This Friday on 20/20, Barbara Walters spoke to Peter Rodger, father of Elliot Rodger who killed 7 and wounded 13 in Santa Barbara 5 weeks ago before taking his own life. During the emotionally charged interview, Walters asked the one question he must have known would come, if he ever wishes that his son had never been born.
“That’s a loaded question, Barbara. Part of me says yes, and the reason is because he did an awful lot of harm to young men and young women who didn’t deserve to die.”
Walters wondered what his life must be like now, knowing that his son was responsible for such a dastardly deed asking him, “When you wake up in the morning what do you think?”
“It’s like a reverse nightmare situation,” Rodger replied. “When you go to sleep normally and you have a nightmare and you wake up and oh, everything’s okay. Now I go to sleep and I might have a nice dream and then I wake up and slowly the truth of what happened dawns on me and that is my son is a mass murderer, and then I think about the victims and I think about what he did.”
Rodger described his son as a very happy child until he and Elliot’s mother divorced when he was 7 and his father remarried, it was at that time Rodger says that he sought the help of mental health professionals for his son. He was a boy who had very few friends in school which he attributed to his extreme shyness.
When Waters noted that some have suggested that Elliot may have fallen somewhere on the Autism spectrum Rodger acknowledged that in retrospect he had displayed many symptoms such as obsessive compulsive behavior, and that while he was never formally diagnosed, it had been suggested that he might have been high functioning Aspergers.
The entire interview can be seen below:
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