The Amy Bishop Case

Ed Morrissey:

Not too many details on this yet, but it’s another tragic story from a college campus:

Officials at the University of Alabama’s Huntsville campus say three people have been killed and another injured in a campus shooting. University spokesman Ray Garner says a woman is in custody but he could not identify her or any of the victims.

Sophomore Erin Johnson tells The Huntsville Times a biology faculty meeting was under way when she heard screams coming from the room.

The shooting happened Friday afternoon in the university’s Shelby Center, a science building. University police secured the building and students were cleared from it.

Usually these involve disaffected and socially isolated males, not females, so that detail is an eye opener.  This just broke, and not too many other details have been published, but I’ll keep my eyes on this tonight.

Update: Changed the headline to specify the Huntsville campus.

Update II: The AP has updated its story to note that there are “several other” shooting injuries apart from the three deaths and one wounded in the original article, according to the mayor’s chief of staff.

James Joyner:

Naturally, the tragic and unusual nature of this incident is drawing substantial blogospheric commentary.

Ed Morrissey takes a just-the-facts approach, noting only that he’s surprised that the shooter was a female.  So was I, actually.

Bob Owens notes that this was clearly “premeditated murder,” since it’s not customary to bring guns to faculty meetings. The Blogprof concurs.

Stacy McCain refrains from his customary snark, given that three are dead and others are seriously injured.  His commenters, not so much, including some odd speculation on the race of the suspect.  (She would appear caucasian.)

Vox Day ties this into the global warming debate and sees this as proof that scientists aren’t rational and objective.   Which, aside from being bizarre and cruel, seems not to match events. After all, the decision to deny Dr. Bishop tenure would seem vindicated.

It’s always baffling to me when people try to politicize random tragedies — usually while they’re breaking news stories with little real information. At first blush, Bishop would seem to be extremely bright — a Harvard-trained neuroscientist doing cutting edge work — but with some serious psychological issues.  My natural tendency in these mass murder situations is to write the shooters off as mentally ill but the seeming premeditation and obvious revenge motives against the victims would seem contrary evidence.

Regardless, however, this tragic, one-off case is unlikely to significantly alter my views on higher education, gun rights, crime and punishment, or global warming.  I’ll post a follow-up if that changes.

Ann Althouse:

“She seemed to be one of these persons who was just very open with her feelings. A very smart, intense person who had a variety of opinions on issues.”

That was said about a woman who is now — apparently — in custody after shooting 3 of her faculty colleagues to death. Those statements sound like PR for murderers: They’re forceful and intense and very open with their feelings. So expressive!

Dan Riehl:

Whoa! Just when you thought it couldn’t be more weird. She fired at her brother 3 times, was taken at gunpoint and it was accidental? Hellooo.

She shot her brother, an 18-year-old accomplished violinist, in the chest in 1986, said Paul Frazier, the police chief in Braintree, Mass., where the shooting occurred. Bishop fired at least three shots, hitting her brother once and hitting her bedroom wall before police took her into custody at gunpoint, he said. Frazier said the police chief at the time told officers to release Bishop to her mother before she could be booked. It was logged as an accident.

But Frazier’s account was disputed by former police Chief John Polio, who told The Associated Press he didn’t call officers to tell them to release Bishop. “There’s no cover-up, no missing records,” he said.

Update: More at Gateway Pundit, including a report that it was Bill Delahunt who made the call to release Amy Bishop back in 1986.

Now that it’s confirmed Alabama Prof Amy Bishop was involved in the death of her brother back in 1986, I followed up on a RedState post inquiring about Rep. Bill Delahunt’s (D,MA) role in handling the 1986 shooting death of her brother. Delahunt was the DA who opted to not pursue charges at the time.

In an interview at his home this afternoon, Polio, 87, said, “There was no coverup.” He said he followed all department procedures and then-District Attorney William Delahunt’s office conducted an inquiry and the decision was made not to file charges.

It seems Delahunt was accused of being soft on crime during a run for Congress back in 1996. This new issue could prove even more troubling for Delahunt, assuming he intends to run for re-election this year.

In a testy final debate last night where both candidates displayed their growing distaste for each other, Democratic Norfolk County District Attorney William D. Delahunt described as “despicable” efforts by Republican Edward B. Teague to link him with a man who killed while out on a prison furlough in 1979. “You took advantage of a grieving man,” Delahunt said, referring to a letter by Joseph Gilmore of Canton that Teague has publicized. In it, Gilmore writes that Delahunt failed to follow through with a promise to notify the family that his daughter’s killer was out…

Jim Hoft at Gateway Pundit


HAPPILY, THIS IS RARE. Especially as I have a tenure meeting next week. Alabama Prof Kills Three at Faculty Meeting After Being Denied Tenure. “Amy Bishop, a biology professor at the University of Alabama-Huntsville, allegedly shot and killed two biology professors and a staff person during a faculty meeting this afternoon in which she learned she was denied tenure.” Of course, maybe this is why we always have the Dean deliver the good or bad news after the meeting has ended . . . .

UPDATE: From “This class was great. Bishop makes the class interesting by talking about her research and her friends research. That speaker she had for class was hard to understand but smart. She expects alot and you need to come to every class and study. She is hot but she tries to hide it.And she is a socalist but she only talks about it after class.”

Reader George Berryman writes: “I’m guessing the ’she’s a socialist’ part won’t get talked about much in the MSM. But if she had been a conservative it’d lead every evening news cast for two months.”

ANOTHER UPDATE: Proposed TPM and LGF Headlines.

Plus, Steve Huff proves my point by missing it entirely. Good grief. Steve, follow the link just above for some — obviously much-needed — remedial reading.

Robert Stacy McCain:

It’s always baffling to me when people try to politicize random tragedies — usually while they’re breaking news stories with little real information.”
James Joyner, Outside the Beltway

Joyner is (a) from Alabama and (b) has a Ph.D., and I’m sorry if that caused anyone’s head to explode — “An intellectual? From Alabama?” — but he doesn’t seem to be the kill-everybody-in-the-faculty-meeting type of intellectual, so he’s OK with me.

Joyner is correct about the unfortunate tendency toward instant politicization of major news events. We’ve seen Michael Moore blame the 1999 Columbine shootings on Charlton Heston. We’ve seen Robert Kennedy Jr. blame the 2005 New Orleans flood on Haley Barbour and George W. Bush.

Having recently seen liberal bloggers make fools of themselves by hasty conclusions — “Send the Body to Glenn Beck!” — I certainly wasn’t going theorize about Professor Amy Bishop’s murder spree at the University of Alabama-Huntsville in the absence of facts.

Well, the facts are now starting to pile up like the corpses of Amy Bishop’s victims, so let’s go there, shall we?

William Jacobson at Legal Insurrection:

Amy Bishop, who killed three fellow professors at the University of Alabama – Huntsville because she was denied tenure, obviously was a disturbed person. Her politics, whatever they may have been, are irrelevant. She did the crime, and now she needs to do the time (or face the needle).

One thing about Bishop’s politics seems likely, however. And that is that she must never have attended a Tea Party or said something nice about Sarah Palin, or we would have heard about it by now.

Had Bishop’s politics been within 100 miles of a Tea Party, Talking Points Memo and Little Green Footballs would have been all over the case making the connection. Just like they did with the similarly disturbed Gregory Girard, who never shot anyone but who “stockpiled” weapons.

Moe Lane

UPDATE: Robert Wright and Ann Althouse at Bloggingheads

UPDATE #2: Justin Elliott at Talking Points Memo

DRJ at Patterico


Filed under Crime

3 responses to “The Amy Bishop Case

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