Elliot Rodger, a troubled young man at 22-years-old, shot and killed several UC Santa Barbara students and injured more bystanders before reportedly shooting himself. This is a terrible tragedy and my sympathies go out to the victims, their families, and Roger’s family. This event, however, has done more than strike the nation with grief and sadness.
Similar to what happened after the Sandy Hook shootings, mental illness is being highlighted in a negative media light because Rodger allegedly had Asperger’s syndrome.
After violent acts like this it is natural for people to want explanations and to place blame. Rationalizing the horrific actions of others can somehow make them easier for us to digest. This is why Rodger’s YouTube page of strange and bizarre videos is being scrutinized by millions of people. They are looking for insights into this man’s psyche and the headline news have repeatedly alluded to Asperger’s syndrome being the ultimate clue for this rampage.
We know little about Rodger, and I certainly never evaluated nor treated him. I do know about Asperger’s syndrome. In fact, psychologists and psychiatrists agree that people with autism or Asperger’s are not more likely to commit violent crimes than members of the general population.