In the wake of Friday's shooting rampage at a Planned Parenthood facility in Colorado Springs, Colo., there seem to be two major media streams going when it comes to the gunman and any link that he has to the "why?" factor in this story.
The last two front pages of The New York Times are a perfect place to see what I'm talking about.
First is the stream that focuses on actual facts known about Robert L. Deal Jr., the man accused of killing three people and wounding nine in Colorado's second-largest city.
Yes, there is some religion in there if you dig deep. For example, Sunday's Times delved into Deal's bizarre personal history but found no institutional links between him and either organized religion or the pro-life movement.
Readers did learn a few details about Deal's religious background, as the Times quoted Deal's former wife, Pamela Ross (no relation to this writer):
Mr. Dear was raised as a Baptist, Ms. Ross said in an interview in Goose Creek, S.C., where she now lives. He was religious but not a regular churchgoer, a believer but not one to harp on religion. “He believed wholeheartedly in the Bible,” she said. “That’s what he always said; he read it cover to cover to cover.” But he was not fixated on it, she added.
Later in the story, religion figured tangentially as the newspaper recounted Deal's interesting, to say the least, Internet postings:
He seemed to have a separate life online. An online personals ad seeking women in North Carolina interested in bondage and sadomasochistic sex showed a picture that appeared to be Mr. Dear and used an online pseudonym associated with him. The same user also appeared to have turned to online message boards to seek companions in the Asheville area with whom he could smoke marijuana.