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The Boston Globe



How to read a killer

In his manifesto, Elliot Rodger was less sinister than sad

Elliot Rodger’s mother once suggested he become a writer, and if you read his sprawling autobiography, titled “My Twisted World,” you can see why. At 22, with a deeply troubled mind, he still had a talent for words and observations. His tome reads like a novel, told by an unreliable narrator, documenting a spiral from childhood innocence to teenage isolation to a madman’s rage.

And it shows us how simplistic we can be in the face of too-frequent murder sprees like the one Rodger committed in California last weekend. We want them to be episodes of “CSI,’’ easy to blame on simple explanations: Poor health care. Lax gun laws. Games and movies that turn guns into metaphors for power. A culture of misogyny that encourages men to spin rejection into rage.

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