On Friday, a gunman went on a killing spree near the University of California, Santa Barabra campus. He killed six people and injured seven more in a drive-by shooting and was found with a gunshot wound to his head after a firefight with police. It’s not known whether the gunshot was self-inflicted.
The gunman, 22-year-old Elliot Rodger, left a manifesto behind in a YouTube video published the night before.Titled “Elliot Rodger’s retribution” the video shows the young man promising to “punish” women for his failure to lose his virginity or find a girlfriend. The video was removed from YouTube but copies were published on Gawker, LiveLeak and elsewhere.
“For the last eight years of my life, ever since I hit puberty, I’ve been forced to endure an existence of loneliness, rejection and unfulfilled desires, all because girls have never been attracted to me,” he said in the video, filmed in his black BMW.
“Girls gave their affection and sex and love to other men but never to me. I’m 22 years old and I’m still a virgin. I’ve never even kissed a girl.”
His diatribe will be eerily familiar to anyone who’s spent any time on message boards and forums where men’s rights activists and so-called pickup artists hang out. The resentment, the entitlement, the anger that “nice guys” aren’t getting the sex they deserve.
“It’s an injustice, a crime because I don’t know what you don’t see in me,” Rodger said in his manifesto. “I’m the perfect guy and yet you throw yourselves at all these obnoxious men instead of me, the supreme gentleman. I will punish all of you for it.”
Someone going by Strategic Dating Coach left a number of bizarre comments on Rodger’s videos suggesting the massacre could have been prevented if the shooter had visited their website and learned to seduce women using the company’s seduction tips and resources.
“He should have gone to our website and got our personal dating coaching or purchased one of our products,” read a comment under the manifesto. “THIS is why we do what we do. TO PREVENT THIS SHIT!!!”
Needless to say, this rubbed people the wrong way. When someone’s solution to not getting laid is to go on a shooting rampage, your first response probably shouldn’t be to help that disturbed person get laid using the tricks of the “seduction” community. In fact, it seems like Rodger already tried the whole PUA thing and was left even angrier with his own lack of success with women.
When I contacted the owners of the Strategic Dating Coach site, someone named Steve responded warily, saying he had received a lot of abuse already over his comments. We had a brief phone conversation wherein I asked him to explain what he meant.
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Hi Steve. Tell me about yourself.
It’s been Dating Coach for the last three years. Got into the seduction community and involved with meeting women not because I was, not in too similar of a situation, but I had trouble meeting women and had a year-long dry spell. I basically went on a path of learning how to be better with women.
What kind of reactions have you gotten to the comment you left on Elliot Rodger’s video?
That I’m profiting, trying to profit off this tragedy, I don’t care about the victims, which is not the case. There was a point where I wanted to take my life because I wasn’t having any success and wished that I had an avenue to get better. I’m just trying to prevent guys from, if anybody’s trying to do the same stupid crap, at least go down a path of learning how to be better with women. Get some kind of help.
What kind of help could you have offered somebody like this shooting suspect?
We start with improving themselves. A lot of people say, ‘Just be who you are.’ Well you gotta be a better version of who you are. We teach guys confidence, how to hold conversations, how to be an attractive man, how to be what women are attracted to. The guy obviously had some social issues and we show guys how to get over that kind of stuff.
I guess one reason people reacted negatively to your comment is that what this guy did, regardless of his reasons, is inexcusable. The fact he was having trouble with women shouldn’t matter for him to go on this rampage.
I agree. I mean, he was desperate and desperation makes people do crazy things and that’s obviously what happened. He should have gotten some kind of help or something.
You said you would help people get better or be a better version of themselves. This fellow seemed to have a fair amount of resentment toward women. Is that something you could possibly train out of somebody?
It’s not training him how to not be resentful, it’s training — he was resentful because he didn’t have the skills necessary to meet [women] and socialize. That’s his first problem. Resentment is a symptom of the problem.
Have you encountered other people like this shooting suspect who are that angry and possibly contemplating violence?
No, not to this extent. I have run across people who have wanted to commit suicide and when they start their training they were on the verge of ending their lives. I left the comment that this is not an uncommon thought that comes into guys’ heads that are not very successful with women. They can’t do what they were born to do which is live on this earth to live and replicate. That’s what life is.
You say you’re a dating coach. Do you consider yourself a PUA, a pickup artist?
No, I don’t consider myself a pickup artist.
What is the difference to you?
A pickup artist is someone that, I guess it’s a different version. It’s someone who uses techniques and tactics to just pick up a lot of women. It’s kind of an art, it’s kind of a hobby. I’m a dating coach; I teach guys how to improve their love lives, whether it’s to get a girlfriend all the way up to dating several women if that’s what they want to do.
Do you think you could have helped this guy in particular?
I think I could have at least started. I’m not saying I could have solved his entire situation but I could have at least helped him with what seems to be the main problem, which is him not being able to get interest from women.
Do you think that was his main problem though?
I can’t be in his head but from the videos that I see, that’s what he was talking about.
I would suggest that maybe he thought his biggest problem was he couldn’t get laid or couldn’t find love. But potentially he had deeper issues with the way he thought about women or discomfort with himself. The way he spoke, and I don’t want to diagnose him but I would describe somebody like that as a narcissist if I met them. Someone who described himself as beautiful and magnificent and the world was wrong not to love him. Could his biggest problem really have been just that he wasn’t successful with women?
I’m not saying that was his biggest problem but a lot of people with self-esteem issues, they kind of fall the other way. They become arrogant, compensate for what they’re lacking. I’ve experienced that with people I’ve lived with. I can’t say that’s his biggest problem but obviously it was one of his problems because that’s what he was talking about. If he got help with that maybe he would have discovered that wasn’t his only issue. He would have gone down another path of learning it’s more about improving himself and not so much just about women. That’s kind of what we do. We start improving a lot of things whether it’s fashion, conversation, confidence, dealing with internal issues — what we call inner game.
Can inner game really replace or do similar things as, say, therapy?
It’s a form of therapy. All therapy is different. Different therapies work for different people.