Robert Lewis Dear

Concerning the Planned Parenthood shooting suspect: Did the Devil make him do it?

Concerning the Planned Parenthood shooting suspect: Did the Devil make him do it?

Did the Devil make him do it?

In a massive front-page story today, The New York Times delves deeper into the background of Robert L. Dear Jr., the suspect in last week's shooting rampage at a Planned Parenthood facility in Colorado Springs, Colo.

Earlier this week, GetReligion highlighted the two prevailing media streams concerning Dear and the "Why?" factor in an attack that left three dead and nine wounded.

In today's report, that dichotomy of certifiable lunatic vs. religious anti-abortion warrior prevails again. The Times paints an in-depth portrait of "an angry and occasionally violent man who seemed deeply disturbed and deeply contradictory."

The Times opens with a focus on Dear's religion:

CHARLESTON, S.C. — The man she had married professed to be deeply religious. But after more than seven years with Robert L. Dear Jr., Barbara Micheau had come to see life with him as a kind of hell on earth.
By January 1993, she had had enough. In a sworn affidavit as part of her divorce case, Ms. Micheau described Mr. Dear as a serial philanderer and a problem gambler, a man who kicked her, beat her head against the floor and fathered two children with other women while they were together. He found excuses for his transgressions, she said, in his idiosyncratic views on Christian eschatology and the nature of salvation.
“He claims to be a Christian and is extremely evangelistic, but does not follow the Bible in his actions,” Ms. Micheau said in the court document. “He says that as long as he believes he will be saved, he can do whatever he pleases. He is obsessed with the world coming to an end.”

But then the story moves to Dear's views on abortion:

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A tale of two Colorado Springs media streams: crazed gunman vs. anti-abortion soldier

A tale of two Colorado Springs media streams: crazed gunman vs. anti-abortion soldier

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.

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Colorado Springs motives? So far, one is clear: Pro-life pastor/officer died defending life

Colorado Springs motives? So far, one is clear: Pro-life pastor/officer died defending life

Faced with headlines about violence at an abortion facility, the late Cardinal John O'Connor of New York City took to the pulpit and, digging into the writings of the Catholic Catechism, Pope John Paul II and Gandhi, stated the obvious. Do you remember that very candid quote?

"If anyone has an urge to kill someone at an abortion clinic, they should shoot me," said the late Cardinal John O'Connor, preaching to his New York City flock in 1994. "It's madness. It discredits the right-to-life movement. Murder is murder. It's madness. You cannot prevent killing by killing."

The cardinal added, in an online forum:

"Where does this spiral end? How is it limited? Surely, we are all as tired of abortion as we are tired of murder. But we must fight murder without conforming to it or condoning it," wrote the cardinal. ... Let us attend to God's revelation: 'Do not be conquered by evil, but conquer evil with good' (Romans 12: 21).

Now, I bring this up as law officials in Colorado Springs begin the process of digging into the history of the man arrested as the gunman in the horrifying standoff at a Planned Parenthood. Apparently, Robert Lewis Dear has a previous criminal record.

And what about motive? Here is a recent update, as posted at The Colorado Springs Gazette:

The Associated Press reports Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers says authorities aren't ready to discuss a possible motive of the gunman who attacked a Planned Parenthood clinic there, but says people can make "inferences from where it took place."
Suthers says investigators have interviewed Dear, but that authorities still want to learn more about him, suggesting that his mental health was part of the investigation.

Now in this case, the tragic reality is that it is much easier to articulate the motives of the local police officer who was one of the first responders and lost his life in the fighting.

The officer's name: The Rev. Garrett Swasey.

Are you seeing that title -- "The Rev." -- in front of his name?

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