CA Tragedy – Another Murder At The Hands Of A Young Adult Male: Elliot Rodger

by Dr. Karen Ruskin on May 26, 2014

Another horrifying tragedy at the hands of a young male. Elliot Rodger’s killing rampage in CA has left many families in mourning, students in fear realizing the vulnerability of their lives, and the public wondering; what can we learn from this to provide future prevention? Today’s blog, posts questions for the opportunity to open up thoughts and promote dialogue after such a tragedy to consider what if any, solutions lie ahead. My heart goes out to the many affected by this, hoping for coping and healing on the journey ahead.

Talking Points:

  • Threatening to harm is the #1 warning sign that a person will indeed harm. What can parents, and our systems (therapists, mental health clinics, police, …) do differently? What should stay the same? How can our systems improve to increase the chance of preventing such future tragedies?
  • The youtube videos Elliot posted are disturbing, to put it mildly. As a public we learn from various news outlets that the family asserts they sought out mental health care help, of whom alerted the authorities. How much did the authorities know? What was done right? What can be done differently going forward, if anything? Are we simply stuck as a society or can we learn something from this tragedy?
  • What steps can a parent take when they know their teen is socially awkward and lacking in friendships? What steps can a parent take if they feel their child is suffering emotionally? What steps can parents take if their child has mental illness and as that child ages into young adulthood we see there is still a problem? Ultimately, can a parent prevent their child from becoming a 20 something murderer?
  • What steps can our culture take to help young men like Elliot who are alone, lonely and hurting? What steps can the school system take when there is a young boy aging into manhood and it is apparent he is not fitting in, in a healthy way? What steps can the pediatrician take? What steps can the primary care physician take? What steps can a therapist take who is treating such a young man? What steps can the police take? How do we save young men and the lives they touch? Ultimately, are there things that we can do as a culture to prevent certain types of murders?
  • Entitlement/”Affluenza”- the term used these days for young adults who grow up with wealth, and thus are viewed as feeling they are entitled. Is this to blame? Is it mental illness? Psychotic? Is it delusional to believe you should have what you want and that you are worthy of getting what you want and if you don’t get it then no one will? Self worth high or low? In Elliot’s video that he shared shortly before his shooting rampage he shared that he is “superior” but treated like a mouse. Did he truly believe he was superior or did he really believe he was a mouse? Does that very view of self affect the choice that he made?
  • What steps can the young men and women in CA whose lives were touched take, to cope with this trauma? Will they experience post traumatic stress disorder?
  • How can families heal and move on after the lives of their young adult children have been taken in such tragedy? Will these families ever be okay?
  • How can the parents of the murderer cope after their son committed such violence? How do the people in the agencies who were involved in Elliot’s lives cope? Learn? E.g., police, therapists?

Today’s blog poses just but a few questions, there are more. It is with the intent to open up dialogue for thought, strategies, insights, and potential solutions going forward for you the reader to consider.

ADD ON: The day after this blog was posted I appeared on FOX News Channel’s Hannity to discuss: The Mind Of A Killer. I invite you to view the interview on demand.

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