Elliot Rodger: Portrait of a Lonely Outcast Obsessed With Status

Elliot-rodger-apThis one includes the deleted videos.

Mashable – by Christina Warren

Who was Elliot Rodger?

The online history and detailed writings of Rodger, who police identified as the gunman in a series of shootings near the University of California, Santa Barbara, paint a chilling profile of a 22-year-old obsessed with appearance, acceptance and getting a girlfriend.  

The data trail also suggests that nearly every aspect of Rodger’s crime spree — which claimed seven lives, including his own — was premeditated and meticulously planned.

Rodger posted videos of himself to YouTube, and photos and selfies to Facebook. He was also a frequent commenter on at least two web forums, PUAHater.com (currently offline), a site that criticizes the pickup artist movement for being ineffective for them, and the “Misc.” forum onBodybuilding.com, where all threads featuring or referencing Rodger have been removed.

Envy, relationships, status

The documents, videos and postings create a portrait of a disturbed individual who was isolated, depressed and angry at what he perceived as the ultimate injustice: his lack of success with women. Much of his online postings and rambling autobiographical manifesto focus on the fact that Rodger was a self-confessed virgin at 22, who had “never even kissed a girl.”

Rodger appears to be obsessed not just with gaining attention from women, but with being seen as popular. Rodger associates power — and self-worth — with social status, money and appearances.

Many of his video postings that reminisce about his childhood, as well as his manifesto, revisit perceived slights, rejection and injustices he suffered as a child and teenager. It is those rejections that Rodger associates and blames for his lack of success with women as an adult, and with his lack of popularity. As a result, Rodger isn’t just focused on gaining attention from women, but with punishing and torturing those around him who are not suffering as he is.

In a video titled “My reaction to seeing a young couple at the beach, Envy,” he questions why a man he is watching on the beach has a girlfriend and he does not. “I have to show everyone why I hate the world, because no girl would do this with me,” he says as he shoots video of a young man and woman kissing in the distance.


“I hate them. I hate them so much. Why does he deserve to get this experience and not me?” Rodger ends the video, angrily stating, “It’s not fair. Life is not fair.”

Still, for Rodger, the most “grotesque injustice” (a phrase he frequently uses in his writings and postings) is seeing what he perceives to be a lesser-stature man associating with an attractive woman.

On the forum BodyBuilding.com, Rodger posted a thread lamenting the fact that a man with a less-expensive car managed to have a girlfriend, while he was alone.

Elliott Rodger Forum Post



When members of the forum questioned Rodger’s judgment of the man, he reiterates his disdain at the lack of “status” implied by the man’s car.

Elliot Rodger Forum Posting



He goes on to write, “I find it unjust that a white girl would choose him over me.”

Similarly, on the PUAHate forum, he expresses his rage at seeing unattractive “poor” men with girlfriends.

Elliot Rodger Forum Post



In his videos and Facebook postings, Rodger also makes a point to flaunt and play up his status and wealth. Many of his Facebook photos are of his BMW coupe and the Mercedes SUV, which belong to his father. In his videos, he frequently alludes to his designer clothes and expensive cars.

Reading his manifesto, however, it becomes clear that although Rodger and his family are well-off, they aren’t as “rich” as he wishes. Rodger frequently compares his own status against that of his peers. Whether it is being embarrassed by the neighborhood his mother lives in, or wanting to prove his affluence through the purchase of expensive clothing or vacations, Rodger presents an image of never feeling good enough.

Late in his manifesto, he writes:

“I will always resent my mother for refusing to do this. If not for her sake, she should have done it for mine. Joining a family of great wealth would have truly saved my life. I would have a high enough status to attract beautiful girlfriends, and live above all of my enemies. All of my horrific troubles would have been eased instantly. It is very selfish of my mother to not consider this.”

Santa Barbara

Rodger lived in the San Fernando Valley region of Los Angeles from age 5 until 2011. After graduating from a non-traditional high school in 2009, Rodger spent a few years intermittently taking classes at two colleges in the Los Angeles area. During this time, he still lived with either his father or mother (depending on who he was getting along with best).

Just before his 20th birthday in the summer of 2011, Rodger moved to Santa Barbara. The move was, according to his manifesto, instigated by his parents as a final opportunity for him to socialize, earn a college degree and move on in life.

For Rodger, Santa Barbara — and particularly the unincorporated community of Isla Vista — represented an idealized version of his perfect life. Almost all Isla Vista residences are college students. Most attend the University of California, Santa Barbara, though some, like Rodger, attend Santa Barbara City College.

In Isla Vista, Rodger envisioned himself living the life he felt he deserved to live, one filled with beautiful blonde women and the attention and popularity he craved so much. He wrote in his manifesto that he was also influenced to live in Santa Barbara because of the film Alpha Dog. The film is based on the real murder-kidnapping of 15-year-old Nicholas Markowitz. After being abducted by low-level drug dealers over a feud between the dealers and Markowitz’s half-brother, the kidnappers took Markowitz to a few parties in the Santa Barbara area, before ultimately killing him.

Rodger’s vision of Santa Barbara matched the portrayal of the party scenes in Alpha Dog, and he saw himself in the role of protagonist and victim, Nicholas Markowitz. By moving to Santa Barbara, Rodger was convinced he, too, would have access to beautiful women and the luxuries of life.

Yet almost immediately after moving to the Isla Vista community, Rodger’s same problems with socialization came rushing back. What’s more, he became more enraged by the frequent sights of attractive men and women enjoying themselves around him.

The juxtaposition between the beauty of the Santa Barbara area and his own desolation is a point Rodger repeatedly makes in his YouTube videos.


It was also in Santa Barbara, that Rodger began planning what he would refer to as “The Day of Retribution.”

It was also in Santa Barbara, that Rodger began planning what he would refer to as “The Day of Retribution.”


In his manifesto, Rodger wrote (emphasis his):

It was only when I first moved to Santa Barbara that I started considering the possibility of having to carry out a violent act of revenge, as the final solution to dealing with all of the injustices I’ve had to face at the hands of women and society. I came up with a name for this after I saw all of the good looking young couples walking around my college and in the town of Isla Vista. I named it the Day of Retribution. It would be a day in which I exact my ultimate retribution and revenge on all of the hedonistic scum who enjoyed lives of pleasure that they don’t deserve. If I can’t have it, I will destroy it. I will destroy all women because I can never have them. I will make them all suffer for rejecting me. I will arm myself with deadly weapons and wage a war against all women and the men they are attracted to. And I will slaughter them like the animals they are. If they won’t accept me among them, then they are my enemies. They showed me no mercy, and in turn I will show them no mercy. The prospect will be so sweet, and justice will ultimately be served. And of course, I would have to die in the act to avoid going to prison.

“Day of Retribution” timeline

Using Rodger’s manifesto, YouTube uploads, Facebook photos and various forum postings, we’ve managed to construct a basic timeline of the events leading up to the violent murders that took place Friday night.

June 2011: Rodger moves to Santa Barbara – As Rodger writes, “It was only when I first moved to Santa Barbara that I started considering the possibility of having to carry out a violent act of revenge as the final solution to dealing with all of the injustices I’ve had to face at the hands of women and society.”

July 2011: Rodger throws coffee on a young couple – In early July 2011, Rodger observes a couple kissing in line at a Starbucks. He follows them outside to their car, yells at them and splashes his coffee all over them. Rodger writes, “I had never struck back at my enemies before, and I felt a small sense of spiteful gratification for doing so.”

August 2011: Rodger gets into a confrontation with roommates – At the start of the 2011 during the fall semester, Rodger is paired with two roommates in his Isla Vista apartment. Almost immediately, he gets into an argument with the men. According to Rodger, the arguments stemmed from the men teasing him about his virginity. After almost getting into a physical fight, Rodger is able to transfer to a different apartment in September 2011.

January 2012: Rodger verbally attacks new roommate – In January 2012, Rodger finds out that his new roommate has a girl in his room. After the girl leaves, Rodger confronts his roommate, “telling him that he is foolish to feel proud about having an ugly whore in his room.”

Spring/Summer 2012: Rodger becomes obsessed with winning the Mega Millions lottery– During the spring and summer of 2012, Rodger dropped his Santa Barbara City College classes, and continues to brood about his life. During this time, he becomes obsessed to win the Mega Millions lottery, believing that money and wealth will be the end of his problems. On September 11, 2012, he doesn’t win the lottery. He rages.

September 12, 2012: Rodger goes to the shooting range for the first time – After destroying his laptop in a “tantrum” after not winning the lottery, Rodger goes to get a replacement. While waiting for the laptop to become ready, he goes to a shooting range in Oxnard, California.

December 2012: Rodger buys his first gun – Rodger begins the first real planning stages for his “Day of Retribution.” He starts by purchasing his first handgun, a Glock 34 semiautomatic pistol. He buys it at Goleta Gun Supply.

Spring 2013: Rodger buys his second gun – In the spring of 2013, Rodger continued to try to play the lottery in both California and Arizona. After losing several more times, he becomes more focused on his “Day of Retribution.” He buys his second handgun, a Sig Sauer P226 for $1,100, using money he saved from the monthly allowance given to him by his parents.

Spring 2012: Rodger joins PUAHate.com – Rodger discovers the forum PUAHate, which he describes as “a forum full of men who are starved of sex, just like me.” He finds others who agree with his thoughts on the evilness and wickedness of women.

Rodger writes that he “tried to show it to my parents, to give them some sort dose of reality as to why I am so miserable. They never understood why I am so miserable. They have always had the delusion that everything is going well for me, especially my father. When I sent the link of PUAHate.com to my parents, none of them even bothered to look at the posts on there.”

Spring 2013: Rodger decides to target Isla Vista for his “Day of Retribution” – Rodger debated between choosing Santa Barbara City College or Isla Vista as his target. He ultimately chooses Isla Vista, in part because it is “always flooded with young couples and good-looking popular kids walking to their parties.”

Spring 2013: Rodger sets date for “Day of Retribution” – Rodger decides to implement his “Day of Retribution” some time during November 2013.

July 20, 2013: Rodger gets into Isla Vista altercation – Days before his 22nd birthday, Rodger decides to have one last-ditch effort to lose his virginity. He gets drunk and walks to Del Playa Street, where groups of students are having house parties.

His initial drunken confidence gives way to frustration, when he is disappointed that no one is paying attention to him. After angrily confronting some partygoers, he climbs up on a wooden ledge bordering the street. He pantomimes shooting the partying students below him.

Eventually, other students also climb the ledge, and Rodger is upset when they socialize without him. In his words, he “tried to act arrogant and cocky toward them, throwing insults at everyone.” The students responded by laughing and throwing insults back. This is the last straw for Rodger, who then tries to push as many people off the 10-foot ledge as he can.

Rodger’s main target was the girls on the ledge, who he wanted to “punish for talking to obnoxious boys instead of me.” In his drunken state, he fails at pushing anyone, and is instead pushed by the other men on the ledge. According to Rodger, this leads to him falling to the street, where he lands on his ankle, which he hears “snap.”

Unable to walk, Rodger stumbles away from the party, only to stagger back in search of his Gucci sunglasses. He drunkenly arrives at the wrong house, demanding his sunglasses. By Rodger’s account, the students at this house call him names, drag him to the driveway, and push and hit him. Rodger throws a punch, but is only hit back. He says he is punched and kicked to the ground. The fight is broken up, and he stumbles away.

The next day, Rodger wakes up in pain. Hearing he may get into trouble for his role in the fight, he decides to concoct an altered story for the police. After arriving at the hospital, Rodger provides his version of events to police, claiming that the boys at the party deliberately pushed him off the ledge.

After interviewing the other people at the party, police get another version of events that paint Rodger as the aggressor. Because of no evidence, the charges are dismissed.

August 2013: Rodger reschedules “Day of Retribution” to Spring 2014 – Rodger’s broken ankle leads to surgery in August 2013. He is on crutches for a few weeks, and also walks with a cane. While recovering from surgery, he decides to move the “Day of Retribution” to the spring of 2014.

Fall 2013: Rodger adds his little brother to hit list – In the fall of 2013, Rodger has an argument with his stepmother Soumaya. Soumaya tells him that his younger half-brother, Jazz, has an agent and will be in TV commercials. Rodger says Soumaya told him that Jazz will never have problems with girls, and will lose his virginity when he’s young.

Rodger starts to see his little brother — who he writes about having bonded with — as the enemy. Still, Rodger writes that he cannot allow the young boy to surpass him at everything, and to live the life he always wanted. “If I can’t live a pleasurable life, then neither will he! I will not let him put my legacy to shame,” he says.

In order to kill Jazz, Rodger also commits to also killing Soumaya. The only challenge, for Rodger, is finding a way to kill his brother and stepmrother without being forced to kill his father. Rodger decides that the “Day of Retribution” must take place when his father is out of town.

Fall 2013: Rodger gets a BMW 3-series Coupe – Rodger gets a new car, a BMW 3-series coupe. He takes pictures of this car and plasters them across his Facebook and YouTube profile pages. He also records many of his videos in this car.

January 1, 2014: Rodger sets new date for his “Day of Retribution” – Rodger starts plotting out his plans in earnest. He chooses Saturday, April 26, 2014 for his “Day of Retribution.”

Early 2014: Rodger starts laying out his plans – Rodger starts to meticulously plan his attack.

His plan has several phases. In his first phase, Rodger plans to kill his two housemates first in order to secure his apartment as a “personal torture and killing chamber.” He then writes of luring people into the apartment, with plans of knocking them out with a hammer, slitting their throats and committing other horrific acts of violence.

Rodger then plans to visit his father’s house in order to kill his brother and stepmother. He wanted to use his father’s Mercedes SUV for the next part of his plan. This is the most imprecise part of Rodger’s plan because he fears he will be unable to complete the act if his father is not out of town.

For the second phase, Rodger plans to implement his “War on Women.” His main target is the Alpha Phi sorority at UCSB, which he deems as having the most beautiful girls. He plans to sneak into their house at 9 p.m., slaughtering and killing them with his guns and knives.

After killing the women, Rodger writes that his final phase will be a showdown on the streets of Isla Vista. Rodger plans to drive to Del Playa Drive, and kill as many people as he can by either running them over with his car or shooting them. His final plan is to massacre everyone at the house where he was injured in July 2013. Predicting a melee, Rodger writes that he will then swallow Xanax and Vicodin, and shoot himself in the head.

April 2014: Rodger uploads videos to YouTube – The week before April 26, 2014, Rodger starts uploading videos to YouTube. He doesn’t plan to upload his final video until minutes before the attack because he knows that would give away him away.

He uploads a video titled, “Why do girls hate me so much?” He also uploads videos reminiscing about a Fourth of July party in 2011, a “nostalgic walk” through a park in the San Fernando Valley, as well as a video of himself and his younger brother Jazz at the beach.

This is also when Rodger starts to upload videos that feature ’80s music in the background. They include titles such as “stuck in traffic.”


Commenters on BodyBuilding.com and PUAHater will remark that Rodger gives off a “Patrick Bateman” vibe in these videos. Bateman is the serial killer and narrator in Bret Easton Ellis’ novelAmerican Psycho (Christian Bale plays Bateman in the 2000 film adaptation). Set in the 1980s, the book and the film portray Bateman as a stereotypical yuppie obsessed with money, status and appearances. He also has a penchant for pop music, including the likes of Sting, Phil Collins and Whitney Houston.

April 24, 2014: Rodger delays his plan by one month – Two days before his planned assault, Rodger wakes up with a cold. Worried that this will affect his plans — and aware that his father is in town — Rodger decides to delay his “Day of Retribution” until Saturday, May 24, 2014.

April 30, 2014: Police visit Rodger – A week after uploading some of his videos to YouTube, police officers visit Rodger’s apartment for a wellness check. Someone saw Rodger’s videos, was concerned for his well-being and contacted authorities. Police say Rodger’s mother called them, but he says his mother claims she reported the videos to a health agency.

After speaking with police and explaining that the situation was a misunderstanding, Rodger was able to convince them that he was fine. He writes of this experience, “If they had demanded to search my room… That would have ended everything.” In his room, Rodger had his weapons and writings laying out his plans.

But the police didn’t search his room. They left. Rodger then removes his YouTube videos, with plans to re-upload them a few days before May 24.

May 1, 2014: Rodger uploads a new video to YouTube – This video, in contrast to the ones he took down, is more cheerful and is simply the 1980s song “Promises, Promises” by Naked Eyes.


May 13, 2014: Rodger begins re-uploading some of his videos – On May 13, Rodger starts re-uploading some of his videos. His first re-uploaded video is from March, titled “Being lonely on Spring Break sucks”


He also posts a new video, “My morning drive to school.” This is another music-backed video, this time using the song “Walking on Sunshine” as the soundtrack.


May 18, 2014: Rodger explains why his videos disappeared – On May 18, 2014, Rodger posts a thread a thread to the Misc. forum on BodyBuilding.com titled, “I’m tired of seeing losers with hot chicks.”

In the thread, a user asks Rodger what happened to his videos, and he explains he removed them because his parents found them, but says they will be back up along with a few more in “a few days.”

Elliot Rodger Forum Post



May 20, 2014: Rodger uploads “I’m Awesome” to YouTube – On May 20, 2014, Rodger uploads a new music-backed video, this one titled, “I’m Awesome.” The 59-second clip is backed by the George Michael song “Father Figure,” and seems designed to flaunt the cultivated image of good looks, wealth and sophistication Rodger so desperately wants others to see in him.


May 22, 2014: Rodger re-uploads “Why do girls hate me so much?” – Rodger re-uploads the video, “Why do girls hate me so much?” that worried his mother so much, late in the evening of May 22, 2014.


He also uploads three new music-backed videos. One is backed by Steve Winwood’s song “Higher Love.”


Another video features what Rodger says is his favorite Phil Collins song, “Can’t Hurry Love.”


Rodger also uploads a video titled, “Dancing in the car, Elliot Rodger style,” which features the Whitney Houston song “How Will I Know.”


Based his musical choices, we must wonder if Rodger was deliberately trying to mimic Patrick Bateman. If he wasn’t, it’s an eerie coincidence.

May 23, 2014: Rodger uploads more videos to YouTube – In the early hours of May 23, 2014, Rodger begins uploading more videos to his account. The videos follow the same theme as his previous postings and his manifesto. One is titled, “Life is so unfair because girls don’t want me.”

He also posts three more videos, including one of him on a balcony at his father’s house, recalling his childhood.


The others include his reaction to seeing a young couple on the beach, and his thoughts on how unfair life is because he is lonely.

May 23, 2014: Rodger uploads his final video, “Elliot Rodger’s Retribution” – This video, which YouTube has deleted, outlines his final plan. It is Rodger’s final video proclamation to the world. Because of the way YouTube organizes time stamps, it isn’t clear if the video was published before or after the massacre occurred. It’s possible that the video could have been scheduled to be posted minutes after the shootings begin.

May 23, 2014 (unknown time): Elliot Rodger kills three people in his apartment – Some time on May 23, 2014, Rodger murders three people in his Isla Vista apartment.

May 23, 2014, 9:30 p.m.: Elliot Rodger’s shooting spree across Isla Vista begins – As laid out in his manifesto, Rodger starts at the Alpha Phi sorority house. Unable to get inside, he starts shooting girls standing outside, killing two. He drives to a deli on Del Playa Drive, gets out of his car and kills another young man. He continues to drive at high rates of speed, shooting at bystanders and trying to run people over with his car.

After exchanging fire with Santa Barbara police officers, Rodger crashes his car. He is pulled out of the car, where officers discover he is dead from a gunshot wound to the head. At this time, it is believed to have been self-inflicted.


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