On Friday night, a man behind the wheel of a black luxury BMW sped through the streets of Isla Vista, California apparently hell-bent on the wholesale slaughter of innocents and the drive by shooting was a shock to the entire community. Witnesses report seeing the BMW careening at high speeds through streets near the U.C. Santa Barbara campus with the driver shooting out the window at seemingly random targets. The killing rampage took the lives of seven people, including the shooter and an additional seven were hospitalized with gunshot wounds and other serious injuries. Of the injured seven, at least one victim is in critical condition and it is believed that some of the victims were hit by the shooter’s vehicle. Now, Hunger Games second unit director, Peter Rodger has come forth with a statement that he believes the shooter may have been his own son, Elliot Rodgers.
The sheriff for Santa Barbara County, Bill Brown has described the scene as “horrific” and has stated that the rampage appears to have been “premeditated mass murder.” The case is further complicated by the fact that there were at least nine different areas where the killings occurred which has resulted in nine different crimes scenes that must be processed. Brown has further stated that the killing rampage was clearly the work of a “madman.” While the shooters identity has not been officially released, the fact that the high profile second unit director for the Hunger Games series has come forward with assertions that his son was involved means this case will quickly become a media frenzy.
While Brown’s description falls in line with the human reaction to such overt violence and it was issued in a moment of horror over the events, there may be more truth to the “madman” statement than first appears. A YouTube video has surfaced titled, “Elliot Rodger’s Retribution” and authorities are investigating its possible relation to the killing spree.
In the video, Elliot Rodger is posed in his vehicle, his well-formed face illuminated by the golden warmth of the Southern California sun and he describes in methodical yet chilling detail how he is going to get his revenge on “humanity.” He expresses his pain and anger at how he has been rejected by women and mocks his own state of virginity. He describes how girls have never given their ‘affection” their “sex” and their “love” to him and he calls this state “torturous.” He further states that college is the place and time where everyone experiences sex, fun and pleasure but for him, the years have left him to “rot in loneliness.” Rodger does not understand why girls are not attracted to him, claims it is “unfair” and says that he will punish them for it. Elliot’s diatribe expressed a hunger for attention – a very different kind of hunger than the one expressed in Peter Rodger’s Hunger Games.
The almost seven-minute long video is chilling and when Rodger laughs with self-satisfied delight at his intentions to inflict pain and punishment in the form of ‘slaughter,” the term “madman” does indeed come to mind.
Elliot Rodger fulfilled his fantasy of slaughter although it is undetermined whether he had specific targets or was satisfied by shooting at random people in his bid to make “humanity” pay for the perceived slights against his manhood. Rodger eventually crashed his BMW into a tree after engaging in a gun battle with two deputies. He was found dead in his car with a gunshot to the head and authorities have yet to determine if he committed suicide or was killed by deputy gunfire.
If it is confirmed that Peter Rodger is Elliot’s father and that in fact, Elliot was the shooter, his second unit director connection with the Hunger Games series will no doubt be brought into the media frenzy and questions will be raised, again, about the teen on teen violence depicted in the series. Until then, Rodger, who like the grieving families whose loved ones were victims of a killing rampage, may have just lost his son. During his time of grief and perhaps feelings of parental guilt, he will likely face tremendous media heat as the father of a son who was both killer and victim of a gunshot on a Friday night when madness took Isla Vista in a hail of violence.
By Alana Marie Burke