Jan. 15, 2011
Remember Amy Bishop? You probably don’t, although her gun-shooting rampage happened less than a year ago. It’s understandable if you don’t remember, given the low-key media coverage, which was the opposite of the biased and politicized coverage of Jared Loughner’s rampage in Tucson.
To refresh your memory, on Feb. 12, 2010, the Harvard-educated biology professor and PhD shot and killed three fellow faculty members and wounded three others at the Univ. of Alabama, Huntsville, because she was upset about being denied tenure.
Soon after, Boston police admitted that they had apparently made a mistake 23 years earlier when they had concluded that Bishop had killed her brother accidentally with a shotgun. Despite evidence to the contrary at the time, they had accepted her story that she was cleaning the gun and it discharged by accident. Because of the Huntsville shootings, they changed their opinion and concluded that she had intentionally killed her brother, who was eighteen years old at the time and a gifted violinist who played in the Greater Boston Youth Symphony Orchestra.
On June 16, 2010, she was indicted in Mass. for the killing of her brother, although you probably didn’t know about it, given the absence of headline coverage.
Bishop had also been implicated in trying to kill a colleague with a pipe bomb. She and her husband had been questioned in a 1993 case in which a pipe bomb was mailed to Dr. Paul Rosenberg, who was a colleague of Bishop’s at Boston’s Children’s Hospital. The bomb didn’t explode, and no proof could be found to link Bishop and her husband to the incident; but it was common knowledge at the hospital that Bishop was concerned that Rosenberg was going to give her a negative performance evaluation.
Liberal media didn’t develop asinine explanations for Bishop wounding three people, possibly attempting to blow up another person, and executing four people, including, of all people, her brother. And conservative media didn’t try to score political points by linking Bishop to the left, although approximately 90% of professors vote Democrat, and Cambridge, Mass. is a liberal town. (Tucson is also a liberal town, which is the opposite of how the media have portrayed it.)
There were no crackpot media theories that Bishop’s anger stemmed from being immersed in the liberal culture of Cambridge and academia or from listening to NPR and PBS. Nor did anyone in the commentariat make a fool of himself by suggesting that the tenure system was at fault because it produces winners and losers and doesn’t provide psychological counseling to those who might be distraught over losing, even to someone as emotionally unbalanced as Bishop, as her coworkers in Boston and Huntsville had noticed long before the shootings.
Moreover, the president didn’t speak at a memorial at a basketball arena for the victims of the Huntsville rampage. And there was little media or public grieving about the primary target of her anger. Could the reason be that he was of Asian (Indian) descent? Or could it be that politicians and the liberal media somehow see a private citizen’s life as less valuable than a public official’s life?
Conservative media haven’t asked the last question, although they could make the case that liberals subscribe to the Hegelian philosophy that the state and its ruling class are more important than the common man.
Not being a conservative or liberal, I’m not biased one way or the other. I think that both the Tucson and Huntsville shootings were tragic, sad, inexplicable, and had nothing to do with ideology. It sure seems to me, though, that the left should be embarrassed by their obvious bias and double standard.
“Mencken’s Ghost” is the nom de plume of an Arizona writer.