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New York Times description of Planned Parenthood shooter evolves from 'gentle' loner to 'occasionally violent' loner


You may have noticed how media outlets have reported the recent Planned Parenthood shooting in Colorado Springs quite differently from how terrorist attacks are usually reported. The suspect, Robert L. Dear Jr., a white man from Hartsel, Colorado, has been described as a “gentle loner” (rather than, say, a radical pro-life terrorist) and some outlets have suggested his motivations for the massacre may not be tied to anti-abortion sentiments at all, and just be a random strip mall shooting that just happened to take place at Planned Parenthood.

Check out the progression of Dear’s description in the New York Times via screenshots below. (Screenshots courtesy Dushko Petrovich.) The current version of the article here.

The article now reads:

HARTSEL, Colo. — Robert L. Dear Jr. was a man who lived off the grid.

On this lonely, snow-covered patch of land in a hamlet ringed by the Rocky Mountains, his home was a white trailer, with a forest-green four-wheeler by the front door and a modest black cross painted on one end.

As police officers surrounded it on Saturday, looking for clues to what they said had sent its owner on a shooting rampage at a Planned Parenthood center that left three dead and nine wounded, neighbors said they barely knew him, beyond one man’s memory of his handing out anti-Obama political pamphlets.

Van Wands, 58, whose wife owns a local saloon, said there were two types of people in the area: the old-timers who put effort into getting to know their neighbors, and the newcomers who wished for solitude. Mr. Dear, he said, fell solidly into the second category.

“That’d be one that preferred to be left alone,” he said.