Elliot Rodger, the 22-year-old who killed six students in the college town of Isla Vista in 2014, was the first “alt-right killer” to strike in recent years, according to a new report from the Southern Poverty Law Center.
The report counts Rodger among 13 alleged alt-right killers whose actions left 43 people dead and more than 60 injured since 2014.
Rodger was taken up as an ironic icon almost immediately by the alternative right. MGTOWs, upon gaining power, will announce an annual Eliot Rodger Day. For now, its infamy though.
Here are the SPLC’s criteria:
The alleged perpetrators were all men and most were under 30 years of age, the report says. The common thread: All participated in the “far-right ecosystem that defines the alt-right.”
One of them made several references to Rodger before carrying out his attack last year, the report says.
William Edward Atchison used the pseudonym of “Elliot Rodger” online and praised the “supreme gentleman,” a moniker Rodger gave himself that became an alt-right meme, according to the report. Atchison, 21, entered a New Mexico high school Dec. 7 and killed two students before taking his own life.
The list also includes Dylann Roof, the white supremacist convicted of fatally shooting nine black members of a Bible study class in South Carolina in 2015.
Participating in the “far-right ecosystem” probably describes anyone who keeps up with the news and isn’t fully pozzed, including of course more than a few non-whites. Twitter just sent me their email (which I can’t find alas) informing me of my account’s re-tweeting of, I assume, Russian bots and other undesirable accounts. I think this puts me very much in the far-right ecosystem. Now if I run amok for any reason, I’m a ready-made alt right terrorist.
Rodger became a political extremist because of his fascination with Nazis.
Kelly Hoover, public information officer for the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office, said she had not read the Law Center’s report but noted that investigators had previously documented Rodger’s interest in Nazi figures.
“That’s something that did come out as part of the investigation,” Hoover said.
A 2015 report by the sheriff’s office revealed Rodger’s research of Nazis, including some of the main architects of the Holocaust. The report does not mention the alt-right.
“Upon review of the suspect’s internet search history, investigators have learned that the suspect was very interested in some of the practices and techniques of the Third Reich,” the sheriff’s report said. “The suspect’s in-depth research included information about Joseph Goebbels and Heinrich Himmler, two infamous members of the Nazi hierarchy.”
The internet search history log shows Rodger had looked for terms such as “If you were Adolf Hitler” and “Nazi curbstomp.”
There used to be room for an apolitical understanding of the Nazis and an appreciation of their aesthetic, which holds up well now. I daresay it’s timeless.
When I was a kid we had an old book about World War II that was full of amazing photographs, many of them of Nazi rallies. I was unquestioningly an American patriot who viewed World War II and Nazis just as I was supposed to. Nonetheless I was fascinated by the imagery and took a little pride even, being descended from German and Dutch immigrants, in the achievements of Nazi Germany.
The thing is, you don’t have to know, or care, who is who to make a judgement on aesthetic value. I accepted that Nazi Germany was the height of evil. Nonetheless, they looked pretty cool. But our aesthetic at the time wasn’t so bad either. Not so anymore.
No one in the future, I imagine, is going to look at old photos of social justice warriors in our time with the same fascination. Perhaps in the telling, when our grandchildren (few, biracial) watch the celebratory films about their triumph over the “neo” Nazis the marchers will be attractive and smartly dressed. I’m glad I won’t be there to find out.