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  • I Don’t Mind This Type of Spin

    Posted by James R. Rummel on February 14th, 2010 (All posts by )

    More revelations concerning the university professor who allegedly slaughtered some of her colleagues. (Hat tip to Ace.)

    Seems she killed her brother with a shotgun 24 years ago, fled the scene of the crime after the death, and tried to carjack a passing motorist. It is tough to say if this is a true account, since police reports of the incident have been missing since 1988.

    I worked for some years as a fingerprint technician for the local police force. Standard procedure was to keep all arrest records on hand until the person taken into custody died, and the death was verified via fingerprints taken from the corpse. Some of the cards were from before the First World War, and were the very first set of prints taken by the police.

    fbi sample fingerprint card

    Of course, I live in Columbus, Ohio. I have no idea what guidelines the cops in Alabama use. Something tells me that it is not all that different, though.

    I found the following passage from the news article I linked to above to be interesting…

    After she left the room, the police said, she dumped the gun — for which she did not have a permit — in a second-floor bathroom.”

    I’ve seen that mentioned in several news stories now. She did not have a permit! (“No permit! No permit!“) It seems the reporters writing these articles want to make sure that their readers know this.

    In Alabama you don’t need a permit to purchase a firearm, only to carry a concealed handgun.

    One of two things are happening here.

    It could be that the journalists working on this story want to include the fact that the crime was premeditated, as the suspect cannot claim that she just forgot to leave her gun in the car when she came onto the university campus that morning. Not only is it illegal for someone in Alabama to carry a firearm on to school grounds, CCW permit or not, but it was illegal for the suspect to even carry a concealed handgun at all. This strongly indicates that she was planning this attack in advance.

    The second possibility is that the reporters writing these news items hail from places with such draconian gun laws, that they simply cannot conceive of anywhere you can purchase and own a firearm without government permission. The fact that the suspect owned a gun at all when she didn’t have a license is a crime in their eyes.

    Considering how much anti-gun bias I’ve encountered in the news over the past two decades, I’d have to say that the latter explanation is more credible than the former.

    But, whatever their motivations, it turns out that they are actually doing a favor for those who advocate armed self defense. The suspect wasn’t one of us!

    (Cross posted at Hell in a Handbasket.)

     

    11 Responses to “I Don’t Mind This Type of Spin”

    1. Michael Kennedy Says:

      She sounds like she had some variant of Asberger’s although she did marry and have a family. Brilliant people can be crazy but the fact that she had a normal family life is the most unusual part of the story to me.

      The William Delahunt assisted covered up of the 1986 murder of her brother is also a weird angle. His nephew is the US Attorney who intervened in the Andrew Sullivan pot bust last summer so I guess that is part of the job description for prosecutors in Massachusetts.

    2. Dan from Madison Says:

      I also believe that the reporter actually thought that you need a permit to do something so crazy as to buy a firearm.

      People that are my friends here in Madison (very liberal town, to say the least) are stunned to find out that I own, buy and sell firearms and it is all perfectly legal. A typical response is “do you have a permit” or “is a permit required”.

    3. ArtD0dger Says:

      It’s a good thing they got that shotgun off the street so it couldn’t kill again.

    4. Michael Kennedy Says:

      Now, she is a suspect in a bomb plot. She certainly takes active measures to deal with frustration. The KGB used to call it “wet work.”

    5. Jonathan Says:

      One of the enduring myths of our age is that people like this women are essentially normal but somehow “snap” (i.e., it could happen to anyone who is under stress, if a weapon is present) rather than aberrant individuals who are a tiny fraction of the population. The usual implication of the myth is that no one other than agents of the state should be allowed access to weapons (the question of why state agents who snap are not then an even greater risk being generally ignored).

      But if the myth isn’t valid, and I think it clearly isn’t, then the implication is that more responsible people should be armed as a personal and societal defense against the few crazy and evil people who commit murders. A responsible person with a weapon, far from being a threat to others, performs a role analogous to that of human fire extinguisher.

    6. Ginny Says:

      I, too, would likely pretend that someone in my family or at work isn’t really all that crazy – extreme circumstances just made them “snap.” I, too, prefer denial. But surely at some point (between say the obvious murder of her brother – getting off three shots accidentally seems a bit much – and the bomb at Harvard) someone might have noticed that she dangerous. The Georgia shooting, the carnage at West Virginia, this – at least people haven’t said they seemed like such normal quiet people. Those interviews may help compromise the myth Jonathan describes – not that it isn’t still plenty healthy. Frankly, it’s what we want to believe. One reason is we want to pretend it didn’t hurt when we shut up all those mental hospitals sprinkled across the countryside. The murderers’ colleagues admit they figured the murderer was going to blow; clearly, they just hoped it wouldn’t be actual murder and that they wouldn’t be around when it happened.

      Our counselors tell us how important it is to mainstream the mentally ill in our classes. They tell us they can’t tell us who is sick, since that would screw confidentiality. I’ve known and respected my share of schizophrenics. And I don’t know if I want to know who might blow – I suspect I’d give them better grades than they deserved and walk on eggs all semester. Still, like many a person in many a work place, I would like some forewarning and, I suppose, the ability to carry a gun. And cruel or not, some people probably shouldn’t be out on the streets.

      She does seem like the poster nut for “I’m entitled” – probably more a sign of ancient psychosis; still, it isn’t that modern culture doesn’t encourage it.

    7. Jonathan Says:

      The armed citizen in these situations is merely a desperate, though necessary, last bulwark based on widespread and growing popular recognition that the institutions that are supposed to be responsible failed. Ideally, as with the Islamist army major, the system would have picked up the obvious warnings from this individual and stopped her before she hurt someone else. But in the major’s case, and I suspect here, the institutions not only ignored the warnings but actively suppressed them for political reasons, making the situation worse. This raises fundamental questions about what institutions are for. The themes that run through these incidents, Sept. 11, and the relentless efforts by political elites to expand the size and scope of government, are the repeated failure of top-down efforts to organize society, the habitual attempts by those elites to force ordinary citizens to pay for elite and institutional failures, and the essential competence of ordinary citizens and decentralized decisionmaking. The tea party movement is, among other things, the most prominent popular response to the failures of our institutions and elites.

    8. Shannon Love Says:

      Of course, I live in Columbus, Ohio. I have no idea what guidelines the cops in Alabama use. Something tells me that it is not all that different, though.

      Minor point of fact, she killed her brother in Massachusetts and the attempted bombing occurred there as well.

    9. James R. Rummel Says:

      “Minor point of fact, she killed her brother in Massachusetts and the attempted bombing occurred there as well.”

      I stand corrected!

    10. Tatyana Says:

      I’ve been reading various responses to this incident, and there is a notable difference between conclusions drawn by those on the inside of academia, and people in “the real world” (as one of the “academicians” called us).
      The “real world” people take it as a given that the woman is mentally ill, and her demands and actions resulted from distortion in her psychic composition.
      University employees concentrate on getting to the root of the problem – which in their scientific minds is the awful, servile, sycophantic, slavish position that people on tenure track are put in! They use this event for expanded discussion about tenure system – and surprise, surprise – make interesting proposals (in other words, use it as a lever for blackmail).
      I quote (quick translation):
      “The problem is not in choosing with whom sympathize, but how to eliminate situations that lead to violence. I.e. there should exist a safety net for a professional [within university system-TE] who’s been successful in his work for many years, and who for some random reason has been balloted down by his colleagues.” As the author of the blog I linked to said in his commentary: right, that’s not fair! let’s equally divide professorial positions among everybody! the stakes are too high to lose! get everyone who wants to be a professor, 1/180th part of success and government-issued funding, equally! oh, wait…we’ve been thru this before…

    11. Bret Gould Says:

      All of these type shootings just re-enforce what we common sense gun owners have known all along. Unarmed people are sheep waiting for the slaughter. Lt. Dave Grossman’s treatise on combat and his essay on sheep, sheepdogs and wolves very eloquently explains the problem. It is time for the common sense, gun owning majority, in this country, to stand up and take charge. For way to long have we lay dormant, passive, taking the illegal executive orders, the batf administrative rulings (since when did they become the congress and can make law) simpering like abused dogs while these maniacs going on shooting sprees in baited fields referred to as gun free zones. A gun free zone is basically a hunting preserve for evil, demented, crazy people to be able to hunt honest citizens in complete safety granted by our benevolent dictatorship we call a government. We can only hope that when the obamunist’s jack booted thugs come to take our guns we can do as some of our ancestors did in 1775 at Lexington green and not cower in fear as this crazy ladies victims did.