Open Thread: Tenure Denial Shooting at UA Huntsville

Feb 13 2010 Published by under Tenure, Tribe of Science

What a tragedy. Absolutely horrible that someone concluded that the best response to being denied tenure was to shoot the other members of the department.
update: Prior thoughts on the tenure process:
Tenure Criteria During a Downturn in the NIH Budget
PiT on The tenure track and the economic downturn
A Post-Tenure World
Denial of Tenure is not the End of the World

200 responses so far

  • whimple says:

    Oh, I don't know. Poisoning is the traditional method, but that doesn't necessarily make shooting a bad choice.

  • David says:

    The large view is that any sufficiently large group of people will contain one or two who are on the edge of sanity. If the environment of the group is high-pressure, somebody sometime will crack. It's a problem of our society that the pressure is high, "going postal" is a pre-set meme, and mental health care is of spotty quality. The result is, statistically, inevitable. Still very sad.

  • It's a problem of our society that the pressure is high, "going postal" is a pre-set meme, and mental health care is of spotty quality.

    It's also a problem of our society that so many people are packing fucking heat.

  • dave says:

    i have a feeling there is more going on here than meets the eye.why tenure was denied and why she had a gun at the meeting tells me that some deep interpersonal rivalries over her,what could be,multimillion dollar invention were at play.

  • Julie Stahlhut says:

    What's even more disturbing: The number of commenters on other sites who are insisting that school and workplace shootings mean that MORE people should carry loaded firearms everywhere they go.

  • Gummibears says:

    I am wondering what pushed the woman to her limits. The story on Fox News says that there were some earlier problems, and she felt that her complaints were not handled properly.

  • cookingwithsolvents says:

    The whole story is absolutely horrifying. I am incredibly sorry for the victims, their families, and the University and community.
    I'm with CPP; it's WAYYY to easy to carry a firearm in this country.

  • bioephemera says:

    The fact that seeking mental health care stigmatizes one for professional/health care purposes probably doesn't help either. If someone in a relatively tight community needs mental help due to job-related stress, they can't get it without making themselves seem even less able to do the job . . . which means they may not seek help at all.

  • kleet says:

    God Bless America, the land of the free. Sorry Americans but from a European's point of view your gun freedom is really scary. Free to carry, not free to live without being shot, it seems :/

  • Katharine says:

    Are you sure it was denial of tenure?
    I find it telling that she was picked on for being a Harvard graduate, even in Huntsville, a town with one of the greatest numbers of PhDs per capita. It says something about the shithole south.
    kleet, I am of two minds about gun rights: it's an effective tool of defense since people can get guns illegally, but it makes life more hazardous. I am still not sure whether to approve of it or not. More disturbing is America's allowance of militias, though. They are probably, along with the fundies, the epitome of what is wrong with America.

  • lost academic says:

    Really, Katharine? Because in no other part of the country would someone from Harvard, or Yale, be 'picked on' because of being from there? They would, and are, and will. I think it says something about YOU that 'shithole south' is immediately where you're jumping to with your conclusions. I'm sure you'd NEVER judge anyone based on where they were from -- oh, wait.

  • Midnight Rambler says:

    Katharine: One of the wire articles (AP?) interviewed several students, who almost all said she was brilliant but a horrible teacher who taught straight from the book and could not communicate with people. Sounds like someone who would get upset about being underappreciated, because they felt their research was more important than teaching. Also, I highly doubt that it would be the faculty picking on her for going to Harvard (where did you get that anyway?).

  • It's gotta be a serious blow to the self esteem to go from Harvard PhD to failing to achieve tenure at a place like UAH.
    Holy FUCK! It looks she comes from a family of fucking gun nuts! She "accidentally" killed her own brother with a shotgun years ago!
    http://www.boston.com/news/local/breaking_news/2010/02/professor_accus.html

  • Pyre Spirit says:

    And it's yet another example of why gun ownership needs to be much more tightly regulated, with things such as handguns being completely banned for private ownership.
    Guns do not solve problems; they simply escalate minor problems into loss of life.
    Hunters, and those who live in areas with high traffic of dangerous wild animals, have an absolutely legitimate case for rifle ownership (Although they should be inspected yearly by local police to make sure they're stored safely and securely). Handguns are simply for killing people. Study after study after study has proven this; and the frightening mortality rate from firearms in the US versus the more civilized Western countries which actually have adequate gun control have proven this.
    I'm sure the people, and the families of the people, killed in this incident, as well as in the chillingly high number of similar incidents, truly appreciate how easy it was for the nuts who slew them to execute their supposed 'constitutional' right for gun ownership though! (Not even to mention the retarded habit of the pro-gun crowd to completely and blatantly misquote the passage from the constitution which speaks to gun ownership; and which clearly and precisely puts out the idea of 'WELL REGULATED')

  • Katharine says:

    There were multiple things being floated, denial of tenure, being picked on for perceived or actual personality defects, et cetera.
    CPP - hm. That adds a spin to the whole situation, but it makes it seem like it was just easier for her to jump to the idea of killing them rather than being able to blame it on guns.

  • First on the original thread, it is a terrible tragedy, one from which that department may never fully recover. It seems there is a higher degree of depression and mental illness in academia than anyone ever wants to admit, and the stigma associated with it likely does stop people from seeking help, as bioephemera rightly points out. One addition to the story: the Huntsville Times has recently posted a statement from university officials saying that though Bishop was up for tenure, this was not being discussed at the faculty meeting in question. (h/t @NatureNews)
    Second: I too would like to know where Katharine gets the idea that Bishop was being picked on for being a Harvard grad. That news reports are referencing the fact? I daresay, that info would be included regardless of where she attended grad school.
    Third: I grew up and did my B.S. and Ph.D. in the "shithole south", and it amazes me that "enlightened" people such as Katharine still hold us in such low regard. To be blunt, the elitist attitude toward the South fucking pisses me off. I'm in a rare state where I simply cannot even begin to express my thoughts on this.

  • drdrA says:

    Terrible. Terrifying. Just very sad.
    Living in a state where it is legal to carry a concealed weapon, I have to say that the gun mania (for 'personal protection') is crazy. With the proliferation of shootings on college campuses around the country, by students and faculty, I fear for the safety of everyone who operates on these campuses.

  • James says:

    Aim higher...

  • facioscapulohumeral limb girdle says:

    why do crazed unhinged americans insist on making the sweet baby jesus cry?

  • Bill or is it Bob says:

    I feel bad for her students and especially the families of those slain or wounded. Of course a little mental health care goes a long way.
    And although the South has it's share of shitholes and shitheads, I wouldn't say that's confined to just the south. There's plenty of racism and ignorance everywhere, especially once you get out of the larger population centers. Now politically, yeah, the South is screwed.

  • gnuma says:

    @Katherine. Ahem. There are *many* fine institutions in the 'shit-hole south.' It is undeniable that there are tensions between conservative state legislatures and these institutions, but that does *not* mean that the educations received or research performed within them is lacking. As to the entirety of the south, it as well can't be accurately described as a 'shit-hole.' The south has issues, as does any area of the states. Generalizations like that above have done damage to people in the past, so why propagate them?
    Ok, now that I'm done with my soapbox....I am angry that someone would take their job so seriously, REGARDLESS of their PhD-granting institution. We're all people here, and if a person don't have the self-awareness to realize a negative tenure decision is not a death sentence for them, nor should it be for anyone else, then they srsly need some counseling on their life's priorities.

  • Joe says:

    It puzzles me how some people blame guns for every thing a crazy person does with a gun. I agree that guns make badness too easy, and I acknowledge that most murders in the U.S. are committed with guns (http://www.sporcle.com/games/murderweapons.php). That's why I favor gun control. But guns in this case aren't the problem. The problem here is the traditional ego-bruising academic system and the failure to recognize and deal appropriately with a potentially unstable underperforming employee. Our old boy club academic traditions would appall HR experts. It's amazing more things like this don't happen.
    So anti-gun tirades in response to things like this are kind of shallow, as is the 'conventional wisdom' that reducing guns = reduced crime. It's more complex than that. (c.f. http://reason.com/archives/2002/11/01/gun-controls-twisted-outcome or http://www.press.uchicago.edu/Misc/Chicago/493636.html)
    When I was in grad school, a disgruntled student set his advisor's house on fire one night. Killed the wife and children. The advisor wasn't even there, but the student didn't know. Now THAT's a tragedy. If the student had a gun, there probably would have been less collateral damage.

  • Joe says:

    What's with the South-bashing? That's completely irrelevant. Back on topic, folks.
    (My main comment is in limbo due to links, until DM frees it. Free it, DM! Thanks.)

  • cookingwithsolvents says:

    RE: mental illness and stigma
    The large research institute where I performed my PhD research undergrads, grads, and profs routinely utilized the wonderful mental health center for both long term and short term help overcoming issues. The culture was VERY supportive of individuals that sought out help and actively urged those struggling to get help.
    At my postdoctoral home (same geographical region) any hint of mental illness is utterly and completely taboo. Any problems are covered up and kept quiet.
    I certainly hope that this tragedy helps to push back the stigma so that people are encouraged and supported to get the help they need.

  • Neuro-conservative says:

    Is it too much to wait until the bodies are at least in the ground before you try to start scoring your cliche political points?

  • Tom Wiley says:

    While I certainly think it sad and sick that someone would resort to shooting others for something like this, being a CWP carrier, I can't help but think that if someone there had been carrying, that the damage would have been much less. If crazy, violent people knew that sane, non-violent people might shoot back they might not do crazy violent things. The answer to cowardly acts is not more laws(that will just be broken anyway), or more prisons, it is for good people to fight back. The "bullies" of the world aren't used to that, and their true colors will show through when confronted with someone standing up for themselves.

  • Ray Dobson says:

    Cue guns nuts screaming that the other professors wouldn't have died if they'd all routinely pack heat at tenure review meetings in 5...4...3...2...1...

  • pinus says:

    Some guns are effective for home defense (shotgun with the proper loads). For those who do not live in the 'city' or the 'burbs' guns are important tools, much like chainsaws, for dispatching and defending livestock/farms and for obtaining food (hunting). Of course, chainsaws are not really used to commit acts of violence (other than in movies). That said, I think handguns are not quite as useful as tools. Sure, there is an argument to be made that if you are out on a ranch, it is hard to have a rifle/shotgun as easily available as a pistol, in case something comes at you. But, really...how many people does this apply to? Same goes with real assault weapons.
    And as far as somebody from fancy 'Harvard' getting shot down for tenure at some 'shithole south'. There are plenty of fancy ass PhD's from fancy ass schools who don't make it, while others from less esteemed places do make it. (as well as the opposite)

  • Cue guns nuts screaming that the other professors wouldn't have died if they'd all routinely pack heat at tenure review meetings in 5...4...3...2...1...

    You're three minutes too late.

  • pinus says:

    Also...for the record: firearms are illegal on most campuses I have trained at....so, even if there was a person who had concealed permit...they would not have had it with them. (unless I am mistaken)
    Also, I use the term 'shithole south' with a great deal of sarcasm, it is obnoxious to say the least.

  • TW says:

    So the only place to have a gun for self defense is on a ranch or in the wilderness? That's silly. I feel safer on a ranch or in the wilderness than in a city. People are afraid of guns because they don't know anything about them. I carry a gun because a cop is too heavy. An armed man will kill an unarmed man with monotonous regularity.

  • pinus says:

    TW,
    no. My primary point was that to a subclass of people (farmers, etc.) guns are really important tools. I think this is a major point that is often missed by people who have no exposure to this way of life (which is the majority of america).
    As to address your point:
    I don't know what kind of evidence is out there suggesting that people carrying handguns are 'safer' than those who do not in the city. Anecdotally, I have lived in several big cities, and I have never felt the need to carry a weapon for self-defense. I was taught from an early age that the best self-defense to keep your wits about you and pay attention to the world around you. sure, in that scenario, a person with a gun would easily kill me....but that just doesn't happen with any regularity. By all means, if you have some sort of real data that random firearm murders happen with regularity, or that carrying a handgun stops this activity, I would love to hear it. It would be a useful bit of information to have.

  • HOLY DOUBLE FUCKNOLY!!!!!

    Braintree Police Chief Paul Frazier confirmed today at a news conference that Amy Bishop had fatally shot her brother. But Frazier offered a different account of the shooting, saying Bishop had shot her brother during an argument and was being booked by police when the police chief at the time ordered the booking process stopped and Bishop released to her mother.
    Frazier said he was basing his statements on the memories of one of his officers who was on the department at the time and had arrested Bishop. He said the records from the case have been missing since at least 1988.
    “I don’t want to use the word ‘coverup’ … but this does not look good,” he said.
    . . . .
    Frazier said the media had been fed an incorrect story [about the 1986 shooting]. He said that there was an argument at the home on Hollis Avenue and Amy Bishop had fired three shots, then fled the house and pointed the shotgun at a motorist in an attempted carjack. She was then arrested at gunpoint by officers.

    This is from an updated version of the story I linked upthread:
    http://www.boston.com/news/local/breaking_news/2010/02/professor_accus.html

  • pinus says:

    How did she get a job? i had to go through a pretty extensive background check!

  • Namnezia says:

    Since this is an open thread, I'll throw this out there (probably against my best judgement). I was just browsing through the faculty page of the department and all the faculty that were shot were three out of the four underrepresented minorities in the department. It's probably just coincidence, but it caught my eye.

  • anonymous says:

    "three out of the four underrepresented minorities".
    It called my attention too and it is saddening. After reading the news at the Boston newspaper, it is also saddening that Dr Bishop did not get treatment when the first incident happened. And it is somehow disconcerting that while there is overmedication in the USA, so many people, who really need psychiatric treatment, get missed.

  • jeff says:

    Pinus--she was never charged with anything, though the current PD make it plain that there was a coverup, presumably due to status of her mother and father. Ergo, a background check would have revealed nothing.

  • Jim Thomerson says:

    Why do we hear of so many mass shootings in gun free zones?

  • Neuro-conservative says:

    According to the NY Times, Dr. Bishop had already been denied tenure and was on appeal.
    More details: She has 4 children. A cover-up is being alleged regarding the shooting of her brother.
    Her lab website is linked in the Times article. She has a burst of 3 publications (2 first-authored) in the past year, and no papers (other than two reviews) in the preceding 4 years.

  • jfwlucy says:

    In 1993 at the University of Iowa, a grad student (who does not deserve to be named) shot several people, including his adviser, upon having learned he was not to be awarded a prize he had wanted.
    The student was Chinese and his victims were mostly white. I don't believe racism was involved then, and I don't believe it is involved now.

  • Emu Sam says:

    I see an advertising campaign. "Your brain helps define who you are. Your brain is more important than your teeth. You go to the dentist twice a year to keep your teeth healthy. How often should you go to a brain doctor to keep your mind healthy?" Please include panel review to determine most effective of: brain doctor, counselor, psychologist, psychiatrist, shrink. Include repetition of "healthy mind" or equivalent (one phrase, several different contexts).

  • bikemonkey says:

    I was just browsing through the faculty page of the department and all the faculty that were shot were three out of the four underrepresented minorities in the department.
    http://www.uah.edu/biology/faculty.html
    http://www.waff.com/Global/story.asp?S=11978812
    looks more like 4 of 5 nonwhite faculty in the department (14 active plus one 'active emeritus') were shot. One white guy (critical condition) and one white admin (stable condition) were also shot. three of the nonwhite faculty died and the 4th is listed as stable condition.
    One would have to know what the purpose of the meeting was and the timing relative to Professor Bishop stepping off the sane train. It could very well be the case that this meeting just happened to have the largest collection of faculty she could find. Or they happened to be near the one or two she was most ticked off with. Considerably premature to start suspecting an attack on tan folk specifically. IMO.

  • DrugMonkey says:

    Police report on the death of Prof Bishop's brother is posted here:
    http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2010/02/13/Full1986Policereport/

  • Bruce Fuchs says:

    My own response to this tragic event is personal and not political and I don't want what has been lost to be ignored in all the speculation about someone who is a criminal, or perhaps, criminally insane.
    I was in graduate school at Indiana State University with Dr. Gopi K. Podila twenty-five years ago. He was a dedicated and talented scientist. He was also a warm and caring person with a great sense of humor. We lost touch after graduate school but I never forgot what a wonderful person he was.
    http://www.uah.edu/biology/podila.html
    He has left a wife, daughters, mother, brother, and a large number of friends and colleagues who are mourning his death.
    Bruce Fuchs, Ph.D.
    Bethesda, MD, USA

  • Jesus fuck, that cocakamamie story that Amy told the fucking cops as relayed in the police report is so patently absurd.

  • Neuro-conservative says:

    One of the deceased, Dr. Maria Ragland Davis, apparently had 3 graduate students, an undergraduate, and a post-doc working in her lab.

  • Passerby says:

    Well, sure, if all you hear about are how guns are used to kill people and not defend yourself, you'd think they were the most evil thing around.
    Just because you have a gun doesn't mean the moment you get pissed you're going to head out and kill people. Shall we outlaw knives as well? I mean, we don't want people to get stabbed, right?

  • Mick says:

    Sad story, my sympathies to the families of the decesead!

  • faithless says:

    Well, whoever was responsible for the alleged cover-up in the shooting of her brother can congratulate themselves that they are also responsible for the deaths and injuries inflicted by Ms Bishop amongst her academic colleagues. She should have been in jail serving time for murder.

  • faithless says:

    Anyone who thinks that 'guns aren't the problem, the academic tenure system is the problem' should consider how many academics have been shot for sacking a fellow academic in the world's other developed countries.
    I'm guessing NONE.

  • Well, sure, if all you hear about are how guns are used to kill people and not defend yourself, you'd think they were the most evil thing around.

    There are reasonably accurate numbers available for how many people are killed every year with guns in the US. The gun nuts have a *huge* incentive to arrive at reasonably accurate numbers for the number of times a private gun owner has successfully used a gun to prevent a serious crime. What are those numbers?

  • God Bless America, the land of the free. Sorry Americans but from a European's point of view your gun freedom is really scary. Free to carry, not free to live without being shot, it seems :/

    I am certain that you don't spend much time in Switzerland, where firearm ownership is basically mandatory, correct?
    Owning a gun is like carrying a hammer. Everything starts to look like a nail. Everything. It is not as much a matter of self-defense at it is an "equalizer."
    I agree that mental health is treated poorly in our society, with stigmas for the people who seek treatment being damaging enough to derail the Vice Presidential candidacy of R. Sargent Shriver;and it even became an issue for Michael and Kitty Dukakis. I don't know how it works in the academic world, but seeking treatment for mental health issues is something to keep mum about in the business world for career advancement reasons. Why can't we see it in the same way as getting treatment for phsyical ailments? Granted it is better now than when people were merely warehoused into asylums.
    I have sympathy for all of those involved in this tragedy.

  • I, like Biochem Belle, am from the deep "shithole" south. We had ivy league profs at both my undergrad and where I did my masters and none of them were ever picked on or had a negative rep for their ivy league connection. So Katharine, the rest of the deep "shithole" south and I have one simple message for you and sweeping generalities. We only judged our profs on teaching and research ability.
    FUCK YOU [expetive redacted].
    Now I'm gonna go get a SlimJim and go watch the Daytona 500.

  • gnuma says:

    Dude, that isn't cool.

  • Daniel J. Andrews says:

    Excellent comment, Genomic. Then you had to go and reinforce the southern stereotype with three capitalized misogynistic words. Least you didn't use "Say FU lil' lady".

  • Rater says:

    Let me get this straight. A woman who is successful successful inventor and business person shoots her fellow professors because she was denied tenure? That does not make sense.
    Can't tenure be secured at another university?
    There is something deeper, here. I suspect that her denial of tenure is somehow connected to usurping her invention.

  • DrugMonkey says:

    "usurping her invention" is somehow more deserving of premeditated murder than is tenure denial? that "makes sense" to you?

  • "usurping her invention" is somehow more deserving of premeditated murder than is tenure denial? that "makes sense" to you?

    Dude, I don't think the commenter is talking about "deserving of premeditated murder" in terms of justification, but rather is speculating about the likelihood of possible psychological *causes* of the murder. He speculates that for a successful inventor to be denied tenure is substantially less emotionally salient than to have her invention usurped, and thus the latter is more likely to have *caused* her to have gone off the deep end than the former.

  • anon says:

    I'm wondering if they denied her tenure because they didn't like her and wanted her to go away. Maybe that sounds simple-minded, but how many out there have voted to deny someone tenure because of personal differences?
    I'm sorry for the friends and families of the victims who are suffering through this horrible tragedy.

  • Rater says:

    "usurping her invention" is somehow more deserving of premeditated murder than is tenure denial? that "makes sense" to you?
    Absolutely not. I cited that as a reason, not justification. If the dispute were intellectual theft, then there are other avenues of resolution (more fruitful and lucrative), such as filing a lawsuit, than murder.
    Alas, this is another wake up call for civility among us, in the workplace, that will not be heeded.

  • Rater says:

    "I'm wondering if they denied her tenure because they didn't like her and wanted her to go away. Maybe that sounds simple-minded, but how many out there have voted to deny someone tenure because of personal differences?
    I'm sorry for the friends and families of the victims who are suffering through this horrible tragedy."

    It's not simple-minded. I have seen people forced out of an organization due to personality differences.
    If that were the case, that should have given her motivation to seek tenure elsewhere. Who wants to work at a job where you are not accepted or liked? Why go through that anguish?

  • Kathryn says:

    Thanks, Katharine, for completely dismissing such a large portion of this country as worthless. Bigot, look upon yourself and know who you are. News reports here in Alabama said the suspect appeared to be confused when she was arrested. Many things are adding up to serious mental illness. All the gun laws in the world likely wouldn't have kept this from happening because she is obviously not a rational person. Too bad no one caught on before she went over the edge.

  • All the gun laws in the world likely wouldn't have kept this from happening because she is obviously not a rational person.

    A gun law that would have prevented her from getting her hands on a 9mm handgun wouldn't have prevented her from shooting up the fucking place with a 9mm handgun and thereby killing and severely wounding a number of people? I'm confused about how that would work.

  • anon says:

    "Who wants to work at a job where you are not accepted or liked? Why go through that anguish?"
    Rater, it may not have been obvious to her that she wasn't liked. Or maybe her colleagues didn't make it obvious except in a circumstance where they could do so with anonymity. Or, she didn't care. It's all speculation anyway. Given that there are so few jobs out there - no matter how good one is or appears to be - it's easier in some cases to stay put.

  • Dale Headley says:

    This nutcase should have been put away years ago when she murdered her brother. At the very least, she should not have been allowed to possess firearms. But then, of course, the NRA would have raised holy hell.

  • daedalus2u says:

    Dr. Bishop is a NO researcher specializing in ALS and other neurodegenerative diseases. In looking at a few of her papers, she was on the right track, perhaps even on the verge of a conceptual breakthrough. She had shown that pretreatment with low levels of NO induced resistance to higher (and toxic) levels of NO later. One of her most recent papers is (I think) quite a conceptual breakthrough. I think she appreciated that, but that others did not. On her website, the citation is:
    Bishop A., Green-Hobbs K., Eguchi A., Pennie C., Anderson J.E., Estévez A. Differential sensitivity of oligodendrocytes and motor neurons to reactive nitrogen species: a new paradigm for the etiology of Multiple Sclerosis (2009). Journal of Neurochemistry. (109) 93-104. [PDF]
    the PubMed citation is:
    Bishop A, Hobbs KG, Eguchi A, Jeffrey S, Smallwood L, Pennie C, Anderson J, Estévez AG. Differential sensitivity of oligodendrocytes and motor neurons to reactive nitrogen species: implications for multiple sclerosis. J Neurochem. 2009 Apr;109(1):93-104. Epub 2009 Jan 19.
    I suspect that the editors and reviewers didn't want the term “paradigm” in the title.
    I think she would have gotten to what I think is the correct endpoint, that ALS (and all the other neurodegenerative diseases) are (very likely) caused by not enough NO in the time leading up to when the damage occurs, rather than too much NO causing the damage.
    Her review paper of 2005 is pretty conventional, saying that NO can have both beneficial and pathological activities. I think her later work was leading to the conclusion that I have, that what are perceived to be toxic effects of “too much” NO, are actually (virtually always) caused by too little NO.
    The startup she was working in wasn't involved in her NO research, that was a tissue culture-type start-up. Her husband was involved in that start-up too. I don't think the invention and the startup is the justification, I think it is the NO research. I think it is this patent application
    http://www.wipo.int/pctdb/en/wo.jsp?WO=2009152483
    Where she claims treating and preventing neurodegenerative diseases with a NO generator. This is the correct approach, and would be effective. The only practical NO generator is the bacteria that I am working with which have already been disclosed for this purpose and patented. If this patent issued, it would be a very valuable one. I don't think it will because I have already disclosed it.
    I don't know how research at universities works, if she was forced out, could she take her research grants and lab elsewhere? Or does the university just kick her out the door?

  • Kathryn says:

    Comrade, are you just that deluded? You really believe that a law that makes a thing illegal makes that thing unobtainable? And that a mentally ill person would abide by that law? Seriously?

  • Comrade, are you just that deluded? You really believe that a law that makes a thing illegal makes that thing unobtainable? And that a mentally ill person would abide by that law? Seriously?

    Are you that incapable of reading English that you completely misunderstood what I wrote?

  • Joe says:

    Yow, Comrade, settle down. Kathryn makes a reasonable point.
    Here in Chicago, handguns and automatic weapons have been banned within the city limits since 1983. Every year hundreds of people are killed with handguns in Chicago. You can't just shout 'gun laws', CPP, as if that were an easy fix. It's not. Gun laws don't prevent gun murders any more than all the stupid airport hassles put in place since 9/11 stop terrorism. Both approaches just let politicians say they're 'doing something', and help shallow thinkers feel better/safer.
    This table is fascinating: http://www.guncite.com/gun_control_gcgvintl.html
    Note that guns are as common in Norway as they are in the U.S., but the firearm homocide rate is a tenth of that in the U.S. Homocide rates in many other countries are higher than in the U.S., despite much fewer guns.
    Regarding the comments about Switzerland, above, according to the table (and my own experience there) it is NOT correct to say that virtually every Swiss household has guns. In fact, the % of households with guns is much lower in Switzerland than in the U.S. Interestingly, the number of gun homocides per capita is lower in Switzerland, compared to the U.S., although the overall homocide rate is higher.

  • Joe says:

    ...although I should point out that the Swiss are primarily killing themselves.

  • daedalus2u says:

    What CPP said:
    A gun law that would have prevented her from getting her hands on a 9mm handgun wouldn't have prevented her from shooting up the fucking place with a 9mm handgun and thereby killing and severely wounding a number of people? I'm confused about how that would work.
    is correct. A gun law that would have prevented her from getting her hands on a gun would have prevented her from firing that gun, a gun has to be in one's hands in order to be fired. A gun law that did not prevent her from getting her hands on a gun would not have worked. Obviously all existing gun laws did not prevent her from getting her hands on a gun because she did get her hands on a gun.

  • Daedalus2u, you are to be commended for your excellent reading comprehension!

  • CCPhysicist says:

    Let's remember that people are talking about an explanation, not an excuse. You know, what police and prosecutors call "motive". Nothing excuses killing the people that someone thinks have ruined her life, but I thought the most interesting comment was one that appeared in an MSNBC story and an AP article I read in our paper:
    William Setzer, chairman of chemistry department at UAH, said Bishop was appealing a tenure decision made last year.
    "Politics and personalities" always play a role in the tenure process, he said. "In a close department it's more so. If you have any lone wolves or bizarre personalities, it's a problem and I'm thinking that certainly came into play here."

    I don't think I am reading too much between the lines here to wonder if the grounds for denying tenure were not entirely objective. Did she feel used when she was denied tenure after being put on the cover of a research magazine? Was she told one thing about research -vs- teaching verbally and another in the final tenure review? It wouldn't be the first time any of those things happened in the world of academic politics. None of that explains why she wouldn't be a good candidate elsewhere, but did the university own the rights to that invention so she couldn't use it to help land another job?
    And, finally, did she think she would get away with an "accidental" shooting twice in the same lifetime?

  • HOLY MOTHER OF GOD!!!! Now there’s a report that Bishop was a suspect in the attempted letter-bombing of a faculty member at Harvard who she thought was going to render a negative evaluation of her doctoral dissertation research.
    http://www.boston.com/news/local/breaking_news/2010/02/ala_slay_suspec

  • Joe says:

    Whoa! A letter bomb! Why in fuck's sake do we continue to allow crazy people to send mail?
    The U.S. needs to stop this postal service shit ASAP, before more people get hurt.

  • anonymous says:

    I honestly think that Dr Bishop sounds like a very spoiled woman used to get her way no matter what. She has not learned yet that adversity is part of life and part of every human life ( losing a job, being denied tenure, being rejected by a committee or a group of people etc). I think that her mind is OK. Unfortunately too late to learn what she should have learned as a child and as a youngster. This is a case for the whole country to learn how devastating our inaction can be when educating at all levels.
    She deserves to be locked and let her, for the rest of her life, use her intelligence to understand what it takes to adapt to difficult circumstances. It is terribly sad to realize how much pain and devastation she has caused in all these families.

  • daedalus2u says:

    The NYT reports that her husband is saying that she won her appeal, that the reveiw board said to either give her tenure or redo the process and the administrator over ruled and denied it.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/15/us/15alabama.html?hp

  • Bishop's publication and funding record is very weak, and would not merit tenure in the biomedical sciences at any elite institution.

  • Neuro-conservative says:

    But her institution was R15-eligible, so it probably is not an "elite" institution. We do not know what standards were applied to Bishop or to other recently-evaluated faculty.

  • whimple says:

    Yeah baby! UA-Huntsville just joined the ranks of the elite!

  • Neuro-conservative says:

    Whimple -- I think CPP's comment was really designed to remind us (and himself) that he is at an "elite" institution and that his track record is strong.

  • Rater says:

    HOLY MOTHER OF GOD!!!! Now there’s a report that Bishop was a suspect in the attempted letter-bombing of a faculty member at Harvard who she thought was going to render a negative evaluation of her doctoral dissertation research.
    http://www.boston.com/news/local/breaking_news/2010/02/ala_slay_suspec

    Can you say, "bullshit"? Law enforcement's investigations in 1986 and 1993 regarding this woman is complete and utter bullshit.

  • Neuro-conservative says:

    Apparently, her mother is very well connected, and her family is extremely wealthy.

  • Gummibears says:

    "HOLY MOTHER OF GOD!!!! Now there’s a report that Bishop was a suspect in the attempted letter-bombing"
    "It's also a problem of our society that so many people are packing fucking letters in envelopes."

  • anon says:

    I think we can all agree that America has a gun violence problem. Lots of Americans own guns and lots of people get shot. Lots of Swiss and Canadians and Australians and Welsh etc etc also own guns but not many people get shot.
    The clear rational response to this is exactly what the NRA says "guns don't kill people. American's kill people".
    We need to ban Americans.
    Or more sensibly get rid of the guns, perhaps?

  • anonymous says:

    What the reports seem to indicate so far is that what Dr Bishop couldn't get through family privilege, she tried to get it with a gun or similar means.
    Power and, in its absence, violence is a way of understanding how society works !. This is not mental illness. It is a devastating and dehumanizing philosophy.

  • daedalus2u says:

    It looks like it was more about intellectual property than about tenure.
    http://www.surchur.com/tb/amy%20bishop%20anderson/http://zennie2005.blogspot.com/2010/02/dr-amy-bishop-of-alabama-huntsville_14.html
    The treatment for ALS that was talked about is increasing NO levels. That will work. This article seems to suggest that she could also culture neurons and get them to form neural networks that could actually do things.

  • ginger says:

    My sympathies to the families and colleagues of the deceased, and to everyone trying to work in what will be a disaster of a department for some time to come. (Grantwriting, research, faculty/student/staff recruitment - yeah, having junior faculty go rogue gets in the way of those critical functions.)
    Daedalus2u: I'm sure your question's been answered by now, but NIH grants are released to the institution, not the individual, so if a PI changes institutions s/he has to get the grant tranferred to the new institution. The R15 Dr. Bishop held is in part specifically to improve research capacity of the institution, so it's unlikely it would have gone with her if she moved. Patents get tricky as hell - usually institutions these days force you to sign paperwork at hire that releases any intellectual property you develop while you work there to the institution, if there's any evidence at all the institution fostered your work.
    About gun control in this case: even with access to lab reagents, there aren't a lot of ways to immediately kill a lot of people other than firearms and explosives. If Dr. Bishop hadn't had a firearm, she would have had to go to considerably greater lengths to respond instantly to the committee with this degree of violence.
    About the argument that an armed lab is a polite lab: there is no way to do science well with violent colleagues. An environment in which people feel unsafe to the point of carrying weapons is not an interdisciplinary cooperative one.

  • daedalus2u says:

    Thanks ginger, the patent application I linked to, really would be a hyper-valuable patent if it issued, and was developed. The University did own it, so unless they decided to allow her to work on it she could have been shut-out.

  • Solomon Rivlin says:

    The threat of killing in academia by faculty members who are unqualified for tenure is another good reason to do away with the tenure system. It is surely easier to get rid of that stupid system that allows deadwood to fill our universities than to get rid of guns.
    It never cease to facinate me how Americans equate their freedom with gun ownership. There are more firearm fatalities among gun owners who purchased firearms for self defense purposes due to accidents than from attempts to defend ones life or property.
    Americans seems to be trigger-happy and more aggressive in their daily life than other people in the developed countries. The Old-West mentality is alive and well in America. To somehow claim that a knife could do the damage that a gun does is another misconception that those who do not believe in gun control are spreading around.

  • ginger says:

    The threat of killing is a reason to get rid of tenure? Surely not. There are large problems with the tenure system, but that's not an important one. It affects an almost immeasurably low proportion of tenure decisions. Moreover, it attributes the decision to shoot someone (crazy) to employee disgruntlement (often reasonable). Should we stop firing people at other jobs because sometimes they go nuts and shoot people? No. We should try to make the workplace generally safe, try to recognize and treat those with the potential for violence before they get so frustrated they crack, try to ensure that workplaces don't unnecessarily add to worker stress. But all that has to happen within reason.
    Again, there are lots of reasons to consider abolishing tenure, possibly including the *unnecessary* addition to worker stress - but potential murder by those denied tenure isn't among them. That leaves us open for the parallel argument that we should abolish thesis defenses because a failing student shot his committee.

  • Solomon Rivlin says:

    ginger,
    I'm sorry you did not dig the tongue-in-cheek comment of mine. Please read some of my comments on the issue of tenure in previous posts here.

  • markmorriss says:

    anon@88: rather unlikely that 'lots of Welsh' people own guns. Firearms are flat-out illegal in the UK.

  • ginger says:

    But you sounded so sincere about the gun control.

  • anon says:

    Firearms are not illegal in the United Kingdom. That's bullshit. They allegedly (It's wiki afterall) rank 29th ahead of Iran and Nigeria.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_gun_ownership

  • markmorriss says:

    Anon@97: no, really. They're banned. I (or any other average citizen) could no more buy a gun here than fly to the moon.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gun_politics_in_the_United_Kingdom
    Our Olympic shooting teams have to train abroad!

  • I'm sorry you did not dig the tongue-in-cheek comment of mine.

    Shitlin, your tongue isn't in your cheek; your head is up your fucking ass. Go bother your grandchildren. Adults are trying to have a discussion here.

  • Solomon Rivlin says:

    ginger,
    I'm serious about gun control, I was joking about the tenure system and I'm ignoring the infantile CPP.

  • whimple says:

    Nevertheless whether the tenure system puts too much pressure on people pre-tenure and not enough pressure on people post-tenure is still worth examining.

  • Neuro-conservative says:

    Have people been reading the Chronicle of Higher Ed? Lots of new details emerging.

  • Joe says:

    markmorris: There is not a blanket ban on guns in England. Just a strict licensing law, not dissimilar to the (weaker) ones here in the U.S. I've gone to local fairs in Northern England where you can shoot guns at skeet and targets for a few pounds. Britain has a dearth of mammalian wildlife (compared to North America), but tourists can pay to shoot it with fair ease.
    Of course a few hunting weapons in the hands of rich sporting folk are different from being able to walk out of Walmart with a semiautomatic pistol like we can here. But there's guns in the UK. Hell, Northern Ireland is (technically) UK, and they have plenty of shootings. Call it war, whatever. The street gangs in Rio or here in Chicago say that too. The real problem is, as pointed out above, our culture. American culture is very violent. We celebrate violence. We admire violence. Our heros all solve problems through violence. How successful do you think a show like 'Walker, Texas Negotiator' would be? Because we value violence as an answer to problems, we tend to get violent when frustrated, and sometimes we kill people, and when we kill people we often do it with guns, in part because they are effective and relatively easy to obtain.
    There are no easy answers here. The NRA is right when it says 'guns don't kill people', and gun control advocates are right when they say that fewer guns would reduce homocide rates. But neither arming everybody nor nobody will stop Americans from occasionally killing each other. The answer to Amy Bishop is two-fold:
    1) We need to identify and treat people who are likely to kill before they crack. There were obviously red flags about Amy Bishop, and her apparent instability may have been a factor in the department's desire to get rid of her. She was handled completely wrong.
    2) We need to change our culture so that killing people never seems like a reasonable or effective option. It wasn't for Amy Bishop. It isn't for anybody. Heros kill all the bad guys and walk away clean only in movies. Did you every wonder whether it might be perverse that we ban kids under 16 from seeing naked breasts or hearing a few 'fucks' in movies, but think it's OK for 5 year olds to absorb the idea that violence solves problems (does not every Disney movie end in a climactic graphic battle between good and evil?) and for 10 year olds to blow people's heads off to win video games every day? We train people to kill when frustrated, and then we wonder why they do it. Absurd.

  • katherine10 says:

    I don’t think that Bishop’s killing spree has anything to do with targeting minorities. It might have to do with her narcissistic sense of smartness and her inability to cope with the fact that there are always talented people around, who should not be perceived as a threat.
    She did not target Dr Lawton, the chairman of her tenure committee, who was at the meeting. Yet, she targeted Dr Maria Davis, an accomplished plant biochemist with a stronger record of publications than hers and a collaborator with Gopi Podila, PhD, chair of the department, who was also killed.
    Dr Maria Davis had also been a winning finalist in a statewide university business competition (see below).
    Dr Bishop has been shown signs of extreme self-centeredness since her youth, killing her younger brother, a violinist and recipient of several science awards.
    She is suspect on a dangerous package sent to one of her doctorate committee professor, presumably because he might have questioned her performance and achievements.
    Now she has killed several colleagues with better records than hers.
    What kind of “scientific genius” is she ?.
    It is also disappointing to hear ABC news reporter talking of Bishop as “ having a hard time grasping reality”. Are we helping her to prepare a potential defense as “mentally imbalanced”?. This is just pure crap. She is having a hard time in accepting that there might be people, around her, better than she is. Her problem is that of jealousy, lack of self-control and discipline. She did not learn it at the right time. She should learn it now in jail.
    From Bishop website at the UAH (Press release)
    Amy Bishop incubates winning business idea
    A company created to bring to market the portable cell incubator invented by a UAH biology professor and her husband placed third in a recent statewide university business plan competition and won $25,000 to help the company get started.
    Another finalist, AT Biosciences, LLC, includes Dr. Maria Davis, also an assistant biology professor.”

  • katherine10, so far as I am aware, we are not currently in possession of any information whatoever about whether she specifically "targeted" the people in the room who got shot, or rather whether she was just firing randomly around the room.

  • Anonymous says:

    CPP,
    You might be right. Then we cannot say either that she targeted minorities.

  • katherine10 says:

    Oops, I wrote #106

  • I have never said she "targeted" anyone specifically in that room.

  • katherine10 says:

    CPP,
    You did not. But the topic of minorities and hate crime were the first things were said on the internet. And also that her tenure denial was because she came from Harvard.

  • Pinus says:

    According to a professor in their, she was going to kill everybody. Graphic. (got link via terra sig comments)
    http://collegelife.freedomblogging.com/2010/02/15/former-uci-student-escapes-mass-killing/16281/

  • DSKS says:

    Actually, one of the first comments I saw on about this event via Google was some fool pointing out that Dr. Bishop didn't look "native" born, which was both tragic and hilarious on disparate levels.
    "Americans seems to be trigger-happy and more aggressive in their daily life than other people in the developed countries."
    Well, a small fraction of Americans are perhaps more trigger-happy, and thus the extreme results of their violence are consequentially a little more severe than in country's with more muscular arms control. But Americans aren't necessarily more aggressive, and in fact, on the whole, they seem a lot more mellow than my own countrymen back on The Island*. In fact, I've grown quite soft here and I'm not sure I could still handle myself on a typical Friday night in Salisbury anymore.
    * Except Bostonians; those fuckers are up for it all the time.

  • BikeMonkey says:

    Katherine10 the issue came up because 4 of 5 apparent nonwhites out of 14 profs were shot. It pops out. The target selection may have depended on the timing of a meeting that brought those faculty together on the wrong day. Or, the ethnicity may have contributed. I'd say the scenarios are equally un/likely. Until we know more about the shooter's motivations.

  • Mr. Justice says:

    on the whole, they seem a lot more mellow than my own countrymen back on The Island.
    We Americans only seem mellow because we have the quiet confidence one gets from knowing we can blow your brains out should you cross the line. Everyone around will assume you had it coming.
    Go see The Book of Eli. That flick sums up the American mindset very well. Denzel looks mellow too, doesn't he? Until he kills you to protect his fucking Bible.

  • anon says:

    Markmorris
    You seem to have a reading comprehension issue. Go and actually read the wiki article you cited.
    If a government licenses a product that means it is not illegal.

  • Solomon Rivlin says:

    DSKS,
    There's no other developed country in the world that has got itself involved in wars of choice for the majority of the past six decades with no end in site. This legacy could be described as trigger-happiness and aggressiveness, a legacy that has affected most Americans for the past three generations.

  • whimple says:

    Guns vs. butter... DON'T MAKE ME CHOOSE!

  • Neuro-conservative says:

    Sol -- It is outrageous for you to turn the actions of one depraved individual into an indictment of this nation. Perhaps you would prefer that we were a nation of passive sheep who would lie down for the Nazis, the Communists, Al Qaeda, etc. Your attempt to be a cool, left-wing, America-bashing academic is truly pathetic.

  • Smeglin is a senile gibbering fuck-up, not to be taken seriously.

  • Solomon Rivlin says:

    Neuro-conservative,
    You're really pathetic, buying into this propaganda of fighting communism in Korea and Vietnam, fighting freedom in Grenada and Panama, fighting Al Qaeda in Iraq, etc. This country is full of Amy Bishops who have free access to firearms and learn to use them to solve their problems. Our previous President had no qualms about expressing that very attitude and his vice president and many others on the conservative side continue today to express it. None of the wars the US had fought over the past six decades, except, maybe, the war in Afghanistan, was a war that was force on her or a defensive war. They were all wars of choice led by the bully attitude so typical of the American psyche. You can always try to justify those wars with the propaganda BS the Americans have been sold on for decades. At the end, it is just that, propaganda. The availability of guns in America, combined with the aggressive attitude almost inherited by now in so many of us, is the combination that affords the Amy Bishops to leave home with a packed gun to go to a faculty meeting and solve their personal issues by killing people. Amy Bishop's is not a singular case. This case repeats itself every day in this country.

  • Neuro-conservative says:

    Yes, what a nasty country we are. I am sure the people of South Korea would prefer to be living under the beneficent Dear Leader, whose father so generously offered them the possibility of unification 6 decades ago. Similarly, the Vietnamese boat people were so much better off once those evil GI's took off in their helicopters. Surely, the people of Rwanda are most blessed to have avoided our wicked depredations.
    You are so clever to have seen through all of the propaganda, although I worry that you may be succumbing on the question of Afghanistan. How dare you consider the possibility that the kindly, innocent Taliban deserved their brutal rape at the hands of Amerikkkan stormtroopers?

  • Solomon Rivlin says:

    Neuro-conservative,
    You and I seem to regress from the topic at hand. When stormtroopers are concerned, I will advise you to avoid using such comparisns, even for an argument sake, with what my family had to endure from the real ones. You have suspiciously avoided mentioning any comment on the invasion of Iraq (twice) the invasion of Grenada Reagn), the invasion of Panama (Bush I) and other unnecessary interventions by American forces in different parts of the world.

  • katherine10 says:

    @ Neuro-conservative #117
    “Sol -- It is outrageous for you to turn the actions of one depraved individual into an indictment of this nation”
    I think it is not outrageous, but wise, to turn the actions of an egotistic, “privileged-spoiled” individual into a call for reflection to this nation.
    Sol appears to know her/his history rather well and a productive step would be to use those history and recent lessons to design an educational module to teach in schools at all levels
    Self-criticism versus aggression: addressing our weaknesses to empower our strengths.
    Study cases based on personal stories as well as community/nation stories.
    What are the gains for every option?.
    Whenever these awful events happen we tend to rely on "soft counseling" to heal. There is much more to be done for healing to be effective.

  • Cashmoney says:

    Did you two dingdongs just Godwin the Open Thread? You did, didn't you....

  • katherine10 says:

    Drugmonkey,
    I don't think it is fair that your posters are allowed to use illegible language. It turns out that now some of the words are not even found at the urban dictionary. If you need to have people leaving your blog for good, just keep going. That strategy is not very inclusive.
    Thanks.
    PS. I am just trying to avoid overloading you with work ( increasing and updating your glossary)

  • DrugMonkey says:

    katherine10- whut? what "illegible language"? you mean lolspeak? grant-game jargon? plain bad writing? are you kidding me?

  • Gotta tell you chatty Kathy, I love the illegible language. It may be a little OTT but OMG WTF its banging.

  • DSKS says:

    Amy Bishop ------> Guns Germs and Steel
    Meanwhile, aboard the Starship Inductive Reasoning...
    "I'm giving her all she's got, but she cannae take it captain! SHE'S BREAKING UP! WE DON'T HAVE THE POWER"

  • katherine10 says:

    Genomic Repairman,
    You may have fun with "illegible language". I have fun when I understand what my co-posters are saying so that we can exchange views and enrich ourselves in the process.
    Look at # 128. Do you have a clue as to what DSKS is saying ?. I don't.
    Fessa

  • cookingwithsolvents says:

    Katherine, I know that signal to noise is important in any thread, however: http://xkcd.com/386/
    The details that have come out about the potential bombing and the mishandling of the 1986 shooting (including the police chief now agreeing that SOMETHING was mishandled) make this all the more tragic.
    I am waiting for details about where/how she got the gun, as that will likely seal the deal for her ability to plead insanity or not. I am also very interested in how the IP/startup is handled from the perspective of how IP is handled when someone is denied tenure. Could the school really have pulled the IP license her startup?

  • Pinus says:

    Neuroconservative,
    The sad reality is the most of the USA has been lying down and taking the erosion of our civil liberties, made up reasons to go to war and executive branch ordered torturing. I don't think that owning guns has done anything to stop this. It isn't an assault on our bodies, made with guns and bullets, but rather an assault on our minds, made with propaganda and fear. It reminds me of a quote from a war criminal, Herman Goerring, in the mid part of the last century:
    "Naturally the common people don't want war: Neither in Russia, nor in England, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, IT IS THE LEADERS of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is TELL THEM THEY ARE BEING ATTACKED, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. IT WORKS THE SAME IN ANY COUNTRY."

  • katherine10 says:

    Hi there,
    You have a very appropriate surname "Cooking solvents"
    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHHHHHHHHHHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA
    Truly yours
    F e s s a

  • Actually Katherine10 I do understand what DSKS is saying. He's referencing the popular novel and the fact that Bishop lost her fucking mind.

  • daedalus2u says:

    Actually the terms that DSKS uses are more prescient than he realizes. What causes acute psychosis is insufficient power (ATP generation rate). It really is the result of the engines (mitochondria) being so overloaded that they cannae take it anymore.

  • Namnezia says:

    Some additional strangeness - I was looking at Amy Bishop's latest publication in the so called "International Journal of General Medicine" and if you look at the author list, the third three authors are Amy Bishop's daughters, all listed as affiliated with the husband's company "Cherokee Lab Systems":
    http://www.dovepress.com/effects-of-selective-serotonin-reuptake-inhibitors-on-motor-neuron-sur-peer-reviewed-article-IJGM
    If you use Google Street View to see the location of Cherokee Labs (2103 McDowling Dr, Huntsville AL), it looks like a normal residential street.
    Are these people essentially doing all of their science in the basement of their house, using their kids as techs!?!
    This may have a reasonable explanation - but still...

  • DrugMonkey says:

    Namnezia, it would be kind of cute and interesting if it were a Science Fair project or even home project that was at least decent enough to pass some sort of peer review.
    with that said, the oversight and regulatory issues make me *very* nervous. If they did it in her regular lab with all the local permissions for having minors involved, great. If at home and there would otherwise be big personnel training, EH&S, etc issues involved...very bad.

  • k10 says:

    How can that be if the daughters are tens?. Maybe they are husband's sisters ?

  • Namnezia says:

    k10: No, there was an article about the family in, I think, the Boston Globe, and those are definitely the daughters...

  • k10 says:

    Thanks Namnezia. This reminds me of a question that I've often asked myself. How could a scientist, no longer affiliated with an academic institution per se, submit a scientific review for publication ?. Is academic affiliation a condition si ne qua non a paper can be submitted for pub?

  • whimple says:

    Is academic affiliation a condition si ne qua non a paper can be submitted for pub?
    The short answer is that no, academic affiliation is not a prerequisite for a peer reviewed publication. Companies publish in the primary literature all the time for example, and I have even seen the occasional home address affiliation used on rare occasion from time to time.

  • shj says:

    Nice catch, Namnezia. That journal isn't indexed by PubMed.

  • As I already alluded to, the shooter's academic accomplishments were a fucking joke.

  • k10 says:

    Yes Namnezia. That was a very useful catch. I am disappointed at the lack of objectivity that we all sometimes show. There is a post on The Scientist "Science crime" suggesting that Bishop's problems started at her postdoc lab at Harvard.

  • Gummibears says:

    I have found a story that details the event and describes the quite remarkable behavior of the other faculty members. Here is what happened:
    "Ng told the AP the shooting stopped almost as soon as it started. He said the gun seemed to jam and he and others rushed Bishop out of the room and then barricaded the door shut with a table."
    "Yes, Amy, please go and shoot someone else, not us! Why not aim at some students?" No further comments, except noting that this commendable abhorrence toward violence in any form would be without doubt shared by many Colleagues commenting here.

  • zoubl says:

    cpp- see comment #69. what's the joke here? Are you dissing J Neurochem? UA Huntsville?

  • Anonymous says:

    Gummibears,
    could you please provide the link to that story ?

  • Gummibears says:

    The comment with the link was automatically held for moderation. Let's try again:
    ca.news.yahoo.com/s/capress/100216/world/us_university_shooting

  • anonymous says:

    Thanks gummibears. I had seen that report before and could not recall Prof Ng commenting on anyone saying
    ""Yes, Amy, please go and shoot someone else, not us! Why not aim at some students?"
    So, I don't understand where this comment comes from and your further statement:
    "No further comments, except noting that this commendable abhorrence toward violence in any form would be without doubt shared by many Colleagues commenting here"
    Do you mind explaining it ?.

  • Gummibears says:

    Anonymous: I have merely translated the ACTIONS of these professors into words. The actual quote from the story detailing the events has been clearly made distinct, by placing it in a separate paragraph and italicizing. The comment ("Yes, Amy...") to this unbelievable act of selfishness and cowardice is mine.

  • anonymous says:

    Gummibears,
    Obviously, you and I have different readings/interpretations of the facts and actions reported by the associated press. I, honestly, do not consider an act of selfishness and cowardice to have pushed Bishop out of the room. I have not received a "call for martyrdom" and understand than others, in a room with 3 colleagues dead and three others fatally wounded, would choose to interrupt Bishop's activity, called the police and ambulance, to save the wounded and their own lives.

  • The opinion of random douchebags on the Internet concerning the "bravery", or lack thereof, of the responses of a room full of people who just got shot at by a lunatic and watched as a bunch of their colleagues went down is less than worthless.

  • bikemonkey says:

    Oh come on PP! Heroic leaps across the table to roundhouse the gat out of the hand of the shooter is easy peasy! I see it on the teevee all the time and the hero saves the rest of the victims and never gets shot.

  • ginger says:

    What, you mean you guys don't practice your martial arts skills in conference rooms full of weeping, bloodied colleagues, in anticipation of just such an event?
    In the Swedish art of Ikeasten, the relevant move is Yellow Swan Among the Willows - disarming a right-handed female when her gun appears to jam, with a body blow from a cheap rolling chairs and a flurry of attacks to the head with dusty symposium proceedings.
    It's all in the disaster preparedness manual from HR.

  • Gummibears says:

    "Heroism". "Martial arts". Convenient excuses, nothing else. If you can push someone out, you can equally well hold that someone and wait for the police. What you do depends on WHO YOU ARE. Ordinary people (e.g. airline passengers on numerous recent occasions) somehow manage to act rationally and efficiently (and this is appropriately later called heroism). Our academic "elites", taken out of their ivory towers and scared shitless, do the absolutely worst thing, and later spin this cowardice and mindless selfishness into "heroism" (this is exactly what Professor Ng is saying). This speaks volumes about the moral condition of these elites, including the Commenters who apparently feel certain kinship...

  • antipodean says:

    People on airliners have a bit of time to think up a plan.
    Most people when in a surprising a fearful situation they were not expecting do what I'd probably do.
    They fucking freeze in terror.
    Fuck knows what you'd do in such a situation Gummibears but I fucking doubt it would be Chuck Norris impressions.

  • ginger says:

    Where I come from, Gummibears, we have a phrase for what you're doing: "Monday-morning quarterbacking". You can be as high-and-mighty as you like about elitism and courage, but you have not the faintest goddamn idea what you would really do if you were daydreaming in a faculty meeting and someone you thought you knew suddenly shot several other people in the head. The smell of cordite and copper and shit, the ringing in your ears, the total confusion - yeah, I'm sure your ability to evaluate consequences would be at its peak.
    I don't know if it constituted heroism to shove the lady out the door - it mostly just moved the problem - but it did certainly remove her from the wounded, and it brought her spree to a halt. How is that the worst thing?

  • Graham says:

    Gummibears, I'd like to see you personally disregard your own life and limb and disarm a gunman who has just shot and killed your friends and colleagues sitting beside you.
    If they had time to think and plan, then it could be considered an act of cowardice to have deliberately endagered others - especially students - in order to save themselves. But considering how fast it all happened, they probably were not thinking and just reacting blindly. thus, calling it an act of selfishness and cowardice is inappropriate because there was no deliberate intention to sacrifice others in order to save themselves. But...by the same reasoning it should not be called an act of heroism either. Just plain survival instinct kicking in.

  • Where I come from, Gummibears, we have a phrase for what you're doing: "Monday-morning quarterbacking".

    This is more aptly referred to as "keyboard commandoing". It's very easy for ineffectual losers like gummidouche to experience pulsating feelings of courage, heroism, and power typing stories into the Internet from the safety of their parents' basements about how they would totally be all like those manly muscular "heroes" they see on teevee shows.

  • cookingwithsolvents says:

    There have been hints all over this that she comes from wealth and privilege. Any word on who her "family" is in the Boston area? All these new stories about her past and the way the case was (mis)handled kind of stink of somebody powerful keeping the rest of her family out of the papers. . .

  • basement parent says:

    Gummibears doesn't appear to have to write from her/his parent's basement. Gummibears might be someone writing from her grant desk, all heroic and successful, and blaming everybody else for being at fault for trying to survive.

  • pinus says:

    It is totally reprehensible and disgusting to suggest that they didn't do the right thing.

  • whimple says:

    This is more aptly referred to as "keyboard commandoing". It's very easy for ineffectual losers like gummidouche to experience pulsating feelings of courage, heroism, and power typing stories into the Internet from the safety of their parents' basements about how they would totally be all like those manly muscular "heroes" they see on teevee shows.
    It's ironic of you to write this PP, because this is exactly the feeling I get about you from any of your various commentaries on science. 😉

  • It's ironic of you to write this PP, because this is exactly the feeling I get about you from any of your various commentaries on science. 😉

    Yup. You totally got me. I'm not really an NIH-funded PI running a laboratory in a private medical school. I just make all this shit up.

  • Solomon Rivlin says:

    whimple,
    PP is an NIH-funded PI running a laboratory in a private medical school and thus his opinions and knowledge trump yours. Don't ever forget it!

  • whimple says:

    No danger of that. He never lets anyone forget it. 🙂

  • DSKS says:

    If I had been in that room I would have totally gone John Woo on the shooter. Intermittent bursts of slo-mo, some doves scattering, rippling bullets trails cutting through the air all around the well-toned muscular curves of my tweed jacket; my body, like a panther, now dancing up and along the wall with dual Glocks blazing forth Justice, Decency and irresistible manliness ... "And you will know my name is the Lord when I lay my vengeance upon thee!" &c. I would be awesome.
    Ginger said,
    "It's all in the disaster preparedness manual from HR."
    Hell, you should write that manual, it would probably shift some copies. And some of those old JBC tomes could probably stop a 9mm, now you mention it.

  • (former) Lt. Anonymous says:

    Most people, whether trained or not, shit their pants under extreme stress and feel guilty about it later. You don't hear about this.
    Untrained people generally freeze, act irrationally based on prior (possibly irrelevant) experience, and are usually extremely suggestible. 'Freeze' and 'Drop your weapon' actually do often work.
    Trained people default to their training, which is why training is important. All those boring drills pay off.
    Other common phenomena under extreme stress include tunnel vision, selective hearing loss, and time distortion.
    The email report by one victim was typical with regard to survivor guilt, and the actions of the surviving faculty were extremely respectable.
    Recent research suggests debriefing/counseling should happen within hours of the traumatic event to best avoid PTSD. 'Give 'em a day...' is not good advice.

  • DrugMonkey says:

    Most people, whether trained or not, shit their pants under extreme stress and feel guilty about it later. You don't hear about this.
    Yeah, can't imagine why John Woo never includes that scene...
    but yeah, this tough-guy armchair hero stuff is pretty annoying.
    I was wondering about the PTSD myself. These poor people who witnessed this are going to have a rough, rough time ahead. hopefully they are not reading the intertoobs.
    And since the shooter did not take the suicide or blaze-of-glory path this is going to play out for a least a decade of prosecution/appeal/etc. brutal.

  • PP is an NIH-funded PI running a laboratory in a private medical school and thus his opinions and knowledge trump yours.

    Scumlin, I have never claimed that my professional status implies that my opinions "trump" anyone else's opinions, you blithering fuck-up. Go bother your grandchildren; the continent adults are trying to have a substantive conversation.

  • whimple says:

    And since the shooter did not take the suicide or blaze-of-glory path this is going to play out for a least a decade of prosecution/appeal/etc. brutal.
    We could certainly avoid all of this kind of drama if the T&P committees would just give the failed applicants the ceremonial knives to let them do the honorable thing.

  • (former) Lt. Anonymous says:

    I should mention, regarding after-event care:
    NOT helpful: OhMyGod! Those people are dead! You almost died! Look at all the blood! Weren't you terrified? What did it feel like?
    Also included is ex-post facto arm-chair quarterbacking. Which should be common sense. Survivor guilt is bad enough without ignorant smartasses telling you what marvelous things they would have done under the circumstances.
    Good: It's over. You're OK. You're going to be fine. We're here to help.
    Note also that terror is relative. Car accidents, bar fights, witnessing things like heart attacks or violent crime... All can be traumatic events. If someone is shaking, regardless of how 'fine' they say they are, they are susceptible to PTSD. Watch your mouth and your actions. Practice not freaking out. Like I said above, YOU will also default to your training.
    In the future, witnesses and victims without physical injury may also be rushed to emergency rooms, where ER physicians might administer things like propranolol under certain psychiatric and/or legal circumstances. We actually are entering the age of pharmacologically selective memory, or at least willingness to treat acute psychological trauma medically.

  • Anonymous says:

    If those people had been trained to be emergency responders or to handle violent scenarios (like police, military, EMTs, search and rescue personnel) then their act of pushing the shooter out the door would indeed be reprehensible for endangering the lives of other people, because they would be trained to deal with these kinds of situations and have faced similar events in simulated training scenarios all the time. But the real people in question were nothing of that sort at all, not even close. They were faculty at a university, for goodness sake. Never in their lives had they ever undergone any "training" of any sort even remotely similar, nor were they ever planning to nor expecting too. They simply had no reason to ever expect to be in this situation ever in their lives. Just like the majority of the commenters on this blog. It's unfair to judge their actions on hindsight saying they should have done this or that. That is just plain irrational thinking.

  • lylebot says:

    I don't want to suggest that I would have done anything differently, or that I even know what I would've done (I don't), but where I'm at, pushing someone out of a faculty meeting directly entails pushing them into a big atrium full of students. It also entails positioning them right at the doorway to the TA office, in which there would be a lot of sitting ducks. If I read Ng's account with the layout of my own building in mind, I probably come away thinking something similar to Gummibears.

  • Solomon Rivlin says:

    What kind of a pommpous asshole would attempt to predict his own response to the type of events that occurred at UAH?

  • Cashmoney says:

    An action movie fan, S. Rivlin?

  • Fonzie says:

    The Boston Herald is now furiously jumping sharks on this case. Dungeons and Dragons role playing is relevant why?
    http://www.bostonherald.com/news/regional/view.bg?articleid=1233150

  • Solomon Rivlin says:

    Casgmoney,
    I think most adullt ignorant Americans, including some who pretend to be scientists, think they live in an action movie where they are the heroes. I used to imagine myself as Peter Pan in my childhood many many years ago. How about you? Are you one of those ignorant Americans or maybe you pretend to be a scientist?

  • ginger says:

    Easy, there, Sol - Cashmoney was answering your question, not calling you an action movie fan.
    (former) Lt. Anonymous, you rock.

  • Solomon Rivlin says:

    You may be correct, ginger. My apology, Cashmonkey.

  • Solomon Rivlin says:

    All three dead victims of Amy Bishop appear, from their pictures, to be people with dark skin. Any idea what is the skin color of the other three wounded victims?

  • anonymous says:

    The 3 wounded are white. According to reports, it seems that the three dead were sitting next to Bishop, being the first Dr Godipa. She started in an orderly fashion until the gun stopped firing. I think it was just sheer coincidence.

  • not a gator says:

    Well, guys y'all, sorry, but the South is a shithole. I've lived in the South, out of the South, and on the border. But don't take my word for it, look at any social metrics and compare to other states. (With exception of GA and NC, which are on the mend.) Shit. Hole.

  • not a gator says:

    Eh, not questioning your description of the circumstances, but personally I wouldn't put it past a white woman from rural Massachusetts to shoot the darkies first. (I hope that word is not too offensive to use--just trying to approximate the mindset.) Too much of an us vs. them mentality.

  • not a gator says:

    As to the entirety of the south, it as well can't be accurately described as a 'shit-hole.'
    You're right, it's more like a giant pine tree farm, desert of people.
    But when you DO find the people, you realize you've stumbled into the Third World ... albeit with Playstation 3's and no self-respect.

  • Isabel says:

    You mean the southern "darkies" have no self-respect, asshole?
    Take your bigotry out of here, conehead. And ya'll don't come back, hear?

  • not a gator says:

    Most people, whether trained or not, shit their pants under extreme stress and feel guilty about it later. You don't hear about this.
    Happened to me last night. Got a nasty radio call about a car "running over" a motorcyclist. Called 911--as I have done many times--but kind of freaked. (I hate how 911 dispatch asks for phone number before asking for nature of emergency--I wanted EMS NOW!) The worst part was that the radio was staticky and the speaker was not a native English speaker so when I tried to relay questions I couldn't interpret 90% of the response. So in this panicky voice I'm going "The motorcycle is down! Motorcyclist. He needs medical attention. No, he doesn't know--I'm having radio problems. I'm sorry. All I can get is that the cyclist is on the ground!"
    I think I started to panic b/c of that goddamned radio. His first call was "A car just ran over a motorcycle in front of FRGMQUTW." Me: "Where?" "FRTMWBPX'n University." "WHAT BLOCK?!"
    It was all downhill from there.
    And I have relayed 911 calls MANY times.
    Oh, and yes, I was shaking and felt guilty about it all night. They did tell me later that 3 ambulances responded and that the motorcyclist did tried to get up once and fell over, so concussion (due to collision, he was hit, not "run over," thank goodness), not his guts all over the pavement. Seriously, though, that call scared the bejeezus out of me.

  • not a gator says:

    You mean the southern "darkies" have no self-respect, asshole?
    Take your bigotry out of here, conehead. And ya'll don't come back, hear?

    Wow, y'all done told on yo'self, egghead.
    I never stated the race of the folk without self respect. In my mind's eye, if you must know, they were a pasty, bloated white. Probably from spending the daylight hours in the trailer sleeping off last night's bender and playing Playstation 3.
    I have nothing but respect for Southern Blacks and their culture--which, I hasten to point out, is considerably less violent and aggressive than the culture of the Northern whites that I grew up in. I have never heard the cries for vengeance, nor phrase "unforgiveable" pass the lips of the people, as one heard on a weekly basis in Boston. (And that is a state without death penalty!) Yes there were the liberal whites who were against death penalty/vengeance/etc, but there was a just as noisy ultra-authoritarian segment who see all brown people as "them" no matter their nation of origin and have no empathy for "them" especially if they feel wounded.
    (Just leave Boston and go into the 'burbs, and you'll find scads of well-fed white families terrified to go into Boston because they think that Black people walk up to your car and shoot you. Heh, okay, projecting a bit, that was 1990, but I don't think it's changed much. In Newton (inner, inner suburb) in 1994, my streetcar suburb-dwelling professor asked a class of 30 if any of us went to Boston (outside the tourist area) regularly and mine was the only hand in the air (and that was only because of my father... who isn't from Boston). Boston itself has changed greatly, more integrated than I've ever known it, but the suburbs? Ha! Dedham (inner 'burb) was redlining into the late 1990's.)
    So unlike you--who have failed to "know thyself"--I know that of which I speak.

  • not a gator says:

    I don't want to suggest that I would have done anything differently, or that I even know what I would've done (I don't), but where I'm at, pushing someone out of a faculty meeting directly entails pushing them into a big atrium full of students. It also entails positioning them right at the doorway to the TA office, in which there would be a lot of sitting ducks. If I read Ng's account with the layout of my own building in mind, I probably come away thinking something similar to Gummibears.

    My impression from the news reports is that Bishop had a huge, open grudge against her fellow faculty. If so, she was trying to kill the people who denied her tenure. In that light, it was logical to push her out of the room, because rather than killing people at random, she was trying to get in there and kill specific people.
    We can second-guess til the cows come home, but when I put myself in the mindset of that situation, their actions are completely logical.
    And in the end, she didn't kill herself, so it wasn't, "I want to die, and I'm taking as many of you fuckers with me as I can," it was, "You fucked me. I'm taking you bitches OUT."

  • Isabel says:

    "So unlike you--who have failed to "know thyself"-"
    another racist who twists everything to his own point of view.
    How have I failed to know myself?

  • Neuro-conservative says:

    Two words: Herpes Bomb

  • Hiroko Date says:

    From yesterday, June 16, 2010, there's a lot of news on Amy Bishop again. I googled ""Amy Bishop" suggestibility imagination" There were 15 results. Maybe some people can look into that.

  • Neuro-conservative says:

    As most of you have probably seen, Amy Bishop has been indicted for murder in the 1986 death of her brother.

  • DrugMonkey says:

    Wonder if her parents are still alive and the real target. Give them an opportunity to perjure themselves and all that. Is accessory after the fact time limited or does it go with the no-limit of the crime itself?

  • H D Date says:

    Amy Bishop's parents are still alive. You probably know now that they put out a statement through their lawyer that they think that there was bias in the decision.
    Amy Bishop's actions are not to be excused but to seek an explanation maybe she was hyper-suggestible and hyper-imaginative, and maybe it was part of a mental illness, influenced by the National Enquirer article after her argument with her father (as it was first reported) or her brother (as it was later reported) and was going through the motions and maybe it was not intentional homicide, not first degree murder and maybe it really Was an accident, a tragic one. If she was stopped then, maybe her colleagues would still be alive and their family and friends would not be suffering.

  • H D Date says:

    If Amy Bishop has hypersensitivity of the sense/s (google that) before and after the shootings, her suffering/s might be as much as others re: this situation.

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