We have been following with increasing amazement the saga of Amy Bishop, the Harvard-educated biology professor who certainly is in touch with her rage, if not much else. She was involved in a year-long conflict with the University of Alabama-Huntsville over tenure. Sometime after receiving the final denial, she calmly taught a class and then attended a faculty meeting with 13 colleagues. Forty-five minutes into the meeting, she took out an unregistered automatic pistol and methodically shot six colleagues in the head, three of whom died. Had her gun not jammed, she might have succeeded in executing the remaining 7 people. After being forced out of the room, she calmly called her husband and asked for a ride home.
The astonishing part of this story is that she had apparently already committed a cold-blooded murder. In 1986 she killed her younger brother with a blast from a shotgun. In what now wreaks as a coverup, the incident was classified as an accident: she claimed that she was attempting to remove the shells from the shotgun and accidentally drilled her brother. Sounds reasonable, except that she had already discharged the gun in her bedroom - no one in the family heard the blast (just Amy being Amy?). She was, coincidentally, in the middle of an argument with her brother. As we have now all learned, you definitely do not want to get on Amy's bad side.
Her mother, claiming to have witnessed the shooting, upheld Amy's version of the event. Mom, conveniently, was a politically connected official in the local town. Amy was released into the custody of her parents (enjoying, we presume, her new status as an only child). The investigative report ignored the utter implausibility of the entire story: the incoherent sequence of events, Amy's evident rage, her fleeing the house with the gun and subsequent threatening of people on the street.
Defending the Indefensible Self
Here's the risk management part: Amy's father bought the shotgun after someone allegedly broke into the house. (There is no mention of any police record of this earlier incident.) Dear old dad kept the shotgun in the bedroom, with the shells conveniently laid out on top of a dresser. Amy, a brilliant scientist, but, she would have us believe, mechanically inept, took down the gun and put in the ammunition. (Why? no one bothered to ask.) She "accidentally" discharged the gun into the ceiling. Oops, how did that happen? Then she carries the gun downstairs and asks for help in unloading it. Her brother walks into the kitchen. The rest, as they say, is history as written by the (cruel) victors.
Twenty four years later, Amy practices shooting at a firing range. Her husband does not ask where she got the gun or why she wants to learn how to shoot it. He apparently has no clue what she is planning to do. He claims that he is "no psychologist" - and who could possibly argue with that? When he finally gets to talk to his homicidal wife, secure in a jail cell, she asks if the kids have all done their homework. From executing colleagues to worrying about homework. Who could possibly know what is going on in the mind of this brilliant, demented woman? And how could you possibly hold her parents accountable for enabling this monster and letting her loose upon an unsuspecting world?