No one should have to feel lonely or misunderstood.

Something terrible happened two days ago.

Seven people died in Southern California, and even more were severely injured when twenty two year old UCSB student Elliot Rodger went on a killing spree.

His motivation?
Retribution.

… Or, that’s how he put it in the video blog he posted to YouTube just six hours before hopping into his BMW with an automatic pistol and taking to the streets to enact his plans.

This is that video:

0 No one should have to feel lonely or misunderstood. * heycheri sherilynn macale

The original video was pulled from YouTube where it had been posted to Elliot Rodger’s personal account. This is a lower quality copy posted to an unrelated channel, preserving it for viewing.

What scares me most about this video is how many men in my life I know that might feel exactly the same as Elliot did, but are too afraid, or too prideful to reach out for help. It scares me to think that any of the people I know and love could snap at any moment because of a pent up frustration they feel with society. And it makes me sad to see this kid, a kid who is younger than my baby brother, lose his life so senselessly while destroying the lives of several others in the process.

Elliot Rodger No one should have to feel lonely or misunderstood. * heycheri sherilynn macale

A young Elliot Rodger with his hair bleached blonde, pulled from his Facebook page.

Leading up to the killing spree, Elliot shared several video blogs detailing the small pleasures in life he would take to alleviate himself of the pain he felt from being scorned by women — a walk through a parking lot near his favorite golf course toward the setting sun, his drive home from attending school, etc. He peppered these videos with thoughts such as how unloved he felt. Alone. He very much believed that life was unfair (which, admittedly, it really is). He was tortured by the thought that “obnoxious men” could so easily win over the women he lusted for while he, a “perfect gentleman”, was still a virgin at 22.

A friend of mine texted me this:

photo No one should have to feel lonely or misunderstood. * heycheri sherilynn macale

If others can handle it, why did Elliot snap? Why was his situation different? Was it mental illness? Was it that he didn’t have friends to turn to? Did he grow up in an environment that fostered that mentality? Was he exposed to reading or information that altered his views in an unhealthy way?

Whatever the reason, we can’t let this happen again.
We can’t let people go on feeling like they’re alone.
Like they’re misunderstood, or unfairly treated.
No one should be afraid to reach out for help, and it hits way too close to home to think that so many people are suffering and feel that they can do nothing about it.
There has to be something we can do to prevent something like this in the future.

Feeling compelled to make a difference, and also because this happened so close to me (a friend of mine who I only just attended a music festival with in San Francisco was shot in the leg by Elliot, and she is grateful she did not receive worse), I took to Facebook and approached my 200,000+ following to offer what help I could, hoping to make even the smallest difference. Should I offer dating advice online, I wondered aloud?

One response from Facebook follower Aimee Pepper read:

“He had severe malignant NPD [Narcissistic Personality Disorder]. A makeover would not have helped him. He would have been disgusted at the thought of it and thought of you as just another ‘entitled bitch’ or ‘slut who only wants cavemen’.

This guy had a mental disorder that flew under the radar for long enough that by the time his parents started getting him help for it, he was able to charm his way out of any repercussions or roadblocks to what eventually happened. He also found a home for his horrible thoughts and ideals in the MRA community, and while I don’t think MRA was the sole contributing factor in what he did, I think that it fostered an environment where he got constant affirmation for his ideas and feelings.

It’s like, obviously not every racist or KKK person is going to form a lynch mob, but I’m damn sure that the KKK community certainly encouraged way more to happen by creating an environment where it was considered okay. Same with this. Not every MRA guy is gonna shoot up a college, but the ideals and motivations behind what he did are very common ones in that community.

You could not have helped this guy. You’re not a qualified professional and even those guys didn’t help him. What needs to change is society as a whole.”

Please note that I have yet to fact-check the statements made in this quote, and further research may be necessary. For more on NPD, check this Wikipedia entry.

I agreed with Pepper on the point of society needing to change as a whole. What could we all do, I thought, to work towards some sort of solution to a problem some of us didn’t even know existed?

Pepper offered this in reply:

“…we need to promote the idea that society needs to be more accepting and understanding of mental illnesses so that it’s easier to recognize and diagnose them and so that people don’t feel ashamed for getting help.

We also need to crush the idea that masculinity comes from the possession of a woman, because that was truth to this guy and it made him feel like less of a man, which clearly didn’t sit well with his NPD.”

So, how can we do that?
I see campaigns pop up regularly across my social news feeds asking me and others to participate in this or that to support this cause or that cause — and those sort of campaigns have never moved me. They have never really urged me to join and make a difference.

What can we do to really get people to want to make a change?
Do more people need to snap or die in order for us to see that this is a problem?
More importantly, what can I do to help?

I need to know these answers.
I wish someone had them.

I have been sad before. I have been lonely. I have felt the crushing burden of expectations, and without friends, without family, I feel I never could have climbed out of the mental prison I had built around myself. Believe me, if I could be everyone’s best friend and be there for everyone when anyone most needed it, I would be, but I can’t.

What can I do?

For my part, I have this blog. I have my Facebook with craptons of followers. And I have several presences across the web where folks follow me for a whole variety of reasons. Sometimes, they even listen to the things I have to say.

Is there something I should be saying to these people to urge others to recognize loneliness and mental illness in others? Some message I should be delivering that I am not already? What can I do to help? What am I missing?

If you have any ideas on how I can use my social and Internet influence to help prevent this sort of situation in the future, please chime in and let me know. I want to make a difference. And if you have any ideas on how we can all make a difference, please say so.

And if you, whoever you are, found this blog post and feel that you are alone, or feel frustrated to the point of snapping, please, please reach out to someone. Anyone. And keep reaching out for as long as you need the help. Please know that there are people out there who genuinely care and sincerely want to help. We want you to get better. We want you to be happy.

Please comment below with your thoughts. No one should have to go through this ever again. We have to do something.

Needing Change,
Sherilynn “Cheri” Macale

Edit: Smart comments made about this post across the web and uploaded as I discover them:

Screen Shot 2014 05 25 at 12.21.29 PM No one should have to feel lonely or misunderstood. * heycheri sherilynn macale

Screen Shot 2014 05 28 at 10.42.45 AM No one should have to feel lonely or misunderstood. * heycheri sherilynn macale

Screen Shot 2014 05 28 at 10.42.55 AM No one should have to feel lonely or misunderstood. * heycheri sherilynn macale

Screen Shot 2014 05 28 at 10.43.24 AM No one should have to feel lonely or misunderstood. * heycheri sherilynn macale

Screen Shot 2014 05 28 at 10.45.48 AM No one should have to feel lonely or misunderstood. * heycheri sherilynn macale

Screen Shot 2014 05 28 at 10.46.25 AM No one should have to feel lonely or misunderstood. * heycheri sherilynn macale

Screen Shot 2014 05 28 at 10.46.42 AM No one should have to feel lonely or misunderstood. * heycheri sherilynn macale

  • otaku_freak_16

    Hi Cheri,I don’t want to be pointed out as a “smart comment”, but I agree with the Eli guy above. It seems to me he was narcissistic, a misogynist, and racist. He wrote somewhere that he got really angry and pissed off at women because a black guy was able to have sex before him. He said it pissed him off because he as a white man who came from aristocracy while black people came from slaves, and he couldn’t understand how that was possible. To me it seems like people must have noticed something about him that just didn’t click, and he was mad that he didn’t get what he felt he “deserved”. He was a “nice guy”, so he felt entitled to a girl. Being nice to me, doesn’t mean I should drop my pants. I don’t want to, and I shouldn’t have to.

    This has really pointed out to me how scary guys can be, and a lot of women as well. I’m not sure if you’ve seen the talk on sites like tumblr, but a lot of women feel the same way. Should I have to be scared to turn down a guy and hope he doesn’t kill me just because I’m not interested? No.

    Maybe he needed a little more attention in his life or friends, or whatever, but I don’t feel any sympathy towards him, just towards the women who wound up dead because of him. Sorry, but that’s just my opinion.

  • Morgan Freeman

    I wish the spoiled kid could be alive and walk a mile in MY shoes as a balding man. NO woman respects baldness and has me rejected immediately. Then he’d have known what its like to be outcast and be lonely.

    • http://www.heycheri.com/ Sherilynn Macale

      This isn’t true at all. I’ve dated balding men — there is *nothing* wrong with baldness. In fact, some of the hottest porn stars are bald. You’ll be fine.

      • Morgan Freeman

        Thank you. Although your comments are appreciated and I agree there definitely is nothing wrong with baldness, its unfortunate that the majority of others don’t share your sentiments as having to be mocked, insulted and humiliated over a genetic trait is incredibly demoralizing.

        • http://www.heycheri.com/ Sherilynn Macale

          I’m sorry that this is happening to you. :( I’ve dated bald and balding guys — it can definitely be hot. We’re all made fun of for different things. I get made fun of too. I hope you find comfort in knowing that you’re not the ONLY one suffering from being teased for things you can’t really control.

          • Shannon

            Do you get made fun of for your rectangle face? My face shape is like yours and I wish it were rounder and more feminine

          • http://www.heycheri.com/ Sherilynn Macale

            Nah. I’ve got a pretty banging personality.

  • Egalitarian

    There’s no proof at all that Elliot Rodger was involved in the men’s rights movement.

    The forums he’s been found to have posted to, a bodybuilder forum and “PUAhate”, are not connected to the MRM.

    His youtube subscriptions, cited as proof of a connection, do not include a single men’s rights channel.

    Furthermore, none of his beliefs have anything to do with men’s rights views. The men’s rights movement is about equal rights for men in areas where men are disadvantaged, such as men who are victims of domestic violence or rape, men who want to be childcare workers, stay at home dads, etc.

    There’s a reason why no source has been able to point to even one specific example of a connection to the men’s rights movement. There is no such connection.

  • Leelah

    Hey Cheri, this is Stonercola from LJ.

    I am so glad you’re moved and trying to do something about it. I was just as moved when I read the story, and like you I checked his videos out. Elliot Rodger was a handsome boy. I think, though, that when he interacted with women, he may have been pretty negative. I think that’s why he didn’t get the opportunity to have sex before he committed suicide.

    What plagued me was the question of whether or not he knew if he was going to kill himself on Retribution Day. I feel as if he expected the plan to go much better, and since it did not, he offed himself. He had all the resources to be happy for the rest of his life, there really was no reason for him to feel so lonely. He could have had it all if he forced himself to be more confident.

    Well, I digress. Nothing to be done about that now. However, I hope that this opens the eyes of people who are unconscious to the situation. There are even phone lines to help people with suicidal thoughts or tendencies to want to hurt others. There is attention available to those who need it, perhaps they just don’t know how to find it. Maybe everybody should be offered their options. Always. But how to measure it?

    I feel for him. He was lost and he had problems, but he was alive and he deserved help. He punished himself, so there really is no use in being mad at someone who ended up taking their own life.

    Just my two cents in this conversation.

    Monica Laura

    • http://www.heycheri.com/ Sherilynn Macale

      I can’t believe how many repeat shootings there have been since this. And have you read about the “Slender Man Meme” imitators? The 13-year-old girls attempting to summon Slender Man (who I’d never even heard of until reading about him via the news) by stabbing another of their friends to near-death?

      It scares me to think how connected we all are, and how it, in many ways, is not necessarily a “good thing”.