Many of you have probably heard the news of the workplace murders in a Biology Sciences Department faculty meeting at the University of Alabama-Huntsville yesterday. The murderer is allegedly Assistant Professor Amy Bishop, who was recently denied tenure. All of the media reports I’ve seen presume that the tenure denial was the motive for the shooting. Interestingly, the AP story and the MSNBC story I’ve seen finally discuss the role that gender plays in workplace or other mass shootings: they both note (finally!) that men are the overwhelming majority of mass murderers and the overwhelming majority of people who kill with guns.
The dead are Gopi K. Podila, who was the department Chair, and two other faculty members, Maria Ragland Davis and Adriel Johnson. Three other victims are alive and hospitalized, but two are critically injured: faculty member Luis Cruz-Vera is listed in fair condition, but Joseph Leahy and staff member Stephanie Monticello are in critical condition and in intensive care.
The lock-and-load on campus crowd is already maneuvering to make hay out of this tragedy. From the MSNBC story:
Gina Hammond, a UAH student, told WAFF 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,” Hammond said. “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.
Narrative lines like this are like the ideological insistence that “Communism didn’t fail–it’s just never been really attempted,” or “Conservatism didn’t fail–George W. Bush wasn’t a true conservative.” Unless the pro-gun crowd wants to make concealed-carry weapons not just permissible, but mandatory on campuses, more guns will not mean the ability to stop mass murders. The vast majority of faculty, staff, and students on university campuses have neither the interest nor the inclination to arm themselves up. Because there will never, ever be enough guns on campus to stop murderous rampages, the pro-gun lobby will always be able to insist that more guns is the answer. Instead of one or two guns too many, the problem will always be an absence of guns. Awesome!
Once again, I wonder: where can I get a high-fashion Kevlar vest?
I hope all of you are safe this morning. Please leave your thoughts and other links to news updates in the comments.
UPDATE, 12:05 p.m. MST: Commenter Lucky Jane sent along a link to a Boston Globe story that reports that Amy Bishop accidentally shot killed her 18-year old brother in 1986. Exactly how many mulligans do American murderers get before the state decides they shouldn’t own guns? How many more people would she have had to kill before her Second Amendment rights were abrogated?
UPDATE PART 2, 2:30 MST: From the Boston Globe, an updated version of the linked story above:
The Boston Globe reported at the time that Amy Bishop had accidentally shot her 18-year-old brother, Seth M. Bishop, an accomplished violinist who had won a number of science awards, in Braintree.
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.
I thought graduate schools and universities did background checks on potential students and/or employees? Hey–what about background checks for firearms owners???