, I’ve created a small website with resources on mental illness and a place to share stories called AskForHelp.org. I hope you find the resources on that site useful. It is just a start and by no means comprehensive. I am just doing what I can under the circumstances with the help of family and friends. My simple message is, if in doubt about a family member, please ask for help.

Sincerely,

Peter Rodger

comments

  1. avatar Dano says:

    No one wants to admit that they’re kid might not be right. It’s easier for those who are not emotionally involved to see what’s happening. I’m glad he’s sharing those markers.

    1. avatar TheBear says:

      Yup. And from what I understand this kid was somewhere on the autism spectrum.

      Could someone with more information comment on this?

      1. avatar John in Ohio says:

        A close friend to the family (or even extended family member? can’t remember) said in an interview that, as far as he was aware, that was a diagnosis assumed early on by the family. When you have insistent parents, especially those of some means, who insist on a diagnosis… well you often get shopped professionals who will go along. Also, it’s not uncommon for a few personality disorders to get diagnosed on paper as something else because insurance will only pay for x amount of treatments for certain personality disorders. Borderline Personality Disorder is an example. I’ve seen it diagnosed as Bipolar, Complex PTSD, etc so that the patient can be given more treatments. The amount of treatment allowed by some insurance for BPD is bare bones. Also, during his school years, a spectrum diagnosis might have afforded more latitude for school officials (special needs) and on into his college years.

        Through his writings, videos, and final actions; his narcissism was in the driver’s seat a lot. Was it extreme social anxiety coupled with severe Narcissistic Personality Disorder? I don’t think we’ll ever really know now.

        1. avatar TheBear says:

          ^ Interesting. Thanks for the reply.

          I was curious because after hearing the autism thing, I realized his little “manifesto” and the Bond Villain way he talked actually reminded me a bit of a guy I know with Asperger’s… but as you said, we may never know.

          *Note: Not necessarily saying an autism related condition made him violent, but could have added to his sense of isolation and helplessness.

        2. avatar John in Ohio says:

          I don’t doubt that it all contributed. From just what I read and saw he was a time bomb; an explosive mixture prone to going off at some point.

      2. avatar DrVino says:

        This doctor, having read the 140-page manifesto, is uncertain of that diagnosis.
        Much going on. Hard to say. Kinda aspy, kinda sociopathic, kinda narcisstic,,,,
        Not my patient. Not may loony bin.

        1. avatar John in Ohio says:

          Yeah. At first blush it looked like sociopathy but then when one looks again the narcissism seems palpable. Then there’s that whole social skew in there. He certainly was a mixed bag and it doesn’t surprise me that he blew after finally being away from his mother (perhaps enabling him prior). *shrugs shoulders* Weird one; some classic indicators in a strange brew.

  2. avatar OakRiver says:

    I tip my hat to someone who wants to treat the disease, and not the symptom

    1. avatar PeterK says:

      Agreed.

  3. avatar Alaskan Patriot says:

    Wow, a whole letter composed without using the words “gun,” “violence,” or “common sense.” I’m impressed, though admittedly skeptical about the explanation or intentions behind this apparent 180 turnaround.

    1. avatar rosignol says:

      Grief skews your judgment. I know I wasn’t quite right for at least a couple of months after my stepfather died.

  4. avatar Southern Cross says:

    At least he has moved on from blaming guns, gun owners, and the NRA.

    1. avatar Ken says:

      I don’t recall that he did that. The father of one of the shooting victims went on the guns/NRA rant.

      1. avatar Sixpack70 says:

        We all know the NRA gave this turd the knives too. The sold the knife and gun from the special NRA store that is in every town that only sells to crazy people without a background check. Or so the media seems to think.

        1. avatar Indiana Tom says:

          Ah yes, the NRA store located in all inner cities that brings in truck loads of all sorts of weapons which are only sold to thugs, criminals, insane, terrorists, and other such people. The NRA store also distributes information which is detrimental to the functioning and well being of the utopian scientific Soviet Socialist State where unicorns roam.

        2. avatar Sixpack70 says:

          Im glad I didn’t have anything to drink when I got to the unicorn part.

      2. avatar LC says:

        Ah yes, that stupid fcking “not one more rant”

        There never will be “not one more”. With anything.

  5. avatar Tom from Georgia says:

    It’s in our nature as humans to blame tragedies on things like culture (California), money (the BMW), and of course inanimate objects (the gun), and most of all, parents for supposedly letting something like this happen, but they too, are only human, just as the we are. I won’t exonerate them completely – and never will – but I’m certainly willing to forgive someone trying to set things right in a responsible and intelligent manner. Mental health is indeed a very complex issue in need of reform, but we must be ever vigilant for those who would usurp good intentions for their own political means.

    Tom

    1. avatar Jonathan -- Houston says:

      Nahh……….his kid was a psychopath and the old man turned a blind eye to it for years. May his complicit soul rot and burn in the same cave of Hell as his monstrous son.

      1. avatar uncommon_sense says:

        I am tending to agree with Jonathan — Houston. Mr. Rodger’s press releases as well as his open letter keep talking about how no one saw this coming, it was unthinkable, the son hid his depravity from family and therapists, etc. Well if that is the case, then why did Mr. or Mrs. Rodgers call the police about one month before their son’s attack and ask the police to check on the son?

        And where were Mr. and Mrs. Rodgers in all of this? If they were so concerned that they called police and asked the police to check on their son, why in the Hell didn’t they themselves go and check on their son? The answer: either they couldn’t be bothered or they were too afraid. Either answer tells that Mr. and Mrs. Rodgers failed their son and their community — with devastating results for everyone.

        1. avatar JD says:

          The couple also were racing toward the scene after their son sent another crazy text, then committed the crimes: they heard about the shooting on the car radio enroute.
          This is the dad absorbed in his career/making $$, – and when not working, taking the wife out for steak dinners and night on the town. Son was the discarded disappointment in the liberal hell that is now
          Kalipornia.

      2. avatar Resident CT says:

        As harsh as it comes across I believe Jonathan — Houston makes a valid point. My concern is that this is just the next wave of “better” public relations speaking. Or the killer’s fathers search for absolution from his sins and neglect. Another tragedy where the root cause problems of crime, murder and dangerous mental illness neglected yet again, or worse, “remedies” enacted that have large liberty and financial cost and little, none or minus benefit as solutions.

        From the video link that Dirk Diggler posted earlier, it is not hard to surmise that the the killer’s father would agree to anything the victim’s father demanded, and that victim’s father has been clear in public statements that his belief is that if there was no NRA or guns his child would be alive. That is weak consolation to the parents of those the killer stabbed, and the parents of the victim that was run over. I somehow doubt that that the killer’s father will demand justice from car lobbyists at the AAA and question why BMW would make the BMW 328i coupe a car that could so easily be used to run people over.

        ref: http://gma.yahoo.com/father-santa-barbara-shooter-elliot-rodger-meets-victims-003441832–abc-news-topstories.html

  6. avatar Pantera Vazquez says:

    Unless one is parent to a murderer, no one has walked in this man’s shoes. That being said-it takes a lot for most people to blame anything other than the “easy availability of guns”. This father did not go there. He saw this for what it actually was. An act of a sick person. May he find the fortitude to face the future.

    1. avatar Jonathan -- Houston says:

      Oh B.S. I’m so sick of everyone carving out their own little personal areas of unearned expertise. Where does that end? Hmm…..from what I can see, only when it’s convenient for those who do it.

      For example, “Unless you’re a woman, you have not right to…..”, or “Unless you’re a parent, you don’t know what it’s like to……” Yet, none of these same people, who’ve never been to war, never run a business, never faced down a violent, is at all reticent about spouting off about foreign policy, economic policy or, as we well know, firearms policy, despite never having been and never having done whatever.

      People use the “Unless you’re a……then you don’t/can’t…….” routine as a means of imposing self-censorship. What they really want to say is “Sit down and shut up because you don’t agree with me!”, but that’s a bit harsh even for the self-involved pseudo-experts. So they pull this “Unless….” stunt to try to guilt people into silencing themselves and doubting the validity of their own opinions and input. It’s all B.S. and I’ll call people on it 100 times out of 100. Deal with it.

      Even on issues involving the trait at issue, be it being a parent or a woman or a man or whatever, the fraudulence of the premise is apparent simply for the fact that any two people who *are* that same thing might well disagree on the underlying issue. All it takes is to drum up ONE parent who has walked a mile in this guy’s shoes, who disagrees with him, and that puts the lie to everything he says, at least as far as him having a monopoly on the truth of the issue for having reared a monster.

      He and his family had the last clear chance to prevent this atrocity, and he failed. Now he’s sighing and blaming the illness. No deal, Daddy-O. Big time Hollywood producer man inflicted through his indifference this ghoul on the community. I don’t buy his little open letter blame shifting for one minute.

      1. avatar John in Ohio says:

        🙂 Damn… I agree with most of that rant there! Of course, I place the ultimate blame on ER, the adult who committed these crimes. A lot of what you stated there needed to be written. You are 100% correct about this “you can’t if you haven’t… or aren’t…” bravo sierra.

        (Not singling you out, Pantera Vazquez. A lot of people do it. Hell, I’ve probably done it without realizing before.)

      2. avatar LC says:

        I cannot emphasize more how absolutely correct you are.

        You basically tore down the idiocy of the “check your privilege” mentality

      3. @Jon in Houston

        “I’m so sick of everyone carving out their own little personal areas of unearned expertise”

        But you went ahead and did it yourself anyway.

        1. avatar Matt Richardson says:

          He does it quite a bit, actually.

  7. avatar Pascal says:

    For those who may be interested in the state of mental health in the USA, USAToday has a multi-part series going on talking about how much of a mess it is.

    http://www.usatoday.com/longform/news/nation/2014/06/25/stigma-of-mental-illness/9875351/

    Here is just a sample:
    Stigma against the mentally ill is so powerful that it’s been codified for 50 years into federal law, and few outside the mental health system even realize it.

    This systemic discrimination, embedded in Medicaid and Medicare laws, has accelerated the emptying of state psychiatric hospitals, leaving many of the sickest and most vulnerable patients with nowhere to turn.

    The laws are so bad, that it is against the law in some instance to give money to hospitals who help the mentally ill or to fund the expansion of mental facilities within hospitals.

    They will not talk about it I am sure, but one of lead advocates who helped make that laws this bad was gun grabber Chuck Schumer

    1. avatar publius2 says:

      Thank you. This is excellent.

      I only wonder why we don’t see this advertised by Everytown, MDA, Brady, and CSVG, and the like, or their blood dancer enablers in the StateRunMedia, or support from pols like Feinstein, Boxer, Rahm Emanuel, and their ilk.

      1. avatar Jus Bill says:

        Because it’s… hard. LOOK AT THIS BABY!

        1. avatar Bob says:

          Because it is a very difficult problem to solve. There are no sound-bites, no catchy quotes, no easy-to-understand solutions.

          Washington CAN’T solve this problem, because the structure of Congress and the Senate can’t honestly debate and find a workable solution for such a complicated problem, especially with the gridlock we have now between the Rs and the Ds.

  8. avatar DaleND says:

    He wrote a key phrase — “he hid it from not only his family, but also from mental health professionals and law enforcement”. Many people who decide to end their lives manage to do the same. If someone intends to end their life, or commit mass murder, but are cognizant enough to hide their intentions how are we supposed to help/stop them?

    1. avatar J says:

      Did he hide it, or did they refuse to recognize it?

      1. avatar John in Ohio says:

        That’s an important question that they might want to ask themselves. The information was out there and they at least had seen some of his YouTube videos before the incident. If his behavior described in his final writings are even remotely accurate then there were major clues all along. IDK, but, for example, a mother having to make play dates for an adult that was expected to be mature and competent enough to drive and live away from home? They claimed that he was diagnosed but also a close family acquaintance stated that there was no formal diagnosis.

      2. avatar Jus Bill says:

        Or were his parents so focused on themselves and their own lives and careers that they denied he was badly ill?
        Or were the detectives who interviewed him in such a hurry that they ignored his subtle miscues so they could get to the next interview on time?
        Or were the mental health providers that treated him more interested in setting him up for another year of visits instead of finding him a bed?

        These questions are all parts of the equation.

        Peter Rodger is coping with his grief the best way he knows how to. This is just a step on that journey for him.

  9. avatar brian says:

    The critical point being missed here is that ER was not mentally ill.

    He was a malignant narcissist. That’s a behavioral disorder, not a chemical imbalance. And they don’t know how to fix it.

    1. avatar Sixpack70 says:

      I think you bring up a good point. Not all disorders can be fixed. The scream for mental health sounds good, but I think in some aspects it is as futile as gun control. Do we need an overhaul of our mental health system still? You bet.

    2. avatar John in Ohio says:

      @brian: Yep.

      The mental health profession would be falling all over itself to be able to fix Narcissistic Personality Disorder. No amount of reform is going to bring about decent treatment for certain personality disorders any faster, if effective treatment is consistently possible anyway.

  10. avatar John in Ohio says:

    I was waiting for firearms to get blamed and was pleasantly surprised when that didn’t happen in this letter. His YouTube videos that were available for some time before his final actions would’ve given much insight into what he was thinking and how his thoughts were torturing him. He even put those videos back up after the police welfare check. Apparently, those close to him did not view the channel closely or didn’t realize what red flags they represented.

    I don’t think we really need mental health reform as much as I think we need the many firearm laws repealed. As I’ve noted in comments on other threads, his final writings clearly indicate that he planned and changed those plans based upon how much armed resistance he perceived would be present. By removing most barriers in law to individuals keeping and bear arms and repairing improper impediments in law against rightful self defense, many of these problems have potential to be mitigated and deterred.

  11. avatar Ralph says:

    Too little. Too late.

  12. avatar J says:

    I’m glad he recognizes the #1 issue – mental health. If you could eliminate all the guns in the world, it wouldn’t change the fact that ER was mentally ill and had been mentally ill for a long time. People that commit suicide – unless maybe the terminally ill – are also suffering. Hurting oneself or others is a sign of mental illness. A gun is just one of the instruments ER used – a knife and car were the others. Don’t concentrate on the instruments, but fix the problem at the source.

  13. avatar Garrison Hall says:

    Another example of the blood dance. My anger at this guy just increased exponentially. His son was an adult and, therefore, responsible for his own behavior. He did what he did because he wanted to. Having an unhappy life was absolutely no excuse and certainly not the “fault” of his conveniently guilt-ridden father. At some point in life we reach a point where we’re expected to know right from wrong and this guy’s kid was well past that marker. Only in a world of helicopter parents, where “childhood” can extend into one’s thirties can you have this kind of hubristic, self-serving flagellation . . . with its obligatory political agenda.

    1. avatar LC says:

      “Only in a world of helicopter parents, where “childhood” can extend into one’s thirties can you have this kind of hubristic, self-serving flagellation . . . with its obligatory political agenda.”

      Mother of god, LOL

      I couldn’t agree more. Golden quality.

    2. avatar Ed says:

      You say we are expected to reach a point where we know right from wrong, but FOLLOWING that designation is not something that most people live by. We know it’s wrong to speed in a car, but a vast majority still do. We know it’s wrong to ‘hide’ an error at work from a manager, but some still do. We know it’s wrong to drink and drive, but some still do.

      What it comes down to is MOTIVE for not following your conscience. Whether it be getting somewhere faster, not getting fired, or having inhibitions be chemically reduced, there’s always a reason behind the decision. Thus, it isn’t so much saying that he didn’t know right from wrong, but what was behind him being so wrong. So, to say ‘he should have known it was wrong, but his parents enabling him made him not know’ is laying the blame on the parents when they may not have done anything wrong (without jumping to conclusions about how he was raised).

      1. avatar Garrison Hall says:

        But, he did know right from wrong. He knew right from wrong in the exact same way that Ted Bundy knew right from wrong. Anybody who can prepare a multi-page “manifesto” written in complete paragraphs can know that killing and maiming innocent people is morally wrong. Note that I said “can know”. Like Bundy, he chose to do horrible, wrong things because he wanted to. His father’s self-serving blather is simply notwithstanding. I’m being intentionally hard-edged about this because I can’t help thinking of the people I’ve known who had hard upbringings, suffered things far worse than this kid could have imagined, and who despite everything led humane, wonderful lives. And this stupid kid—and now his father—decided to do the blood dance because he couldn’t get a date.

  14. avatar publius2 says:

    Deepest sympathy for this father, and respect for him trying to be part of the solution to a very difficult problem, how to get families help with their mentally ill kids. We dont know all the history, and can never know what challenges he and ER’s mother faced.

    Same for Mr Martinez- unless you have lost a child, I don’t believe you can comprehend the depth of despair. I certainly don’t judge him for being out of his head with grief, and blaming guns and the NRA.

    I do blame the blood dancers in the media, gun-grabber activists, and cynical politicians who took advantage of him, if so, to use him for their political agendas.

    1. avatar Ralph says:

      Martinez is a criminal defense lawyer. Unless he’s a really bad one, he’s put bad people back on the street to steal, rape and kill.

      While he blames the NRA for guns (in California of all places), I do not believe that he would ever accept responsibility for the acts of the criminals he represented. Because criminals have rights. Well, don’t their victims have rights too? I guess not, unless they are the progeny of Mr. Martinez.

  15. avatar Jumbie says:

    I don’t agree that the #1 issue is mental health.

    I think that it’s a futile goal to think we can intercept these folks in the same way gun control is a futile attempt to intercept gun violence.

    I also think that just a gun control affects the innocent, an enhanced look at mental health is going to end up hurting a lot of innocents, restricting their rights in significant ways.

    1. avatar Jus Bill says:

      You have obviously never known someone with an untreated mental illness, or the parent(s) of one to be able to dismiss a matter this serious so easily. You have no idea what a multiyear struggle it is to obtain a diagnosis, and what a protracted, frustrating, gut-wrenching emotional roller coaster it is to get adequate treatment. Do some research, and then try to dismiss it.

      A very good place to start would be the VA. Veteran suicides are a constant in the background, VA put tools out and are swamped, and Congress’ answer is to cut funds and resources. Look beyond the media hype and into the facts.

      Or be ashamed of yourself for being so shallow and uncaring.

      1. avatar John in Ohio says:

        I have experience and I am neither uncaring nor shallow on the issue. Our present mental health system, even if it wasn’t a mess, couldn’t do much to prevent these types of actions without potentially dire consequences for the Liberty of practically every common individual. Government thinks that it only has a hammer so everything looks like a nail. Mental health is overrun with progressives. This bodes badly for any realistic solution through the mental health aspect.

        1. avatar Jus Bill says:

          So you approve of the Rube Goldberg-designed compost pile that is the mental health so-called system in this country because a misdiagnosis might be made once in a while? Because it’s fine to jerk a sick, suffering human being around for 30 years trying to get treatment? Because you’re good with thousands of veterans killing themselves each year because there are simply not enough beds to go around? Because LIBERTY?

          I don’t care if the mental health system is overrun with zombies, it needs more quality resources. Now. The current system is a sham. Pull a small portion of the “Endless War on Terror” in the sandbox and Africa, and put into the Healthcare System.

        2. avatar John in Ohio says:

          because a misdiagnosis might be made once in a while?

          It happens a lot more than “once in a while” and I’ll check back to see if I referred to misdiagnosis anywhere in my comment. I don’t believe that I did. One of the points I was trying to make is that mental health is overrun by progressives and they’ve made a quack-science out of some of it.

          Because it’s fine to jerk a sick, suffering human being around for 30 years trying to get treatment? Because you’re good with thousands of veterans killing themselves each year because there are simply not enough beds to go around? Because LIBERTY?

          Chill. I didn’t say that. However, I do believe that, currently with the exception of the VA (and a vastly scaled down version of that after we stop intervening in every nation’s business, or eventually eliminate the VA all together); the government has no business poking around in health care, mental or otherwise. It ought to be a completely private enterprise in this nation. And yes, because Liberty. Europe is over there, not here.

          I don’t care if the mental health system is overrun with zombies, it needs more quality resources.

          Private, not government.

          Now. The current system is a sham. Pull a small portion of the “Endless War on Terror” in the sandbox and Africa,

          Yes, but pull all of it now.

          and put into the Healthcare System.

          No. Stop taxing the People so much. Let private industry tend to itself.

        3. avatar rosignol says:

          Unfortunately, mental illness often precludes regular employment, never mind the kind of employment that can afford the salaries highly-trained and expensively credentialed mental health professionals like to get.

          A lot of mentally ill people try to self-medicate with alcohol or illegal drugs, which may send them into the prison system. It seems possible that a government-run mental-health system is a less-bad option than how we’re handling it now. What we currently have is a prison system that does double-duty as insane asylums.

        4. avatar John in Ohio says:

          @rosignol: My personal and professional experiences throughout life agree with much of what you wrote is. However, government is not the way to solve any of it, IMHO. I’m not even sure that it’s a legitimate power of our government to do so.

        5. avatar John in Ohio says:

          @Jus Bill: They are in the custody of the State so obviously government is responsible for reasonable health care in such a situation because government is responsible for their health and safety. But, that’s not what we’ve been talking about, now is it? 😉

        6. avatar Jus Bill says:

          But that’s exactly what you’re advocating, isn’t it? Leaving Government out of it and putting the mentally ill in prison? Or state- and privately-run “for profit” “rest homes”? Because everyone must be free to do exactly as they please, however bizarre, until they run afoul of the law and then and only then do they receive any chance at diagnosis and treatment? Coincidentally provided by a government entity (which you also seem to despise)?

          I don’t have the answer to the current mess, but I absolutely agree that as a nation and a civilized society we MUST at least begin to ask some pointed questions about how to fix the current system.

          And as an aside, if I was “King of the World” I would order the entire APA leadership to have a psychiatric evaluation. You and I know why, I think.

    2. avatar Full Cleveland says:

      I agree also. Murder is always a risk. As a 2A absolutist I accept the risk of being murdered with a firearm and I feel that the risk is countered by the ability to defend myself from individuals, gangs and corrupt government agents.

  16. avatar ProfBathrobe says:

    Damn, that’s a much more measured response than I would have thought he’d give. Ironic that while the anti-gun culture is all about “doing something” by subtracting from people’s lives, this guy actually steps out there and tries to get something positive done.

    1. avatar Ralph says:

      All well and good, but where was he for 18 years?

  17. avatar Fug says:

    Sounds awfully half hearted, almost like he was talking about someone else’s child.

    I also have to say that I hate it when people point out that “the vast majority of mentally ill people are not violent.” This means nothing, because otherwise charming and kind people with certain mental illnesses can break with reality and do serious harm to others.

    I have seen it first hand working with the mentally handicapped, certain things can trigger the most relaxed and high functioning of these unfortunate individuals to extreme acts of violence that are otherwise totally out of character.

    Where I worked the prescription for violent outbursts was to bear hug the individual and talk them down while allowing them to hit, bite and scratch you. This system was adopted over the old and not-so-PC method of four point restraints, which were deemed cruel and dehumanizing.

    So let’s get real here: Mental illness is a serious problem world wide, but especially here in the states where we have enshrined the RKBA. It is impossible to diagnose every single disturbed person born before they have a chance to hurt someone, indeed you don’t even have to be truly mentally ill to go off and hurt somebody for the wrong reasons. This does not and will never invalidate the RKBA, in fact it is one of the main reasons we have enshrined and protected this right as Americans.

    The reality of mental illness necessitates vigilance. Many of the individuals I worked with at my old job were first diagnosed after they abused a member of their immediate family or a pet, sometimes sexually. This is not about guns, it is about not blindly ignoring what goes on around you as many folks do.

    Elliot Rodger surely exhibited many warning signs, but they were all ignored due to the wealth and privilege of his family until he finally broke with reality completely and went on a killing spree. Nobody wants to admit there is something wrong with their family member or their friend, but sometimes there really is and if you just sweep your concerns under the rug you could be facilitating something horrible.

    1. avatar brian says:

      They WEREN’T ignored, that’s just it!

      The system, such as it is, is horribly broken. ER didn’t fall through the cracks, he was bounced around along the top of the hopper until he fell off the other side.

      His parents had been trying to get him “help” for a very long time. And the State said “Nope, not crazy enough yet.”

      And that is always going to be the problem – there has to be a line drawn somewhere, and someone is always gonna be just on this side of it.

  18. avatar TheOtherDavid says:

    I recently spoke with someone who had lost a family member to suicide, after a few previous attempts. They kept being told “well, with your insurance you can see a psychiatrist in….a few months.”

    I keep thinking about how much just the administrative overhead for these mindless new “common sense” background check/registration schemes cost. Millions and millions of dollars. I would rather see that money spent on getting a troubled kid in need some care instead of paying the state money for the privilege of owning a perfectly legal firearm.

  19. avatar Nick G. says:

    Mad respect to the dad. Not only did he not blame the victims or the weapon but he took on the responsibility for not seeing the truth in time to save them.

  20. avatar former water walker says:

    +1 Ralph. I have to point out dad conveniently supported young Elliot, bought him a very expensive car and generally gave him anything he wanted with no oversight. This happens with guys with kids by different families. I know I’m guilty of it. In case you think I don’t have a clue about mental illness my 36 year old son has bouts of manic behavior & walked into a house in a,psychotic haze . He was charged with a felony and spent a year in jail. And lives with his grandparents…nope I have NO sympathy for dad. Don’t be too sure he won’t jump in for gun control.

    1. avatar Jus Bill says:

      +1. See my rant at John above. My 40 year old son is schizophrenic. He has finally progressed to a group home (with 24 hour supervision). Thank God wife and I were able to fight for him and keep a close eye on him – he never was arrested (but was picked up a couple of times).

    2. avatar John in Ohio says:

      Don’t be too sure he won’t jump in for gun control.

      In comments on other articles here at TTAG, I posted that the father had commented in a news story that the children were raised in essentially an anti-gun environment and that hasn’t changed for their family.

      1. avatar Jus Bill says:

        He seems to changed his mind. I think he understands that gun control laws benefit nobody now. It’s a shame it came too late for him. Let the poor guy grieve.

        1. avatar John in Ohio says:

          If he did come around then good on him. Better late than never.

          I agree, let him grieve. The grief has to be brutal right now for him.

  21. avatar Excedrine says:

    Condolences to Peter.

    Having no children of my own, I can only imagine the pain he is suffering and I won’t pretend to understand precisely what he’s going through. No parent should ever have to outlive their children. Even to admit that he’s only Human, there’s only so much we can do, and that sometimes there’s really nothing more we can do when things are the way they are, is a huge step in the right direction. He’s going through his own grieving and coping process, and I wish him well.

    All the best, Mr. Roger.

  22. avatar former water walker says:

    I’m with you Jus Bill. Sorry about your son. No matter how old your kid will ALWAYS be your kid. God bless you for caring for your son.

    1. avatar Jus Bill says:

      Thanx. My wife and I try to give back by participating in a support group for patients’ parents and family at a State Mental Health Facility my son was hospitalized at for a few years. It’s not much, but it’s something. And it helps.

      And a BIG shoutout to NAMI.

  23. avatar NotoriousAPP says:

    Somebody trying to avoid or mitigate losses from a civil lawsuit perhaps?

  24. avatar BDub says:

    That seemed sincere and pointed in the right direction.

  25. avatar John Boch says:

    Hey, asshole: Your son was not a ‘victim’. He was a monster.

    John

  26. avatar James Moon says:

    I read through quite a lot of replies and the only thing missing is the ever present anti-troll, then it dawned on me, this article neither blames nor defends firearms. So they probably trundled (or however it is that trolls move) on to a more target rich environment. So here we are having a nice civil conversation without anyone being compared to or comparing anyone to Hitler. Hopefully you all will continue your conversation and I will keep reading your comments in peace.

  27. avatar SpeleoFool says:

    Did anyone follow the link to AskForHelp.org? There are some good stories out there. One titled “I also have a killer son” was a particularly gripping read. Here’s a quote this site ought to appreciate:

    “My son killed that young lady with a gun, but the weapon of choice isn’t the issue. The issue is that PEOPLE will find a way to do what they want. Banning guns and baseball bats and knives isn’t the answer.”

    This is a story from a mother who calls her own son a monster and recognizes that she ultimately had no control over steering him down a better path. There is some excellent insight in her story, and what must be hard truths for her to tell. I hope that some of you will click the link and read it.

    We who wish to protect our rights would do well to promote stories like hers that get past wishful thinking and actually try to figure out how to recognize violent people and what we might realistically do to stop them before anyone gets hurt. If there are answers they lie in that direction–not, as we well know, in banning guns. We’d all be better off were the national dialogue to shift its spotlight that direction.

    Kudos to Peter Rodger for setting that site up.

    1. avatar Jus Bill says:

      True that. I just wish the shrill, bloody shirt-waving jackals and ghouls would recognize that and change their focus. I think everyone’s getting tired of their story line.

  28. avatar Accur81 says:

    Did Eliot Rodger have a treatable mental disorder or was he just simply an a$$hole who wanted the world to feel his pain? Frankly, I don’t care. My interest lies in preserving the rights of decent and responsible human beings. Part of the reason I carry is because people like this exist. While an analysis of Rodger’s mental state could have value, attempting to place society on a mental lockdown does not.

    Does Boko Haram have a treatable mental disorder or is he just simply an a$$hole who has no regard for the lives of others? I don’t care. I am much more concerned with being able to defend myself and my family against some desperate or psychotic individual who has a broken moral compass. I don’t care overly much about how that compass was broken. Should Boko Haram lose his life to an armed civilian while in the process of committing another murder or rape it would not cause me to lose a moment of sleep.

    And I will continue to advocate for the rights of responsible citizens because they have every bit as much of a right to care for their families as I do mine.

  29. avatar murphy says:

    Just curious, IS there really a need to keep posting the pictures of these bast@rds, with every story that is published about them. Why do news outlets,
    keep reporting stories in such a way – including endless PHOTOS- giving celebrity style status to these creeps? Every story about any of the recent shooters have bombarded us with pictures from any source, school Yearbooks, facebook, You tube, or any other social media site, family friends, etc.
    I don’t care to SEE these deranged Butts. It won’t undo their crime, and we are not searching for them, to apprehend them. I don’t think they should be given more publicity, coverage and detail, or promotion. than that given to the people whose lives were needlessly taken, due to their demented mental state or twisted mind or motives.

    1. avatar Jus Bill says:

      Media keeps doing that because it sells papers and draws viewers/clicks. It’s the same with anything sensational.

  30. avatar been there done that says:

    I have neighbors who operate a home of 5 people. They take the drugs and threatened us and others who questions it. They run the system. I have video of things they have done . The ccourts,hospital,State all know them. They can’t stop them because, even a local hospital who had 86 mentally ill folks was shut down last week because of abuse. Just like in NY years ago. SO! How do you correct this when people like us, tried and now we must move as others have. We were told (this is all we can do without losing our jobs)

  31. avatar been there done that says:

    The State turns their head’s to this do to MONEY!

  32. avatar JAS says:

    This kid had more than one voice in his head. That much is obvious to me. There are delusional disorders that fit his pattern pretty well. Little is known about them, they are hard to diagnose and almost impossible to treat because the individual holds onto the delusions even in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary. The kid was not a psychopath, he was in all probability psychotic.

    The parents were aware of the problem but he could hide it pretty well from others, in the short term. Finally the other voice in his head started getting louder and louder. He started planning his deed and that took a while, so his primary thought process fought it for a time – but lost.

    Some think that there are 20 to 30 of these individuals out there for every 100,000 people.

  33. avatar lance doggette says:

    i did NOT read all of the comments so if some else has already pointed it out, sorry for repeating it.

    It is the DRUGS that they are put on. MOST of the drugs that are used to “HELP” people with these kinds of problems have warnings on the labels “can cause violent tendency”. if you dig deep enough it is one of the common connections to most of the shootings. BUT BIG Pharma lobbies to keep it out of the main stream media.

    1. avatar Kathi Bernier says:

      I was put on medication back in the very early ’80s . This was before they were required to inform you of possible side effects. No one told me this medication could cause suicidal thoughts. I ended up attempting and almost succeeding suicide. Since then I have HUGE disdain for BIG PHARM. They are not in the business to cure people, they are in the business to make money. Looking back, I feel I was misdiagnosed and put on meds simply so someone could make money. To this day I refuse pharmacueticals of any kind.This includes OTC meds. I am a functioning adult with no drug or alcohol problems.

  34. avatar John in Ohio says:

    (Edit: This dropped out if its thread. It was in response to Jus Bill’s comments.)

    But that’s exactly what you’re advocating, isn’t it?

    No and misrepresenting my position isn’t going to make your point.

    Leaving Government out of it and putting the mentally ill in prison?

    Leave government out of it, yes. Nowhere did I advocate nor have I ever advocated putting the mentally ill in prison. Prove your assertion that I advocate such. You can’t because I didn’t and I don’t.

    Or state- and privately-run “for profit” “rest homes”?

    I never advocated state run rest homes. What private ventures wish to set up and run is their business. I would expect private charities to be the majority provider of any rest homes for the mentally ill.

    Because everyone must be free to do exactly as they please, however bizarre, until they run afoul of the law

    Of course! That is a free society. Until individuals commit a crime, government needs to leave them alone.

    and then and only then do they receive any chance at diagnosis and treatment?

    They are free to seek treatment. Their families are free to handle them and encourage treatment. If the individual commits a crime or is in the immediate process, then the government may get involved.

    Coincidentally provided by a government entity (which you also seem to despise)?

    You use a lot of loaded statements; subtle appeals to emotion. The basic concept is that people have a right to be left alone from government intrusion. I repeatedly state that I am not in favor of government run health care. You are the one calling for that, not me.

    I don’t have the answer to the current mess, but I absolutely agree that as a nation and a civilized society we MUST at least begin to ask some pointed questions about how to fix the current system.

    If the fix is more government involvement then no thank you. Such a fix is really no fix at all and we might as well leave it alone.

    And as an aside, if I was “King of the World” I would order the entire APA leadership to have a psychiatric evaluation. You and I know why, I think.

    I agree with the sentiment and the rationale behind it but I wouldn’t agree with the edict. Market forces would drive consumers away from the quacks. Government involvement is part of what’s propping them up.

    1. avatar Jus Bill says:

      I take it from the overall tenor of your remarks that you are a “mental health professional” of some sort. And that you are in favor of milking whoever you can for as long as you can for “treatment” that may or may or not work.

      I am done talking to you. It seems your mind is made up.

      1. avatar John in Ohio says:

        I am no longer a professional at anything. However, you are correct that my mind is made up on this subject and was thus long ago. I’ve noticed that our viewpoints aren’t that far apart on many other things concerning Liberty. We simply don’t agree on this one. We both can and should part from this discussion at this point. Take care, Jus Bill.

  35. avatar jon says:

    CAN WE STOP PUTTING UP HIS UGLY VISAGE ANY THE TIME THERE’S AN ARTICLE WITH HIM?!

    I’m getting tired of seeing his ugly face!

  36. avatar baggytheo says:

    The kinds of mental illness that were suffered by Elliot Rogers are not just random misfortunes bestowed upon good families by the mental illness fairy. They are the result of child abuse and neglect.

    The moral cowardice of this man is astounding. Even now that his son has gone on a murderous rampage before committing suicide, he still cannot take ownership for his failings as a father and the family environment that led to the development of such mental illness. Instead, he pretends to himself out-loud that he tried his best as a father, and that nobody could have known because Elliot hid his condition from them.

    Want the truth about Elliot Rodger and his family? Go to youtube and search for “The Truth About Elliot Rodger”.

  37. avatar neiowa says:

    I want to know how this idiot (and his murdering son) came to reside in the US. I’m pretty sure the US not short on porno photographers and movie “directors”. Wife/mother also a Brit. Why is the US allowing this people into the US if they make no productive contribution to our economy?

    See also permanent residence/citizenship to the “refugees” of any other nation. We let you in (if your nation is not the enemy of the US), you receive the gift of the TEMPORARY benefits of the US, then GO HOME and improve your own damn country.

    1. avatar Great Scot says:

      I am slightly offended by this, although I understand where you’re coming from. Immigration is a problem in our country too, and remember, we’re only about half the size of Kalifornia. But your country was practically founded by immigrants from Britain, with the Native American population. When I’m old enough, and have enough money, my dream is to move to America. This is because America is a place where Liberty really means something, where people can be free. From a totalitarian place like Britain, America is a better life, and the more people that can enjoy it the better. My Uncle was in the Royal Navy, whilst stationed in Florida he married an African-American woman, and they now live happily in Florida with two kids. He has never looked back.
      America is a better place, and I hope to be able to enjoy it.
      “See also permanent residence/citizenship to the “refugees” of any other nation. We let you in (if your nation is not the enemy of the US), you receive the gift of the TEMPORARY benefits of the US, then GO HOME and improve your own damn country.”
      This is my attitude towards Foreign Aid money-don’t give it. They can help themselves, they’re not little kids. Refugees, yeah, same policy. But people emigrating from Britain, Australia, etc. would bring job skills, money and contribute to society, surely?

  38. avatar Great Scot says:

    I feel so sorry for the father, and it’s good that he’s not falling into denial and blaming everything and everyone. I think this open letter is well written and people should read it, and those in the mental health industry should take heed.

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