If hatred is the ego, then hunger is the id. Hatred has an unquenchable hunger. That hunger involves unusual means of cruelty to satiate a depraved craving for the food of violence. On the Memorial Day weekend, a time when US citizens pause to reflect on the sacrifices of our military, a lone assailant fed his hunger at the expense of his fellow man.
Long before Peter Rodger became involved in directing The Hunger Games, he had a son who showed signs of a deep and unnatural craving. This craving sought to harm women. So it was that Elliott Rodger took his time writing a manifesto, took his time building an arsenal and certainly took the time to carefully craft the YouTube legend of his ID. He was not a serial killer, in the truest sense of the word. But he was a serial planner.
After stabbing three young adult men to death, Elliott fired up his BMW to take his hunger onto the streets of Isla Vista, a college town adjacent to Santa Barbara, California. Hunger gunned down Veronica Elizabeth Weiss (age 19) and Katherine Cooper (age 22) outside the Alpha Phi sorority house. Hunger killed Christopher Ross Michael-Martinez, age 20, as he went into a small neighbourhood deli market. Others were injured by the vicious act of Elliot using his vehicle as a battering ram. Of the 13 injured, six victims remain in the hospital. Two of them have the classification of being “serious”.
We now know that Elliott’s hunger had turned toward the cannibalisation of his own family. He left a record of his thoughts. He had developed an intense hatred against his younger brother. So, we can all be glad he is gone before he wiped out the family tree. None should mourn his passing.
Unfortunately, ‘the hunger games’ are as old as man. Adam produced a firstborn son named Cain. He killed his younger brother. Cain’s hunger gave way to targeted hatred. It must be remembered that long before Freud, there was God. An ethical codex was presented to Cain and remains to this day. ID was identified. “So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast. Then the Lord said to Cain, ‘Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it’” — Genesis 4B-7.
Call it sin. Call it ID. It is what crouches and lies in wait. This crouch-and-lie-in-wait is in all of us to varying degrees but most of us master it. We recognise it for what it is and we do not feed the hunger. The first cry out of the womb is all about hunger. We have exposed our ID. Now it is up to our mother to meet that physical need. More importantly, the duty belongs to the father to cordon the psychological hunger that would wish to prey on others. Prince George can throw food at his little cousin and it is cute, and it is also quite harmless. However, if in three years, the young prince is aggressively throwing food at others, he is displaying ID with a growing appetite. ID is not ruled by age. Age is just a human invention.
In July of 2011, Anders Breivik created a crater in downtown Oslo, Norway and then moved on to slaughter 69 individuals attending a youth retreat on an island 25 miles away. The courts declared him sane. Of course he is sane! Why is he still allowed to feed the natural belly that sustains his hunger game?
Perhaps Elliott Rodger’s parents were doing all that they could possibly do or perhaps they had done too much for this son with such deep cravings towards violence. The coin can be flipped either way and I have not walked in the parents’ shoes. Elliot Rodger was seeing multiple therapists. What was that all about? It seems a bit surreal.
Reflection. There is something, which is embraced by all who love God, all who seek to walk and live in a way, which is pleasing to the Creator. It is the concept of repentance. The Judeo-Christian tradition has a strong reliance on a doctrine of repentance from “dead works” — those things that bring incremental death and destruction to our own lives. Admonitions for repentance are sprinkled throughout our texts. The Quran devotes ample space to the concept of repentance and you even have duas (or prayers), which can be offered when seeking forgiveness for evil acts. However, here is the thing about hatred. It cannot be removed by seeing multiple therapists. This hunger resides so deeply within the ID that there is only one cure: repentance.
The family of Elliott Rodger is in a state of deep mourning. Their lawyer states that it is almost unbearable to be in such near proximity to this level of pain. I have prayed for them. The father of victim Christopher Ross Michael-Martinez spoke to his son 45 minutes before his death. He is inconsolable. Guns, knives and a vehicle were the weapons used to take the lives of others but the weapon in the ID was cocked, unsheathed and in gear, long before the killings began.
We can talk about mental illness all day long. Sure, it exists. And such people need to be kept away from the rest of us but what came first for Elliott? I think hatred is a poison, which can induce mental illness. Many individuals have received a psychiatric ‘label’ but very few move on to cross the type of boundary that was crossed on the streets of Isla Vista last week. Would that Elliott Rodger have recognised and sincerely repented of his mounting hatred early in his life. Would that Anders Breivik have done the same. Instead, they chose to feed the hunger.
The writer is a freelance journalist and author of the novel Arsenal. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org