Evil must be confronted at its roots

Moose Jaw Times Herald - Editorial Staff
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On Saturday, an individual killed six people and then himself in a murder spree in Santa Barbara County, Calif.

The spree, which unfolded at and around the University of California, Santa Barbara campus, also left 13 injured, across 12 crime scenes.

The ensuing hours were madness.

Media professionals and the public — via social media, such as Twitter — soon began speculating about the killer.

Police eventually released the name of a man they said committed the deeds: Elliot Rodger.

Soon, a cache of YouTube videos detailing a contempt for women spawned from an unfulfilled sense of entitlement to their bodies and to relationships was discovered and widely published.

Shortly after, a “manifesto” counting more than 140 pages was also discovered, detailing further Rodger’s mentality and the premeditation he put into his spree.

These are the only things left behind by the man who allegedly executed himself after crashing the BMW he is said to have used as a weapon, running down cyclists and others and opening fire in a series of drive-by attacks.

The common thread in so many of those stories has been simple speculation.

As with all mass shootings, the questioning began: Would this happen if there were stricter gun control laws? Why was Rodger not hospitalized for a mental illness? How is it that a man clearly in distress was allowed to walk freely? And what does this say about the larger culture of male entitlement?

These are all fair questions to be asked in the wake of something so difficult to conceive, let alone wrap one’s head around after it has occurred.

The speculative answers to these questions is unfair.

Further, it is unproductive to speculate about how the situation could have been handled differently — it wasn’t.

The world that exists today is a post-Elliot Rodger world.

The best it can hope for now is a free and open dialogue about the circumstances that create individuals capable of committing such horrible acts, and the action — be it legislative or otherwise — that follows.

The same culture that puts women to shame for being victimized by rapists helped create the individual who murdered six people this past weekend.

The same culture that makes firearms readily available helped create the circumstances in which several of those individuals were killed and many more were injured.

The same culture that stigmatizes mental illness and chronically underfunds and mishandles the psychological wellbeing of its citizens helped give rise to these crimes.

Not all of these factors that exist in Santa Barbara exist in Moose Jaw, Sask. But some of them do.

These are simple truths about the issues.

What remains is for somebody to stand up with the will to address them.

All Times-Herald editorials are written by the editorial staff.

Organizations: University of California, BMW

Geographic location: Santa Barbara, Moose Jaw, Sask.

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