Address the Problem, Not the Symptom

People always search for answers in the wake of a disaster such as the one that befell the Isla Vista community on May 23. The problem is that people are looking to the boy who committed this gruesome act to find these answers. Unfortunately, in giving this disturbed individual’s memory so much attention around the world, we are reinforcing a dangerous precedent: If someone wants to be famous or have his or her message heard, one of the most effective ways of doing that has become the use of brutal, senseless violence. People show time and time again that they listen when tragedy is involved.

This boy’s video offers nothing interesting and his manifesto even less so. The only things to be gathered from either are that this kid led a very disturbed life. He offers no new perspectives on sexuality, gender relationships, bullying or truly anything. People are upholding him as an example of what society’s view of women leads men to do, but in reality his actions are his responsibility and his alone. No doubt misogyny played a role in this tragedy, as did psychological disorders and gun control issues; but, in truth, this case is a result of a combination of several factors, not a product of any singular problem.

Why does someone need to murder six students and shoot up another 13 in order for people to start talking about how crazy it is that people feel like they are owed sex, obedience or affection? Why do we need to see so many bright futures extinguished to understand that current gun control laws are ridiculous? Things need to change. There is no question about it. But if we base our discussions and our thoughts upon this murderer’s actions, then his views live on every time we correct ourselves, because “we don’t want another thing like that to happen.” We must have the intention to change the way we think about sex, women, gun control and mental health because it’s necessary and we want to — not because we’re scared of what happens if we don’t.
Emile Nelson is the Opinion Co-Editor.

A version of this article appeared in the Thursday, May 29, 2014 print edition of the Daily Nexus.

Views expressed on the Opinion page do not necessarily reflect those of the Daily Nexus or UCSB. Opinions are submitted primarily by students