What Are You Reading…On Identity and Violence

The Orlando shooting is a national tragedy. In its wake it has raised issues of civil rights, national security, gun control, and anti-LGBT sentiment, among others. Like with many previous shootings, what is particularly puzzling is what motivated the shooter to take these extreme actions. Numerous articles attribute Marteen’s actions to his views on the LGBT population or his religion, but as others have said, many people hold the same views and never carry out such acts.

While no one has given a simple heuristic that fully explains Marteen’s violence, what every analysis has in common is the belief that understanding Marteen’s identity is central to grasping why he did what he did. To what extent were Marteen’s actions the result his individual personality traits vs. the social environment he encountered? Similarly, how are our reactions to the Orlando shooting influenced by our own identities? And most importantly, how can we engage the processes that produce identity to prevent (or at least reduce) such shootings from occurring in the future?  Here are some philosophical papers that may help us answer these questions:

What are you reading?

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