Amy Bishop's Violent Past Unfolds Further: An Accidental Shooting, A Bombing Suspect

Picking up any kind of "waning sign" for random acts of violence is—unless you're living in dystopian futures of mind-readers—nearly impossible. This reality only serves up Amy Bishop's past as even more of a bitter pill to digest.

We learned yesterday via the Boston Globe that Amy Bishop had a history of gun violence in her life: in 1986, she accidentally (and fatally) shot her brother with a shotgun, a story that was corroborated by her mother, but a strange one, regardless: two accidental gunshots, same day.

She said she loaded it but had trouble unloading it and it accidentally went off in her bedroom. Still hoping to unload it, she said, she went downstairs to ask her brother to help her, accidentally shooting him. Her mother said she had witnessed the incident and generally corroborated her account.

The report said the girl was initially unable to provide information due to "her highly emotional state" so the investigators decided to let her and her parents go, with the plan of interviewing them later after they had "sufficient time to stabilize their emotions." When investigators did interview Bishop, "she reiterated adamantly that the discharge had been accidental," the report said.

More has since come up on Bishop, again from the Boston Globe, but this time, regarding the bombing of a Harvard professor that she was a suspect in, along with her husband, Jim Anderson (who was detained yesterday by Huntsville police after his wife was arrested).

Bishop surfaced as a suspect because she was allegedly concerned that she was going to receive a negative evaluation from Rosenberg on her doctorate work, the official said. The official said investigators believed she had a motive to target Rosenberg and were concerned that she had a history of violence, given that she had shot her brother to death in 1986.

[...]

The US attorney's office in Boston did not seek any charges against Bishop or Anderson, and no one was ever charged with mailing the bombs to Rosenberg.

Note the emboldened reason for suspecting Bishop of murdering that Harvard professor. Bishop reportedly went on her shooting rampage after being denied tenure. Also, she had—according to one Globe source—been working on a novel at the time of the bombing investigation, in 1993. What was the novel about?

...a female scientist who had killed her brother and was hoping to make amends by becoming a great scientist...

Again, Bishop wasn't actually convicted of anything. Suppose somebody in a position to protect people knew about this; would it even have mattered? Because there aren't any real ways—even if you've taken precautions to evaluate someone's past and emotional stability— to keep shootings like Bishop's from happening. When there's a disturbed, angry will, more often than not, there's a way. Amy Bishop found hers. The next question, of course, remains to be answered, but inevitably will be: Who gave it to her?