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Amy Bishop: Resentment and Rage

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One look into Amy Bishop's past will show a long history of violent behavior.

Amy Bishop

Dr. Michelle Golland: Amy Bishop, mother of four (the youngest in third grade), is accused of gunning down three of her fellow professors at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. The portrait that is now emerging of Bishop is one filled with resentment and rage. This rage may have been brewing for a long time: Bishop shot and killed her brother in 1986 with a shotgun. She was cleared of all charges at the time, and the death was ruled an "accident."

The young Bishop reported having an argument with her parents when she went upstairs to practice loading the shotgun. She came downstairs and accidently shot her 18-year-old brother. Police are now reviewing that case as well, given her propensity for violence. It appears from neighborhood accounts of Bishop's family that back then, their home was a dark and dreary placed not filled with much love.

The family kept to themselves -- which is exactly how Bishop went on to live her own life with her husband and children. According to neighbors, the Bishop children were not allowed to play with the other kids in the family-friendly neighborhood. The picture that is painted is that of constant conflict between the Bishop family and their neighbors. Bishop regularly called 911, reporting kids riding dirt bikes and scooters in the streets. This activity was all after-school and not during nighttime hours. The police were reportedly exhausted by her calling, and felt there was no way to pacify her.

Bishop even reported that it "may come to blows" with one neighbor. On another occasion, she reportedly assaulted a woman in a diner over a child's booster seat. Bishop and her husband, James Anderson, would videotape the neighborhood children while they were playing, explaining that they were going to use the tape to report to the police. This is a woman who is full of anger and feeling the need to control any and all aspects of her life. Her too-high expectations show a woman who's filled with resentment and feels persecuted.

Bishop and her husband were also investigated in a pipe-bombing incident. In 1993, Dr. Paul Rosenberg received a pipe bomb at his home. Luckily, it didn't go off, and he and his wife escaped injury. At the time, Bishop had a difficult relationship with Dr. Rosenberg. She feared he was going to give her a negative evaluation on her doctoral thesis. In the end, however, there wasn't enough evidence for anyone to be convicted of this crime.

It seems that Amy Bishop was an extreme introvert who was angry and somewhat paranoid. She had been fighting the University for more than a year about the denial of her tenure. It appears that she may have used extreme violence in the past to settle her arguments and to release her rage. It will be interesting to see how the past incidents of violence may be viewed in a very different light given the University killings.

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