The killer

I’ve read the entire blog of the Pennsylvania gym shooter, whose name was George Sodini. I guess he is the classic isolated white guy who becomes a mass killer. However, he was not totally miserable. There are various things about life, people, himself that he appreciates and seems to get pleasure from. But it comes to nothing. He has no connection with anything outside himself—not just with a woman, but with anything—that gives his life a meaning and a purpose. He says over and over that he has no purpose, no ability to realize his desires, and that that is the main thing that is wrong. But then he turned this felt lack of connection, which is understandable, into an evil hatred of life.

I understand why he wanted to end his own life. But he never explains why he wanted to kill other people.

Update: In fact, his mindset does provide the typical and familiar explanation for such murders. He felt incapable of having any meaningful effect on the world, whether through a relationship with a woman or in any other way. The world, especially women, had shut him out. From his point of view, then, to mass-murder a group of strangers, particularly women, was the one means he had of asserting himself and making his mark on the world.

- end of initial entry -

Terry Morris writes:

“The world, especially women, had shut him out.”

Why had “the world,” especially women, shut him out? Was it is looks, his dress, his mannerisms … what? There must be some explanation for it.

LA replies:

That’s his view of it. True, he doesn’t explain why he was so socially unsuccessful. He keeps saying that he looks good, dresses well, etc., suggesting he has no obvous social disabilities. He talks at great length about the lack of any relationships with women in his life. But he doesn’t seem to have tried to meet people either. Maybe it was some lack of humanity in him that kept him away from others, and others away from him.

John B. writes:

Sodini’s blog entry of June 5, 2009, is this:

I was reading several posts on different forums and it seems many teenage girls have sex frequently. One 16 year old does it usually three times a day with her boyfriend. So, err, after a month of that, this little _____ has had more sex than ME in my LIFE, and I am 48. One more reason. Thanks for nada, b——! Bye

Emphasis added.

Markus writes:

I followed your link to George Sodini’s blog, which left me in a twin-state of disgust and horror. So much could be said, but here’s one blog entry that stuck out for me:

Tetelestai Church in Pittsburgh, PA—“Be Ye Holy, even as I have been Ye holy! Thus saith the lord thy God!”, as pastor Rick Knapp would proclaim. Holy——-, religion is a waste. But this guy teaches (and convinced me) you can commit mass murder then still go to heaven. Ask him. Call him at [phone number]. If no answer there, he should still live at [address]. In any case, guilt and fear kept me there 13 long years until Nov 2006. I think his crap did the most damage. Their web site:

I went to the website, and all I can conclude is that this is a straightforward evangelical church. Given the general thrust of the site, I’m fairly certain that Pastor Knapp does not teach antinomianism. It’s just not plausible, and Sodini, for all his intelligence, was somehow too stupid and/or blind to understand that while the gospel message is good news even for the vilest of sinners, it calls for repentance from those sins.

Here’s Sodini, the great theologian:

Maybe soon, I will see God and Jesus. At least that is what I was told. Eternal life does NOT depend on works. If it did, we will all be in hell. Christ paid for EVERY sin, so how can I or you be judged BY GOD for a sin when the penalty was ALREADY paid.

Somehow he missed this one:

Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such WERE some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God. (1 Corinthians 6:9-11.)


Ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.
—1 John 3:15

Anyway, here’s how I read the “narrative,” as we say lately—based on the assumption that Sodini is being accurate in his chronology:

During the late 70s and early 80s, he had a fair bit of sex, particularly while at college. He even had a few girlfriends, the last being in 1984. While he stopped having steady relationships, he remained somewhat sexually active up till July 1990, when he impregnated a girl named Lee Ann (who had his child in early 1991).

No fornication from July 1990 to sometime in 1993 or ‘94, when he joined Tetelestai Church. What brought him there? Likely guilt, shame—call it conviction of sin—which in turn led him to seek out answers. He found these at the church, and they must have struck him as pretty compelling, since he stayed there for 13 years.

Like any serious, mainstream evangelical church, Tetelestai would preach sexual purity (i.e., abstinence outside of marriage). Sodini, instead of embracing the healthy Christian standard and seeking a compatible mate, chose to live a conflicted life of outward self-denial (no dating—despite his whining, he likely wasn’t even asking anyone out) and inward self-gratification (overweening lust, compulsive masturbation, etc.).

Finally, after spending 13 years living in this miserable state, he leaves the church in November 2006. With nothing positive to anchor him in the faith, he rails against Christianity (thinly veiled as “religion”) as having “a certain stink to it of guilt, shame, fear, and that moral standard that always contradicts the natural tendencies and desires of a person. Therein lies the conflict.”

I think that sums it up. It’s not, as he would have us believe, frustration that he couldn’t get a girl. He snapped because he basically rejected Christianity, which he blamed for wasting years of his life, depriving him of the fulfillment of his “natural tendencies and desires.”

And the last state of that man is worse than the first.
—Matthew 12:45

LA replies:

Thanks to Markus for this first-rate analysis. He is showing that Soderini’s—whoops, that’s the leader of early 16th century Florence who succeeded Savonarola and whom Machiavelli served—I mean Sodini’s blog is a highly significant document.

To sum up just two points of the above:

Sodini rejects Christianity, because, he says, it prevents people from fulfilling their natural tendencies and desires.

But he relies on Christianity, because, he says, it assures him in advance that he will be with Christ and God even after he’s committed mass murder.

Why did he feel Christianity barred him from fulfilling himself sexually, but that it allowed him to commit mass murder? I would say that the answer evidently does not lie in Christianity, or even in his distorted picture of it, but in himself. There was something within himself that prevented him from forming relationships with other human beings, including sexual and emotional relationships with women; but there was not something within himself that prevented him from committing mass murder. And he attributed both the inhibition/incapacity in the one case and the freedom/capacity in the other to Christianity.

August 7

Markus replies to LA:

Thanks. I like your alliterative summation of my argument (rejection/reliance), which I hadn’t fully seen. There were elements of truth in Sodini’s thinking, but they amounted to a total lie.

Regarding his “reliance” on Christianity as psychologically enabling him to commit mass murder, I generally agree—and yet I’m not 100 percent sure he really believed he would meet God/Jesus in heaven. As with so many people today (have you noticed this trend?), he seems to have been consumed by bitterness and irony. Is he being serious about his actual expectation, or is he poking a final, bitter jab at people like Pastor Knapp and the congregants at Tetelestai Church for believing this stuff? Or, rather, is it that he is “conflicted” still, right up to the end, not knowing the truth, but expressing a hope that maybe, just maybe, Knapp is right? [LA replies: I don’t think he seriously believed he was going to heaven to meet God and Jesus; but in some manner he did think that his planned act of murder was already prospectively forgiven. He was feeding off of Christianity to justify his act.]

If the latter, then his final act is a gamble, representing a win-win proposition: if the atheist is right, there’s nothing after death, so no loss. If the Christian is right, there IS life after death, but apparently on in heaven. Meanwhile, all (unrepentant) murderers will have their part in the Lake of Fire (Rev. 21). And this is what I find so amazing/horrifying about his mindset. He had such complete tunnel vision that he only focused on one aspect of the Christian message (complete forgiveness for past sins), while ignoring all it had to say about failure to repent, and about the punishment for persistent, presumptuous sinning.

The tunnel vision he displayed is actually quite stunning—and frightening: How did he function in his good job and go undetected as a psychopath (or rather a sociopath) for so long? And how many people like him are walking the streets and sitting in the next cubicle from us in this materialist, affluent and ultimately godless society?

Posted by Lawrence Auster at August 06, 2009 01:19 AM | Send

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