Editorial: What he did was not fair

It's not fair. Those words could apply to a lot of things in Santa Barbara right now.

To the six people who were stabbed or shot to death.

To the seven people now in hospital with serious injuries.

To their families, and to the people who witnessed the horror that was Friday night in the Californian town.

To the family of 22-year-old Elliot Rodger, found dead - apparently by his own hand - in his car.

But those words were spoken by Rodger, in the course of a seven-minute video posted to YouTube, in which he says that girls have never been attracted to him, and that he has never had the love, affection and adoration from women he seems to think should rightfully have been his.

"It's not fair."

And so, he says, he will "punish you all" for it.

His family, understandably, is devastated. Not only are his parents dealing with the death of a son, they will have to come to terms with the fact he has taken six lives.

They are reportedly anti guns, so learning of the three legally-obtained firearms in Rodger's vehicle and the more than 400 unused rounds of ammunition, will be difficult to comprehend.

This is not a family saying they never saw this coming. They were, reportedly, so concerned at the content of videos Rodger was posting, with talk of suicide and murder, they went to police.

Police found Rodger to be a "perfectly polite, kind and wonderful human".

Which, given the content of the videos, is astonishing at best, given this "kind and wonderful human" was videoing himself saying that if he couldn't "have you girls, I will destroy you", and would "take great pleasure in slaughtering all of you".

Clearly something was seriously wrong. Clearly this young man was not mentally well, and had some seriously concerning attitudes towards women; a worrying sense of entitlement to their attention and their bodies.

His family, through a spokesperson, has said they will co-operate with authorities or anyone else who feels they need help to prevent these situations from ever occurring again.

In the midst of shock and grief, that's a commendable stance to take. But there are big issues to tackle here, and there will be much debate on the elements at play - guns, celebrity, social media, mental illness, and misogyny.

Rodger's name will join the roll call of names of disturbed young men who killed. The attention he felt he deserved will finally be his.

The names of his victims will take second place.

And that's not fair at all.

The Timaru Herald