It's always many reasons. Or probably is. Radicalization provides relief, a map to locate multiple grievances in a person’s world. Radicalization fundamentally changes a person's world. What is valued as right and wrong, just and unjust, change accordingly. Personal identity is altered.
Reasons multiply. Add religious indoctrination, factor in a community that supports that identity, but include personal insult, and maybe unresolved pathology. All can dovetail when the circumstances overwhelm and demand redress. The particular explosive moment might not be plotted beforehand except as possibility. It might never happen. But then it did.
Is there any real doubt that the standing conditions, the formal causes, were not already in place:
Easy guns and death religion?
When insult became opportunity did spiritual justification scream for bloody murder?
Looking for one prime motive is a mistake that obscures and dismisses the range of culpable facts. We need to face the complexity.
Further thoughts on December 6.
How about we acknowledge the complexity? Personal grievance,
pathology, easy access to guns, an ideology and community of support, the insult that breaks the camel's back. But guns are a factor that can be reasonably regulated in a pluralistic constitutional democracy, just apparently not ours. Change the 2nd Amendment? We know that's not going to happen, nor is it the primary problem. It's not the 2nd Amendment that prevents the regulation of easy access to assault weapons. The states and the federal government have the authority to regulate, but the NRA and the other gun lobbies make our legislators cower. Not to split hairs, but the 2nd Amendment calls for a well-regulated militia.
Some thoughts on evil: Moral and clinical language.
Some of the behavioral logic of thought restriction: On Indoctrination.
And the echoes of Charlie Hebdo and Paris.