This is one of those times when the note from the GetReligion reader really says what needs to be said about a story, in this case an Associated Press report about a killing spree near Seattle. The reader notes:
The article quotes the man who recently went on a shooting spree in Washington as "Killing for God" but leaves the entire religious commentary at that -- no word about his religious background at all. Maybe that's not known yet, but you think it would be relevant to an article that leads with the headline "Wash. Rampage suspect in court: I Kill for God."
I looked around online and could not find any other coverage that hinted at information to fill this gaping hole.
It is possible, given the accused man's history of mental illness, that no one knows. Then again, if the man has, so to speak, been in the legal system this long it's safe to assume that authorities know something about his background. Here's the lede on this story:
"I kill for God. I listen to God," a man accused of a northwest Washington shooting rampage said ... at a hearing where six charges of first-degree murder and four of first-degree assault were filed against him. Isaac Zamora made the chilling comment twice at the brief hearing in Skagit County District Court while investigators wrapped up their work at eight crime scenes.
The story makes it clear that the affidavit for probable cause was still sealed at the time the story was filed. So there are lots of details that were not made public. At the same time, the story ends with this:
Zamora, who has a long record of run-ins with the law, had been admitted several times to hospitals for mental health treatment and attempted suicide several times, his friends and family said.
So someone talked with friends and family and there was information about his life that was on the record.
So let's return to that lede. Is this strange or what? Is this a story with a real ghost or a simple -- if that's the right word -- case of mental illness? Does it matter which God or gods he thought he was hearing? Obviously, people who talk to God are mental cases and no more need be said.
You see, we don't know the answer to any of those questions. Would it help to have asked? IMAGE: Featured at Basicus.com