Elliot Rodger: Did Hollywood Make Him Do It?

Do violent messages actually cause murders?

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Comments (18)

(15) Anonymous, June 6, 2014 10:57 PM

Killing Games Not Healthy

My husband and I were recently at a movie theater, and there in the lobby was a young boy about 8 years of age playing a video game with his father. The object was to kill as many people as possible. Blood was splattered all over the screen as multitudes of victims were annihilated. I approached the father and said that this was a very bad game to be doing with his boy. He responded, "Yeah, and he's good at it." I responded, "Don't think the parents of Newtown would agree with you."

(14) Dena - Jerusalem, June 2, 2014 2:26 PM

of coure it can cause murder

Did you ever hear the expression, "He wouldn't do such a thing - it wouldn't even enter his mind" Or, "She wouldn't even dream of such a thing" . There is a lot of truth to these expressions. Because what we are not seeing or thinking about, what would never enter our minds, we probably won't do, because it just doesn't exist for us. But once the picture is there, it has opened a path into our brain, and if it's something that we see or hear over and over again, it can surely lead to action, either good or bad. ( Ex. If you want to stay calm next time your three-year old throws the Lego on the floor in the kitchen during supper, and then throws a yogart on top of it, close your eyes and picture the scene over and over again, and you stay calm and queenly, and see that it will work.)

So when you watch violence the whole day it becomes much easier to fly off the handle when provoked because that is what has been engraved in your brain.

But that's no excuse for what he did -and comment 10- Mati, is surely correct.

But for ourselves and our children we have to be very very careful, that violence should never enter our minds.

(13) Mimi, June 1, 2014 11:03 PM

Quite a bit of our culture is lacking in many ways.This is some of my take on what happened. As a Mom and a person.
A person that has listened to many shuirs, many Rabbis and reads a lot of inspiration.I think anyone who cannot keep their head above it all is at risk. Not risk of killing but.risk of hurting others. Jealousy and low self esteem is rampant. Drug use is rampant. Drug abuse is also rampant. And it is very easy for parents or anyone else to get caught up in things that are quite time wasting or mentally bad for you.
If you don't police what you think and think twice about what you do you are at risk. And if you think it cannot happen to your kids think again!! We know the nicest kindest people of have had kids use many drugs and get addicted. This doesn't address violence but drugs can lead to violence. The man probably needed the right meds. But so do many others...and they don't kill anyone... yet.

(12) Rebecca Chesner, June 1, 2014 10:22 PM


Though I rarely go see movies today because of the violence and pornography etc.. I had the experience of seeing a film this year. Prior to the film there were previews shown on the screen, including the preview of a horror/violent film as well as the preview of a violent video game. I can only tell you that the images that I viewed sent shudders through me. Unfortunately, this kid grew up in a decadent and hedonistic environment and was exposed to this trash for many years. In addition, throw in some psychiatric drugs that he was probably on and this is a time bomb waiting to happen. Dr. Peter Breggin, the reknowned psychiatrist, has been writing for years how psychiatric drugs cause homicidal and suicidal ideation. In addition, the drugs blunt the emotions of the human being causing apathy and numbing of one's feelings as well as aggression and maniacal behavior. Research indicates a connection between violent/pornographic media images and violent/criminal behavior. Research also indicates a connection between psychiatric drugs and violent behavior. Finally, research also indicates, good parenting skills, unconditional love with strong logical and rational boundaries as well as a dose of spirituality will produce healthier children/teens and adults.

(11) doeorhy rabinowitz, June 1, 2014 9:49 PM

don't blame Hollowood or TV. Blame the lousy gun laws and the lackmo

of health care for mentally disturbed individuals

(10) Mati, June 1, 2014 8:31 PM

You said it yourself

There are only two things to blame for this guy, his mother and his father. Had they instilled the value of human life, kindnes and forgivenes when people do you wrong, he would not have done this. No matter what the outside influences (violent shows, guns, knifes, etc.) the morals would stop him. But since his parents didn't teach him these basic things of life, he detroyed the lives of at minimum 21 people (those who lost their lives and at least the parents of the victims). The parent of the guy remains unrepentant, blaming guns instead of himself.

(9) Nancy, June 1, 2014 8:16 PM

Rabbi--Your mother a"h certainly WAS ahead of her time. Re: the young man who committed these heinous crimes. Let us not forget that he had easy access to guns and was mentally ill, despite the fact that his parents did the best they could to get him the help he so desperately needed. If he had not been able to gain access to the guns, perhaps all of those people would still be alive today. Psychosis access to guns=death.

(8) Anonymous, June 1, 2014 6:25 PM


I got the feeling the man who committed this atrocity felt entitled to everything instead of looking at life as a gift. He acted like a spoiled brat who lived a life of privilege and expected everyone to cater to his every want. He had the best of everything and wasn't going to be denied - and if he couldn't have what he wanted, nobody else was going to get anything either. The term psychopath comes to mind.

(7) Lisa, June 1, 2014 4:19 PM

No, Hollywood doesn't cause this or we'd all be at Walmart buying a gun instead of being logged on to aish.com!
This man was disturbed & needed someone to blame. Ze hu, no commentary needed!

Ari, June 1, 2014 9:48 PM

Don't be complacent!

Lisa, we might not be rushing out to buy guns after a watching a violent movie. But seeing violence being portrayed as acceptable does chip away at our sensitivities bit by bit, albeit subconsciously. Showing murderers as victims of circumstance has the effect of getting the viewer to feel sympathetic toward him. With regards to guarding one's eyes from impure sights, the Torah warns us very clearly not to be complacent and think 'this won't affect me'.
And if all this is true with an emotionally healthy person, how much more so is it true with a psychopath who just needs the slightest provocation to 'tip him over the edge'!
And let's not forget that there are some irresponsible parents out there who will even let their CHILDREN watch these films. Not to mention those children who watch '18' rated films behind their parents' backs. And we all know impressionable a child's mind is!
Rabbi Salamon, you are right again! Time for Holywood to start taking more responsibility.

Alan S., June 5, 2014 10:37 PM

Lisa is not being complacent, she is only making a statement. And her statement is perfectly fine, and one I agree with. Yes, people can become desensitized to violence if they have lost touch with reality. A normal, mentally healthy person understands the differences between reality and a Hollywood movie.

Anonymous, June 1, 2014 9:54 PM


...as Rabbi Solomon points out, time for US to take some responsibility, for ourselves and our children

(6) Anonymous, June 1, 2014 4:17 PM

A historical episode that can't be explained away

Goethe, although best known for his rendition of the Faust story, also wrote "The Sorrows of Young Werther." The protagonist introduced into literature the concept of weltshmerz, being sick unto death of the problem-laden world itself. He eventually committed suicide--while wearing a figured waistcoat. His example provoked a wave of similar suicides, most of whom wore similar waistcoats. There was no question where the impetus came from. Eventually the copycat suicides petered out, perhaps because the print medium limited the susceptible audience. One can only speculate how modern media might have extended the reach of the phenomenon.

(5) chavi, June 1, 2014 4:11 PM

Right on the mark

Your mother, a"h, was such a smart woman! (Did she let you watch The Three Stooges?)
This is also what copycat crimes are all about. Monkey see, monkey do.

(4) G, June 1, 2014 4:05 PM

Not a strong enough message

I agree that Hollywood cannot cause someone to do anything in reality. However the violence in the movies, on tv, internet, and video games as well as everywhere else does have an impact on us. There is a very strong effect from the violence, especially, on video games because we are encouraged to kill and be violent in order to win the game and we get to practice these violent behaviors over and over again. This makes it more likely that we learn how to be violent and more likely that we use the violent behavior we have learned and become more proficient in when facing real life situations, especially frustrating situations. The violence in the media also desensitizes us to violence and that is also harmful. In short none of these alone cause anyone to behave violently, but they do encourage violence and often give a message that violence pays. There is a lot of money made out of violent behavior in the media, especially video games where you get to be more actively involved in playing. All of the violent messages together that we are bombarded with also chip away at our conscience and makes it easier for us to justify our violent behavior when we are violent or when we want to be violent.

(3) DAVID FRANKEL, June 1, 2014 3:50 PM


(2) sm, June 1, 2014 9:48 AM

To a regular person, they might watch a movie and move on. But to a mentally ill person, it could have a negative affect. From what I read, he was shown bad photos when he was a child which planted a seed of yearning for something he can't have. Through his years, guys and girls teased him. Plus, the movies also had an impact.
We definitely need to be careful with what we look at and listen to. We might not notice any influence but it creates dirt on our soul none the less.
Another thing is people teasing. People need to be careful with this. Some people might be able to handle it, but some who are mentally ill can't handle it.

(1) Anonymous, June 1, 2014 9:16 AM

So glad you wrote this. I had made up my mind to be more selective in my entertainment choices.

We don't purposely bring garbage waste into our homes.
Consider the chambers of the mind.

I STILL remember songs from the 50's-60's, and can sing many of the lyrics. What does that tell you about imprinting?


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