2014 Isla Vista killings/Elliot Rodger's manifesto

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My Twisted World: The Story of Elliot Rodger is a 140-page screed written by spree killer Elliot Rodger and emailed to about a dozen people, including his mother and father, on May 23rd 2014, immediately before he embarked on the shooting part of his massacre on the streets of Isla Vista, California (and after he had already stabbed his housemates to death). The document was posted online shortly after the incident.

Widely described by the media as a "manifesto", the document is really more of an autobiography, albeit a particularly self-absorbed and spiteful one, primarily covering the last few years of Rodger's life as he became increasingly embittered and obsessed with "retribution". Self-pity, misanthropy, misogyny and bile drip from every page, and the manifesto exposes him as a disturbed, insecure and highly immature individual who barely understood other people at all and reacted appallingly with even the most basic of frustrations.

The full text can be accessed online at the following link, and all page numberings refer to this copy. Warning: abandon hope all ye who enter here.

My Twisted World: The Story of Elliot Rodger By Elliot Rodger

Recurring themes[edit]

The manifesto makes clear that primary targets for Rodger's hatred and his plans for "revenge" were:

  1. girls, for failing to be attracted to him or show him any attention
  2. guys within his age bracket who were popular and/or had girlfriends, "for the crime of having a better life than me" (p. 101; similar phrases repeated throughout).
  3. and in particular, black, Asian or Hispanic guys who dated white girls (though Rodger himself was half-Asian).

With an astonishing lack of self-awareness and perspective, Rodger repeatedly referred to these things as "injustices" and "crimes" that deserved "punishment". Near the end of the manifesto, he wrote:

I had nothing left to live for but revenge. Women must be punished for their crimes of rejecting such a magnificent gentleman as myself. All of those popular boys must be punished for enjoying heavenly lives and having sex with all the girls while I had to suffer in lonely virginity. . . . These are crimes that cannot go unpunished.
p. 118


Rodger's attitude was very much that if he couldn't get to have sex, nobody should:

One day I found some posts on the internet about teenagers having sex, and I was once again reminded of the life I had been denied. . . . I developed extreme feelings of envy, hatred, and anger towards anyone who has a sex life. I saw them as the enemy. . . . I began to have fantasies of becoming very powerful and stopping everyone from having sex. I wanted to take their sex away from them, just like they took it away from me. I saw sex as an evil and barbaric act, all because I was unable to have it. . . . This was when I formed my ideas that sex should be outlawed. It is the only way to make the world a fair and just place. If I can't have it, I will destroy it. That's the conclusion I came to, right then and there.
p. 56


Anger and violence[edit]

Rodger had an active hatred for the people around him, writing:

Every single time I've seen a guy walk around with his beautiful girlfriend, I've always wanted to kill them both in the most painful way possible. They deserve it. They must be punished. The males deserve to be punished for living a better and more pleasurable life than me, and the females deserve to be punished for giving that pleasurable life to those males instead of me. On the Day of Retribution, I will finally be able to punish them ALL.
p. 135


The manifesto relates numerous incidents when the mere sight of public displays of affection from young couples did indeed throw Rodger into a quivering rage, sometimes inspiring him to throw coffee or other drinks at them. The first such incident, occurring at Starbucks, is recounted as follows:

I saw a young couple standing in line. The two of them were kissing passionately. The boy looked like an obnoxious punk; he was tall and wore baggy pants. The girl was a pretty blonde! They looked like they were in the throes of passionate sexual attraction to each other, rubbing their bodies together and tongue kissing in front of everyone. I was absolutely livid with envious hatred. When they left the store I followed them to their car and splashed my coffee all over them. The boy yelled at me and I quickly ran away in fear. I was panicking as I got into my car and drove off, shaking with rage-fueled excitement. . . . I wanted to do horrible things to that couple. I wanted to inflict pain on all young couples. It was around this point in my life that I realized I was capable of doing such things. I would happily do such things. I was capable of killing them, and I wanted to. I wanted to kill them slowly, to strip the skins off their flesh. They deserve it. The males deserve it for taking the females away from me, and the females deserve it for choosing those males instead of me.
p. 87


In another incident, he lashed out at two girls after they failed to smile when he leered at them from his car:

As I drove away I became very infuriated. It was such an insult. This was the way all girls treated me, and I was sick and tired of it. In a rage, I made a U-turn, pulled up to their bus stop and splashed my Starbucks latte all over them. I felt a feeling a spiteful satisfaction as I saw it stain their jeans. I then quickly speeded away before they could catch my license plate number. How dare those girls snub me in such a fashion! How dare they insult me so! I raged to myself repeatedly. They deserved the punishment I gave them. It was such a pity that my latte wasn’t hot enough to burn them. Those girls deserved to be dumped in boiling water for the crime of not giving me the attention and adoration I so rightfully deserve!
p. 100


Shortly before his last birthday, in a "last ditch effort of desperation" to lose his virginity, Rodger crashed a party, alone and drunk. There he tried to pick fights with various people, including trying to push girls off a ledge with a ten-foot drop. This resulted in him being pushed over the ledge himself, breaking his leg. When he returned to demand what had happened to his Gucci sunglasses, he wandered into the wrong house, got kicked out and beaten up (pp. 121-3). The broken leg delayed his "Day of Retribution" (i.e. the 2014 Isla Vista killings) for several months.

Magnificent gentleman[edit]

A highly entitled "nice guy" rhetoric runs throughout the manifesto, with Rodger (oblivious to his own aggressive and anti-social behaviour) describing himself repeatedly as a "magnificent gentleman" or similar phrases, and insisting that every pretty girl he met should be devoting herself to him:

How dare those girls give their love and sex to those other men and not me, I constantly think when I see young couples.
p. 134


Strangely, for someone who claimed to be a gentleman he never mentioned specific nice behaviors that he did, just how he looked. He had an extremely snobbish and materialist attitude, and was outraged that his designer clothes and flashy car did not help him score with women (apparently, the clothes don't make the man):

I saw obnoxious slobs who dressed in basketball shorts and T-shirts walking with hot girls. And there I was, decked out in Armani, all by myself. It was preposterous!
p. 100
I saw other boys who had inferior cars driving around with hot girls in their passenger seats. I have a BMW and never had any hot girl in my passenger seat.
p. 130


He also determined that becoming a multi-millionaire at a young age would be the answer to all his problems, making him irresistible to women. Lacking any particular skills for accumulating wealth, he spent hundreds of dollars on lottery tickets, even persuading himself that he was "destined" to win the jackpot. At one point, he also harassed his mother to marry to a wealthy man she was casually dating. She refused to do so, despite Elliot telling her that "she should sacrifice her well-being for the sake of my happiness" (p. 68).

Misogyny[edit]

Throughout the story, it is clear that Rodger did not appreciate women as people but saw them as objects to be attained and a target for hostility when they remained unattainable to him. Yet in several places, he wrote more explicitly about his conscious hatred and contempt for women, whom he did not believe should have rights or be able to choose their sexual partners. For example:

My hatred and rage towards all women festered inside me like a plague. Their very existence is the cause of all of my torture, pain and suffering throughout my life... Why do women behave like vicious, stupid, cruel animals who take delight in my suffering and starvation? Why do they have a perverted sexual attraction for the most brutish of men instead of gentlemen of intelligence?

I concluded that women are flawed. There is something mentally wrong with the way their brains are wired, as if they haven’t evolved from animal-like thinking. They are incapable of reason or thinking rationally. They are like animals, completely controlled by their primal, depraved emotions and impulses. That is why they are attracted to barbaric, wild, beast-like men. They are beasts themselves. Beasts should not be able to have any rights in a civilized society. If their wickedness is not contained, the whole of humanity will be held back from advancement to a more civilized state. Women should not have the right to choose who to mate with. That choice should be made for them by civilized men of intelligence. If women had the freedom to choose which men to mate with, like they do today, they would breed with stupid, degenerate men, which would only produce stupid, degenerate offspring. This in turn would hinder the advancement of humanity. Not only hinder it, but devolve humanity completely. Women are like a plague that must be quarantined.''
p. 117


Rodger expounded on this theme in the manifesto's epilogue, visualizing a world in which women are confined to captivity and "eradicated" (see below).

Racism[edit]

Unsurprisingly, this belief that women are attracted to "barbaric, wild, beast-like men" had a heavily racist dimension. Probably the strongest example of this is when, upon learning that a black acquaintance had lost his virginity at a young age to a white girl, he responded thus:

I was so enraged that I almost splashed him with my orange juice. I indignantly told him that I did not believe him, and then I went to my room to cry. I cried and cried and cried, and then I called my mother and cried to her on the phone.

How could an inferior, ugly black boy be able to get a white girl and not me? I am beautiful, and I am half white myself. I am descended from British aristocracy. He is descended from slaves. I deserve it more... If this is actually true, if this ugly black filth was able to have sex with a blonde white girl at the age of thirteen while I've had to suffer virginity all my life, then this just proves how ridiculous the female gender is. They would give themselves to this filthy scum, but they reject ME? The injustice!''
p. 84


Day of Retribution[edit]

It seems that Rodger had been fantasizing about a massacre for several years before planning and committing one. Explaining his intentions, he wrote:

Ever since my life took a very dark turn at the age of seventeen, I often had fantasies of how malevolently satisfying it would be to punish all of the popular kids and young couples for the crime of having a better life than me. I dreamed of how sweet it would be to torture or kill every single young couple I saw. However, as I said previously in this story, I never thought I would actually go through with these drastic desires. I had hope inside me that I could one day have a happy life.

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.''
p. 101


In writing about his massacre plans, Rodger continued to identify himself as the victim, but also aired his messiah complex, describing himself repeatedly as a god:

Women's rejection of me is a declaration of war, and if it's war they want, then war they shall have. It will be a war that will result in their complete and utter annihilation. I will deliver a blow to my enemies that will be so catastrophic it will redefine the very essence of human nature.

It was time to plot exactly what I will do on the Day of Retribution. I will be a god, punishing women and all of humanity for their depravity. I will finely deliver to them all of the pain and suffering they've dealt to me for so long.
p. 131

Humanity has never accepted me among them, and now I know why. I am more than human. I am superior to them all. I am Elliot Rodger… Magnificent, glorious, supreme, eminent… Divine! I am the closest thing there is to a living god. Humanity is a disgusting, depraved, and evil species. It is my purpose to punish them all. I will purify the world of everything that is wrong with it. On the Day of Retribution, I will truly be a powerful god, punishing everyone I deem to be impure and depraved.''
p. 135


The full extent of Rodger's brutal plans, only a fraction of which he was able to accomplish in reality, consisted of a number of "phases", involving killings and torture within his apartment, stockpiling his victims' severed heads, slaughtering every girl at a sorority house (the one with the hottest girls, Rodger having done "a lot of extensive research" on the subject before selecting it), running down pedestrians in his SUV and shooting more people in the street (specifically targeting "the good looking people, and all of the couples"), before finally committing suicide when the police caught up with him (pp 132-3). The text also reveals that Rodger intended to carry out the massacre on May 24th (rather than May 23rd when it actually occurred) and that he intended to kill his stepmother and younger brother first, "denying him of the chance to grow up to surpass me" (p. 132).

Having posted videos on YouTube expressing or at least intimating some of his intentions, which his mother saw and was disturbed by, Rodger was visited by police officers. Rodger "tactfully told them that it was all a misunderstanding" and they left without searching his apartment, much to Rodger's relief (p. 134).

Epilogue[edit]

The final pages, styled as an epilogue, are the part that most clearly resembles a manifesto. Here Rodger again vented his resentment for sex that he wasn't able to get, denouncing sexual activity in almost Puritanical terms, as well as reiterating his hatred for women. He also elaborated on his vision of a "a fair and pure world" in which women would be "quarantined" in concentration camps and starved to death, other than a few kept in laboratories for breeding purposes.

As the fullest insight into Elliot Rodger's disturbed psyche and twisted worldview, the epilogue is reproduced here in full:

And that is how my tragic life ends. Who would have thought my life will turn out this way? I didn't. There was a time when I thought this world was a good and happy place. As a child, my whole world was innocent. It wasn't until I went through puberty and started desiring girls that my whole life turned into a living hell. I desired girls, but girls never desired me back. There is something very wrong with that. It is an injustice that cannot go unpunished. There is no way I could live a happy life with such a scenario.

Not only did I have to waste my entire youth suffering in loneliness and unfulfilled desire, but I had to live with the knowledge that other boys my age were able to have all of the experiences I craved for. It is absolutely unfair and unjust. In addition, I had to suffer the shame of other boys respecting me less because I didn't get any girls. Everyone knew I was a virgin. Everyone knew how undesirable I was to girls, and I hated everyone just for knowing it. I want people to think that girls adore me. I want to feel worthy. There is no pride in living as a lonely, unwanted outcast. I wouldn't even call it living.

I am not meant to live such a pathetic, miserable life. That is not my place in this world. I will not bow down and accept such a horrific fate. If humanity will not give me a worthy place among them, then I will destroy them all. I am better than all of them. I am a god. Exacting my Retribution is my way of proving my true worth to the world.

In the midst of my suffering, I have been able to see the world much clearer than others. I have vision that other people lack. Through my suffering, I have been able to see just how twisted and wrong this world really is. The current state of humanity is what makes it wrong. I look at the human race and I see only vileness and depravity, all because of an act known as… sexuality…

Sex is by far the most evil concept in existence. The fact that life itself exists through sex just proves that life is flawed. The act of sex gives human beings a tremendous amount of pleasure. Pleasure they don't deserve. No one deserves to experience so much pleasure, especially since some humans get to experience it while some are denied it. When a man has sex with a beautiful woman, he probably feels like he is in heaven. But the world is not supposed to be heaven. For some humans to actually be able to feel such heights of heavenly pleasure is selfish and hedonistic. The ultimate evil behind sexuality is the human female. They are the main instigators of sex. They control which men get it and which men don't. Women are flawed creatures, and my mistreatment at their hands has made me realize this sad truth. There is something very twisted and wrong with the way their brains are wired. They think like beasts, and in truth, they are beasts. Women are incapable of having morals or thinking rationally. They are completely controlled by their depraved emotions and vile sexual impulses. Because of this, the men who do get to experience the pleasures of sex and the privilege of breeding are the men who women are sexually attracted to… the stupid, degenerate, obnoxious men. I have observed this all my life. The most beautiful of women choose to mate with the most brutal of men, instead of magnificent gentlemen like myself.

Women should not have the right to choose who to mate and breed with. That decision should be made for them by rational men of intelligence. If women continue to have rights, they will only hinder the advancement of the human race by breeding with degenerate men and creating stupid, degenerate offspring. This will cause humanity to become even more depraved with each generation. Women have more power in human society than they deserve, all because of sex. There is no creature more evil and depraved than the human female. Women are like a plague. They don't deserve to have any rights. Their wickedness must be contained in order prevent future generations from falling to degeneracy. Women are vicious, evil, barbaric animals, and they need to be treated as such.

In fully realizing these truths about the world, I have created the ultimate and perfect ideology of how a fair and pure world would work. In an ideal world, sexuality would not exist. It must be outlawed. In a world without sex, humanity will be pure and civilized. Men will grow up healthily, without having to worry about such a barbaric act. All men will grow up fair and equal, because no man will be able to experience the pleasures of sex while others are denied it. The human race will evolve to an entirely new level of civilization, completely devoid of all the impurity and degeneracy that exists today.

In order to completely abolish sex, women themselves would have to be abolished. All women must be quarantined like the plague they are, so that they can be used in a manner that actually benefits a civilized society. In order carry this out, there must exist a new and powerful type of government, under the control of one divine ruler, such as myself. The ruler that establishes this new order would have complete control over every aspect of society, in order to direct it towards a good and pure place. At the disposal of this government, there needs to be a highly trained army of fanatically loyal troops, in order to enforce such revolutionary laws.

The first strike against women will be to quarantine all of them in concentration camps. At these camps, the vast majority of the female population will be deliberately starved to death. That would be an efficient and fitting way to kill them all off. I would take great pleasure and satisfaction in condemning every single woman on earth to starve to death. I would have an enormous tower built just for myself, where I can oversee the entire concentration camp and gleefully watch them all die. If I can't have them, no one will, I'd imagine thinking to myself as I oversee this. Women represent everything that is unfair with this world, and in order to make the world a fair place, they must all be eradicated.

A few women would be spared, however, for the sake of reproduction. These women would be kept and bred in secret labs. There, they will be artificially inseminated with sperm samples in order to produce offspring. Their depraved nature will slowly be bred out of them in time.

Future generations of men would be oblivious to these remaining women's existence, and that is for the best. If a man grows up without knowing of the existence of women, there will be no desire for sex. Sexuality will completely cease to exist. Love will cease to exist. There will no longer be any imprint of such concepts in the human psyche. It is the only way to purify the world. In such a pure world, the man's mind can develop to greater heights than ever before.

Future generations will live their lives free of having to worry about the barbarity of sex and women, which will enable them to expand their intelligence and advance the human race to a state of perfect civilization. It is such a shameful pity that my ideal world cannot be created. I realized long ago that there is no way I could possibly rise to such a level of power in my lifetime, with the way the world is now. Such a thing will never become a reality for me, but it did give me something to fantasize about as I burned with hatred towards all women for rejecting me throughout the years. This whole viewpoint and ideology of abolishing sex stems from being deprived of it all my life. If I cannot have it, I will do everything I can to DESTROY IT.

My orchestration of the Day of Retribution is my attempt to do everything, in my power, to destroy everything I cannot have. All of those beautiful girls I've desired so much in my life, but can never have because they despise and loathe me, I will destroy. All of those popular people who live hedonistic lives of pleasure, I will destroy, because they never accepted me as one of them. I will kill them all and make them suffer, just as they have made me suffer. It is only fair.

Why do things have to be this way? I'm sure that is the question everyone will be asking after the Day of Retribution is over. They will all be asking why. Indeed, why? That is the question I've had for everyone throughout all my years of suffering. Why was I condemned to live a life of misery and worthlessness while other men were able to experience the pleasures of sex and love with women? Why do things have to be this way? I ask all of you.

All I ever wanted was to love women, and in turn to be loved by them back. Their behavior towards me has only earned my hatred, and rightfully so! I am the true victim in all of this. I am the good guy. Humanity struck at me first by condemning me to experience so much suffering. I didn't ask for this. I didn't want this. I didn't start this war… I wasn't the one who struck first… But I will finish it by striking back. I will punish everyone. And it will be beautiful. Finally, at long last, I can show the world my true worth.''
pp. 135-7