Once again, I find myself writing about Academia, and things gone horribly wrong.  Almost half of the biology department was killed or injured yesterday in what seems to have been a tenure meeting.  One faculty member has been charged with the murders.

How in the world will they finish the semester? What happened? Is this more evidence of the toxicity of Academia?

I do not have answers to these questions.  Re-reading this post, where the process of tenure selection is discussed, brought back my memories of the tenure process.   It is painful and stressful.  Even when it ends well, it leaves scars.

My thoughts are with the students, staff, and faculty as they try to put their lives back together.

Predictably, someone asks “What if the faculty had had a gun?”  Why this is a stupid ass idea has already been addressed elsewhere.  And how despicable do you have to be to try to score political points in this situation?  One of the faculty did have a gun. That’s why this happened.

Classes are canceled for the next week at UAH.

Posted by Gwen Pearson

Writer. Nerd. Insect Evangelist. Have you heard the good news? BUGS!


  1. I don’t think we can draw any conclusions about any of it one way or another until we know more about why this murderer did what she did. There appears to be a racial aspect to all of this, too.

    I’m sure there are a lot of situations where it’s a good idea to have a gun, and a lot of situations where it’s a bad idea. But I think as far as our rights are concerned, people who discuss the issue on this basis–on both sides–are missing the point.

    Just as being against the War on Drugs doesn’t mean you’re for drug use or think it’s a good idea, being in favor of the right to bear arms doesn’t mean you think owning guns is a good idea in all situations. It’s just a recognition that prohibition doesn’t work.

    This may still have happened regardless of whether anyone else had a gun. As scary as it may sound, there may be no way of preventing these kinds of tragedies. After all, in 1963, well-armed and well-trained men couldn’t protect the President–possibly the most well-protected man in the world–from one lone nut.

  2. I can’t figure out whether more folks are losing it these days, or whether we just hear about it more in the 24 hour news cycle.

    If it’s true that more people are going nuts in recent years, then it seems we should look for factors that have changed in recent years.

    As example, maybe it’s the 24 hour news cycle, with it’s endless drone of crisis, that is making people nuts?

    Guns have been widely available since the founding of the republic. In order to pinpoint guns as the cause, it seems we would have to show that events like this have been ongoing for centuries. Which could be true, or not, I really don’t know.

  3. One of the things I linked to was this peer reviewed paper:


    “individuals in possession of a gun were 4.46 (P < .05) times more likely to be shot in an assault than those not in possession. Among gun assaults where the victim had at least some chance to resist, this adjusted odds ratio increased to 5.45 (P < .05)."

    I don't oppose hunting. I don't have a problem with guns. I do have a problem with the idea that guns should be carried every day, concealed, or that they will protect you. The DATA do not support your assertions.

  4. BugGirl, perhaps your original inclination to not use tragedies like this to score political points was a good plan? Apologies, but the last paragraph of your post is sort of an argument with itself.

    What was clear was your sincere concern for the victims of this situation. It’s understandable, admirable, that we should feel strong emotions around events like this. Let’s be thankful we aren’t yet dead to such events.

    But if we have to be mad, let’s be mad at the person who pulled the trigger, instead of the trigger, or law abiding folks who have different understandings of the gun issue.

    One of the things we might all learn from such events is that it could be wise to dial back phrases like “stupid ass ideas” in our communications with strangers. Peer reviewed studies are more persuasive anyway.

    By the way, I do oppose hunting.

  5. So sorry that I failed to express myself properly as I mourn my friends. I know–knew–people in that department.

  6. Sorry BugGirl, apologies for my sermon, I didn’t know you knew these folks.

  7. It’s my fault for writing something when I was full of emotion–I forgot how quickly people pick everything you write online apart. The woman was clearly NOT WELL. Obviously, the blame rests with the shooter.

    However, I do still feel that we are failing to be properly skeptical and look at the facts–research shows that having a gun makes you more likely to be shot. Gun control is a good thing.

    Since I really don’t feel like going down this rabbit hole further, I think I’ll just close comments on this post. Maybe when I’ve got a little more distance from this, I’ll pick up this topic again.

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