Monday, 15 February 2010

Prof. Kills 3 at UAH, a Gun-free School Zone

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Amy BishopProfessor Amy Bishop, a neurobiologist who holds a doctorate in genetics from Harvard University, moved her four children and husband from Massachusetts to Alabama for one major reason: the prospect of tenure at the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH). Recently though the University denied her a tenured faculty position, and she reacted in a lethal way according to various news accounts. On Friday, February 12, the Wall Street Journal reported, Bishop “opened fire during a meeting of teaching staff at the University of Alabama's Huntsville campus… killing three faculty members and wounding three others.”

According to news reports, the assistant professor of biological sciences apparently used a 9 MM pistol in the shooting. Apparently, Bishop had concluded teaching a class before attending the meeting at 4 p.m. in the university's new Shelby Center, a $60-million science and technology facility with labs, classrooms, and two auditoriums. According to some reports, she may have sat quietly for roughly 30 minutes before she pulled out her weapon and fired at her unarmed victims.

Bishop was apprehended outside the building by authorities without incident. Getting into a police car later that day, a calm Bishop claimed: “It didn't happen. There's no way.... They are still alive.” Currently, Bishop is charged with capital murder while more charges are pending.

Huntsville police spokesman Sgt. Mark Roberts did tell the media that Bishop did not have a permit for the pistol that was retrieved at the scene. Students and colleagues described Bishop as “intelligent” but also quite “strange” and “intense.”

The Los Angeles Times reported that Bishop and her family “were outspoken Northeastern liberals whose political yard signs stood out a little on their suburban lot facing a cul-de-sac called Scarlett O'Hara Circle.”

The developing story continued to take strange turns as news reports revealed that Bishop was involved in the shooting death of her brother in 1986 which was later ruled accidental. According to the current police chief, Bishop’s mother was a public official who sat on a police personnel committee with the implication being that may have had something to do with the case being ruled accidental. Authorities are now planning to review the records of the incident in light of the recent events. In another strange development in the case, it was reported that Bishop and her husband were also suspects in an attempted mail bombing of a Harvard Professor in 1993.

The University of Alabama-Huntsville is a gun-free school zone, and it is likely that officials will review the tragic incident and determine what measures could make the school safer. Bishop’s use of an unregistered pistol in a gun-free zone shows that those who are willing to ruthlessly murder don’t abide by gun-control laws — including gun-free zones that ensure that the intended law-abiding victims will be unarmed and defenseless. NBC News reports that “Gina Hammond, a UAH student, told [the news] that she lobbied the University of Alabama trustees to allow students with gun permits to carry their weapons on campus. She was turned down."

"I'm scared to go back to school… However, if they were to allow me to carry my pistol on campus, I would not be as scared... I'm sorry that nobody in that room had a pistol to save at least one person's life," Hammond said.

Photo of Amy Bishop: AP Images

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