But this “witch hunt” we go through every time a school shooting happens is a total ruse. Elliot Rodger didn’t become a killer because he was a misogynist; he became a misogynist because he was a killer. Just like Eric Harris didn’t become a killer because he loved violent video games; he loved violent video games because he was a killer. Just like Adam Lanza didn’t become a killer because he loved guns; he loved guns because he was a killer.
Not going to lie, while I enjoyed this editorial and I resonate with many of its ideas, the solution he proposes is so, so much easier said than done. Most of us have grown up shutting out those in pain because there were just so many of those in pain that it would put us in suffering to even acknowledge all of them. Or at the very least, that’s what we were told by those guiding us through life. That you can’t help everybody. That you can’t touch everyone. If someone shoots up a school, goes on a stabbing, commits suicide, then ultimately, that was on them.
I’m reminded of “Riley Rewind”, which was a webseries written and directed by Ray William Johnson and Anna Akana.
In it, the main character feels incredibly responsible for the suicide of a girl she didn’t get to know and she restarts time again and again to save her, to the point where her own physical and emotional health take a dive. When she fails, another student plans a bombing in the dead girl’s honor and succeeds. The burden the main character is put under during the series is maddening. What Mark Manson suggests can also serve as an indictment to those who refused to take that responsibility on their shoulders, even with good reason.
So I think it’s interesting. Maybe his advice is simply the other side of the coin; try to do as much as you can because you can, and it’s worth it if you save lives from being ruined. But I don’t know. I don’t think it’s as simple as showing empathy. Elliot was given to professionals; what good could a friend of his do if he was unaffected by those trained to take care of him?