When Amy Bishop was hired by the University of Alabama in Huntsville seven years ago, she appeared to have everything going for her: she was young, Harvard-trained, passionate about her field, a mother of four. But there were many things that her new colleagues didn't know. They didn't know her adviser at Harvard had forced to resign her post-doctoral fellowship. They didn't know she and her husband had been questioned by federal investigators in connection with a plot to kill that adviser: after Bishop resigned from his laboratory he received a package at his home containing a pipe bomb. They didn't know that, in 2002, she had been arrested at an International House of Pancakes in Massachusetts after punching a woman who'd taken a booster chair she'd wanted for one of her children. ('I am Amy Bishop!' she'd screamed.) They didn't know that, in 1986, she had 'accidentally' killed her 18-year-old brother Seth with a shotgun in the family's Victorian mansion in Braintree, Massachusetts; or that she'd fled the scene, shotgun in hand and another round in her pocket, and held up an auto dealership, claiming that her husband (this was before she had a husband) was threatening to kill her and demanding a getaway car.
LRB 11 March 2010 | PDF Download