Is the Elliot Rodger story about guns? Not really. He used a knife to kill three people before he started shooting, but California has some of the strictest gun laws in the nation and he passed the background checks and managed to buy three guns over a year.
Is the Elliot Rodger story about misogyny? Not really. He blamed his evil on women, but when it came time to kill, he wanted to kill everyone.
Is the Elliot Rodger story about mental illness? Partially. He had several diagnoses but he refused to take his meds.
Is the Elliot Rodger story about evil? Partially. At some point his mental illness just ate away at his soul until he was just an evil young man. I never got the sense he had a moral compass.
The warning signs were there. But let’s look at his own words.
On page 1 of his 137-page diatribe, the wannabe-supervillain ego is there. “In this magnificent story” he pull experiences from his “superior memory” to show how “humanity forced my hand,” he begins with his birth to a British father and Chinese mother. He laments that he came from a wealthy family that lost it all in the Great Depression. I get the sense that he feels like he should have been born richer, dangit, and he thinks he’d be happier if he was richer. And yet he traveled to many different countries and attended private school.
As I’m going through this, I’m looking for signs where he was nice or thoughtful and his goodwill was spurned. It doesn’t happen.
He mentions a friend Joey who was nice to him at first but then they’d fight and he became his enemy. At age 5. His parents threw a giant Disney-themed party for his 6th birthday and he invited everyone but Joey. Revenge! I wonder if Joey’s side was “He was a little jerk.”
His parents divorced when he was 7, but he seems to love his parents. He viewed his dad as a powerful, successful man and refers to his mother’s “kind and loving nature.” He believed he was shaped by his father so quickly finding a new “girlfriend” after the divorce. His new Moroccan stepmother had harsher disciplinary tactics than his parents ever did, so he resented her. Oh, he also had nannies.
His mom was friends with George Lucas and he attended the red-carpet premieres of Star Wars Episode I, II & III. He fell in love with video games and Pokemon.
He’d alternate weeks between his mom and dad’s house, and he loved his mom’s house, and didn’t like his dad’s house, as his dad was often gone and he was looking after by his stepmom and/or nannies.
Around age 9, he began to realize he wasn’t cool, and he hated that. His clothes and hair weren’t stylish enough, and he was short and shy. He took up skateboarding to be more “cool.” At age 10 he saw his first porn mag and pretended to enjoy the images so he’d be “cool” like the rest of the boys.
We’re about 25 pages in, as he’s describing what sounds like a fairly normal childhood for an upper-middle-class kid in Cali. He says he’s about to enter puberty and learn “the boys who girls find attractive will live pleasure-filled lives while they dominate the boys who girls deem unworthy.” He actually can’t go a page with foreshadowing here or there.
When he first entered middle school, he felt like somehow the obnoxious jerks were the cool kids. “The girls don’t flock to the gentleman. They flock to the alpha male.” But he found girls in middle school to be friendly. Getting a hug from a pretty girl made his day. He went to his first dance and some girls taught him how to dance. (Wow, he had a better time in middle school than me.)
You still get that theme of entitlement here and there. He found it demeaning when his mother had to move into a smaller house. Girls were nice to him but he felt “bitter” because he couldn’t truly hang out with them like the popular boys. Not seeing any example of him trying to get to know any specific girl.
His first “scarring” conflict from a girl came at summer camp, where some friends were tickling him and in trying to get away, he bumped into a girl. “She cursed at me and pushed me.” From there he says “cruel treatment from women is ten times worse than from men. It made me feel like an insignificant, unworthy little mouse.” He said it was his “first experience of female cruelty” and it “traumatized me to no end.” He’s just shy of turning 12 at this point.
He resented confidence in boys he viewed as ugly.
Once he hit puberty he became jealous of seeing couples, or groups of boys and girls together having a good time. He stopped enjoying the movies, because happy couples and groups are always there. Pretty much any boy at school that a girl would be nice to, he’d hate.
He saw his first porn video at age 13 and found it traumatic and arousing. “Sex… the very word fills me with hate.”
His father was still pretty absentee, off filming movies, hardly ever home for the days he would have the kids. I’m feeling bad for his dad right now, whom I’m sure has read these 137 pages and is wondering what he could have done differently.
Around this time Elliot says his social life ended. He’d just lose himself into World of Warcraft and Xbox Live instead. At school, he said he’d act weird or annoying out of boredom. A group of girls teased him. “I started to hate all girls because of this. I saw them as mean, cruel and heartless creatures that took pleasure from my suffering.”
He also went to the red-carpet premiere of Star Wars Episode III and loved the Anakin Skywalker character (hm…) and was disappointed this didn’t make him cooler at school, that his mom was friends with Lucas.
He decided he’d rather receive negative attention than none at all so he continued to act obnoxious and annoying and he’d pick fights with the “cool” kids. See, I don’t see where he’s done anything to make himself attractive to girls. In fact he begged to go to an all-boys private school for his high school years so he wouldn’t have to be around girls.
He cried his first day of high school. He wanted to stay a kid and not grow up. His first week as a freshman, some seniors threw food at him during lunch and after school. So he’d lose faith in humanity and immerse himself in video games more. And masturbation.
His parents then decided to put him back in public school. Shock. Outrage. He said he was bullied several times right away at his new school, even though he didn’t know anyone. “I was an innocent, scared little boy trapped in a jungle full of malicious predators, and I was shown no mercy.” Here his twisted worldview cemented into place. “The most meanest and depraved of men come out on top, and women flock to these men. Their evil acts are rewarded by women.” And then “I hated the girls even more than the bullies because of this.”
He lasted at that school for two weeks before he cried and begged to his mother not to force him to return.
He continued to hate his week at his dad’s because his stepmom wouldn’t let him play WoW. She’d make him (gasp!) do chores. “I despised doing work around the house, especially since we had a nanny who was supposed to do it.” Meanwhile his dad put all his money into a documentary that bankrupted him, and so he stopped paying child support to his mother.
At age 16, he saw a 12-year-old boy make out with a 16-year-old girl, and he stared at them with hatred and envy. (I wonder if Elliot realized how often he referred to his own hatred through this whole thing. I’m on page 53 at this point.) While at a party at his parents’ friends’ house, he saw a group fo friends come over. Popular kids. Cool kids. He had a breakdown right then and cried in front of everyone. He said he wanted to commit suicide. (!)
There’s growing up pains, but here’s where he says he truly realized how unfair life is, and he dealt with it by submerging himself further into online gaming. When he went on a trip to France with a friend and saw their mansion, he’d ask “Where’s the justice? Why couldn’t I have been born into that life?”
He refers to his senior year as boring and he “disliked all of the degenerate, low-class students there. They repulsed me.” He had three friends he played WoW with and that was enough for him, until he found out they’d often meet together to play but wouldn’t invite him. Since even playing WoW made him feel lonely, he played less.
He said he viewed anyone with a sex life as the enemy. He began fantacizing about being a powerful person who outlawed sex. If he couldn’t have it, no one should. Somewhere in there he figured he was destined for greatness. He spoke about failing some classes but then refers to his “exceptionally high level of intelligence.”
Once his father’s movie bombed, “I formed an ideology in my head of how the world should work.” he wanted to detroy injustice and exact revenge on everyone he envied and hated. He said he delved into history, politics, sociology so he could someday impose his ideology on the world. “My torment would continue, but I had something to live for. I felt empowered.” At age 17.
“When I saw young couples walking around at the mall, my anger and hatred intensified greatly.” His parents could tell how “radical” he was getting so they sent him with his stepmom on a trip to Morocco (whichhe’d been to a few times at this point). He hated Morocco, “a backwater country.” He tried running away the day of his flight but his dad chased him down. He cried and complained every day in Morocco, until after a week, his mom agreed he could come home.
But he’d just go to the mall and watch happy couples, and fester with hate. He was angry at his dad for not understanding what was going on with him. “How could he be so blind?” Furious his dad never taught him how to attract girls.
After running home crying from seeing so many happy couples, he told his family he’d try to change and not be so negative. By the time he turned 18, he figured with his new-found hope, he’d go to college. Meanwhile his stepmom kicked him out of the house and wouldn’t even let him visit. He hated her, and he hated his dad for being weak and letting her ban him.
He carried around a pocketknife and that Halloween a group of guys in a pick-up threw eggs at him. He picked up a shell and threw it back, and when the guys got out of the truck, he pulled out his knife. They left. Later, after a former friend blew him off (and later unfriended him on FB), he sunk back into fantacizing about being a fascist dictator who banned sex. “Sex is evil, as it gives too much pleasure to those who don’t deserve it.” He created some fake FB accounts to stalk people he envied/hated.
He howls about how he doesn’t have a girlfriend but again, I’m on page 66, and he has yet to really see girls his own age as anything beyond scary cruel witches or objects to be attained. Somewhere in there he went to his father’s house and entered without knocking. His stepmom was furious and from then on he wasn’t allowed to come over. For the next few months, he considered his father dead to him.
(Not once do I see him think about someone else’s feelings, or try to reach to help anyone.)
Meanwhile he learned his mother was dating a multimillionaire. “Money would solve everything,” I think he wrote without irony. He begged her to marry him or any other rich guy, but she said she wasn’t looking to remarry. “I told her she should sacrifice her well-being for the sake of my happiness, but this only offended her further.” Ya think?
He took a class at Pierce College, then dropped it. He took a class at Moorpark College, but dropped it because he couldn’t stand a certain boyfriend/girlfriend who were also in the class. His social skills counselor offered him a job, and he took it, but when he realized it was being a custodian, he quit after one day. He cried to his mom, begging her not to kick him out, and he signed up for more classes at Moorpark.
At age 19, he recognized he had no life so he started playing WoW again. He viewed his other virgin friends as being weak for not being more angry about their social status. He viewed himself as the fighter, who will eventually get his revenge against all those who insult him.
As he approached his 20th birthday his parents decided he needed to get his own place. So he would go to UCSB, where kids have parties. Maybe he could finally have the sex-filled life of pleasure he alrways dreamed of. His dad paid for his tuition and gave him an additional $500 a month while his mom paid for his apartment.
He keeps referring to how deathly shy he is, but how he’d be filled with injustice and fury that no one would reach out to him. Maybe they could sense that dark cloud swirling around him? His dad bought him “The Secret” to try to help him have a positive attitude. He tried it for a while but when his dreams didn’t immediately come true, he became angry again. He figured he just needed to win the lottery. He told his best friend about the envy and anger he always felt, and his tortuous acts of revenge he wanted to take, and his friend one day said enough was enough, and he didn’t want to hear it. He didn’t speak to him again for months.
He ran into an old friend who had a pretty girl flirt with him, and he kept staring and seething at the injustices of girls liking other guys and not him. “Why not me? I deserve it! I am magnificent.” He viewed his move to UCSB as “giving the world one last chance to give me the life that I know I’m entitled to.” And if it didn’t work out? “I will have my vengeance.”
I’m 83 pages in, and it’s so so clear that he hates young women. He hates young men. He hates anyone who’s happy. How dare they. Not long after his arrival, he’s infuriated by a black student who claimed he lost his virginity at age 13 to a blonde white girl. “I am descended from British aristocracy. He is descended from slaves. I deserve it more” and then “This just proves how ridiculous the female gender is. They would give themselves to this filthy scum, but they reject ME? The injustice!”
And still in his head he’s this intelligent gentleman. He walks into a class and is disappointed no one walks up and says Hi to him. Does he try to say Hi to anyone? No.
“I saw so many pretty blonde girls sitting around. I wished I had the courage to go up to them and ask one on a date, but they would have seen me as a creep. Girls are so cruel.”
At one point he goes to a Starbucks, and he sees a couple kissing while they’re in line. He’s so angered by that that when they go to leave he splashes his coffee all over them and runs away. Now this couple was minding their own business and some stranger hits them with coffee, but to Elliot, he’d finally lashed out at his enemies! “I wanted to do horrible things to that couple. I wanted to inflict pain on all young couples” and then “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.” He said he’d fantacized about murder since he was 17, but for the first time he realized he would do it if given the opportunity. Does this realization make him recoil in horror? Nope.
(Stories about Elliot have said he was in and out of therapy and had different medications prescribed to him, though he refused to take some of them. (Source: www.PharmaWatchDogs.com) He isn’t referencing any of that in here. But it’s clear he had no moral compass.)
His 20th birthday is approaching, and he was desperate to lose his virginity. So he’d sit in front of Domino’s Pizza each day and wait for a girl to come up and talk to him, which never happened.
He refers to passing a girl on a bridge and saying “Hi” but she didn’t say “Hi” back. Maybe she didn’t hear him. How does he respond? “How dare she!” and then he cries to himself in a bathroom stall. A few days before his birthday he sees a happy young couple and splashes them with iced tea, then flees in his car. “I felt sick with hatred that night.”
He runs into an old friend with whom he’d had a falling out, and they make up. But in his head “I never forgive. One day I’ll show him how superior I am.”
Next semester he’s bummed his new roommates are Hispanic. “They seemed like rowdy, low-class types.” On the second day they found out he was a virgin and laughed, and on the third day he tried to pick a fight with one of them, “that obnoxious little animal.” The other roommate kept them apart but he knew he needed new roommates. They didn’t switch though, and they’d harass him all the time for being a virgin. Elliot wanted to kill them both but he was biding his time.
Now every time he sees a happy couple or guys and girls flirting, it’s harder to stop himself from throwing things at them, and he fantacizes about skinning them alive. While walking home he passed a boy with two girls, so he cursed at them and followed them for a while. “They just laughed at me.” My goodness, this kid is disturbed. I’m up to page 92.
He got a “chubby” roommate and he started to hate the guy just because as roommates, this guy could see that Elliot didn’t have a girlfriend. He’d buy better clothes to help himself feel better. You know, from gift cards his mom would send him. For Christmas break, he’d fly to England with his mom. His parents probably had no idea how psychotic he was, but they gave him stuff.
(Page 97 it occurs to me that any thoughts on religion have never come up. Closest to it were the few days he tried practicing “The Secret.” I’m gathering he’s an apathetic atheist, mad at the universe. Moving on…)
Any time a guy talks about his girlfriend, he’s filled with instant rage. He has to storm to the bathroom and vent about how he wants to kill him. He talks about one of his fits of crying and his mom asks why he’s so miserable. He says it’s because he’s a “lonely, miserable unwanted virgin who women treat with disdain” but his mom couldn’t grasp how severe his grief was. “After all, how could she? She was a woman herself.”
Then one day his chubby roommate brings a girl to their room. Elliot balks because the roommate gives him a smug look and the girl wasn’t attractive. So he tells him “he is foolish to feel proud about having an ugly whore in his room. This made him angry and offended.”
Next semester he has a spring in his step. He got a new haircut, he’s wearing expensive clothes, and he’s confident girls will see he’s a superior gentleman. He sees one beautiful girl in class and aches for her to fall in love with him. (And it’s just another reminder that he never thinks about their personalities; it’s only how they look.) Later that week, he pulls up at a stoplight and sees two hot girls on the corner. He looks at them and smiles. They don’t smile back. So he flips a U-turn and throws his coffee on them, regretting that his latte wasn’t hotter. “Those girls deserved to be dumped in boiling water!” That one beautiful girl in his class? He looks her up on FB and finds she has a boyfriend. He instantly starts fantacizing about murdering the both of them. “If I can’t have her, no one should!” So he drops the class so he doesn’t have to see her anymore. It’s amazing how many classes he drops because he can’t stand the sight of happy people in them. He finally just drops all of his classes. Around this time he starts developing his plan for revenge. He calls it the Day of Retribution.
“I will destroy all women because I can never have them.”
“And of course, I would have to die in the act to avoid going to prison.”
“I didn’t want to do it. I wanted to live. Thinking about the Day of Retribution made me feel trapped. I wanted a way out.”
He then saw his only way out was to become a multi-millionaire. “If only my damnable mother had married into wealth instead of being selfish. If only my failure of a father had made better decisions with his directing career.” Man, what a brat.
He attended the red-carpet premiere of The Hunger Games, on which his dad was 2nd unit director. “I cockily smiled at all of the stupid fans who had to remain on the side, rubbing it right in their faces.” Yeah, why don’t girls walk up to him and pledge their love?
There are no morals or values Elliot seems to cling to. No sense of right and wrong. Wealth matters, status matters, attractive girls on your arm matter. If you don’t get those, well, then the ones who do deserve to die. There is only justice and injustice, and injustice is him not being wealthier or having sex.
He blows two thousand of dollars on lottery tickets. His best friend since first grade, disturbed by his anger, messages him to let him know he does not want to be friends anymore. “It was the ultimate betrayal.” He remained manically depressed, convinced his only two options in life are becoming a millionaire, or going on a suicidal killing spree.
He walks by some boys and girls having fun in the park, and he’s so angry he gets in his car, buys a super-soaker, fills it with orange juice, and drives back to the park. “I screamed with rage as I sprayed them with my super soaker.” Then he hopped in his car and sped off before the boys could catch him. “I was giddy with ecstatic, hate-fueled excitement.”
After losing at the lottery again, he decides to go to a shooting range to practice for the Day of Retribution. He starts questioning reality. “How did life come to be?” The only way he could get girls was by being rich, and that wasn’t going to happen. “Humans are brutal animals. If I cannot thrive among them, then I will destroy them all.”
And still he just walks around seething, raging. Durign Halloween 2012, he initally thought of making Halloween 2013 that fateful day, but he figured cop presense would be too high. He’d need to pick a normal day.
(It makes me wonder how many rich kids have this much anger in them too, but they don’t need to kill, because hey, I have money, so it’s all good.)
December 2012, he buys a Glock 34. He passes the background check, and after the waiting period, gets his gun. That Christmas, he flies first class with his mom to England. “I took great satisfaction as I passed by all of the other people who flew economy, giving all the younger passengers a cocky little smirk.”
A few months later he buys a Sig Sauer P226. Again, no broken laws or red flags to be raised.
“Women should not have the right to choose who to mate with. That choice should be made for them by civilized men of intelligence.”
“Women are like a plague that must be quarantined. When I came to this brilliant, perfect revelation, I felt like everything was now clear to me, in a bitter, twisted way.”
“I am like a god.”
Then he joins PUAHate.com, a site for other sex-starved men to complain about their lives. (I just checked and now it gives a 404 error). He tried to show the site to his parents but they wouldn’t look. “They never understood why I am so miserable.”
“I wanted to kill as many attractive young couples as I possibly could.” Summer 2013 he decides Isla Vista will be where he takes his revenge. While he’d first thought of Halloween, he thought maybe November would have fewer cops around. After he’s decided, he feels trapped and lost. And then casually on page 119, he refers to his psychiatrist, who refers a counsellor named Gavin to him. His counsellor would go on hikes with him, or meet him or lunch. But his counsellor was good-looking, so whereever they went, he’d notice girls checking out Gavin. “My hatred of the female gender could grow no stronger. It was too much.”
His mom buys a house, and he still gives her grief about not marrying someone wealthy. “Joining a family of great wealth would have truly saved my life.” Ugh. “It is very selfish of my mother not to consider this.” What a selfish, self-absorbed young man.
Gavin and his parents arrange for him to see some social-skills counsellors. (Hey, look! People trying to help him!) One of those counsellors was a young woman a year older than him. She was a beautful blonde and even though he resented she was a fake, hired friend, he appreciated their time. When she moved away, he didn’t want another female counsellor. Made him feel pathetic that a woman had to be hired to be nice to him.
On his 22nd birthday, he gets drunk on vodka and sets out on the night, determined to lose his virginity, and thus save mankind. He walked into a party, his drunken state giving him confidence. No girls at the party talk to him, but when he sees a blonde white girl talking to a full Asian boy when he’s only half-Asian, well, that’s too much. He walked up to them and gave them grief, but he was too drunk to really do anything so he left.
He climbed up on a 10-foot ledge and pretended to shoot partygoers as they walked by. Other guests joined him on the ledge, but none of the girls talked to him, so he tried to push them off the ledge. Instead a boy pushed him off the ledge. He broke his ankle from the fall. He saw his Gucci sunglasses were missing but he was so drunk he went to the wrong party to demand who stole his sunglasses. A group of guys beat him up. “Not one girl offered to help me as I stumbled home.”
(Why should they, dude?)
He went to the hospital and claimed those boys had pushed him off the ledge for acting cocky. The police interviewed him and the boys, and their stories conflicted, so the case was dismissed. But that broken leg delayed the Day of Retribution.
He saw his psychiatrist again and said he just had the same useless advice every other shrink or counsellor had given him. He prescribed Risperidone, but Elliot refused to take it (“it was wrong for me”) and never saw his psychiatrist after that.
(Risperidone is an antipsychotic drug that treats schizophrenia and manic states of bipolar disorder.)
When he learns his dad and stepmom are putting his little half-brother in commercials, his little brother he loves and who loves him, he decides that means his brother will grow up popular, and he decides that his brother will be one of the people he must kill on his Day of Retribution. “If I can’t live a pleasureable life, then neither will he!” In order to kill his brother, he’d have to kill his stepmom, which he has no problem with, but he thinks he’d need to do it when he knows his dad is away.
“When I thought about this, I truly did feel sick.”
Meanwhile his mom buys him a BMW.
He gets two new roommates, two foreign Asian students. “These were the biggest nerds I have ever seen, and they were both very ugly with annoying voices.” He decides he’d need to kill them to get them out of the way. “In fact, I’d even enjoy stabbing them both to death while they slept.”
(I’ll get to his victims at the end.)
Gaving was gone but he got a new counsellor named Robert. “The social interaction he provided was pleasant.” Then he learns his younger sister has lost her virginity and has a boyfriend. Rage!
“Women’s rejection of me is a declaration of war, and if it’s war they want, then war they shall have.”
After setting April 26, 2014, as his day of revenge, he decides he needs a third gun, in case one jams, as he wants his suicidal move to be putting two handguns to his head and pulling both triggers. He als decides he needs ammo, knives and carrying cases.
He lays out his plan. First, he’ll kill his two roommates. Then he’ll try to lure other people into his apartment and kill them. If they’re good-looking, he’ll torture them first. After he’s killed a few people this way, he’ll collect their heads. His second step would be to go to the Alpha Phi sorority, because they have the hottest girls, and kill as many of them as possible. Then he’ll go to his father’s house to kill his stepmom and brother, take the SUV, run over as many people as possible and shoot at them from the driver’s seat. Then he’ll go to Del Playa Street (where he broke his ankle) and dump the heads he’s collected, killing as many people as possible. He figures the cops will be on their way, so he planned to down all of his Xanax and Vicodin pills with liquor and then shoot himself in the head. He figured if something went wrong with the guns, the Xanax/Vicodin cocktail would kill him. He also knew he’d post YouTube videos explaining why he did what he’s doing.
He did post “Why Do Girls Hate Me So Much” and waited to see if any females would respond. Only males responded, mocking him.
But just before April 26th he had a cold, so he figured he had to delay his plans.
(Do you see how this is not someone who just “snapped”? This is a guy who was planning to go on a murder-suicide spree for years.)
So he decides May 24th is a good day.
About a week after he posted the YouTube videos, seven cops came to his door. Either his mother or a tip-off with a health agency saw the videos, so they checked up on him. They asked him if he was feeling suicidal. He said it was all a misunderstanding. “If they had demanded to search my room, that would have ended everything.” He took down the videos with the intent of putting them back up right before his spree.
“I am not part of the human race. Humanity has rejected me.”
“I am more than human. I am superior to them all.. Magnificent, glorious, supreme, eminent.. Divine! I am the closest thing there is to a living god.”
Then he talks about how in an ideal world, a dictator would round up all the females and put them in concentration camps. He’d order most of them to starve to death. A few women would be spared for reproduction.
His final sentence: “Finally, at long last, I can show the world my true worth.”
His first two victims were his roommates, Cheng Hong and George Chen, stabbed to death. He also stabbed to death Weihan Wang. Later across the street from Alpha Phi, Katie Cooper and Veronika Weiss were gunned down by him. And later at a deli, he shot and killed Christopher Michael-Martinez. He wounded over a dozen other people before exchanging fire with a deputy. He drove off, hitting a bicyclist before crashing into parked cars. Then Elliot shot himself in the head.
His mother saw his manifesto video, called her ex-husband and then police, and Elliot’s parents were on their way to UCSB when they heard about the shootings on the radio.
Elliot had crippling social anxiety, manic depression, and he was either bipolar or schizophrenic (or both). Probably Radical Attachment Disorder too. He never seemed to show caring for other people, except maybe his little brother, whom he’d planned to kill. His insecurity and low self-esteem was replaced by a narcisstic god-complex. Even in his own words, just hearing his side of the story, you can tell he was a selfish, self-absorbed a–hole.
He was terrified of girls from puberty on. His fear turned to hate, until he felt desire, fear and hate simultaneously.
His tale is one of warning.
Don’t ignore the signs of mental illness.
Be more empathetic.
And to young people, if your friend keeps telling you about his murder fantasies, maybe he means it.