Monday, December 31, 2012

Individual Responsibility and/or Societal Conditions?

In the horrifying case of Adam Lanza, using a Bushmaster automatic weapon to kill 28, including 20 children, while they were attentively sitting listening to their teachers (sitting ducks), the nation turned to a discussion about guns in society.  His act was discussed in context with America’s love affair with guns, the power of the NRA and pro-weapons-at-all-costs.  Should we look at larger social conditions that exacerbate a deranged individual’s ability to kill?  Or should we seek to limit responsibility to that one individual?  The conundrum between nature and nurture is one that has afflicted philosophers, psychologists and sociologists for decades, if not centuries.

If a deranged individual kills someone and claims the motive is hatred of Muslims and is indeed charged with a hate crime, do we look at social conditions or the individual?  Is our society rife with Islamophobia that might tip someone deranged over the edge?  In my next post, I will discuss blatant Islamophobic messages (assuming they do exist in American society) and whether there is some connection between them and actions taken by violent individuals taken in response.

After all, we still don’t know why Adam Lanza would kill 20 innocent children in their classrooms.  What was he influenced by?  Was he pure evil?  We may never know.

Anti-Muslim Subway Posters Prompt NYPD To Increase Security in Stations 

Anti-Islam Subway Ads By Pam Geller Featuring Exploding World Trade Center, Quote form the Quran