Who was Elliot Rodger?

The online history and detailed writings of Rodger, who police identified as the gunman in a series of shootings near the University of California, Santa Barbara, paint a chilling profile of a 22-year-old obsessed with appearance, acceptance and getting a girlfriend.

The data trail also suggests that nearly every aspect of Rodger's crime spree — which claimed seven lives, including his own — was premeditated and meticulously planned.

Rodger posted videos of himself to YouTube, and photos and selfies to Facebook. He was also a frequent commenter on at least two web forums, PUAHater.com (currently offline), a site that criticizes the pickup artist movement for being ineffective for them, and the "Misc." forum on Bodybuilding.com, where all threads featuring or referencing Rodger have been removed.

Envy, relationships, status

The documents, videos and postings create a portrait of a disturbed individual who was isolated, depressed and angry at what he perceived as the ultimate injustice: his lack of success with women. Much of his online postings and rambling autobiographical manifesto focus on the fact that Rodger was a self-confessed virgin at 22, who had "never even kissed a girl."

Rodger appears to be obsessed not just with gaining attention from women, but with being seen as popular. Rodger associates power — and self-worth — with social status, money and appearances.

Many of his video postings that reminisce about his childhood, as well as his manifesto, revisit perceived slights, rejection and injustices he suffered as a child and teenager. It is those rejections that Rodger associates and blames for his lack of success with women as an adult, and with his lack of popularity. As a result, Rodger isn't just focused on gaining attention from women, but with punishing and torturing those around him who are not suffering as he is.

In a video titled "My reaction to seeing a young couple at the beach, Envy," he questions why a man he is watching on the beach has a girlfriend and he does not. "I have to show everyone why I hate the world, because no girl would do this with me," he says as he shoots video of a young man and woman kissing in the distance.

"I hate them. I hate them so much. Why does he deserve to get this experience and not me?" Rodger ends the video, angrily stating, "It's not fair. Life is not fair."

Still, for Rodger, the most "grotesque injustice" (a phrase he frequently uses in his writings and postings) is seeing what he perceives to be a lesser-stature man associating with an attractive woman.

On the forum BodyBuilding.com, Rodger posted a thread lamenting the fact that a man with a less-expensive car managed to have a girlfriend, while he was alone.

Elliott Rodger Forum Post

Image: Screenshot BodyBuilding.com, from an cached archive

When members of the forum questioned Rodger's judgment of the man, he reiterates his disdain at the lack of "status" implied by the man's car.

Elliot Rodger Forum Posting

Image: Screenshot BodyBuilding.com, from a cached archive

He goes on to write, "I find it unjust that a white girl would choose him over me."

Similarly, on the PUAHate forum, he expresses his rage at seeing unattractive "poor" men with girlfriends.

Elliot Rodger Forum Post

Image: Screenshot PUAHate.net, from a cached archive

In his videos and Facebook postings, Rodger also makes a point to flaunt and play up his status and wealth. Many of his Facebook photos are of his BMW coupe and the Mercedes SUV, which belong to his father. In his videos, he frequently alludes to his designer clothes and expensive cars.

Reading his manifesto, however, it becomes clear that although Rodger and his family are well-off, they aren't as "rich" as he wishes. Rodger frequently compares his own status against that of his peers. Whether it is being embarrassed by the neighborhood his mother lives in, or wanting to prove his affluence through the purchase of expensive clothing or vacations, Rodger presents an image of never feeling good enough.

Late in his manifesto, he writes:

"I will always resent my mother for refusing to do this. If not for her sake, she should have done it for mine. Joining a family of great wealth would have truly saved my life. I would have a high enough status to attract beautiful girlfriends, and live above all of my enemies. All of my horrific troubles would have been eased instantly. It is very selfish of my mother to not consider this."

Santa Barbara

Rodger lived in the San Fernando Valley region of Los Angeles from age 5 until 2011. After graduating from a non-traditional high school in 2009, Rodger spent a few years intermittently taking classes at two colleges in the Los Angeles area. During this time, he still lived with either his father or mother (depending on who he was getting along with best).

Just before his 20th birthday in the summer of 2011, Rodger moved to Santa Barbara. The move was, according to his manifesto, instigated by his parents as a final opportunity for him to socialize, earn a college degree and move on in life.

For Rodger, Santa Barbara — and particularly the unincorporated community of Isla Vista — represented an idealized version of his perfect life. Almost all Isla Vista residences are college students. Most attend the University of California, Santa Barbara, though some, like Rodger, attend Santa Barbara City College.

In Isla Vista, Rodger envisioned himself living the life he felt he deserved to live, one filled with beautiful blonde women and the attention and popularity he craved so much. He wrote in his manifesto that he was also influenced to live in Santa Barbara because of the film Alpha Dog. The film is based on the real murder-kidnapping of 15-year-old Nicholas Markowitz. After being abducted by low-level drug dealers over a feud between the dealers and Markowitz's half-brother, the kidnappers took Markowitz to a few parties in the Santa Barbara area, before ultimately killing him.

Rodger's vision of Santa Barbara matched the portrayal of the party scenes in Alpha Dog, and he saw himself in the role of protagonist and victim, Nicholas Markowitz. By moving to Santa Barbara, Rodger was convinced he, too, would have access to beautiful women and the luxuries of life.

Yet almost immediately after moving to the Isla Vista community, Rodger's same problems with socialization came rushing back. What's more, he became more enraged by the frequent sights of attractive men and women enjoying themselves around him.

The juxtaposition between the beauty of the Santa Barbara area and his own desolation is a point Rodger repeatedly makes in his YouTube videos.

It was also in Santa Barbara, that Rodger began planning what he would refer to as "The Day of Retribution."

In his manifesto, Rodger wrote (emphasis his):

It was only when I first moved to Santa Barbara that I started considering the possibility of having to carry out a violent act of revenge, as the final solution to dealing with all of the injustices I've had to face at the hands of women and society. I came up with a name for this after I saw all of the good looking young couples walking around my college and in the town of Isla Vista. I named it the Day of Retribution. It would be a day in which I exact my ultimate retribution and revenge on all of the hedonistic scum who enjoyed lives of pleasure that they don't deserve. If I can't have it, I will destroy it. I will destroy all women because I can never have them. I will make them all suffer for rejecting me. I will arm myself with deadly weapons and wage a war against all women and the men they are attracted to. And I will slaughter them like the animals they are. If they won't accept me among them, then they are my enemies. They showed me no mercy, and in turn I will show them no mercy. The prospect will be so sweet, and justice will ultimately be served. And of course, I would have to die in the act to avoid going to prison.

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