George Sodini’s videos are less disturbing than pathetic

I just finally got around to watching a video Pittsburgh-area mass murderer George Sodini made of his home last winter. For a lot of people, seeing the uninterupted, real-time tour of his suburban ranch home may be frightening because we generally expect that someone who would carry out such a violent act would live in some place akin to a dungeon, lair or broken down hovel.

Watching Sodini’s footage of his room-to-room tour made me feel sorry for this guy (which is in no way to excuse what he did). As he showed off the various accoutrements of his bachelor pad, including his  32″ flatscreen televsion, matching sofas and spotless bedroom, I got the feeling that so much of what this man did with his pathetic and painful existence was based on the idea that if he could just succeed in arranging all the cards in order, poof he’d find a woman and be very happy.

I try not to look at people like Sodini as monsters. Certainly, what he did was wrong and by no means am I trying to sound self-righteous, but few people in the world are actually diabolical. There’s just a lot of anger on this planet, a lot of pain.

Seeing Sodini’s little dining room was perhaps the saddest part of the video, because he mentions that he’d just purchased the table and chairs. There was nothing special about them, I suppose, but certainly he had hoped he’d be able to share a meal with someone of the opposite sex who wasn’t his mother there.

Rather than stunting its sales, it is likely that the shooting has or will boost orders of Steeles book

Rather than stunting its sales, it is likely that the shooting has or will boost orders of Steele's book

Much has been written about an aspect of Sodini’s life that he made brief reference to in his tour video. Sodini was a student of R. Don Steele, a dating guru who reportedly is an expert on teaching men to pick up younger women. Apparently Steele is somewhat like Tom Cruise’s character from Magnolia, encouraging men to put away the  nice guy facade and embrace the inner asshole so-to-speak that women are drawn to.

During the once-over of his living room, Sodini pointed his camera at How to Date Young Women For Men Over 35, a book by Steele.

I guess what I’ve found so interesting about George Sodini so far were his expectations of what life is supposed to provide for a person, as if he should have been guaranteed a girlfriend or a sex partner based upon his physical fitness and the state of his rather bland but very clean house.

There’s a million reasons why a woman may or may not be interested in any one guy and his appearance may be one of those factors. Nevertheless, by Sodini’s standards there was no way he was going to be happy.

It’s sad to think that after years of frustration with being lonely, Sodini may have felt he was turning a corner by attending one of Steele’s seminars. Video footage shows him at one of these events participating in exercises. Without casting aspersions on Steele, it’s entirely possible that his curriculum actually intensified the anger and hatred of an already mentally ill man.

Sodini’s house was night frightening at all to me. There’s no contrast or juxtaposition of the seemingly normal life of the monster that shocks me about this guy. There’s plenty of angry, depressed and violent people out there living in comfort all across the world. Frightening to me is Josef Fritzl’s lair where he kept his daughter and grandchildren holed up for years.

As the days unfold we’ll find out more about Sodini before he slips into the obscurity of wikipedia, included on a list of mass murderers and referenced on any entry about Steele. Unfortunately, this man will never be remembered for anything but his worst moment.

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