The Strange, Violent Life of Accused ‘Oddball’ Killer Amy Bishop

February 16, 2010

(ChattahBox)—-Who is Amy Bishop? After being denied tenure, Amy Bishop stands accused of going on a violent shooting rampage, killing three of her colleagues at the University of Alabama in Huntsville and wounding three others. Since the shooting, a disturbing and frightening picture of Amy Bishop is slowly emerging, of a woman described as a socially awkward “oddball” with a violent history and inability to get along with her neighbors. During the time she lived in Ipswich, MA, the police were called to her home on several occasions in response to Bishop’s complaints and altercations with her neighbors and their children. And in 1986, she shot her 18-year-old brother Seth with a shotgun at their home in Braintree, MA but she was never charged in his death. And that’s not the only violent event in her past. In 1993, she and her husband were questioned, but never charged, when a pipe bomb was mailed to Harvard Medical School professor Dr. Paul Rosenberg, one of Bishop’s colleagues at the time.

Bishop is also recognized as a brilliant scientist, who was passionate about her research. But there is now a growing sense that the mother of four, may have been exhibiting signs of mental illness for years, that was masked by the insular world of scientific academia, populated by geniuses with idiosyncratic tendencies. Her “oddball” behavior may have been overlooked and attributed to a kind of Albert Einstein-like genius.

An excellent piece by ABC News depicts a woman who was in constant conflict with her neighbors, and who claimed she was threatened by a stalker:

‘”She picked fights with them,” said one neighbor, who did not want to be identified because Bishop’s children return summers to visit their grandparents — Judy and Samuel Bishop — who still live on Fille Street in quiet Ipswich, Mass.”

‘”I just don’t want to alienate them,” she told “The ice cream truck was banished from the street because [Bishop] told them her children were lactose intolerant,” said the neighbor. “She even had one of the children’s teachers fired.”‘

Bishop’s husband an Alabama native, said that he and his wife were cleared of any wrongdoing in the pipe bomb case. But, He is unable to offer any explanation for his wife’s shooting rampage. “Nobody understands what happened. Nobody knew,” he said.

“And University of Alabama colleague Dick Reeves remembers Bishop as someone dedicated to saving lives, researching cures for diseases like Multiple Sclerosis and Alzheimers. Reaves, the executive director of the Huntsville Angel Network, called Bishop “a very passionate person about everything she did.”‘

But mental health professionals believe that someone like Amy Bishop could have been schizophrenic for years and still functioned, somewhat like the scientist John Nash, portrayed in “A Beautiful Mind.” Or she could simply be a psychotic, without a conscience, like other mass killers.

Whatever the case, it’s expected that her lawyers would present an insanity defense.

See ABC News for more.

Photo Source: Dave Dieter/Huntsville Times/AP Photo


One Response to “The Strange, Violent Life of Accused ‘Oddball’ Killer Amy Bishop”

  1. Dictionary Please on February 16th, 2010 5:27 pm

    “Or she could simply be a psychotic, without a conscience, like other mass killers”

    She’s probably not psychotic; you probably mean that she could be a sociopath. There’s plenty of evidence to support that conclusion; not much to support the idea that she’s psychotic. They are not the same thing.

    Sociopaths can (and usually do) learn to function in the world, they know right from wrong, but just don’t care. That description fits Bishop to a “T”, and probably her husband, too, if reports of his behavior are accurate.

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