• September 5, 2015

'Heroic' Professor Describes Actions That May Have Saved Lives

Debra M. Moriarity, a longtime professor and dean, shut the shooter out of the room during Friday's rampage.

Debra Moriarity

Michael Mercier,The Huntsville Times, Landov

Debra Moriarity, a professor of biochemistry at the University of Alabama at Huntsville, was hailed as “heroic” by the university’s president for her role in ending Friday’s shooting spree.

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close Debra Moriarity

Michael Mercier,The Huntsville Times, Landov

Debra Moriarity, a professor of biochemistry at the University of Alabama at Huntsville, was hailed as “heroic” by the university’s president for her role in ending Friday’s shooting spree.

Over the weekend, David B. Williams, president of the University of Alabama at Huntsville, talked about the "heroic actions" of a person who saved lives during the shootings that left three professors dead and three other people wounded. Mr. Williams didn't offer a name because, he said, the person did not wish to be identified.

But on Monday night, that person agreed to an interview with The Chronicle, and supplied the fullest account yet of what happened when Amy Bishop, a biology professor at the university, allegedly opened fire on her colleagues at a faculty meeting last Friday.

Debra M. Moriarity, a professor of biochemistry whose laboratory was next to Ms. Bishop's and who was perhaps her closest colleague in the department, acted quickly and, according to the president, probably prevented further carnage.

Ms. Moriarity, who is also dean of the graduate school and has been at the university since 1983, said she and her colleagues had assembled on Friday for a routine faculty meeting. For almost an hour, the meeting focused on departmental business. Ms. Moriarity was looking at some papers on the table when the first shot was fired, killing the chairman of the department, Gopi K. Podila.

Ms. Moriarity looked up and saw Ms. Bishop fire the second shot. Apparently, Ms. Bishop was simply going down the line, starting with the people closest to her, killing Mr. Podila, Adriel D. Johnson Sr., and Maria Ragland Davis, all professors, and severely wounding Stephanie Monticciolo, a department administrator, and Joseph G. Leahy, a professor. All were shot in the head.

Another professor, Luis Rogelio Cruz-Vera, was shot in the chest.

After the second shot, Ms. Moriarity dove under the table. "I was thinking 'Oh, my God, this has to stop," she said.

Ms. Moriarity crawled beneath the rectangular table toward Ms. Bishop, who was blocking the doorway. She grabbed at Ms. Bishop's legs and pushed at her, yelling, "I have helped you before, I can help you again!" Ms. Moriarity had in fact worked with Ms. Bishop, and they shared some similar research interests.

Ms. Bishop stepped away from her grasp. While still on the floor, Ms. Moriarity managed to crawl partially out into the hallway. Ms. Bishop, who continued shooting the entire time, then turned her attention to Ms. Moriarity, placing two hands on the gun and pointing it at her. Ms. Bishop's expression was angry—"intense eyes, a set jaw," Ms. Moriarity recalled.

With Ms. Moriarity looking up at her, Ms. Bishop pulled the trigger twice. The gun clicked, apparently out of bullets.

Ms. Moriarity scrambled back to the room. Meanwhile, Ms. Bishop, now barely in the hallway, appeared to be rummaging in her bag, perhaps attempting to reload. Ms. Moriarity took advantage of Ms. Bishop's fumbling and closed the door. Others in the room then helped her push the table against the door, fearing that Ms. Bishop would continue her rampage.

But the shooting was over, and two professors were already calling 911: Mr. Cruz-Vera, who had been shot in the chest, and Joseph D. Ng, a professor who was not hurt.

Mr. Cruz-Vera did not immediately realize he had been injured; he was treated and released from the hospital Saturday. Mr. Ng later sent an e-mail message to a colleague at the University of California at Irvine, which was published by The Orange County Register. "Blood was everywhere with crying and moaning," he wrote. "We were in a pool of blood in disbelief of what had happened."

Ms. Moriarity, who is 55, said she grew up in a hunting family and is familiar with guns. "If somebody is shooting a gun and you want to get away from it, you flatten yourself," she said. Ms. Moriarity said she has been reluctant to talk about what happened for fear of upsetting the relatives of Ms. Bishop's victims and the others who were in the room.

Though only two days had passed since the shooting, Ms. Moriarity was back at work Monday. She plans to go to the campus Tuesday, too. The memory, however, is still fresh, and her knees are still bruised.

Scott Smallwood contributed to this article.


1. 113312991 - February 16, 2010 at 06:26 am

"Ms. Bishop was simply going down the line, starting with the people closest to her"...

No one knows that this statement is the truth. We can suspect that the shooting was racially motivated; she wasn't just "going down the line." How do you shoot and kill both African American profs, and an Indian prof, and injure a Hispanic prof as well by "just going down the line"? 4 out of 6 people impacted were minorities. WHATEVER! That is the biggest crock of bull I have EVER heard.

The Chronicle needs to stop shying away from a REAL issue in higher education; the tenure process brews lots of animosity among White faculty/to be who propose that minorities are taking their seats. I am sick of conservative newscasts---I can get this crap on Fox! The least we can do here is to entertain the thought that there's some degree of racism going on here. It's an act of White supremacist intimidation that is attempting to steer people of color away from pursuing faculty positions.

-Graduate student

2. amnirov - February 16, 2010 at 06:29 am

Um. The person who was *there* probably knows that the statement is the truth.

3. pmckechn - February 16, 2010 at 06:33 am

113312991: Amy Bishop shot her own brother to death in 1986, and sent a bomb to her dissertation supervisor. Oh, 'Nothing was ever proved'. You say what she did on Friday was about racism. I say it's because she is a murderer, and has been for over twenty years.

4. cerd2009x - February 16, 2010 at 07:00 am

113312991: I find it very unlikely that this was a racially motivated crime. Yes, four out of six were minorities, but 100% of her shooting victims were members of the Biology department. She has shown a history of being rash and unstable (killing her brother, sending the bomb to the dissertation advisor), and I believe her latest crime to be one of revenge - I think that she blamed the department for her lack of tenure. While other professors would pack up and move on, someone with her background and unique blend of problem-solving "skills" decided it would be best to open fire. She has psychological problems and they went unchecked and three people died. Three people who she worked with and who she blamed for her failure to receive what she thought she deserved.

5. ceporter7 - February 16, 2010 at 07:01 am

Agree with eye witness and amnirov: as we, minorities ecomes incresingly "maintstream" we will be victim to the social violence paradigm of our nation (gun crazy) more often, and more randomly and thn target racism might prefer. In this case the bully pulpit gainst murder rings louder than that of race; this is our opportuntiy to see (yet again) that the taken of human life out of perceived personal injustice is a reflex not unique to our soceity but amplified by our relianceonthe hand gun as the final solution to problems of personal discontent. that being said, one doubts if any of those murdered faculty would have been in thepostion ot wreak such havoc had they already been engaged in murderous activity. The scales are still canted, but in this case, for my view, wehave a homicidal person resovingher issues through dealing death to others, as by habit and perverse inclination.

6. pterodactyl123 - February 16, 2010 at 07:02 am

I agree with the people who reject a racially motivated explanation for the shootings. It sounds more like psychosis.

Amy Bishop nearly shot her white, female colleague in the face while Moriarity looked up at her. Moriarity was her closest friend in the the department. She shot a Chair who supported her tenure bid. She shot a staff member who had nothig to do with the tenure process.

It sounds like she was totally oblivious to people as people; she could not or did not seem to distinguish between friends and foes.
Chalking this up to racism seems simple-minded.

7. ceporter7 - February 16, 2010 at 07:04 am

should read."... more randomly than targeted racism might prefer." there are a bunch of typos, hope it's readable.

8. 22228715 - February 16, 2010 at 07:09 am

#1, it sounds like you are speaking from a lot of personal pain and frustration. Although you have my sympathy, and I encourage you to continue to fight racism in academe, I don't think this is your best case for which to do that. Unfortunately, we cannot know what role racism played in her actions, and I seriously doubt she knows herself. I want to know why too, but I'm afraid that's not how it works.

9. tolerantly - February 16, 2010 at 07:57 am

dear disgruntled race-card graduate student:

If you're going to talk about white supremacy, at least do your research. Amy Bishop is the kind of person angry white supremacists kill, not train. She's a Jew. I assure you nobody's willing to give her a hood and take her to a training camp in the woods. Also, science in the US is heavily skewed towards minorities, often foreign-born, as that's who we've been training in grad schools for decades now. That's who bothers to do the math homework. Finally, if you knew anything about sciences at all, you'd know that depts are anxious to get numbers of tenured women up, because the current numbers are an embarrassment. It sounds as though Amy's tenure case was undermined not by race but by the fact that she hadn't published enough and was a bit of a loonybird, unsuited to running a competitive lab longterm. If there was any doubt about the committee's wisdom then, there surely isn't now.

I get that you're furious. However, you picked the wrong story.

10. teacherandwriter - February 16, 2010 at 08:54 am

Moriarty's actions showed quick thinking, compassion, and heroism. Few comments about this so far, I think. After Virginia Tech, I was shaken. I decided I had better be prepared to stop any outbreak of violence in my class; all I have is instincts--no background with firearms, no training in rhetoric of crisis.

As faculty and researchers ourselves, perhaps we need to be involved in the root causes of the varied outbreaks of violence around us. Writing off aberrant behavior is not enough. I live near an urban area where there is both premeditated and impulsive violence every day. It's part and parcel of the human experience...yes...but in the circles of my life, I am observing more and more. My call to action: sociologists, psychologists, ethical specialists, and more might take a good look at both internal and external deterrents to heinous crimes.

My heart goes out to all touched by this tragedy, and thank you to Dr. Moriarty for her instinctive response.

11. careershift - February 16, 2010 at 09:04 am

Why is heroic in quotes in the headline?

12. uahstudent - February 16, 2010 at 09:18 am

Dr. Moriarity is one of the most amazing women I've ever had the privledge of meeting. As an undergraduate, I had the honor of being able to work with her when she was the College of Science Assitant Dean to promote the college. The fact that she was the "heroic" person that Dr. Williams was referring to is not in the least bit surprising to me. Even through all the trauma I'm sure she is dealing with, she was comforting students at the prayer service. There was a line to get to her, just to hug her. The fact that we almost lost her, in addition to Dr. Podila, Dr. Davis, and Dr. Johnson, terrifies me to no end.

Dr. M., if you read this, the students at UAH love you and thank you for your truly heroic actions.

13. nampman - February 16, 2010 at 09:28 am

Dr Moriarity's courage and quick thinking under fire are an example for us all. She is a true hero!

14. quoog - February 16, 2010 at 09:30 am

I think if she were racially motivated in this, she'd have given some signs in the past of racism, just as she gave plenty of signs of violence. All indications are that she was shooting the people at the meeting in order, and the minority faculty were just sitting near each other. The two survivors still in the hospital were both white and both shot in the head. And Moriarity was white and Bishop tried to kill her too. Incidentally, not that it matters, but this idea she is Jewish just comes from some questionable blogs who had the wrong address for her father.

I think that while race is an important issue in this country, this is one incident where it shouldn't be dragged in.

15. drj50 - February 16, 2010 at 09:34 am

@quoog: Probably reflecting the President's reference to her "heroic actions."

16. kimchronicle - February 16, 2010 at 09:35 am

113312991 - Dr. Moriarty was there and said, "apparently, [she] was simply going down the line. Maybe the African American and Indian professors were sitting beside each other in line. This was not racially motivated and it's ignorant to even imply that. This was a sick, crazy, angry murderer. I feel for the families and those professors remaining.

17. jffoster - February 16, 2010 at 09:40 am

No 1, ---2991, here is the relevant sentence from the posted article:

"Apparently, Ms. Bishop was simply going down the line, starting with the people closest to her,"

Check the sentential adverb "apparently" at the beginning and try not to let your anger and political-social agenda interfere with your reading comprehension and judgement. It's not conducive to getting tenure.

18. hildavcarpenter - February 16, 2010 at 09:49 am

Thank God Dr. Moriarity grew up in a home with guns so she knew how to handle Dr. Bishop's actions.

19. roro1618 - February 16, 2010 at 09:49 am

Ms. Moriarty is so lucky that Ms. Bishop happened to run out of bullets or she would probably be dead or severely injured since Ms. Bishop tried to kill her.

@Graduate student-while isms exist in academia and everywhere else, this is does not appear to be the case in this instance. Your post implies a lot of misplaced frustration in terms of applying isms to this case.

20. fnm101 - February 16, 2010 at 09:55 am

Ms. Moriarity did a great thing. It's unfortunate that so many people died, were injured, or indirectly impacted by this. My heart goes out to everyone who was affected by this incident. Whether the act was related to psychosis, racism, or whatever....lives were lost that we must mourn over.

21. rhancuff - February 16, 2010 at 09:58 am

@#18 I don't see how growing up in a home with guns helped her at all. She asserts that, then talks about lying flat. Any kid playing video games knows that. Also, where does growing up with guns teach you to stare into the barrel of a gun while the shooter pulls the trigger (thankfully click click). Dr. Moriarity acted heroically, but unless she recognized the gun model, knew then how many bullets the clip held, and was counting shots, I don't see how growing up with guns had anything to do with it.

22. academic_president - February 16, 2010 at 10:03 am

The definition of a hero is someone who, under extreme duress and danger to him/herself, undertakes a brave deed immediately benefiting others. If we accept this definition, then Dr. Moriarty is a hero. Drop the quotes around the word hero and heroic action. Debra is to be hailed as a role model and we should all emulate her behavior under similar circumstances. Believe me, the first thing people do when faced with the angry end of a firearm is dive for any nearby shelter. She did that but then mounted a swift and successful attack against the perpetrator.

23. kadair - February 16, 2010 at 10:11 am

For free information on how to survive an active shooter situation go to http://www.activeshootersurvival.wordpress.com

24. tee_bee - February 16, 2010 at 10:22 am

Graduate Student #1: Given that you weren't there, and that you seem to have an axe to grind rather than any real information or logic to add to any analysis of this incident, my sense is that either your will struggle as any sort of scientist, or you are part of a discipline that devalues evidence and logic. Good luck.

25. mardel39 - February 16, 2010 at 10:45 am

From my reading of workplace and school shootings, Bishop's shooting pattern is typical. For workplace shooters, they have a grudge against some superiors, but when they start shooting, they kill in a random pattern. Whoever is within range is dead. So the notion that the actual pattern of killing is motivated racially or in any way is probably false. They just start shooting. Probably the best known case are postal shootings.

26. physicsprof - February 16, 2010 at 10:57 am

Professor Moriarty, I admire you and wish I were able to say this to you in person. A true hero.

27. kmf205 - February 16, 2010 at 11:15 am

Yes, Dr. Moriarty did a heroic act, but I disagree with #18's comment that "thank God Dr. Moriarty grew up in a home with guns" and that's why she knew what to do in this emergency situation.

Unfortunately, the access to guns in the United States is part (if not most) of the cause of all of our school shootings. I am wondering how many more school shootings it will take to make this country realize that guns and the "right to bear arms" are no longer freedoms, but an easy way for sociopaths and people who don't know how to appropriately deal with their problems to deal with them in a dangerous and painful way.

I realize that I will get comments regarding the illegal sale of guns and violence in other countries. However, many states do not appropriately regulate the sale of guns. Also, countries who do not allow the sale of guns do not have gun violence!!!

Hunting is fine. Law enforcement and the military owning and operating guns is fine. Citizens who obtain revolvers who have no use for them other than to randomly select individuals to kill is unacceptable and the U.S. needs to start considering the dangers; schools shootings are now beyond the point of mimicry.

28. physicsprof - February 16, 2010 at 11:22 am

"Also, countries who do not allow the sale of guns do not have gun violence!!!"

So little knowledge of the world around you and so much ignorance in such a sweeping statement with three exclamation marks. Try reading about South Africa, Mexico, Russia.

29. surfacescraper - February 16, 2010 at 11:27 am

I tend to think this behavior is the product of latent racism. I refer you to the subsequent publication of The Bell Curve--coming out of Harvard in 1994, a year after the bombing incident. How does a White liberal academic rationalize or justify entering a Southern University and murdering a department predominately populated by minorities, without the implication she is intellectually superior?

30. surfacescraper - February 16, 2010 at 11:33 am


31. ra691190 - February 16, 2010 at 11:47 am

I think the real debate can be done only when the motivation for the shooting is known. Now if denying her tenure is the issue then one should ask are the people got shot were among those who were against her promotion? And if this turned to be true, the following debate should be the reason behind denying or promoting someone and the authenticity of such process!

32. mhkirsch - February 16, 2010 at 12:02 pm

Academics and academic administrations seem to be uniquely shy about dealing with faculty who have psychological problems. Having been through a terrible period when a obviously very sick (and unfortunately powerful) faculty member was reeking havoc on a new PhD program, in hindsight what amazes me is how little the administration and her so-called "friends" did to intervene. This particular faculty member wound up committing suicide (she was hit by a car wandering around in the street at 2 in the morning in the driving rain--it couldn't have been anything else) -- and to this day, her "friends" won't admit that she had extremely serious problems. The administration had plenty of data available to them to show that this person needed help and her completely disruptive behavior was not only hurting herself but many around her, and a lot of money was being wasted as she bought people off booth near and far with endowment accounts which she had control over. (What happens when someone--someone not particularly eminent, but a friend of the faculty member) is brought to the university during a vacation week and given $20,000 for one talk-- and no one questions it?--or when that same faculty member pays a student to bring her cat over to Italy because she is afraid the cat is lonely, and again, no one questions it). Why was nothing done? Some of it can be attributed to the self-serving actions of other faculty members--unfortunately rampant in academia-- who were making money from the situation, and the fact that the administration did not want to upset the donors or make them aware of what was happening by confronting what was occurring. But there can be no excuse for treating the sick in this way, and the administration and the faculty member's "friends" should be duly embarrassed. Unfortunately, they are not. It sounds like in this situation there as also plenty of actions showing that there was something wrong and that it had been true for quite a while. Why did her chair, the administration, and others not try to help her? She was obviously in trouble. Mumbling in faculty meetings is not normal behavior, and it cannot be explained by the quirks of faculty. Further explanation is needed, or this kind of horrible incident will simply happen again. There is no excuse for ignoring the ill, or refusing to get them help.

33. 11124999 - February 16, 2010 at 12:05 pm

Everyone fussing about the quotes around the world "heroic" in the headline needs to calm down.

The Chronicle is not publishing an editorial that judges Prof. Moriarty to be heroic; they are quoting from President Williams's description of her. This does not mean Moriarty's heroism is in doubt.

34. k_m_brown - February 16, 2010 at 12:05 pm

So the shooter was left out in the hallway with her gun and her purse (which may or may not have contained had more bullets). I think everyone at that campus is lucky that the shooter didn't continue shooting in other parts of the building. This could have been a lot worse.

35. twilight_zone - February 16, 2010 at 12:15 pm

This talk of Bishop's rampage being racially motivated is a bunch of hooey. Pretty much any student who has been around Bishop long enough can tell you how she loves to remind people that she herself is part black AND an enthnic Jew - that is, when it gets her something she wants. Anybody ever see her trying to participate in LSAMP events on campus???

36. 11272784 - February 16, 2010 at 12:36 pm

The #1 comment is a careful MISquote. The text reads: "Apparently, Ms. Bishop was simply going down the line..." The word "apparently" is appropriate. The first comment seems aimed at creating a racial issue where none is apparent.

And I agree, the word "hreoic" is grossly overused. Whether it is appropriate in this story is debatable. I did note with interest that the fact that Ms. Moriarty's knowledge of firearms was a PLUS in this situation, allowing her to block Bishop out of the room while attempting to reload.

37. lmross - February 16, 2010 at 12:45 pm

It seems unlikely that race was on Bishop's radar when she killed her colleagues. Moments after ending her brother's life she told the police that there was no way her brother was dead. Twenty years later she said precisely the same thing to police moments after murdering her colleagues. Both incidents and responses point to dissociation (a hallmark being amnesia). The horror.
My deepest condolences to the families and UAH community.

38. silverlining - February 16, 2010 at 12:53 pm

Race is an issue by virtue of the group dynamic.

39. jffoster - February 16, 2010 at 01:07 pm

Kmf205 (27), I grew up in Arkansas and NW Louisiana. Every boy in the neighborhood above the age of 12 had a .22 calibre rifle. THE BOY had it -- not his parents. Mine was kept in MY closet and the rounds in MY chest of drawers. Moreover, most boys from around 14 or 15 had either a 20 or a 16 ga. shotgun, depending on what kind of hunting we did.

There were no school shootings. In many other parts of the United States older preteens and teens had direct access to firearms -- and while I cannot categorically claim there were "no", i.e. zero, school shootings, there certainly were not many.

Yes, access to firearms is a necessary condition for school shootings. But clearly not a sufficient one, and you cannot explain a variable (school shootings now, none or very few in the 50s & early 60s) in terms of a constant )widespread access to firearms in the 50s and 60s).

40. stevieh42 - February 16, 2010 at 01:52 pm

To the graduate student who started this forum,

It is unfortunate that you chose to open this discussion by playing the 'race card'. All you have done is devalue not only the actions of Professor Moriarity but the lives of those who were lost. You have taken the tragedy of those lost and replaced it with your misguided, inappropriate, and self-serving need to turn all things into a 'race issue'.

Your selfish need to inflame such issues has attempted to change our empathy and sadness for the death of three teachers and collegues into anger over hate crimes.

I suggest you stop looking for racial bias in everything. Had you done so in this case, you would have opened this forum with sympathy for the families of those lost and by acknowledging the senseless tragedy of the incident and perhaps some rocgnition of Ms. Moriarity's actions.

41. wturnertsu - February 16, 2010 at 02:27 pm

The fact that "four of the six were of 'non-white' descent" and they were all members of a tenure committee in which, they, the minorities, were in the majority is quite telling. The University of Alabama is either: (1) predominantly African American; Or, (2) it is predominantly white and has a highly successful program to recruit and promote minority professors. The fact that it was the Biology Department that was affected and with so few "African Americans" matriculating each year with math and/or science degrees, one is more inclined to presume the former, especially since the Chair was also African American.

The above being said, I submit that the concern expressed by the graduate student is not so far-fetched as many here would suggest. The impact of racism isn't necessarily established by the graduated student's direct comment, but it is established nevertheless by the fact that a bona fide nut ("killed her own brother and setoff or attempted to setoff a bomb!) was hired and even being considered for tenure at the University! She was white and female. I dare any of you who have posted here who are so quick to deny racism's ugly head is present in this matter to list any college, university or high school where an African American is a member of the faculty who has a background nearly as troubling as the suspect in the U of A shooting at Huntville!!!
The graduate student is slightly off in defending her primary thesis. However, the underlying premise that good, old-fashion American racism is again at work is right on the money. This white women with a glaring record of extreme violence and instability was allowed to teach at an institution that undoubtedly has a large number of African American students (tenure committee was predominantly minority) enrolled. With a degree from Harvard, why wasn't she at The University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa? Or, Birmingham? Why not Auburn?

If nothing else, this incident should force concerned people to re-examine the policies of Insitutions of Higher Learnings that apparently says it is okay to dump troubled (mentally or not-quite-intellectually or academically-up-to-snuff-yet) whites off onto Historically Black Colleges and Universities, while they attempt to heal or measure-up. This time, it was other faculty members who suffered. In the everyday and ongoing real world, such persons as the suspect here, is commiting irreparable harm to young African Americans, eager to learn. They're being mis-educated in the worse way and with the complete complicity of socalled black intellectuals who believe that a little reverse Affirmative Action is good, as long as they keep their own cushy positions and titles. Who cares if many of the whites hired to fill their "quotas" are of the type, or close to the type, of personality who allegedly killed the Brothers and Sisters at UA Huntsville? Who cares that young Blacks aren't really being prepared to compete with anyone, anywhere in the world?

Highly qualified African Americans who are very skilled teachers/professors and who are also very committed to the profession are being routines denied the opportunity to trach because of simple possession charges of less than $50 worth of controlled substance years ago or because of domestic dispute with their spouses, also years ago.

Graduate student, you're absolutely right for raising the issue of racism. Racism led to the woman's presence and employment at that particular university, as opposed to some other. That initial racism led to the death of those innocent victims who died trying to do an honorable job. If the "heroic" figure interviewed by The Chronicle will speak candidly, I suspect she would probably admit that members of the committee probably had more than a inkling of suspicion about the shooter and that it may have accounted for their hesitancy in awarding tenure. One might also ask the "hero" what did she mean or what was it that she "had helped the shooter" with previously?

How many more individuals like the alleged shooter here is lurking around predominantly African American schools and universities to satisfy reverse affirmative-action policies? How many more African Americans professors must die? How many more brain-cells of young Black minds must go unchallenged? Blacks hired under socalled affirmative action policies at white institutions are scrutinized to the extreme. If there is anything, no matter how slight, in their backgrounds, they're not even allowed to interview for positions. Graduate student, your position is well-considered. Not only was the woman hired and placed as a result of racism, she was even being given consideration for tenure, despite her checkered background.

42. silverlining - February 16, 2010 at 02:34 pm

How does one devalue the 'heroic' actions of Moriarty by claiming the perp is racist?! That's completely illogical.

43. wturnertsu - February 16, 2010 at 02:56 pm

To the fine, fair-minded and very intelligent members of The Chronicle staff, would it be asking too much of you to do a brief story about the University of Alabama at Huntsville, itself? Who, generally, are enrolled there as students? What is the overall composition of the faculty? The staff? What is the distribution of degrees among the faculty and various departments?
What is the University's legacy during the heydays of the Civil Rights Movement?

You know Charlie Rose had a panel on recently discussing Race and Racism. Although Rose certainly could have invited a brother )or sister) with greater integrity than Gene Robinson on the subject to share, he should be given much credit for breaching a subject that far too many Americans are more prone to admit is still a sore or pox on America's drive to real greatness as a nation.

Despite the election of Obama, which I will always contend was because of it, racism is very much alive and well in America. No institution or agency of government is free of it's poisonous venom. It is felt most prevalently within the judicial and criminal justice system. Consequently, it disproportionately impacts the employment opportunities of African Americans, particularly males, with the federal government and all other public entities. It definitely prevents many from finding employment with WalMart. And, of course, it prevents others from receiving loans or grants to enroll in college.

I guess, what I'm suggesting here is that if the scourge of racism is to be defeated or diminished, it will take reputable organizations such as The Chronicle taking on a much greater role to achieve it than it has thus far shown itself as being committed to doing so.

postscript: Please do not cut my access because of this constructive criticism. All in all, you're doing as good a job as any, helping to eradicate racism and it's impact upon us all.

44. scholarlybalance - February 16, 2010 at 02:56 pm


I'm appalled at the number of commenters here who are accusing the graduate student of playing the "race card" - now *that* accusation goes too far. Race *may* be a factor; we won't know more until there is a thorough investigation. To be fair to the graduate student, minority professors in reports on the CHE are almost always identified by race (this practice is similarly used in dominant media), and, in the light of this traditional way of referring to minority professors, this CHE article *is* unusual. It is quite possible that this is what initially garnered this reaction from the grad student in question. Those of you who haven't picked up on this should be the last ones saying anything about race - clearly, you haven't been noticing the longstanding trends in dominant media and the CHE. And if you haven't noticed that minority professors are almost always identified (by the way, whether or not this is a good practice is entirely another matter), what else have you missed about race relations in North America?

I can relate to those of you who responded to the grad student by pointing out that we don't know for sure what happened (yet). But those of you who are adamant (claiming racism is impossible here) are treading on dangerous ground - why are you defending a woman who's psychotic thought life is clearly a mystery in many regards? I have noticed that people who claim others are playing the "race card" are most often people who feel that minorities whine and misrepresent the degree of their struggles. And many of these same individuals don't realize the extent of systemic racism that minorities must face - it's outside their realities. I'm not saying that you should have the same views as minorities - I'm saying that jumping to accusing someone of playing the "race card" is seldom a good idea. In any case where there are concerns about whether racism is present, there should be an investigation of the allegation, not immediate dismissal of these concerns via the "race card" claim.

Charging this student with selfishness and overreading/underreading isn't productive. The student may or may not be proven right through the police investigation, etc - but I will tell you, it is very weird that in this CHE article, the race of the professors was not mentioned. It's unfair to pretend that there's no basis for these concerns. We've all been told that the shooter went down the line - I personally don't doubt that this is correct. But this statement does *NOT* mean that the shooter only shot the minorities because they were first in line. Moreover, I don't know if the shooter was a Jew or not, but even if her race means she's not going to be recruited for the KKK, it is not impossible that she might've viewed her race as superior to the minorities present on that day. And even if she *did* view herself as a minority, this doesn't mean it's impossible for her to harbour animosity towards other tenured minorities (were they tenured? Unclear).

Let's get past this idea that only white supremacy can produce violence against minorities. The reality is that minorities aren't all just one big happy family: there can be conflict/prejudices between minority groups (and even between members of the same race based on regional loyalty, etc). I'm astounded that anyone thinks such acts of violence can only be construed as white against black. This is a complicated issue and the reality is that WE DON'T KNOW FOR SURE, AT THIS POINT, WHY SHE DID WHAT SHE DID. Let's not argue too strongly against possible racism, or any other plausible reason: let the investigation inform us regarding what was indeed most likely to have gone through her mind on that day (though as it stands, it's clear that she had psychological issues.)

45. wturnertsu - February 16, 2010 at 03:05 pm

More prone to deny...

46. halley - February 16, 2010 at 03:12 pm

wturnertsu - you are just a fool. The University of Alabama-Huntsville student profile is 73% white. Only 15% are black. The Chair was not African American, he was from India.

Your anti-white racism is appalling ("okay to dump troubled (mentally or not-quite-intellectually or academically-up-to-snuff-yet) whites off onto Historically Black Colleges and Universities"). Huntsville is not "Historically Black". And I think you'll find that "Historically Black" colleges are run by, erm, "Historically Black" folk. Maybe why second-rate whites, blacks, Asians and Martians predominate at "Historically Black" colleges is because, in the main, these institutions are a joke and no serious person (white, black, Asian or Martian) would take a job there.

And if you look at the dead, you'll find that unfortunately their CVs were not exactly stellar (a comment about one of them was that he "loved teaching more than research"). You are dead right about how reverse racism gets folks jobs - its called AA.

47. johntoradze - February 16, 2010 at 03:36 pm

At the risk of stirring up a small hornets nest, I think I should point out that there is zero evidence that Amy is or was ever psychotic. She shows no signs of it. Her signs (from accounts) point in a different direction.

The common mind equates murderous actions with insanity. But there is no connection whatsoever between violence and psychosis. There is no significant difference in assault/violence between psychotics and non-psychotics. A psychotic has hallucinations and delusions. It is a clinical category with nuances. There are violent psychotics, and their violence when it occurs is related to their delusions/hallucinations; when it happens it can be impossible for us to fathom. But the idea that a psychotic is more likely to be violent than a non-psychotic is wrong. In fact, it is slightly less likely, although arguable if the difference is statistically significant.

What Amy shows the signs of is not psychosis, but Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) and Antisocial Personality Disorder (APD). These are the categories that used to be called sociopath and psychopath. Such people are the category very prone to violence, both random and targeted. It is from their ranks that thrill killers come, as well as the kind who kill or threaten for profit.

A person with NPD/APD might be an executive who breaks the arm of a secretary for refusing to go out with him (actual case). Such people are dissociated and have no real conscience. In the worst cases, killing and violence is experienced as "better than sex" and the person cannot control themselves.

There is a huge difference between NPD/APD and the various psychoses or your average neurotic. It is important to make this distinction.

48. johntoradze - February 16, 2010 at 03:41 pm

What I am getting at in #48 is that nobody should be scared of someone they know to be psychotic just because of that. Psychosis is treatable, and even off medications, what psychotics do is wind up wandering the streets, homeless.

Unfortunately, NPD and APD are not treatable. These people are not just resistant, they actively get worse with therapy. There are no medications for them. The only thing that works with them is to be met with force. If they truly decide to change, they can. But it has to come from them, and whether it is real is very hard to determine.

So don't worry about the psychotic down the hall.

49. rightwingprofessor - February 16, 2010 at 03:48 pm

It is really unfortunate noone else in the room had a gun. They could have shot this crazy woman and probably saved 2 out of the 3 lives. Also saved the taxpayers the expense of a trial.

50. kmf205 - February 16, 2010 at 03:52 pm

#28 --

I apologize for the excessiveness with three exclamation points. I realize my statement was broad and "sweeping," but I think simply the easy accessibility of guns in our country leads to more violence than would otherwise occur (or that occurs in similar developed countries, i.e. Australia and the majority of Western Europe.)

Obviously I am not oblivious to the violence that occurs in other countries (Mexico, Russia, South Africa). While there are many factors to take into consideration, I hold to the belief that if we provide people with guns, they will use them. Gun laws vary state by state, but at the very least, all guns should be registered and the person obtaining them required to have a permit to use and ownership license.

51. jffoster - February 16, 2010 at 04:15 pm

Wternetsu, in (42) you asked rhetorically "With a degree from Harvard, why wasn't she at The University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa? Or, Birmingham? Why not Auburn?"

Let me add a little to the information Halley in (47) has given:

While I bleed orange and blue, my heart soars like a War Eagle, and I think Toomer's lemonade is the ambrosia of the Gods, and therefore hate to say anything good about the U of Alabama, let me suggest that UAH ought not automatically be thought of as a second or third best. UAH is quite strong in a number of the sciences and as I understand it, becoming stronger.

52. scholarlybalance - February 16, 2010 at 04:31 pm


you said: "You are dead right about how reverse racism gets folks jobs - its called AA"

Again, the devil is in the details. The purpose of affirmative action is to recognize that certain groups have encountered sytemic racism that often results in their lack of visiblity in certain careers. Affirmative action is NOT inherently bad, and - applied correctly - is useful in redressing inequities that plague our system. However! The problem is when organizations decide they have a "quota" to fill, and hire people primarily based on filling such a quota. At the end of the day, there's always going to be a problem if someone who doesn't have the skills for a job is hired.

But this is dramatically different from hiring someone to a position who has great credentials and is also from a minority group. (Need I remind you that there are many similarities between AA and initiatives to hire women in academia to redress similar visiblity/equity issues? Let's not throw the baby out with the bathwater here.) To suggest that all AA amounts to is reverse racism demonstrates a lack of understanding of all that is encompassed by AA.

I'm black and a woman, and I would never want someone to hire me to a position I don't have stellar credentials for simply because I'm black and can fill some rediculous quota. You may have disdain for the issues such quota's create - and I feel the same way - but let's not forget that redressing inequities for women, minorities, and gays (to name a few groups) *is* important. When done in a way that stresses quality credentials and the appropriateness of a candidate for a position, these measures go far to redress systemic inequities. Whether we like it or not, all kinds of bias (not just racial) exists, and we need to be aware of how we can level the playing feild.

53. gator10297 - February 16, 2010 at 04:51 pm

You all have done the best reporting out there on this story, much better than the local coverage in the Huntsville Times. My question is who loaned her the gun to use? Was it hers, or her friend's that she borrowed? I think that would be important to know.

54. kmf205 - February 16, 2010 at 04:52 pm

For #50

"rightwingprofessor" - Yes, let's all carry guns around all the time so that when someone goes ballistic, we can just shoot them. (Please note my sarcasm.) I sincerely hope you were joking in your post.

My condolences to the families who have suffered losses or injuries.

55. kloos - February 16, 2010 at 05:20 pm

Here Holland
I am absolutely sure that this 'story' isn't the real thing! Sorry, but I don't believe her. Not one woord.

56. sandberg - February 16, 2010 at 05:48 pm

Undergrad diversity percentages at UAH have been 21-22%.

Many institutions do not do background checks on the faculty for reasons that escape me. My institution does not, but our facilities management folks all have a full check. We have never had a violent incident of any sort from that group. Please, if any out there feel the need to make some stereo-typed blanket statement about the service providers on campuses - stifle yourself.

Very sad all around.

It seems like, with any kind of check, this person would not have been on the campus in the first place.

57. tekton - February 16, 2010 at 06:34 pm

The discussion of racism in connection with this horrific crime is illuminating, but probably not in the way the advocates of such a link would like.

According to the dictionary, racism means "Discrimination or prejudice based on race"

To say this crime was racially-motivated because some of the victims were minorities without having a shred of actual evidence to back up such an assertion itself smacks of racism. Commenter #1 and those who support his/her flawed logic have prejudged the motivation of the shooter based on the race of her victims, a dictionary definition of racism in action. Yet these same people (#1, for example) are very quick to accuse others of racism. Hmmm....

58. kloos - February 16, 2010 at 06:44 pm

I don't believe her story, not at all.

59. cheri28 - February 16, 2010 at 07:55 pm

Another eyewitness, Joeseph Ng stated that Bishop started shooting in a methodical manner, just going down the row, one after another, as they were seated.

The first person she shot was the department chair who supported her tenure bid.

Just a few moments ago it was revealed that Bishop was charged with attacking a woman at an Ihop in 2002.

60. skinnymargarita - February 16, 2010 at 08:03 pm

I am so sorry those involved had to be inflicted upon in this way. It is a shame that such great people were lost. Prayers go out to the families and friends of those involved.

61. bioinfres - February 16, 2010 at 08:27 pm

Actually I don't believe "graduate student" is a minority at all. There have been a number of mischief makers positing that the attacks were due to race for their own sick, twisted reasons. Halley in another thread on the killings posted the first message suggesting that Bishop was simply taking out "affirmative action hires" who had dared to judge her - apparently not recognizing that women have been the largest beneficiaries of affirmative action - and now is attempting to be a voice of reason on this thread. I believe graduate student is a sock puppet for one or more race-obsessed mischief makers.

The more I learn about Dr. Bishop the clearer it is that she had some personality disorder that needed attention over 20 years ago. The killing of her brother, the sending of a bomb to a hated professor, the 2002 arrest for assault on a woman in a Boston-area IHOP. And each time, it seems she got away without receiving any counseling, medication, treatment or criminal record. What kind of mother starts punching out another mother unprovoked in front of her kids? What on earth was she teaching them with her behavior?

From http://www.boston.com/news/local/breaking_news/2010/02/amy_bishop_was.html

[In March, 2002, Bishop walked into an International House of Pancakes in Peabody with her family, asked for a booster seat for one of her children, and learned the last seat had gone to another mother.

Bishop, according to a police report, strode over to the other woman, demanded the seat and launched into a profanity-laced rant.

When the woman would not give the seat up, Bishop punched her in the head, all the while yelling "I am Dr. Amy Bishop."

Bishop received probation and prosecutors recommended that she be sent to anger management classes, though it is unclear from court documents whether a judge ever sent her there.]

62. gustavspeed - February 16, 2010 at 08:57 pm

"4 out of 6 people impacted were minorities."
-Graduate Student

Obviously not an english major.

63. wenttouah - February 16, 2010 at 08:59 pm

wturnertsu, I will assume that most people who read this site are affiliated with higher education. In my experience, higher education relies on research. You, however, are too lazy to look up the school in question. You would rather post racial remarks on a comment blog and remain ignorant of facts. If, perhaps, you took 3 minutes from expounding on racial inequality and looked elsewhere on the internet you would learn a thing or two.

First thing, the university in question does not have a large black student body. There are, in fact, two other colleges in the city that are historically black colleges. So because the university has black professors has no bearing on the racial makeup of the university. To assume that the professors' races indicate the students' races is prejudicial, biased, and absurd.

Second, we don't know if there is a black professor out there with the same kind of violent background as this white one. Reason? Those kind of background checks are not too common. (I do know of at least one other white professor who does have a known violent history: William Ayers, but because he is radically socialist, that is a-ok.)

Get off the race card. It is null in this situation. The shooter was an ardent Obama supporter, hugely liberal in most political beliefs, and a nut. If "the system" doesn't review backgrounds enough for you, by all means, encourage them to alter that practice. But know that it will screen capable black professors out of teaching, just as it will screen capable white professors from teaching.

64. mlevendusky - February 16, 2010 at 09:12 pm

I don't know if it is entirely reasonable to expect that someone's coworkers are responsible for getting someone psychological help. What exactly are they supposed to do? But she did have a husband. Didn't he notice she was attacking people in restaurants and acquiring guns and ranting and raving about her lack of tenure to stangers at parties? Isn't it really his job to help her through life, like it is her job to help him through his? This looks like his failure more than the failure of a person whose office was in the same building as hers.

65. vprof - February 16, 2010 at 10:45 pm

As a minority that had one of the dead minority faculty as my Prof in another school years ago, I feel very very sad. The said Prof was one of the kindest, intelligent, best person I ever met. I still remember the day he annouced he was taking up a position at UAH, and our school tried very hard to keep him. He liked his students whites and non-whites a like and its ironical that in death, we are having such race discussions that am sure he wouldnt like.

66. geoscientist - February 17, 2010 at 12:13 am

According to the Boston Herald:
A family source said Bishop, a mother of four children - the youngest a third-grade boy - was a far-left political extremist who was “obsessed” with President Obama to the point of being off-putting.

67. daithi - February 17, 2010 at 12:53 am

I strongly concur with poster 13 nampman who said
"Dr Moriarity's courage and quick thinking under fire are an example for us all. She is a true hero!"

Dr Moriarity is not Superwoman. She is not a ninja warrior, a trained Mossad agent or a Jedi Knight. (If she is a Jedi the press have not mentioned it). She is a middleaged biochemist and teacher who when faced with an incredibly dangerous situation had the courage to act. She is a hero in my book and I don't see why it should be considered debatable. I don't know if I would have such courage in a similar situation. I hope i would. Well Done Dr Moriarity!!!

As to poster 21's comments about failing to understand how growing up with guns helped Dr Moriarity as she would have to memorized each model and count shots. This comment points up the difference between knowing guns and not knowing them. It is a standard characteristic of semi-auto pistols for the slide to lock open when the magazine is empty. Knowing this Dr Moriarity saw a window of oportunity and acted during that window.

I note as a bit of an aside that many if not most of the news stories appearing around the country mention "Harvard educated" in describing Bishop. I do not know why they feel it is important to mention where she attended school. They did the same thing during the search for Ted Kaczynski, the Unibomber. The media could not print or say his name without prefixing it with "Harvard educated" . He earned a PhD at Michigan taught at Berkley and those schools were never mentioned. I have some familiarity with Harvard's course offerings and "Murder 103- Techniques and Methods" is not in the curriculum.

68. olivia55 - February 17, 2010 at 01:34 am

It seems evident that we all are very uncomfortable staying focused on a problem which receives a great deal of attention when students perpetrate violence--their mental health. However, when colleagues exhibit any such behaviors, we avert our gaze. We need to first acknowledge the very real psychological effects this incident will have on all of the injured faculty, their university and biological families, including Professor Bishop.

How sad for her children.

Then we all should stop for a moment, breathe, and pay respect to those who were murdered and injured.

Next, we have to stop ignoring the enormous elephant sitting in its own mess in our academic livingroom: the mental health of our colleagues, of ourselves.

Until we address this and the psychological and physical violence that plays out in faculty meetings, classrooms, etc., it will not matter whether racism or guns or...is involved. The latter are the end results of our embarassment and failure to acknowledge what continues to be evident in other places of work. We are not an exception.

Could we just focus on this one very relevant aspect? Please?

69. scholarlybalance - February 17, 2010 at 07:34 am


Again, as I suggested in comment #45, I think we should all avoid too strong statements about what this shooter's motivations were until a thorough investigation is conducted. Your comments read as if you assume that all the evidence is already in - why don't we let the investigators do their job. Race may have been a factor...but it also may not have been at all. As I suggested in comment#45, white supremacist sentiment is not the only plausible prejudice that may be at work here (if there's prejudice at all). Better for us all to adopt the wait and see attitude, since we all know that in these investigations, the public seldom is provided with a comprehensive list of all the details. We're going on a sketch of what happened right now. Let's all relax.

@ wenttouah:

The shooter may've been an ardent Obama supporter, but that means little - there are many people who voted for Obama because they couldn't stand Palin. There are plenty of racists who like sports/teams that heavily feature blacks. An individual can be deeply racist and still enjoy all sorts of black culture (heck, this is what we saw during slavery). One can be racist and liberal - polarizations are dangerous. Don't get me wrong - I was equally appalled by wturnertsu's statements (I feel wturnertsu argued to strongly that racism was involved, whereas I believe none of us have enough information to make this call - I'm always flabergasted by the people who assume that since we're in North America, we MUST have been given every piece of availabe evidence already, and can now play judge and jury...because, of course, suppression of certain details only happens in "other" regions of the world....[sigh]). But I'm not sure we can assume racism is "out" as a possible motivation for this crime based on the fact that she supported Obama and was liberal in general. If we believe that there are degrees of racism, it becomes possible for an individual to support Obama, love black athletes and culture, be liberal....whatever, actually....and still harbor racist sentiments.

Sad, but true.

70. julie_b - February 17, 2010 at 10:35 am

mlevendusky -- As a member of family populated with law enforcement officers, I've learned that investigators very often find that family members of violent criminals (a classification to which Bishop now belongs) are themselves disturbed and/or violent.

Keep in mind that Bishop's husband was also a suspect in the Harvard pipe-bomb attempt, and just yesterday, his father was quoted in the media as wanting to know, now, after the slaughter perpetrated by his daughter-in-law, just who on the faculty blocked her tenure. That's not exactly a normal reaction, but it does sound like a threat.

I don't blame any member of the UAH faculty for wanting to remain anonymous when commenting on Bishop's behavior.

71. luckycharm - February 17, 2010 at 01:33 pm

I know some of the who where in the room, including the hero. You guys have to understand how quickly this happened. Dr. M dropped to the floor and immediately approached Bishop. The fact that she got to her as she was finishing putting in the clip is simply luck. The reason others were not able to help, is that they are all much larget than Dr. M. and were unable to push their chairs back far enough to move. The room is very small. They had to bring extra chairs into the meeting. Supposedly the whole thing took well less than 15 seconds.

If you think this was racially motivated, you are an idiot. She shot those closest to her first. She sat in the meeting at the door. She was methodically shooting those that had the best chance at getting to her next. She was going to kill everyone in the room.

72. justme2010 - February 17, 2010 at 01:45 pm

We need to train our staff that the time may come to become incredibly violent, more violent than you ever thought you could be, and defend yourself. Every school shooter could have been stopped by decisive action from those around. In my school we teach staff to think about this, and prepare for the day it may happen to them. Not to live in a "this will never happen here world," but in a "this can happen today, what will I do?" world. Unfortunately, we live in a society thet celebrates the sheep and maligns the sheepdog. All it took was one peron to smash Bishop's head with a chair and the shoting stops. Violent, I understand, but effective.
We live in different times and staff (and students) must learn to think like the sheepdog and not the sheep.

73. broadway_dave - February 17, 2010 at 02:11 pm

@mhkirsch #32 -

Your tangential example of a different disturbed faculty member includes as a detail indicating unstable or irrational behavior "paying a student to bring a cat to Italy because she was afraid the cat was lonely." You may not have personal experience with pets. I have, and if you think a cat CANNOT be lonely, you are quite mistaken. A lonely cat might stop eating and even die. This may have been an unauthorized use of college funds, but it was NOT an unreasonable action.

With regard to this current tragedy, I have seen no evidence that racism was involved in it in any way.

74. francishamit - February 17, 2010 at 02:45 pm

When large corporations fire someone in similar circumstances, they take their I. D. card and keys, pick up the company car, box up their personal stuff and escort them out. They don't let them come back, but send them the balance due on the contract. This is yet another case of workplace violence, nothing more. The racial angle is a coincidence. Bishop, it seems, was intent on killing everyone she could and was probably saving the last bullet for herself. It was a psychotic break with reality at the "family annihilator" level. Her feelings of rejection and rage were allowed to ferment. There was no exit counseling that I can tell. Making her work out the semester instead of having others in the department pick up the slack was unwise.

75. cantseetheforest - February 18, 2010 at 07:23 am

To "Graduate Student" (Comment #1):

Your opportunism in attempting to use this tragedy to foment a controversy of racism is truly disturbing. Both eyewitness accounts of the shooting published so far--one of which was given by a Vietnamese-American who was unharmed, no less--have stated that Professor Bishop simply went down the line with her shooting. At least two of those left alive but in critical condition are Caucasian, which also speaks against your zany theory.

The full-time biology faculty at UAH, my school, includes a large number of minority professors. Academic politics was something of a factor in the shootings, but racism was not, and I find it appalling that you are presumptuous enough to claim to know otherwise.

Is ethnic discrimination still a problem in our society? Of course it is. One powerful reason why is the hypersensitivity and opportunism of people like you, in my opinion. Stop injecting your motives into others' tragedies. Thank you.

76. zagros - February 18, 2010 at 07:48 am

Is it so much to ask that when you discuss whether race did or did not play a factor that you actually bother to CHECK the race/ethicity of the faculty members in the department? I went to the University of Alabama-Huntsville Biological Sciences webpage and EVERY SINGLE PROFESSOR has their portrait right there. Here are the races/ethnicities of each of the professors in the department:

Members of Biological Sciences Department at UAH:

Podilla - Indian Asian (deceased)
Bishop - White (shooter)
Boyd - White
Cruz-Vera - Hispanic (shot)
Cseke - White
Davis - Black (deceased)
Johnson - Black (deceased)
Lawton - White
Leahy - White (shot)
Magneson -White
Moriarty - White
Ng - East Asian
Stallsmith - White
Shriver - White

Carswell - White
Monticciolo - White (shot)

In other words, all but one of the minority professors were shot and only one of the white professors was shot (along with the white staff member). Now this DOES NOT indicate that it is necessarily racism (after all, as has been pointed out, people may have merely been sitting together) but don't dismiss the possibility either. Let's let the prosecution look at the EVIDENCE and tell us whether racism was involved before jumping to conclusions one way or another and engaging in unprofessional name calling such as is rampant in these comments.

In any case, however, it is an affront to all of us to have laws which increase penalties for "race crimes" anyway. The ONLY acceptable motivation to kill another person is self-defense/protection of others. Any other is murder and should be met with the ultimate penalty afforded by the State. I don't care why people shoot other people if it is for any other reason (race, revenge, etc.) except to the extent that knowing it in advance may forestall such a tragedy. Learning about it in arrears, well, the perpetrators can tell the devil about it while they burn and rot in Hell after they are executed.

Paying the "race card" to get MORE penalties is as bad as playing the "mental illness card" to get reduced penalties. Unless a person truly has no understanding of right and wrong (the only mental illness standard that is an acceptable defense and this means that the person needs to be institutionalized), who cares again what their mental illness is, except to the extent that it allows us to PREVENT such tragedies. Before the fact: stop it and treat the problem. After the fact: lock 'em up and throw away the key. When did personal responsibility become abrogated in our society? When did some people have a reduced value of life (i.e., someone who is not a victim of a "racially motivated hate crime and thus the penalties for killing them are lessened) when compared to others? When did we lose the understanding that some people are just plain EVIL and should not be allowed out in polite society EVER?

Now Amy Bishop may be evil or mentally ill or a race hater. She may be guilty, not guilty by reason of insanity, or even not guilty in general of the crime in question (yes, the last possibility probably has a slim to none chance but still we need to give her the benefit of the doubt and not try her in the court of public opinion until after the trial is concluded and all evidence is presented and evaluated by a jury of her peers). I and all of you simply do not know. Let the evidence speak for itself, let justice be done and, if she is guilty of capital murder and the jury after proper deliberation and careful weighing of all facts in the case finds that the ultimate penalty is what she deserves, execute her swiftly and in proper accordance with the laws of the State of Alabama.

77. captianthunter - February 18, 2010 at 11:56 am

Ok, obviously none of you have ever been to UAH before.. over half our school is black. If it was a racial issue, why was Monticello and Leahy shot??... And why does it even matter if it was because 6 people were shot that day. 6 of MY professors, somw of who were my good friends. They are all people, no matter what color their skin is.. is it going to change something by making it about racism? Is it going to bring back the 3 professors we lost that day? No. So what's the point??
We should be more focused on greeving for the loss of our profesors, our mentors, and our friends. Please pray for those affected by this shooting!

78. wturnertsu - February 18, 2010 at 02:46 pm

A fool, I am not. Seeker of the truth, I am. I remember a cop series that use to play on t.v. (perhaps it still does on some rerun channels) where the cop always repeated: "The facts, just the facts."

Whether UA-H is or isn't 1st, 2nd, 3rd or the last of all Alabama Universities is irrelevant. The minority enrollment at UA-H is approaching 25%. What is the percentage at UA-T or UA-B? Subtract the minority athletes from the latter two. What is the percentage of minorities there now?

Those who would be so quick to attack anyone intelligent enough to see racism in all of it's many shades of color and hue protest to loudly, I think. Because you do, it compels one to take an even closer look to ascertain the exact extent to which racism played a role in the tragic deaths of the dedicated professors at UA-H:

A cursory investigation into that woman's background would or should have revealed that she was seriously unstable. How many African Americans or Hispanics, not to mention Asians or Persians, would have been hired at UA-H, or either of the other state universities with a record remotely similar to the alleged shooter in this matter?

I will not retract my basic position: While there are many highly competent and committed caucasians professors and teachers in the classrooms, an inordinate number of unstable and incompetent whites are DUMPED onto predominantly African American schools and universities to achieve a predetermined quota of whites. Ideally, the quota would be achieved by increasing the number of white students at those institutions. For a host of reasons, the latter method of achieving diveristy simply isn't working. That is very much a fact, despite scholarships being offered and creative recruitment measures at HBCU's to attract white students. Another fact: The enrollment at white academies and private schools is increasing, not decreasing. The increase is not simply due to alleged "poor performance" of public schools, either.

I've posted at many cites and commented on a number of controversial issues. I obviously hit a nerve here when I opined that someone is engaged in serious DUMPING of unstable and incompetent whites onto predominantly African American colleges and universities and other institutions. Have I uncovered or unmasked a practice so prevalent and so important to the maintenance of white-supremacy that it required an indepth and concerted attack from proponents of white-supremacy?

For your information, those of you who would question my grasp of the facts, relative to the precise percentages of minorities at UA-H, be advised that my position on the practice of DUMPING is based on more than 25 years of research into the practice at several colleges and universities in several states. The practice became known to me as a result of speaking with African American students, themselves, who were intelligent enough to observe that they were coming into contact with a number of professors who weren't all there. Professors, who the students felt, were rejected by predominantly white schools and found themselves at HBCU's out of necessity and out of someone's prayer that they could become competent, while practicing their craft on Black students. The term D-U-M-P-I-N-G to describe what the students shared over two decades with me is mine and as soon as I'm able to secure a grant to conduct a more formal and structured research into the matter, I feel pretty confident that the evidence will prove me and the students to be absolutely correct. The incident at UA-H and the comments of some about what I said convinces me that I should, or perhap some younger scholar should seek the grant or a fellowship immediately to resolve the issue, once and for all. Let us not forget, it hasn't been so long ago since George Wallace blocked the door; a disproportionate number of Blacks are incarcerated or have records and cannot even get an interview (How, with the record the alleged shooter has, was she able to be on the faculty? How was she able to practice at a shooting range?); and, just recently, a S.C. Congressman called the nation's first president of color a liar on international t.v.

Let's settle who is foolish and who isn't (I suspect that most who commented already know the truth) about the practice of DUMPING. A Freedom of Information request to several HWCU and HBCU's seeking the number of persons with felony and misdemeanor convictions over the last 10 years would be very revealing. Any other deviant behavior about the staffs and faculties at the respective institutions would be helpful in comparing the number of troubled Blacks teaching at predominantly white institutions with the number of whites teaching at HBCU's.

If you're so inclined, suggest other ways of proving or disproving my main contention, that DUMPING is taking place. Also, is the percentage of African Americana and other minorities at UA-H unusually high, or not? If the percentgae is equal to or less than the percentage at UA-T, discounting the athletes, then I will re-assess my position.

NOTE: There are many very competent and dedicated professors who are non-minorities teaching and doing outstanding jobs at HBCU's. The preceding is a given. Despite that fact, it doesn't refute the fact that some are simply there because they're white and they're needed in order to satisfy an unspoken quota and because they don't measure-up yet to be seriously considered for positions at socalled flagship HWCU's.

79. wturnertsu - February 18, 2010 at 02:52 pm

...equal to or higher than the percentage at UA-T...

80. jkherms - February 18, 2010 at 05:40 pm

Univ. of Alabama in Huntsville
Degree-seeking undergraduates: 15% African Am., 2% Hispanic Am., 3% Asian Am., 2% Native Am. [= 23% minority, net intl.]
Full-time faculty: 20% minority
Mid 50% test scores, freshman class:
- SAT: 557.5; ACT composite: 24.5

Univ. of Alabama, Tuscaloosa
Degree-seeking undergraduates: 11% African Am., 2% Hispanic Am., 1% Asian Am., 1% Native Am. [= 15% minority, net intl.]
Full-time faculty: 15% minority
Mid 50% test scores, freshman class
- SAT: 550; ACT composite: 24

CollegeBoard, College Handbook (47th ed. 2009).

81. wturnertsu - February 19, 2010 at 01:29 pm

As busy (not lazy) as I am, I think jkhern is on to something, and think that it would be very enlightening to consult CollegeBoard, College Handbook (47th ed. 2009) to see the same data recorded for Alabama State University, Montgomery and, lets say, the late-great Walter payton's alma mater, Jackson state University, Jackson, Mississippi. Instead of Degree-seeking undergraduates: African am., Hispanic Am. etc., I believe it would be very revealing and most instructive to insert White or Caucasin Am., where, in jkherns' post lists African Am.

Even in doing so, it would be wise to recall a well-known African proverb: "Figures don't lie; but liars often figures." Depending upon ones motives or politics, data/information can be skewed to cover or mislead peoples to believe or accept a false reality. I do not believe that the CollegeBoard, as an institution, would tolerate covering or misleading, however, as it's formal policy.

Now, on to the handbook...hopefully, others who are equally as concerned as I am about forcing America to honestly face the racism and bigotry of our society will do likewise and began to act accordingly, for the sake of our children and grands, #46.

82. ceporter7 - February 19, 2010 at 05:32 pm

I am typically ok,
but I think somebody's keyboard needs to be taken away.

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