In yet another episode of academics behaving badly, a college professor walked into New York City’s iconic St. Patrick’s Cathedral while carrying gasoline, lighter fluid, and lighters — in an apparent arson attempt — just two days after the shocking fire at Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris.
“Marc Lamparello, 37, of New Jersey, entered the historic Midtown church about 8 p.m. [Wednesday] with the flammable paraphernalia, but was quickly intercepted by church security, law enforcement sources said,” reports the New York Post. “He turned around, but spilled some gas in the process, prompting the guards to alert counter-terrorism cops stationed outside the church.”
The paper continued, “When questioned, Lamparello claimed he was simply cutting through the church to get to Madison Avenue because his van, which was parked outside on Fifth Avenue, ran out of gas, NYPD Deputy Commissioner for Intelligence and Counterterrorism John Miller said at a press conference outside St. Pat’s Wednesday night.”
Of course, this claim is problematic when your vehicle isn’t actually out of fuel, which Lamparello’s mini-van wasn’t. Moreover, his “‘answers were inconsistent and evasive, although he remained conversational with them [the authorities] and cooperative,’ Miller said,” the Post further reports.
Miller also stated, writes the paper, “I think the totality of circumstances of [an] individual walking into an iconic location like St. Patrick’s Cathedral carrying over four gallons of gasoline, two bottles of lighter fluid and lighters is something that we would have great concern over.” Yes, well, unless he was just trying to ensure his votive candle’s successful lighting, I’d say so.
Lamparello was arrested and charged with attempted arson and reckless endangerment. Miller explained that “surveillance camera footage showed Lamparello circling St. Patrick’s several times in a minivan well over an hour before he parked outside the cathedral on Fifth Avenue, walked around the area, returned to his vehicle, and retrieved the gasoline and lighter fluid,” Fox News informs.
It also emerged that he was just arrested Monday at a different church, the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Newark, New Jersey, for refusing to leave after a late Mass.
What will surprise some but not others is that Lamparello is a college professor, having worked part-time as an online instructor at Lehman College in the Bronx and as an adjunct instructor at Seton Hall University in New Jersey. He also was teaching a class at Brooklyn College as part of his requirement as a Ph.D. student.
Given the level of competency Lamparello displayed at St. Patrick’s, it’s no surprise learning that his field of study isn’t criminology, but philosophy (and Aquinas he’s not). Unfortunately, his intent also won’t surprise astute observers, as misbehaving academics are legion. Here’s a short list:
• Professor Melissa Click was fired by the University of Missouri in 2015 after a student journalist pressed assault charges. Among other things, she told a mob that she needed some “muscle” to help her strong-arm the journalist. Don’t feel too sorry for her, though — she was hired to teach the next year by Washington’s Gonzaga University.
• College of Southern Nevada sociology professor Mark Bird was brought up on multiple charges last year after bringing a gun on campus and shooting himself to protest President Trump. It sounds like the sociologist needs a psychologist.
• That is, unless it’s Millikin University psychology Professor James St. James, former head of the institution’s Behavioral Science Department. It was revealed in 2013 that the pony-tailed academic had murdered his entire family in 1967, but spent only six years in a mental asylum after being found not guilty by reason of insanity. Apparently, though, he was still sane enough for academia.
• University of Alabama professor Amy Bishop, who had a history of volatile behavior, shot six colleagues in 2010. She, too, had a unique way of settling family squabbles: She’d shot her 18-year-old brother to death in 1986.
• Charles Johnston, a psychology professor at Harper College in Palatine, Illinois, was charged with attempted murder last year after shooting at truck drivers and police in Iowa.
The above just scratches the surface. Then there’s the endless list of academics who utter comments (usually on Twitter) such as:
• It’s “a privilege to teach future dead cops”;
• “Hurricane Harvey was karmic payback for Republican-voting Texans”;
• “Trump must hang”;
• The president should be shot;
• The late Barbara Bush was an “amazing racist who…raised a war criminal” (posted just after Mrs. Bush’s death);
• “F--- your life!” (shouted at a student);
• Some “white people may have to die for black communities to be made whole”; and
• “All I want for Christmas is white genocide.”
None of this will surprise an ex-Ivy League professor-turned-editor I know — he once told me that academics are “wretched” people (I believe it’s one of the reasons he left academia).
What’s the explanation? Well, note that a 2016 study confirmed what most already knew: Academia is a leftist bastion in which liberals outnumber conservatives almost 12 to 1 — and this imbalance is getting worse, too.
This is relevant because, as the Daily Mail reported in a 2008 article, “Right-wingers really are nicer people, latest research shows.” This thesis can be informally tested here, by the way. Just try to determine how many of the misbehaving academics are not leftists. Wanna’ bet the number is smaller than 1 in 12?
Anyway, defending her actions, Melissa “Muscle” Click stated in 2016 that there “was no reason to think I was doing something that wasn’t sanctioned by the university.” This is absolutely believable and is why we shouldn’t assume that Marc Lamparello won’t yet get the chance to mold young minds. After all, attempted arson may not be actual murder, but they both appear to be résumé enhancers on today’s college campus.
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