26.9.12

Middle Class Murders and the Media


Amy Bishop was convicted on the same day that Brian Claunch was shot.
Still no coverage in The Guardian about the conviction of US professor Amy Bishop who shot 6 members of faculty, killing 3, after she was refused tenure.
Is it because neighbours criticised her as a left-wing extremist whose passion for Obama was hard to stomach?
Is the problem that she's a middle class academic, one of our liberal own - is it too hard to think that such killers can come from our own ranks?
Or that the story shows how the middle class pull strings: Her mother, a town councillor, intervened to remove Amy from police custody after Amy had shot and killed her brother and fled the scene, requisitioning a car at gunpoint.
Or that time and again, police did not intervene against this "goofy" middle class lady - despite mail bombs, threats and assaults?
Does not the story perfectly illustrate the class basis of much police action - and the media's double standards? It fits with the moral of the the Brian Claunch incident - one rule for the disadvantaged, another for bourgeois academics.
So why ignore it?
The Guardian's Richard Adams pointed at this in his blog of Feb 2010, contrasting the media's coverage of a supposedly "right wing" businessman who flew his plane into the tax office in Austin Texas. Adam's wrote:
"Several sites drew comparisons with coverage of the accused Alabama shooter Amy Bishop, who Ace of Spades characterised as "inarguably left-wing and goofy", as proof of the media's double standards."
The Guardian last mentioned the story more than two years ago.
Sure, her love of Obama is irrelevant. The Daily Telegraph carries the story with no mention of politics.
The shooting of a man in a wheelchair is a bad thing.
But do we only report and consider crime stories that fit into a liberal morality tale?
Her's is a compelling murder story by any standards - Harvard-educated professor fails to get tenure - kills three members of faculty. Turns out she shout her brother to death in a case that was never investigated. Had mailed pipe bombs to colleagues. Had punched a mother in restaurant over the use of a booster seat. And on and on.




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