The Isla Vista Killer and the Seven Deadly Sins | Dorothy Cummings McLean | CWR
Sin creates a proclivity to further sin, and then leads to hell on earth
“I am Envy, begotten of a chimney sweeper and an oyster-wife. I cannot read, and therefore wish all books were burnt. I am lean with seeing others eat. O that there would come a famine through all the world, that all might die, and I live alone! then thou should’st see how fat I would be.”
— Doctor Faustus, Scene VI, by Christopher Marlowe (c. 1590)
On Friday, May 23rd, an American college student in Santa Barbara published his autobiography, stabbed his roommates and their friend to death, got into his car and began a shooting spree. He had killed three more people and injured over a dozen by the time he crashed his car and shot himself fatally in the head. He was twenty-two years old.
As family and friends mourn their dead and comfort the injured, pundits debate and argue over the Isla Vista killer’s motives. Some feminists demand that people pay attention to his misogyny. Others put the blame on “white male privilege” (although the killer's mother is of Asian descent). Anti-feminists point out that he killed more men. Many liberals call him a gun nut; some insist he was driven by racism. Some conservatives blame his parents’ divorce; others point to mental illness. After all, his parents’ friends tell the press that the killer had been in therapy since he was nine. The implication is that if the killer was mentally ill, that excuses or fully explains his murderous rampage.
His twisted world
The killer, however, explained his violence in a perfectly lucid and unusually well-written 137-page autobiography, titled “My Twisted World”, that details his life from birth. It begins with the word “humanity” and then the assertion, “All of my suffering on this world has been at the hands of humanity, particularly women.” He claims that he has been “cast out and rejected, forced to endure an existence of loneliness and insignificance, all because the females of the human species were incapable of seeing the value in [him]”. As a matter of fact, by his own admission, the killer was deeply loved and cared for by his mother. He had also an indulgent father, loving grandmothers, a concerned step-mother, two siblings and a best friend who stood by him until the killer’s hate-fuelled rages and fantasies drove him away. But it is the killer’s hatred of humanity, rather than his dismissal of his loved ones, that chills the soul.
Those in favour of stricter gun control in California will search “My Twisted World” in vain for evidence that its author was a gun nut. In fact, he was not familiar with them at all until as a college student he goes to a shooting range to practise for his massacre. He describes the man from whom he rents his handgun as “an ugly redneck” and after he fires his first few rounds at a paper target, he feels sick to his stomach. It is perhaps significant that a memoirist who can describe his childhood Pokémon collection in detail cannot remember the make and model of the first handgun he touched.
The killer wrote that at this moment he asked himself what he was doing there, and how his life could have led to this: “There I was practising with real guns because I had a plan to carry out a massacre.” It would seem that the idea of “real guns” sickened the class-conscious killer as much as his plans did. But in the days following his short target practise, he decides that because “girls are repulsed [by him]”, he will never have children or be a creator, and so might as well be a destroyer. He has been rejected by all humanity, he believes, despite the fact that he is “the ideal, magnificent gentleman.”
And thus humanity must die.
The seven deadly sins
Christians know that there are sins particularly dangerous to human souls.