If the Santa Barbara killer had managed to survive what he called his "day of retribution," I think it's a safe bet that some high-priced Beverly Hills lawyer would already be invoking the Affluenza Defense right about now. The differential diagnosis would be Peter Pan Psychosis, or in layman's terms, severe Arrested Development.
Spoiled, entitled brat does not even begin to describe Elliot Rodger. And even allowing for the fact that he is obviously an "unreliable narrator" of his own "My Twisted World" life story, the fact that his killing spree was financed by indulgent parents can't be ignored. He didn't get the thick wads of cash to purchase his high-tech weaponry, or the luxury BMW he used to mow down some of his victims, from a part-time job or student loans.
CNN now reports that the parents were living above their means, deeply in debt, and that they had to scrimp and save to provide him with such bare necessities as a used luxury car and even occasionally forced to downgrade to economy class flights to exotic destinations.
He hated women, yes. There was no Wendy in his world. He gazed with contempt upon minorities who presumed to socialize within his physical milieu. ("I was descended from British aristocracy. He was descended from slaves.") After all, he'd been brought up with minority women as his servants. He actually had an African-American nanny looking after him well into his teens, if you can believe his memoir. The psychological help that his parents are so widely praised as providing for him included "life coaches" and "socialization facilitators" as well as the standard pill-pushers.
It sounds so California. It rings so decadently true.
Above all, this guy was a snob who believed that if only he was a multimillionaire, he would become a babe magnet. It seems to never to have occurred to him to make the first move, to exert himself, to use the charm offensive with the opposite sex. A smooth Ted Bundy-type predator he was not. He hated guys his age whom he perceived to be "scoring" as much as he hated the girls he perceived to be spurning him.
I read his 140-page poor little rich boy "manifesto" in its entirety. It's a cautionary tale of the cruelty of parental over-indulgence and neglect as practiced upon a budding psychopath. It could even be a script for a remake of Heathers, as told by V.C. Andrews, without the black comedy. (The kid's father was a Hollywood scriptwriter, so creativity must run in the family.)
"Mother always got me what I wanted, right when I wanted it," writes Rodger. "At Mother's house, all my needs were met with excellent precision."
Among his many needs were having his hair dyed blond at age nine, and unsupervised all-nighters at Planet Cyber, a gaming arcade, at age 13.
He life, even if you believe only a tenth of what he wrote, was a whirlwind of exotic vacations, luxury homes, designer clothes and expensive toys. There's enough detail to make it sound plausible.
His greatest angst, toward the end of his life, was that although he was rich, he was not as obscenely rich as some of his peers. His mother, he fumed, refused to advance his class status by marrying into big money after his parents' divorce. There was even a hated stepmother who stars in a European version of Real Housewives. Despite spending thousands of dollars on Powerball lottery tickets, he never hit the jackpot. And so he despaired:
"If I could have become a multimillionaire at a young age, then my lifestyle would instantly become better than most people my age. I would be able to get revenge on my enemies just by living above them and lording it over them."
And this, about the last in a lifelong series of luxury vacations:
"I have always had a penchant for luxury and opulence and prestige, and traveling on Virgin Atlantic Upper Class would give me that experience, if only for a short time.... As holders of first class tickets, we skipped to the front of the line as we boarded the plane, and I took great satisfaction as I passed by all of the other people who flew Economy, giving all the younger passengers a cocky little smirk when they looked at me."
The whole manifesto, memoir, true confession -- whatever you want to call it -- reads like this. A screen treatment, a storyboard, a script, complete with descriptions of facial expressions. A parody of the class war and the normalization of sociopathic greed.
If this guy had been just a bit more stable, and a little more patient, he would have done extremely well on Wall Street. Or Hollywood. Or Washington. Or wherever the military-industrial complex provides a socially acceptable outlet for greedy misogynists with a gun fetish.