A motive in Nashville church shooting? Associated Press report cites possible retaliation for Charleston

Earlier this week, I addressed the question of whether the news media underplayed the Tennessee church shooting story.

I quoted a few critics who made that claim.

But I disagreed, maintaining that the level of coverage — which I pointed out was not insignificant — would have been higher if more church members had died:

Sadly, in America in 2017, a mass shooting in which one person dies is not going to dominate the news cycle for long. Such tragedies have become too common.

One reader — who dubbed himself/herself "TooMuchDarkness" — responded to that post with this complaint:

I haven't seen one shred of investigative journalism delving into the background of the shooter, interviewing friend, family, coworkers and classmates trying understand what drove him to commit such a crime. Who are his parents and why are they spared the exposure most murderer's parents get. I'd like to know more but journalists don't seem to care.

Well, actually ...

The Associated Press — investigating the case — reported Friday on a potential motive:

A note found in the Nissan Xterra of a man charged in a deadly Nashville church shooting referenced retaliation for a white supremacist's massacre at a black church two years ago in Charleston, South Carolina, law enforcement officials told the Associated Press.
Police say Emanuel Kidega Samson, 25, fatally shot one woman and injured seven others in an attack Sunday at the Burnette Chapel Church of Christ. While police have not released a motive for the attack, the note could offer a glimpse into his mindset.
The Associated Press in Washington, D.C. has not viewed the note, but it was summarized in an investigative report circulating among law enforcement.
The report said that "in sum and in no way verbatim," the note referenced revenge or retaliation for Dylann Roof, the white supremacist who killed nine black worshipers at a South Carolina church in 2015 and has since been sentenced to death.
It wasn't clear what Samson, who is black, is alleged to have written about the Roof shooting, or whether his note contained other details that might also speak to a motivation or state of mind.

And earlier, The Tennessean delved into the suspect's background:

The Tennessean piece reminds me of some advice shared at the time of the Charleston shooting: Turn off cable and look to the local newspaper for strong coverage:

Last year, concerning Roof, I asked: 

Do we really need to know what makes a mass murderer tick?

Now we have another killer in the headlines. Again, I'm torn between not wanting to hear another word about him and knowing that in some ways, we really do need to know the "why" behind what occurred if we have any hope of preventing it from occurring again.

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