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SPSSI Virtual Issue: Toward an Understanding of the Orlando Massacre

The articles are available for free download here:

The horrifying mass shooting in June of 2016 at an LGBT nightclub in Orlando raises hard questions about the prevalence of hate crimes against gays, lesbians and bisexuals; the continuing persistence of gun violence; and the psychological factors that lead some people to commit radical acts of terror.

As the nation’s leading group of psychologists who study social issues, SPSSI is uniquely positioned to make empirically rigorous contributions to these questions. Drawing on previously published research from all three of its journals—the Journal of Social Issues (JSI), Analyses of Social Issues and Public Policy (ASAP), and Social Issues and Policy Review (SIPR)—SPSSI editors have compiled nine articles that go in some measure toward explaining the inexplicable. As our nation tries to make sense of these tragic events, it is our hope that SPSSI’s evidence-based scholarship will contribute to positive social change. 

Among the most important points raised by the articles concerning violence and discrimination against LGBT people:

On gun violence and police discrimination against African Americans:

On radicalization and group violence:

  1. At an individual level, as a form of psychopathology reflecting a unique constellation of personality traits.
  2. At a group level, as a social process, involving recruitment, indoctrination, and the construction of a shared social reality.
  3. At an organizational level, as a bureaucratic challenge, entailing training, logistics and cost effectiveness regarding the decision to launch or abstain from terrorist activities.

On Muslim terrorism: