Elliot Rodger, who in May 2014 murdered six UC Santa Barbara students and wounded 14 others before taking his own life, was named a member of the alt-right in a report published Monday by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC).
Investigations into Rodger’s internet posting history, along with his manifesto and the videos he uploaded to YouTube, led the SPLC to designate Rodger as a member of the alternative right, which is typically defined as a far-right ideology that blends racist and white nationalist ideals.
The SPLC cites excerpts of Rodger’s manifesto and various posts on online forums. In his writing, Rodger bemoans his “inability to find a girlfriend,” condemns interracial couples and laments that a black man — “descended from slaves” — can “get a white girl,” while he cannot.
On May 23, 2014, Rodger, then a second-year student at Santa Barbara City College, stabbed three of his housemates before driving through Isla Vista and opening fire on street-goers. In the years since, he has become an internet meme on alt-right forums. Posters frequently invoke his memory to highlight misogynistic, anti-feminist ideology.
Rodger’s link to Nazi ideology was established as early as Feb. 2015 when the Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Office (SBSO) released its full report on Rodger’s killing spree. Rodger searched the internet for phrases like “Adolf Hitler and the law of attraction,” “Nazi curbstomp” and “Holocaust of black people,” the Nexus reported.
Infamous white nationalist Richard Spencer coined the phrase “alt-right” as far back as 2008, but since the turn of the decade, the ideology has gained prominence, especially with the rise of meme culture and a surge in far-right sympathies in global politics.
In all, the SPLC listed 13 alt-right killers, including Dylann Roof, who in 2015 killed nine people in a historically black church in Charleston, South Carolina.