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Bishop Bombshell

Boston Globe:

The professor who is accused of killing three colleagues at the University of Alabama on Friday was a suspect in the attempted mail bombing of a Harvard Medical School professor in 1993, a law enforcement official said today.

… [Dr. Paul] Rosenberg was opening mail, which had been set aside by a cat-sitter, when he returned from a Caribbean vacation on Dec. 19, 1993…

Opening a long, thin package addressed to “Mr. Paul Rosenberg M.D.,” he saw wires and a cylinder inside. He and his wife ran from the house and called police.

The package contained two 6-inch pipe bombs connected to two nine-volt batteries.

[Investigators] focused on Bishop, a Harvard postdoctoral fellow who was working [with Rosenberg] in the human biochemistry lab at Children’s Hospital at the time, and her husband, Anderson.

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 Globe interviews a woman who worked with Bishop at the time:

… Bishop had been in a dispute with Rosenberg shortly before the bombs were discovered.

Shortly after the attempted bombing, [Sylvia] Fluckiger said, Bishop told her she had been questioned by police one day in the lab. According to Fluckiger, Bishop said police asked her if she had ever taken stamps off an envelope that had been mailed to her and put them on something else.

“She said it with a smirk on her face,” said Fluckiger. “We also knew her husband was a tinkerer. We knew she had a beef with Paul Rosenberg. And we really thought it was a really unbelievable coincidence that he would get those bombs.”

Sergeant Mark Roberts, a spokesman for the Huntsville Police, said today that police in Alabama had been informed that Bishop was a suspect in the 1993 mail bombing case…


We need to proceed with caution here.

But – let us assume that Bishop is guilty of non-accidentally killing her brother, and of trying to kill Rosenberg. There seems no doubt at all that she just killed three people and attempted to kill — I think there were sixteen in the room.

UD is now prepared to say something about Amy Bishop, and it’s got nothing to do with tenure.

When Amy Bishop perceives a problem in her life, a quandary or annoyance of some sort, she kills it. She takes it out. Bullets or bombs.

So… How does it come about that a veteran killer — if Bishop is indeed a veteran killer — has so thoroughly eluded capture?

Capture? How about thoroughly eluded being charged? In 1986, the Boston police let the little wisp of a twenty-year-old go home with Mommy the same afternoon she killed her brother. No charges. They can’t even find the case file. There probably isn’t one.

In 1993, authorities were apparently unable to make a case against her, their prime suspect.

No wonder Bishop ended up in Alabama. In Massachusetts, at least, she was beginning to gain something of a reputation… Prime suspect in a bombing… Shooting of her brother…

Poor University of Alabama. This isn’t a story about tenure. It’s a story about background checks.

Let me say something else about Amy Bishop. I think the reason she was denied tenure was that her colleagues were afraid of her.

Margaret Soltan, February 14, 2010 4:41PM
Posted in: amy bishop, the university

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9 Responses to “Bishop Bombshell”

  1. Dave Stone Says:

    Yoicks. I’d like to see what her letters of recommendation looked like.

    So does your dossier include letters from the Ph.D supervisor you (allegedly) tried to blow up? What did those letters look like? And if the letters from the person you (allegely) TRIED TO KILL are non-committal or non-negative, then what possible use could letters of recommendation possibly be?

  2. MattF Says:

    Golly. Fortunately for our legal system, her forthcoming trial for murder isn’t going to be complicated.

  3. Rita Says:

    Harvard seems produce a lot of mail-bombers.

  4. stan rogers Says:

    Harvard seems produce a lot of mail-bombers.

    HA! a great comment. this is one scary woman

  5. cheddar Says:

    This makes me a little bit uneasy about my own colleagues. One newly-tenured woman in particular constantly mutters and grimaces in meetings and continues to dwell on how poorly she supposedly was treated in an annual review several years before.

  6. Science And Religion Dispatch: Round 1, Plus Amy Bishop « imagining the real world Says:

    […] course, at the end there, Watts is talking about Amy Bishop, the apparently standardly homicidal lunatic who unleashed hell all over Huntington and beyond when she opened fire, murdering three of her […]

  7. MikeM Says:

    Turns out there’s more. The Boston Herald reports that Amy pulled a shotgun at an auto dealership after shooting her brother. And the missing records and alleged cover-up? Perhaps had something to do with Amy’s mother serving on the police personnel board:


    Meanwhile the political fallout is underway for the former prosecutor who released Amy the same day she was surrounded by squad cars and arrested at gunpoint:


  8. theprofessor Says:

    You would think that a biochemist would employ more subtle means… uh, let’s hope that she hasn’t.

    I suspect that you are probably onto a significant reason for the tenure denial, UD.

  9. Valentine's Day Super Sunday Radical Roundup - Tenured Radical - The Chronicle of Higher Education Says:

    […] postal when her tenure case was turned down, accidentally shot her brother as a college student and was subsequently a suspect in an attempted pipe-bomb murder at the Harvard Medical School in 1993. Now, I watch television and […]

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