The road to rampage for the suspected gunman in Friday’s deadly shooting spree at a California college town began in childhood when he started building a mental list of each perceived slight he suffered, according to a manifesto he left behind.
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In a winding written message, 22-year-old Elliot Rodger recounted his life in detail, dwelling on his rejection by women beginning in early adolescence, and laid out his plans to exact revenge on the world in a devastating attack.
“Women’s rejection of me is a declaration of war, and if it’s war they want, then war they shall have. It will be a war that will result in their complete and utter annihilation,” he wrote in the 137 page document.
Santa Barbara Sheriff-Coroner Bill Brown said Saturday it was "apparently" written by the suspected gunman and noted the letter, coupled with a video manifesto posted to YouTube 10 hours before the shooting spree, demonstrated the "severe extent of how disturbed Mr. Rodger was."
The Sheriff's office later said in a release that the manifesto was written by Rodger and that they are reviewing it.
In the document, Rodger recalled being pushed by a girl at camp for accidentally running into her in the summer before 6th grade. As a high schooler, he said he was bullied and teased and called names by boys who were bigger than him, and he was paid little attention by girls.
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His anger at that lack of attention grew. Late in the part-autobiography, part-mission statement, Rodger wrote that he wants to "dump girls into boiling water" and "strip their skin off alive."
His thoughts in the months before the shooting spree give chilling insight into a man who came to align his self-worth with his awkwardness with women; falling into greater despair as each month came and went without losing his virginity, which, according to the manifesto, became an obsession.
Yet while he professes to be wanted and loved, he in turn directs much of his anger at women, who he feels have rejected him as a whole.
He talked of being jealous of people in relationships, and how a simple visit to The Commons mall in his hometown of Calabasas was marred by this angst.
“There I would see all of the young couples lining up to see a movie, and I boiled with hatred,” he wrote. “I treaded through the area with my head down, all alone, in a state of complete despair about my life.”
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At one point he turned to thoughts of money, writing about his obsession with the lottery and about the time he threw a “wild tantrum” because a man from Riverside won instead of him. He became so obsessed that he sometimes drove through the night to Arizona to buy Mega Millions.
“I never thought nor cared about money before I turned 18, because I was still living like a child, with my parents handling the money and giving me the things I needed,” he said. “However, the more older I grew, the more I realized how important money was, and the more obsessed I would become about getting rich.”
Rodger thought of himself as “sophisticated” and “refined” and didn’t understand why women were attracted to “brutish” men - an outlook that apparently intensified when he moved to the frat-party world of Isla Vista.
He hoped the move north, where he would attend Santa Barbara City College, would open new doors and make him happy. But it failed to meet his expectations.
“The more I explored my college town of Isla Vista, the more ridiculousness I witnessed. All of the hot, beautiful girls walked around with obnoxious, tough jock-type men who partied all the time and acted crazy. They should be going for intelligent gentlemen such as myself,” he said.
He details how on New Year’s Day he hatched his plan for a “Day of Retribution,” and picked a day for it to happen.
Rodger writes about preparing for his rampage in horrifying detail, including the steps he would take to murder people first at his apartment, then throughout Isla Vista before taking his own life.
He concludes with several pages explaining his dystopic wishes for the world.
“I didn’t ask for this. I didn’t want this. I didn’t start this war. I wasn’t the one who struck first. But I will finish it by striking back. I will punish everyone. And it will be beautiful. Finally, at long last, I can show the world my true worth.”