Category Archives: Political Science

Update: Orlando Shooter Did Have an Expressed Goal

A couple days ago I published a post asking what the Orlando Pulse Nightclub shooter’s goal was. In it I mentioned that as far as we knew he made no demands during his 911 calls to the police. As it … Continue reading

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What Was the Goal of the Pulse Nightclub Shooting?

Last week’s terrorist attack against patrons of the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, which claimed the lives of 49 people, has me scratching my head. Although coming to terms with such a tragedy is difficult enough, the most puzzling aspect … Continue reading

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When Merely Mentioning ISIS is Offensive

About six weeks ago I gave a presentation on ontological insecurity, cognitive dissonance, and prophetic violence carried out by the Islamic State. It was an informal setting; several pizzas adorned a round table, and the audience had as much talking … Continue reading

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First Degree Murder as Self-Preservation: Religious Violence and Insecure Identity

Ask yourself the following questions: What is your identity? What is the most important part of your identity to a larger social group? To what lengths are you willing to go to preserve that identity (criticism of others or violence)? … Continue reading

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When Prophecy Succeeds?: The Islamic State Problem as an Imaginary Reality

The main point of this essay is that the Islamic State’s beliefs are so entrenched in its adherents’ identities that defeating them is all but an exercise in futility. There is no way to put the genie back in the … Continue reading

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Reform without Authority?

One of the problems—if you will—with Islam and why it is so difficult to reform is its lack of a central authority. Their prophet long dead and the Ottoman Caliphate long defunct, in the intervening years the closest we’ve come … Continue reading

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Clashes, Sex, and Cognitive Dissonance

Later this month I’m giving two public presentations (one at a conference and one in a small, 10-person room) about a paper I’ve been working on for about six months (it gets moved around the burners depending on my workload). … Continue reading

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