Monthly Archives: February 2010

626 – Prep Work • 09

The Friday Blog

(Thanks to Ron for the heads up on this sordid tale!)

When Amy Bishop was a younger woman she “accidentally” fired a handgun into a wall, then went downstairs and “accidentally” fired it again, shooting and killing her brother. She then ran to a nearby car dealership and, brandishing the handgun, ordered the dealer to give her a car. The incident was ruled… an accident.

Later, a professor who was about to give Amy a negative review received two pipe bombs in the mail. He escaped, but Amy and her husband were the prime suspects in the attempted murder. The police found nothing incriminating at the Bishop home, though mention was made of a book Amy was reading about a woman who had murdered her brother and pledged her life to becoming a “great scientist” to repay her debt to the world.

Soon afterward, Amy became a research neurobiologist at the University of Alabama-Huntsville.

Amy was disliked by her neighbors, seeming to be an angry and antisocial person. She constantly called the police to report neighborhood kids playing in the streets and nearby woods, (the police told her nothing could be done because no laws were being broken) threatened to become physically violent with adult neighbors, and even got the ice-cream- truck banned because her children were lactose intolerant and she felt it was unfair for them to see “regular” kids enjoying themselves. She punched a woman in the face at the local IHOP because the woman had taken the last child seat.

Despite her aspirations, Amy was at best a middling scientist, and was denied tenure by the University. (This means fired.) Now Alabama-Huntsville is not exactly a high-juice, big-name school, and being denied tenure there did not bode well for the rest of Amy’s career. She was terrified she would end up like Douglas Prasher, a research molecular chemist who’s funding evaporated, and who then sat by and watched his former lab partners win a Nobel Prize based on his data. (Prasher now drives a customer courtesy van for a Toyota dealership.)

On the twelfth Amy received her official notification of her denial of tenure. It was a Friday, and the email was apparently not a particularly soft let-down. Amy got her gun, drove to work,  and shot six of her colleagues, (including the head of the tenure committee) three of them fatally.

Why did this happen? What could make a solid, stable citizen like Amy Bishop just “flip out” and go from a smiling, cookies and milk mom to bitter, pro-NRA postal worker without warning? Someone knows. The Boston Herald knows.

It was because Amy Bishop plays (or possibly used to play) D&D. And that just ain’t Christian.

But this isn’t about people who believe in the magic man with the levitating gold chair who grants wishes to kids who clap their hands. Nor is it about those same people who believe that a woman (who was clearly created as an idiot) took the word of a talking snake over that of an all-powerful, all encompassing deity, and thus condemned all of humanity to earthly death and the possibility of eternity in hell — and who think that D&Ders are out of touch with reality for playing a game that the players know isn’t real. Possibly it’s about the police at the arrest who confiscated her rulebooks, as if to prevent them from causing further deaths. While that’s grand, what it’s really about is that the entire notion of this being a Dungeons & Dragons related death is demonstrably, and obviously, false.

How can I be so sure, you ask? How can I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that Amy Bishop’s crack did not come courtesy of Wizard’s of the Coast? Simple. If she was some Dungeons & Dragons obsessed, reality-impaired nutjob, she would never have left those three survivors. Amy stopped shooting when she ran out of bullets. Someone who thought she was her character wouldn’t even have had a gun, she’d have had an axe, or a sword, or at least a dagger that never runs out of ammo.

Ah, but Kevin, I hear you say. What if she also played GURPS Cyberpunk, Hunter: the Vigil, or Deadlands. What if she enjoyed an occasional evening of Shadowrun or Aftermath? Seriously? Are you kidding me? You think someone acting out an Aftermath fantasy wouldn’t have brought a reload?

But who knows. Maybe by believing only in the things I can touch, see, or at least indirectly observe I am the crazy person. Maybe my sense of reality is cracked because I don’t believe in god or fairies or angels or githyanki… and I’m all too willing to talk about it. Maybe that makes me dangerous.

My name is Kevin. I play D&D. Don’t fuck with me. My books’ll get you.