I Was Elliot Rodger

In light of recent events, I thought it might be a good idea to blog again, as you do. I’m not really interested in talking about the murderer, his unfortunate victims, what may or may not have prompted this, or the outcomes of it.

Instead, at the risk of hijacking the tragedy of others and using it for my own ends, I am going to talk about me. And also God.

You see, it wasn’t all that long ago that I was a great deal like Elliot Rodger, and many of the other men who have done similar things over the past few decades. Arrogantly yet full of self-pity, entitled to every good thing in the world, deprived of nothing save perhaps friends, and even then I only had my own bilious attitude to blame for it. I felt deeply wronged by everyone, and I could spend hours fantasizing about the elaborate revenge I would take on them all. Honestly, giving into rage and bitterness was easy. Anger feels good in a way, and it can also be addictive, and coupled with the idea that I was a tragic and innocent victim of everyone’s failure to recognize how great I was naturally led to the “empowering” idea of me being my own avenger, righting the wrongs made against me and being really awesome and terrifying in the process. Occasionally the wrath would give in to despair that I would never get the love and appreciation and acknowledgement I so desperately wanted, but even that was fueled by the same selfish delusion: I had been grievously wronged, and I would make everyone pay.

I was just an overly dependent teenager at the time, but who knows, by the time I got to 22 or 23 I could had enough self-centered fury to spend my dead-end job earnings on some weapons and really do some damage. Possibly my former high school, or a mall.

As you might have guessed, that never happened. As nice and clean and simple as it would be to be able to say that I simply grew up and found a more positive outlet, I can’t take credit for it. The credit goes to God. As unworthy and unlovable as I was, he accepted me, made me one of his very own children, and gave me a new life. Jesus freed me from the prison of hate I had locked myself into, and for the first time since maybe my childhood I could be me again, the me I was meant to be.

Which is not to say I’ve become some perfectly good and wholesome person. The bitterness is still there, in a way. Weakened, dying even, but still present. The prison walls are knocked down, but it’s easy enough to wander back in, to dwell on my self-inflicted pain and isolation. But I’m not locked in any longer, and I’m not defined by the four walls of hate. I may not have all the close friendships and affirmation I crave at times, but I’m learning how to have healthy relationships, to love others as God has loved me.

I’m not just a changed man, but a new one. Jesus did this for me, and he can do it for you as well, if you’ll let him. Hopefully you aren’t in the same condition I was, but even if you are, even if you are worse, it is not beyond God’s forgiveness and healing.

I was Elliot Rodger, but by the grace of God I am no longer.

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5 Responses to I Was Elliot Rodger

  1. LizTailor says:

    This is really beautifully honest!!

  2. gracekelle says:

    Anthony- Thanks for your sharing your story. Thanks for giving hope to someone today.

    One thing I’m encouraged to do, and I hope more people are challenged to do, is to acknowledge people. Yes, Elliot Rodger was sick, but I surely believe in the power of acknowledgement and love. That’s all people really want at the end of the day – to know that they are seen, heard, and valued…even if people disagree or don’t get along. Maybe I’m wrong? Just something that’s been on my heart.

    • AJBulldis says:

      I definitely agree! Love and community are fundamental human needs, and when those aren’t met it can hurt people just as much as poor nutrition or a cut that isn’t cleaned and bandaged. And it’s unique, because it’s one of the few needs we can’t meet on our own. We can feed ourselves, clothe ourselves, do pretty much everything on our own, but we can’t be our own neighbor.

  3. The Arizonan says:

    This is a well-thought out story.

    I don’t blame Elliot Rodger for having his issues. Mankind sucks. The cultural brainwashing doesn’t help either (“you’re a failure if you can’t get laid”). However, he gave in and acted on his impulses and inner demons. Everyone is responsible for their own actions (unless forced to do so).

    It’s nice to find something that brings you inner peace, whether it’s something tangible or from a deity.

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