Monday, February 15, 2010
AMY BISHOP SHOOTS SIX, KILLS THREE
Amy Bishop was a biology professor at University of Alabama at Huntsville. She was also a virulent Obama supporter, a leftist, and had lost her tenure battle.
A few days ago she shot and killed three professors, and injured three others, before she either ran out of ammunition or her gun jammed.
It turns out that twenty years ago she pumped her brother full of hot lead in Boston, and killed him, after an argument. She was exonerated without a trial, after her well-placed mother called an authority, who had Amy Bishop released. All police records pertaining to the case are missing.
Bishop was apparently quite a distant person. After she shot the six in the faculty meeting, she calmly called her husband, asking him to pick her up.
The Bishops have four children.
All the facts aren't in yet, and the case remains shrouded in mystery. The relevant facts seem to be that
a. Bishop was denied tenure
b. She has a record of using guns to settle disputes
(b1) -- she did not possess a permit for the gun
c. She was emotionally distant
d. She was an avid Obama supporter
e. She was a serious scientist with a Ph.D. from Harvard, and a relatively impressive track record in her field.
Lately there has been an uptick in the universities with regard to violence. Virginia Tech lost thirty students and a prof or three after an enraged student slaughtered them. This student then turned his gun on himself. A year later another student chopped off a student's head at the same university. We have 6000 colleges and universities in this country, and they are mostly thought to be oases of calm and civility when compared to the postal environment, or the business environment. Is there something we can do to hasten the exit of faculty and students who are loose cannons? Will the phrase, "Going postal," become a new phrase, like, "Enacting tenure loss"?
What criteria are needed to identify a potentially violent classmate or professor?
Are there now for some reason more of these on campuses? In our society? Bishop was apparently an ardent Obama supporter. She was not a conservative, who was ousted by liberals. She shot women (including a member of the support staff) in her cold and contained fury. She then calmly called her husband, who claims that from the tone of her voice he had no idea of the havoc she had wreaked.
In order to clarify the narrative, we need to know -- did she shoot indiscriminately at the people in the meeting, or was there a pattern of people she specifically chose to eliminate? Did anyone close to her know that she was about to commit this crime? Did she make any notes beforehand, that could be discovered on her computer or in her private notebooks? What is Bishop's own narrative?
Is there anything that could have been done? Should someone with a violent history and a tenure denial be invited to meetings, or should the meetings be held privately?
Right at this moment, the details are still too fuzzy for me to be able to put this into a coherent narrative. The only pattern I see is that violence appears to be erupting on a more regular basis. Now that faculty members are counted among the violent, it seems that we must think about the issues.
Naturally, people are a bit upset when they are denied tenure. But the point is to write a few hundred more job letters, and get back in where you can, or find employment elsewhere, and to think of the future. What good does it serve to use violence in this manner? Bishop not only checkmated herself, but comes off as a kind of Red Queen, way off to the far left, and unable to handle the cognitive dissonance between her own apparent self-esteem, and the lack of esteem in which she was held by other faculty members.
Personally, I think the problem is that the left looks the other way when they have problems within their own ranks. No one was willing to oust Edwards. No one was willing to oust Charles Manson. Stalin rose rapidly through the ranks. Amy Bishop should have found herself sequestered after she blew her brother away with a shotgun. A Democrat from Massachusetts let her go without any police inquiry.
The new multicultural understanding is that all violence is committed by straight white men. So they are stunned when a Cho emerges, or when an Amy Bishop goes berserk, since it's not part of their theory. The left has yet to understand the murders of Stalin, or Mao, or Pol Pot, or the show trials of the East Bloc, to say nothing of the vigilante bombings of the Weathermen, or the cruelty of the Black Panthers. Rather than projecting lawlessness on to others, we should assess the lawlessness of our own group, and ask ourselves what's wrong with us.