Saturday, February 13, 2010

Solutions, not excuses

Female biology professor kills three at the University of Alabama after being denied tenure:

Three faculty members at the University of Alabama in Huntsville were shot to death, and three other people were seriously wounded at a biology faculty meeting on Friday afternoon, university officials said.

The Associated Press reported that a biology professor, identified as Amy Bishop, was charged with murder.

According to a faculty member, the professor had applied for tenure, been turned down, and appealed the decision. She learned on Friday that she had been denied once again.


Sadly, women are feeling pressure and turning to violence at times, just like men but posts like this one at Newsweek by Kate Dailey will just keep talking about the rarity of female violence, and lead to excuses, rather than solutions.

For less PC reading on female violence, try Patricia Pearson's When She Was Bad...: Violent Women and the Myth of Innocence.

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54 Comments:

Blogger Sixty Grit said...

The comment published on Instapundit from ratemyprofessors site was sad - poorly written, the student used the non-word "alot" and couldn't punctuate his way out of a paper bag.

That the woman was willing to kill others for the privilege of teaching semi-literate boobs like that is very sad. I guess the pressure is so intense because the rewards are so small.

8:49 AM, February 13, 2010  
Blogger Snark said...

Did you catch this comment from the original article?

"It is a sad situation. Denying tenure is like denying a biologist's life. She took theirs as they took hers."

Christ ... I didn't realise that losing in an open competition is justification for murder.

8:57 AM, February 13, 2010  
Blogger Topher said...

"Christ ... I didn't realise that losing in an open competition is justification for murder."

Snark,

It's all part and parcel of the feminist game (joined by other activist lobbies) to make people think of distasteful social activities as violence. This is particularly true when they are trying to get back at some group they feel has oppressed them.

So we get things like someone arguing that denying tenure is "denying life." And we get the cavalcade of excuses for women who attack or kill former lovers who had cheated or displeased them (infidelity is not an act of violence in any way, shape or form...it's a violation of a marital contract, which may or may not have been preceded by breaches by the other party.)

The Newspeak redefinition of "violence" has already reached the law. The recent French law ceded legal status to "psychological violence" and Australian activists want to criminalize behavior that is "controlling or economically abusive" (one imagines denying credit cards to a free-spending spouse would qualify.)

As the false rape accusation case made its way through Duke, faculty members in Angry Studies began to lobby for a school sexual assault policy that essentially made any white male a legitimate suspect in a sexual assault, because of the "power differential."

9:36 AM, February 13, 2010  
Blogger Topher said...

Aside from the typical gun-control advocates, I've read comments advocating the abolition of tenure linking this shooting to the tenure system. I think tenure sucks, but blaming the system obscures a key point.

Until further details emerge I can't say, but I am willing to bet that this woman was not a normal person who was driven to a murderous rage by the tenure system. (After all, the enslaved effort required to get a PhD in science or engineering selects for certain types of people, which puts someone in a generally socially-isolated, cold-competitive and painful environment.)

Some of the PUA blogs I read cite the Pittsburgh killer George Sodini as an end result of the misandrist and female-entitled culture. I think this is a grave mistake for two reasons - no rational person should align themselves sympathetically with because it will alienate potential supporters, and because Sodini was not a regular guy who was driven crazy by the unfairness of it all.

Sodini was a psycho, and I would bet this professor was too. Tenure didn't "make her do it" - she was unbalanced to begin with and this was the thing, the stressor, that set her off.

10:44 AM, February 13, 2010  
Blogger Dr.D said...

"I didn't realise that losing in an open competition is justification for murder."

This is a misconception entirely. It is not usually a "competition" in the sense of several people competing for a limited number of positions. Rather it is an evaluation of a person after several years of intense effort on the part of that person.

Faculty are usually hired as Assistant Professors without tenure. No sooner than three years and no later than six years, they must be reviewed and receive tenure or given a terminal contract. This is the standard across the American academic enterprise. Often tenure comes with promotion to Associate Professor, but not always. Awarding tenure is essentially a statement that the senior faculty find this person worthy of a permanent position on the faculty. In order to achieve that, the candidate puts forth an immense effort in terms of publications, university service, student advising, teaching excellence, etc., all carefully documented and compiled in a dossier that goes forward to the review committee. The pressure at the time of review is intense.

Frequently faculty are reviewed after three years and told, "not yet, come back next year." This may happen again after the fourth year as well. If this happens again, the final review happens during the sixth year which is a make or break decision.

It is necessary to understand that these are in no way objective decisions. Personalities, political considerations, etc. often out weigh all objective measures completely.

To lose tenure, after investing six years of your life in an intense effort to build a career is truly devastating. It can cause major psychological damage to the person to whom it happens. They receive a terminal contract, which means that they have a job for one more year in which time they can look for another job. They become a social outcast. They likely suffer major financial loss if they have to sell a home in a bad market in order to move. It can wreck a life.

10:57 AM, February 13, 2010  
Blogger GawainsGhost said...

I find this entire discussion ridiculous. Nothing justifies a shooting rampage, nothing. This is obvious to anyone with even the slightest shred of morality.

Maybe it's because I live in Texas and have grown up with guns all my life. There are three simple rules: 1) Never draw a gun unless you intend to use it; 2) Never put your finger on the trigger unless you intend to pull it; 3) Never shoot something or someone unless you intend to kill it.

The law is very clear. Even with a CHL, you don't brandish a firearm without proper cause--that would be to prevent bodily harm to yourself or others, or to protect your personal property. There is no other justification for drawing a firearm.

People try to analyze incidents like this as a means of excusing what is in reality inexcusable behavior. It's very simple. This woman lost control of herself, went on a rampage, and killed or wounded several people for no justifiable reason whatsoever.

So she was denied tenure, so what? It's not like that doesn't happen all the time. Get another job.

She should be tried, convicted and summarily executed. As long as society keeps making excuses for this sort of behavior, it will continue. End it now by not tolerating it or any excuse for it.

11:24 AM, February 13, 2010  
Blogger fred said...

I have known any number of people who did not get tenure, and clearly this a most unusual reaction. Tenure is now becoming incresingly difficult to get becaue schools are getting like companies: staff with those easy to turn over, hire part-time people instead, don't lock in faculty.
Why she was denided tenure is unknown, pretty much, but ironically there are now a few openings in that department (don't mean to be mean in this).
Guns on campus? Gun: librals say prohibit guns as much as possible. Conservatives: arm all people and they can protect against would-be killers.
Perhaps (rate myprof) she was denied tenure because she is an "alleged" socialist? Students and many voters do not know what a socialist is or is not.
her student ratings (I believe that stuff utter nonsense and seldom used in tenure decisions) decent enough, though to rate for "hotness" is a giveaway on the absurdity of the site. Any faculty member interested in getting a good "review" on such sites can with ease stack the deck to do so.
We are not likely to know how or why tenure was denied. Departments tend to keep this secret.
I am sure some gun supporter will say: arm all on campus and this won't happen. I have an image of the dept, sitting about to make a tenure decision, and each faculty member toting a 45 loaded and ready to use.

11:27 AM, February 13, 2010  
Blogger Snark said...

Dr.D,

Thankyou for the correction to my misunderstanding of what tenure entails.

However, the rest of your post seems to imply that she was under so much stress that shooting people as a result of not obtaining tenure is a feasible reaction.

It really isn't.

11:31 AM, February 13, 2010  
Blogger Dr.D said...

Snark, I'm not sure what you mean by "a feasible reaction," but my intent was simply to try to explain her probable emotional state. It is really quite different from the guy who works his regular job and one day is called in to be told he is being laid off.

I am not attempting to justify murder. I am attempting to explain murder. They are two different things.

11:44 AM, February 13, 2010  
Blogger DADvocate said...

The headline of the article says a lot, Complicated Reality. I suppose the reality of men and guns is simple. Man gets angry, grabs gun and starts killing people.

I'm wondering how much of this will be laid at her husband's feet. Why didn't he stop her? Why didn't he give her the support she needed?

Being a professor is a stressful job. I've read that its more stressful than the average businessman's job. My father was a professor and my sister is a professor. I've got a pretty good handle on the stress they've encountered and they never entertained killing someone.

The husband of one of the victims said his wife had told him Bishop couldn't deal with reality and thought she was better than she was. Sounds like a lot of self-admiring Ivy League grads.

As women have gone more and more into the work world, they're experiencing the stress and hardships that men have endured for a long time. The difference in life expectancy between the genders is lessening, more women have stress related heart problems, and other stress related health problems than before.

To call this a statistical anomaly misses the point completely. This isn't about a woman shooting g and killing people. It's about an emotionally, psychology flawed person shooting and killing people. And, now, others trying to excuse her actions because she's a woman.

12:28 PM, February 13, 2010  
Blogger Kimberly said...

DADvocate: "To call this a statistical anomaly misses the point completely. This isn't about a woman shooting and killing people. It's about an emotionally, psychology flawed person shooting and killing people. And, now, others trying to excuse her actions because she's a woman."

Bingo. Fox News is covering this right now, and everything I'm hearing suggests she is someone who was very angry and intense about not already being granted tenure and who was vocal in her criticism of the UA-H administration (on unrelated issues). She was clearly fine with criticizing others, and with being in the limelight (the NY Times article). However, she certainly didn't produce much in the way of publications or grant money to benefit the university, and her teaching reviews were decidedly mixed. And she was smart enough that she should have known to seek psychiatric help. There are no excuses.

1:10 PM, February 13, 2010  
Blogger Oligonicella said...

This is everywhere today, of course. But, I haven't seen anyone point out an obvious thing. What she did was premeditated. She brought a gun to that meeting in order to kill.

She did not lose control. She sat at home and made a decision that if she was not tenured, she would murder.

1:18 PM, February 13, 2010  
Blogger The Gold Digger said...

Being a professor is a stressful job. I've read that its more stressful than the average businessman's job.

My husband is an engineer for a private business. His dad was a tenured, unionized English professor at a fourth-rate college. His dad came home from work and was done. He had summers off. He had automatic pay raises, thanks to the State of Pennsylvania, which apparently abandoned any pretense of fiduciary responsibility to the taxpayers of the state.

My husband works until 2 a.m. or 6 a.m. so he can accomodate European or Asian customers. He travels 50% of the time. When he travels to see customers, he spends the evening doing the work he couldn't do during the day.

If he takes time off, nobody covers his work, it just accumulates until he returns. His salary has been frozen and his vacation slashed. He could be laid off at any time and his job moved to India.

We are just grateful he has a job.

I fail to see how his job is less stressful than his father's was or any professor right now.

1:47 PM, February 13, 2010  
Blogger DADvocate said...

Gold Digger - My experiences are closer to what you relate than what I read, but I don't assume that my experiences reflect that world as a whole.

I've noticed differences in professor's lives depending not only on which university they teach but which department. My father taught clinical psychology. Since clinical psychologists can easily go into private practice and make big bucks, they were treated rather well well and given a lot of liberty at the university. (No union.) My first wife's father was a dairy science professor at the same university. His pay was lower and his hours longer. There's not a large demand for dairy scientist in the private sector.

There are numerous stressors for professors, the pressure/requirement to do research, dealing with difficult students and difficult co-workers, the demands of administrations, etc. The stunts some of my sister's students perform are truly amazing, but if you call them on it, you better have solid proof.

My father persistently tried to convince me to get a Phd and be a professor. I wanted no part of it after what I had witnessed growing up.

2:18 PM, February 13, 2010  
Blogger Topher said...

"Being a professor is a stressful job. I've read that its more stressful than the average businessman's job."

That all kind of depends how you look at it. Becoming a professor at a top school in a competitive field selects for an unusually driven, type-A individual with workaholic tendencies and an egomaniac's commitment to the importance of their scholarship. (Most people literally cannot understand what lots of engineering academics study, so widespread fame is not a motivator.)

It's not a 9-to-5, union job - but the people that become professors don't want 9-to-5 jobs. They are hardcore, and recruit friends, students and spouses who want to be part of it, not people that want to hang it up at the end of the workday.

It's a lifestyle choice, one
So it is a difficult job, but the difficulty is what satisfies the person's spirit. They would be bored to death with a "regular office job."

Once you have tenure, you can theoretically kick back and do whatever you want, including pretty mcuh nothing (some profs at my alma maters did)...however, if you were driven enough to get through the academic grinder to tenure, you aren't the type to drop it and become lazy. The eng profs I knew with tenure took advantage of the freedom to do more writing, consulting and entrepreneurship at the expense of academic research and teaching - but they didn't just drop off the radar.

2:58 PM, February 13, 2010  
Blogger Topher said...

"My father persistently tried to convince me to get a Phd and be a professor. I wanted no part of it after what I had witnessed growing up."

My academic advisor is trying to get me to go back and finish an engineering PhD. I am considering it, but I will not sign up for it without a strict agreement as to the scope of the thesis, the expected timeline - and a lot of networking to line up my future after the degree. I saw so many students go for PhD's with no real idea what they wanted to do, and a dim idea of the totality of the academic path and how it eats your life. It's as dog-eat-dog as any corporate or legal office.

3:00 PM, February 13, 2010  
Blogger fred said...

The Alabama professor charged with killing three fellow professors yesterday fatally shot her younger brother 24 years ago. She faced no charges because the 1986 shooting was ruled accidental, the Boston Globe reports. Police said Amy Bishop was unloading a round from the chamber of a 12-gauge shotgun when it went off and struck her 18-year-old brother, an acclaimed violinist and budding scientist.

"Every indication at this point in time leads us to believe it was an accidental shooting," police in Braintree, Massachusetts, said at the time. Bishop, who was 20 at the time, had asked her mother to show her how to unload the weapon. No word yet on whether police plan to reopen the case.

3:32 PM, February 13, 2010  
Blogger God Of Bacon said...

Dr. D,

When someone asks "why" in regards to Columbine, 9/11, Oklahoma City, or some other tragic crime, they don't really want a straight answer. They just want to be told something that comforts them. They want to be told that the perpetrators were crazy and not like the rest of us. Any attempt on your part or mine to explain "why" will be met with, "That's no excuse."

People really are airheads.

3:44 PM, February 13, 2010  
Blogger Helen said...

fred,

Thanks for pointing out that Bishop had shot and killed her 18 year old brother. It does sound really suspicious. I often wonder how many of these "accidents" (we have quite a few in Tennessee) are really simply women murdering men and getting away with it. It raises the question of whether or not women really have a much higher rate of murder than is reported.

3:59 PM, February 13, 2010  
Blogger The Gold Digger said...

Dadvocate, there is even less demand for English profs than for dairy scientists in the private sector, which means the fact that my husband's dad had his sweet deal was an even bigger slap in the face to taxpayers.

4:03 PM, February 13, 2010  
Blogger Dr.D said...

Topher

"...I will not sign up for it without a strict agreement as to the scope of the thesis, the expected timeline - and a lot of networking to line up my future after the degree."

What are you drinking? That is one of the most laughable statements I have ever heard for someone supposedly bright enough to consider getting and engineering PhD! That just does not happen in this world, not now, nor has it ever. That is pure hallucination.

You would do well to put all such thoughts completely out of your mind. Nothing of that sort will ever happen.

4:33 PM, February 13, 2010  
Blogger Oligonicella said...

God of Bacon - Please provide any "why" whatsoever that would justify her meditatively murdering three people because she didn't get tenure. The fact before your eyes is that millions of people deal with rejection of all kinds and do not resort to violence, much less murder. To wonder "why" with the idea that it somehow explains or excuses is simply a slap to those who do not harm or kill because they didn't achieve something they believed they were due. Short form - who gives a fuck why.

Topher - In this instance listen to Dr. D. Most states make it pretty much impossible to sue a University for breach of contract as per requirements. They can say they'll do it, but they won't and there isn't an avenue of redress. Don't believe a word.

4:40 PM, February 13, 2010  
Blogger Topher said...

Dr.D -

If you are correct, then I won't be getting a PhD. I know the kind of work and sacrifice necessary and I can take that, but I refuse to be somebody's unindentured slave. Those who got hosed by their advisors usually had one thing in common - they never stood up to their advisor or managed expectations. Ergo, they got moved on and off projects, strung along, false-started and all the rest of it.

BTW, where I was in grad school, (good) students made those agreements with their advisor all the time. They tended to be re-negotiated as time went on, but at least they started with a plan and the advisor knew they had their eyes on the prize.

5:14 PM, February 13, 2010  
Blogger Topher said...

"Topher - In this instance listen to Dr. D. Most states make it pretty much impossible to sue a University for breach of contract as per requirements. They can say they'll do it, but they won't and there isn't an avenue of redress. Don't believe a word."

Who said anything about a contract? I didn't. It's just a matter of getting a halfway-human advisor-advisee relationship, where each side has some respect and understands the other's value. As with everywhere else in life, much discomfort can be avoided by being simultaneously reasonable, humble and assertive.

5:18 PM, February 13, 2010  
Blogger Cham said...

Why? I'll tell you why. She didn't get tenure. She expected tenure, she felt she deserved tenure, she wanted tenure. The school didn't give her tenure and that was a diss. The people who were responsible for not give her what Ms. Bishop felt she deserved needed to pay.

This is no different from when one drug dealer is told to leave a lucrative street corner by another drug dealer and retribution occurs. What is an everyday occurrence in the hood is slowly seeping into other arenas.

5:25 PM, February 13, 2010  
Blogger Sissy Willis said...

This woman allegedly murdered her younger brother in a blind rage when they were young ... Apparent coverup by then DA, now Rep William Delahunt, coming up for reelection in Scott Brown's Massachusetts.

7:20 PM, February 13, 2010  
Blogger Oligonicella said...

Topher --

A contract between individuals holds even less weight. Written on air and all that. Had many friends simply get dorked.

Good luck and I truly hope you find an honorable deal.

7:45 PM, February 13, 2010  
Blogger Joe said...

One shot might be an accident. Without even a claim of self-defense, three shots is murder.

7:51 PM, February 13, 2010  
Blogger Dr.D said...

Topher, if you have a reasonable engineering career going at this point, there is absolutely no reason to get a PhD unless you have a burning desire to teach (and I really mean Burning!). I wanted to teach, I had a pretty good teaching career, but I do not regret leaving it because it ceased to be fun. I was a (full) Prof of Mech Engr, Dept Head, etc., but it just got to be more and more hassle and less and less fun. No where near the sort of work I did when I started teaching many years earlier. I found industrial research to be a lot easier, more enjoyable, and much less stressful. There the problems were almost entirely technical and financial. In the academic situation, they problems were almost entirely personalities and money.

7:53 PM, February 13, 2010  
Blogger Topher said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

7:58 PM, February 13, 2010  
Blogger Topher said...

"Topher, if you have a reasonable engineering career going at this point, there is absolutely no reason to get a PhD unless you have a burning desire to teach (and I really mean Burning!)."

Perhaps...you are correct that great careers are to be had without them (I'm in that process now as I consider whether to return to school) but PhDs are much more valuable in the growing biomedical engineering field.

"I wanted to teach, I had a pretty good teaching career, but I do not regret leaving it because it ceased to be fun. I was a (full) Prof of Mech Engr, Dept Head, etc., but it just got to be more and more hassle and less and less fun."

I'm sorry it turned out that way. I would like to teach, but I have seen enough stories like yours to know that the payoff is probably not worth the other hassles.

My best-odds plan for teaching would be to become very accomplished in industry and then get an adjunct position where my resume has direct credibility to what I am teaching.

"In the academic situation, they problems were almost entirely personalities and money."

Academics like to pretend they are above the fray of corporatism and its office-space pettiness, but they (professors) are cogs in some of the most disgusting political machines in society. The profs I had who got fresh air (with startups or consulting) spent less time kissing academic butt and more time in reality.

8:04 PM, February 13, 2010  
Blogger Topher said...

Now we find that Prof. Bishop's "accidental" shooting of her brother involved three bullets? Hmm.

And now there's a yet-tepid allegation of negligence by then-DA, now-Congressman Delahunt.

Massachusetts is so weird. They prosecuted that totally bogus Fells Acres/Amirault child molestation case, then Coakley didn't prosecute a police dept flunkie who had committed a sex crime, and Delahunt closed the case on this extremely suspicious accidental shooting. Whew.

8:20 PM, February 13, 2010  
Blogger DADvocate said...

I heard the about the shooting of the brother on the radio earlier while driving to the store. Three bullets!! Even with a semi-automatic this would be unlikely. Maybe she was jealous of her brother's brilliance.

I wonder what kind of statistical anomaly this is. One woman involved in the shooting deaths of 4 people in two separate incidents. Lets talk about how rare this is!!!

Women seem to get away with this sort of thing too often. It took along time for reality to catch up with Reynella Dossett in Knoxville.

9:55 PM, February 13, 2010  
Blogger DADvocate said...

The shotgun Bishop shot her brother with was a pump shotgun and more than one shot was fired. Impossible to do accidentally. There is evidence of a cover-up because of her politically well connected brother to then DA and now Congressman Delahunt. Nice liberals all.

11:36 PM, February 13, 2010  
Blogger J. Durden said...

Dr. Helen,

I think I have found a solution, but, before we get to that, I just thought I would drop by and wish you a Happy Valentine's Day!

- J. Durden

6:30 AM, February 14, 2010  
Blogger Kevin M said...

@J Durden: The elf that lives in your head needs to get laid.

8:14 AM, February 14, 2010  
Blogger Michael Ryan said...

I'm wondering if her husband and four kids are in deep, deep grief, or are relieved it wasn't them. Or both.

9:44 AM, February 14, 2010  
Blogger br549 said...

I have considered what Oligonicella said on Feb. 13th at 1:18 P.M. and what Cham said at 5:25 P.M. on Feb. 13th, and can't help but wonder if - in Bishop's mind anyway - it is truly that simple. There are certainly enough people in this world willing to destroy others in one way or another, just to get what they feel they have a right to have. I believe we have all experienced that to various degrees numerous times.

9:45 AM, February 14, 2010  
Blogger Cham said...

You have to put this in perspective. Some people lead a very very sheltered risk-averse life. This lady obviously knew how to study very hard. Academia is pretty black and white. You take exams, you get good grades, you do some research, you write a few papers and it becomes pretty cut and dried. If you do well, you excel. you live in a box. Unfortunately, if you devote your life to the box whatever happens in there become monumental.

Now here is the big difference between the murdering university professor and the murdering corner drug dealer. The corner drug dealer has probably already been to prison. You incarcerate him for murder you aren't removing the drug dealer from his comfort zone, he's just in a different geographical location.

I'm not sure our professor really thought this through thoroughly. I would seriously like to see the video of her first interaction in the prison cafeteria with the other life-serving inmates. I want to see her explain how she has a Phd, how she went to Harvard and why it is such a travesty that her employer didn't give her the lucrative job-for-life deal she thought she deserved. Then, of course, she is going to have to explain the definition of 'tenure' to ladies that have less than a 6th grade education, many who have had a lifetime of abuse, most who have massive behavioral and anger problems and most who come from a dog-eat-dog poverty lifestyle. If she can't explain college biology concepts to Alabama college students she's going to have a heck of challenge with this crowd.

10:12 AM, February 14, 2010  
Blogger DADvocate said...

Cham - It'll sure be a lifestyle change she deserves. I'm wondering if she's planning and had pre-planned on taking the insanity plea. Reports state she was saying, "It didn't happen. There's no way... they are still alive." Faking trauma probably worked for her before.

10:46 AM, February 14, 2010  
Blogger Cham said...

Dadvocate:

If the state of Alabama lets this one go with an insanity defense then they get what they deserve. I wasn't there but from what I know so far she seems perfectly sane to me. Throw the book at her.

11:14 AM, February 14, 2010  
Blogger God Of Bacon said...

Oligonicella,

Nice weblog you have there...

You are one of the people I was talking about in my last comment. Are you asking why she committed murder or are you looking for justification for her act? These are two different questions that you dutifully merged into one sentence.

Choose one or the other.

11:36 AM, February 14, 2010  
Blogger meep said...

While female violence on that scale tends to be less frequent than male violence, it doesn't sound like violence was that infrequent in this particular woman's life.

11:36 AM, February 14, 2010  
Blogger Art Deco said...

I'm wondering how much of this will be laid at her husband's feet. Why didn't he stop her? Why didn't he give her the support she needed?

I bet Russell Yates is asking the same question. I cannot wait for Kathleen Parker's next column.

3:26 PM, February 14, 2010  
Blogger Larry J said...

Then, of course, she is going to have to explain the definition of 'tenure' to ladies that have less than a 6th grade education, many who have had a lifetime of abuse, most who have massive behavioral and anger problems and most who come from a dog-eat-dog poverty lifestyle. If she can't explain college biology concepts to Alabama college students she's going to have a heck of challenge with this crowd.

Clam, stereotype much? Have you ever been to Huntsville, Alabama? That happens to be my hometown. It's also home of NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center, Army Missile Command, and a who's who of the aerospace industry. Back in the 1980s, Time magazine published the claim that Huntsville had more Ph.Ds per capita than any city in America. I don't know if the claim was true then (and it isn't today) but your portrait of the average Alabama jurior shows your woeful ignorance and bigotry.

3:29 PM, February 14, 2010  
Blogger Cham said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

4:43 PM, February 14, 2010  
Blogger DADvocate said...

Larry J - I took it Cham was referring to the average Alabama inmate.

5:24 PM, February 14, 2010  
Blogger Topher said...

Larry,

I think Cham was referring to drug dealers as having less than a 6th grade education and coming from poverty. The set-up was Bishop trying to convince drug dealers that her situation was like theirs - the point being that rationalizing killing is easier for someone in a hellhole environment than a cushy academic department.

Therefore, if the lady couldn't teach Alabama college students (who are presumed to be reasonably intelligent and mature), teaching uneducated drug dealers to be sympathetic to her plight of not making tenure is going to be a challenge.

5:25 PM, February 14, 2010  
Blogger fred said...

Share

(Newser) – Amy Bishop's background continues to get murkier: The shooting suspect was also a suspect in the attempted mail bombing of a Harvard professor in 1993, a law enforcement official said today. Bishop and husband James Anderson were questioned after Dr. Paul Rosenberg received a package containing two 6-inch pipe bombs. The official said the investigation focused on Bishop because she was reportedly worried that Rosenberg planned to give her a negative evaluation on her doctorate work.

Investigators searched their home and found a draft of a novel on Bishop's computer about a woman who killed her brother and hoped to make up for it by becoming a famous scientist. The US attorney's office did not seek charges against the couple, reports the B

6:14 PM, February 14, 2010  
Blogger blahga the hutt said...

I'm just waiting for the feminists to say "you go, girl!"

7:43 PM, February 14, 2010  
Blogger br549 said...

Larry J, you have to admit that overall, Alabama is thankful for Mississippi.

7:44 PM, February 14, 2010  
Blogger Dave Cornutt said...

I'm going to unmask myself a bit. I'm a native of Huntsville and a UAH alum, class of '83. I currently work at the offices of a company whose facility is right across the street from where the shootings occurred.

Huntsville is an engineering and aerospace town. If Dr. Bishop had in fact been denied tenure, it probably would not have been that difficult for her to find an industry job in town. And the stress of being denied tenure isn't that difficult from what a lot of people in town go through every few years when their projects end or are cancelled. I just went through that myself last summer; I had all of two hours to consider a slot on another project before I had to give them an answer. Fortunately, I seemed to have landed in a position that's going to be stable for a while, unlike many of my colleagues who are facing the imminent cancellation of the American manned space program. Being denied tenure is doubtless a career shock, but it's the type of story that occurs every day, to lots of people, in this business.

As I read about Dr. Bishop, I'm getting a picture of a person with at least some narcissistic/borderline traits, who has lived most of her life getting her way with everything and having other people to clean up her messes. We now know that it's at least moderately probable that she murdered her brother in cold blood and got away with it. Further, she didn't even get away with it because of her own cleverness, but because someone else fixed it for her. If she had any NPD traits, that doubtless magnified them a thousandfold. I don't know why she would have been denied tenure. UAH isn't going to look at things like ratemyprofessor.com; the signal/noise ratio with that sort of thing is just too low. For decades, UAH has had its own instructor evaluation system. Usually students fill out an evaluation on the last day of class before finals; they do this with the instructor out of the room, and the evaluations are collected by a third party. These evaluations are a factor in hiring decisions. Perhaps Dr. Bishop was rated poorly in these evaluations. Or it may have been simply that the department was eliminating her position; right now the entire University of Alabama system is under pretty serious budget pressure.

The whole thing has been tragic for the community, but the national reaction in the various media has been a source of some bemusement. There have been way too many people who don't read past the word "Alabama" before they make up their minds about everything that happened.

9:57 PM, February 14, 2010  
Blogger fred said...

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(Newser) – After killing her brother in 1986, alleged University of Alabama shooter Amy Bishop stormed a Massachusetts car dealership with a shotgun and demanded a getaway car. That’s the story of Tom Pettigrew, who was one of the employees. “I’m thinking it’s a BB gun,” he tells the Boston Herald. But no. “I open the door and she’s right there and we basically bumped into each other and I got a shotgun right in my chest!”

“And she’s like, ‘Hands up!’” Pettigrew continues. “And I’m like, ‘Yes ma’am.’” He recalls that she demanded a car because she said, “I got into a fight with my husband.” Pettigrew says police swarmed the dealership and arrested Bishop before she could make her getaway. She was later released for reasons that now appear dubious, and the city is looking into “deficits in its past record-keeping process.” Pettigrew is surprised he’s back in the spotlight. “For the last 23 years, it was just a cool story I could tell my friends.”

2:35 PM, February 15, 2010  
Blogger Vader said...

This from the Wikipedia discussion page is interesting:

"Here is one source, seemingly reputable: UAHuntsville Shooting Suspect, Dr. Amy Bishop, in Custody: Professor Allegedly Opens Fire on Co-workers After Not Receiving Tenure. It states as follows: Huntsville Police officers questioned Dr. Bishop for more than 5 hours at the department's south precinct. WHNT NEWS 19 cameras were camped outside the south precinct and captured video of her as officers brought her out. She remarked, "It didn't happen. There's no way." WHNT NEWS 19'S Nick Banaszak asked her, "What about the people who died?" Bishop replied, "There's no way. They're still alive." (I have seen similar remarks in various other sources, as well.) Thanks. (64.252.68.102 (talk) 16:06, 16 February 2010 (UTC))"

I dislike insanity pleas, but ... this woman is raving nuts.

6:28 PM, February 18, 2010  

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