Peter Rodger, the father of Elliot Rodger, who killed six people and injured 13 others in the rampage at UCSB one month ago, has said he is committed to helping others who suffer from similar mental health problems that tortured his son.
Since the UCSB tragedy, Rodger has created the Tumblr blog AskForHelp.org, where he posted this open letter stating that it is his duty to try to fight to save lives:
From Peter Rodger - Father of Elliot Rodger
It has been one month and three days since my son, Elliot, did the unthinkable. There has not been one conscious second that I haven’t been thinking about the pain and suffering he caused for so many. The ripple affect of his actions has spread to countless thousands. I mourn for the loss of the young women and young men whose lives he ended. I feel for the victims and their families more than for the loss of my own son.
I do mourn for the lonely boy Elliot was, who disappeared because of a monster of an illness in him that none of us knew was so severe. I wish I could turn the clock back. There are so many “If only’s.”
I tried my best to do my duty as a father, but obviously my best was not enough. My duty now is to do as much as I can to try and stop this from happening again. Too many lives are being lost. Law enforcement professionals, teachers and health workers on the frontlines of the mental health crisis bear too much of a burden. And, countless families struggle in silence with the consequences of mental illness each day.
We have to try and stop this. It will be a long journey involving the personal choices of individuals and families, public discussions, mental health reforms, a change in the culture – you name it. My sincere hope is that I can help by telling my story.
None of us understood what was in Elliot’s head – he hid it from not only his family, but also from mental health professionals and law enforcement. Looking back now through a tragic hindsight, I have begun to understand that there are traits, markers if you will, that family members can look out for in loved ones.
It’s important to note that the vast majority of mentally ill people are not violent. I am only speaking from my perspective and in the hope that families may be informed, vigilant and more able to take action. I am painfully and honestly trying to both reflect and learn more about what markers matter most. I am sharing my story and my initial reflections in an effort to save others from the kind of pain and suffering that Elliot caused.
I hope you find the resources on this site useful. It is just a start and by no means comprehensive. I am just doing what I can under the circumstances with the help of family and friends. We have also created a way for you to share your story here if you so choose. My simple message is, if in doubt about a family member, please ask for help.
Following the UCSB massacre, Rodger released a statement saying it had been “hell on earth” knowing that his son was responsible for the tragic killings.
“We are crying in pain for the victims and their families. It breaks our hearts on a level that we didn’t think was possible,” Rodger and his ex-wife and the mother of Elliot Rodger, Li Chin Rodger, said in the statement.
Rodger’s ex-wife reportedly rushed to the scene after the news of the UCSB shooting broke, sensing that their son might have been involved. She would later say that she received a copy of her son’s 140-page manifesto in an email that she read the night of the massacre. After reading his manifesto and viewing some of the 22 videos that Elliot Rodger posted to YouTube, Li Chin Rodger called her ex-husband, who had not seen the email or the videos. She then called 911, but it was too late.
On Friday, ABC News will air Barbara Walters’ exclusive first interview with Peter Rodger on 20/20. It will be Rodger’s only interview, his spokesperson told BuzzFeed.
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