The “Retribution” of Elliot Roger

Another mass shooting with all the usual responses from the various well paid talking heads of the mainstream media with their usual obfuscation and denial of the obvious. The only person willing and able to say anything of real substance and value was the father of Christopher Martinez, Richard Martinez. In the midst of dealing with the profound sense of personal grief that he was trying his best to deal with, Mr. Martinez proven himself to be a man of character capable of  speaking truth to power. Why do the so called “gun rights” of some take precedence over the most basis of all rights, i.e. the right to live of the other people who make up the vast majority of people in American society today. Why is their special right so sacred that it triumphs the rights of others such as his son Christopher just to live.

As a new associate of mine is fond of saying- “Let us examine the situation a little more closely.” In so doing we may be able to deconstruct some of the myths that are used to confuse and psychologically disorient the vast majority of people in this country whose lives are under threat not only from the gun lobby but the craven politicians that Richard Martinez in his heartfelt grief so valiantly pointed to as a major cause of the terror that exists in America today.

The so called “social contract” that has existed since time immemorial between the governing class and those being governed has always been premised upon the fundamental concept that it is the duty and obligation of the governing class to guarantee the lives and personal security of those being governed in exchange for the loyalty and trust given by the governed class to the governing class. It is a fundamental concept based upon the single most important and basic human response that is referred to by anthropologists as reciprocity. It is what all else in every society known to have existed is built upon.

A study of history will inform the student of history that the implied social contract becomes null and void once the most basic reason for its exitance no longer obtains. Generally speaking such a social situation requires a new class within the society to step to the fore and become the new governing class at the consent and always with the help of the governed class. Since time began this is the formula that obtains and all the psychologically well constructed propaganda that comes out of the ministry of truth called CNN (it also goes by other corporate names) can not and will not alter this formula one iota.

The combination of private business and craven politicians that we suffer under these days is called capitalism. The national organization of gun owners who have constructed this convenient myth that their right to own guns trumps our right to live and that reaches down into the working class is called fascism. It also goes by its official name which is the NRA that stands for National Rifle Association. Rifles today include hugh power miltary assault weapons with a rate of fire that can be as high as 1200 rounds/minute as is the case with the AR15 the so called “sport” version of the M16 military assault weapon. Anyone such as myself who has actually seen one of these weapons fired on a firing range knows that no civilian should have a right to own one of these things as even the so called “sport” model that is sold as the AR15 can be easily converted to fire in the full auto mode. These conversions kits can be purchased at any local gun show of the type that are held all around the country.

I do not use the word fascist lightly when I so label the NRA as such and a little bit of history from the 20th century might give some indication as to why I use this word and why it is utterly appropriate. Its a tragedy that the American people buy the myth peddled by the US ruling class and its political power structure that America is the world’s first ahistorical society. meaning that for the US history does not apply. It is convenient and necessary for the power structure to keep this myth in tact, otherwise the American people could get a first rate political education related to the historical facts that would call into question everything that these craven self-serving politicians do.

The Frieshooters where the over glorified  German gun owing landed peasantry and lower nobility that banded together to fight for Germany as a united nation in the 19th century that figured quite large in the myths that Hitler and his Nazi party used to seize power in Germany. The Frieshooters constituted in Hitler’s time an actual parallel to the American NRA of today. The same social class of petty bourgeois, peasant landowners and lumpenproletariate that became the armed Nazi SD headed up by Earnst Rohm is perfectly analogues to the same social elements here in America that constitute the armed wing of political recation called the NRA.

Now let us examine a bit more closely some of the other aspects of the aborted life of Elliot Roger and try to draw some useful conclusions. Having read over parts of Elliot Roger’s 141 page personal manifesto, I am stuck by the fact that here was a young man with a narcissistic personality disorder which as any mental health specialist can attest to is probably the single most difficult type of personality disorder to successfully treat. In some cases this personality disorder bleeds over into sociopath. This was clearly that case with Elliot Rogers. His entire personal manifesto is suffused with a sense of total self absorption best epitomized by his outsized personal sense of entitlement to sex with the kind of young women that he seemed to favor. He claimed to be a “virgin” but a “virgin” to what. Obviously not violence and in terms of his sex life it was in all probability not based upon learning how to build healthy relationships with others. Once again we see the total absorption with self inhibiting pro-social behavior.

Since the subject of gender hate was part and parcel to the my previous OS posting I think that it is highly relevant here in regard to another situation where the natural pro-social sense of love and belonging that this youth once felt for the young girls that he called friends in his childhood metamorpisized into hate. I was surprised to learn from Elliot Roger’s manifesto that his first childhood friend was a girl his own age and that they were so intimate as childhood friends that they took baths together. OK. That’s kind of interesting but no red flag as boys and girls age 4 or 5 being given baths together by their parents could be construed as being perfectly normal and healthy, but was it?

Elliot also goes on in his self absorbed rant to indicate that all of his early childhood friends that he played with were girls and that everything changed for him as a result of puberty. In a healthy normal society why should that have changed anything; but it did. No doubt such pro-social bonding with girls rather than boys his own age might suggest that Elliot’s future sexual preference might have been for boys/men his own age. Was that the case? The facts would seem to suggest otherwise.

What ever the eventual lesson(s) that forensic psychologists can draw from the written manifesto supplied by Elliot Roger the fact of the matter is that gender hate of the worst sort drove him to plan out the murder of all of the young women in the sorority house on campus that he planned to assault. Thankfully the occupants inside refused to open the door to him which seems in a way to be a kind of metaphor for his short self destructive and tragic life. No doubt his parents deserved better. A child’s failings can not always be blamed on the parents as today there are so many overly large social forces that can seemingly countermand all the best intentions and actions of parents. In other world truly good people can sometimes end up with truly rotten children.

There is no doubt that too many men and boys in this culture have some sort of seriously disturbed idea about somehow being entitled to sex from women. Its a serious social problem that leads to some of the worst sorts of behavior on the part of men and boys that we often hear so much about. In the US military the level of sexual assault against women has gone unreported on for years and it is only now that we are learning about it. The Duke University lacrosse team scandal seems quite indicative of how this bad attitude can play out in real life.

The social basis for a lot of this behavior may be what Marx referred to as the “commodity fetishism” of capitalism which means the over-arching impulse of the capitalist system to turn everything into a commodity that can be bought and sold in the marketplace. Isn’t that indeed the case today with sex. It is a personal social need that is seemingly bought and sold everyday not only through its conscious exploitation in advertizing but in other ways as well. The online porn industry alone may be as big as a trillion dollars a year worldwide. If sex is thought of as a commodity isn’t it natural for people (especially young men) to want to posses it as they would any other commodity?

There is such a thing called sex therapy that is totally legit and it seems to me that this youth Elliot Roger was badly in need of such. Conventional treatments simply do not work in a lot of cases and are probably not even appropriate for others such as Elliot Roger, a youth being consumed by sexual need but totally lacking in the right kind of social skills to enable him to develop the kind of healthy pro-social relationship with a young women that he seemed to long for and demand as the gateway for getting this commodified sex that obsessed him.

Having all the right “stuff” in terms of things can never really be the kind of substitute for the pro-social tools needed to build and hold into a healthily intimate relationship with another human being. It is an all to common mistake in this highly materialistic consumer driven society to think that it will. Until the phenomenon of commodity fetishism is more fully understood it may continue be the dominant manner in which people personal relationships continue to be mere relationships between things than between true authentic and autonomous human beings.

There’s only one true American hero in all of this and his name is Richard Martinez the father of Christopher Martinez who spoke from the heart while using his head and went to the core of the social problem that we are facing in America today as a result of gun violence.

Thank you Mr. Martinez for speaking this truth.  America morns with you and remembers your son.

Note- This piece was originally posted to Open Salon on 05-26-2014


About charlesknause

I was born in Camden, N.J. (now the poorest city in America) in 1950 and grew up in a beautiful old Victorian town in South Jersey called Collingswood. I now live in Ormond Beach, FL where the weather suits my spirit. My personal life was impacted at an early point in my life by a psychiatric diagnosis that changed my life and put me on the workers scrap heap. I have refused to accept such a miserable fate and today consider myself a social activist dedicated to changing the way that people who have been diagnosed with a serious psychiatric disability are perceived by society and the people in their community. I have a B.S. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Central Florida and 18 graduate credits in Mental Health Counseling from Stetson University in DeLand, FL as well as 24 graduate credits in an MSW program at UCF. I am a member of the Volusia County Behavioral Health Care Providers Consortium where I function as an advocate. I am a daily reader of the World Socialist Website and an occasional contributor.
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