Navy Yard Shooting: Why It’s Not a Religion Story



At yesterday’s memorial for the victims of last Monday’s shooting at the Washington Navy Yard, President Obama spoke about the tragedy of gun violence, saying “It ought to obsess us. It ought to lead to some sort of transformation.”

But while the tragedy instantly became national news, with multiple media sourceshighlighting the death toll of one of the deadliest mass shootings in U.S. history, focus soon turned to profiling the killer. What were his motivations for violence?

Many news stories initially focused on Aaron Alexis’ religious identity: Thai Buddhism. In England, Kristi Kinard of The Times began her piece highlighting what she considered Aaron Alexis’ self-contradictions—he was a former Navy reservist and a Buddhist convert. Al Jazeera America and the Associated Press ran similar stories, remarking on the contradiction between military service and Buddhism.


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Freddie Allen is the National News Editor for the NNPA News Wire and 200-plus Black newspapers. 20 million readers. You should follow Freddie on Twitter and Instagram @freddieallenjr.

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