What is it about academics and arson?

You've heard of "going postal:? Maybe the next odious term should be "going academic."

We're seeing an awful lot of arson as a cause for California's wildfires and at treasured institutions being perpetrated by academics.

Here's the latest going on near Redding, California from the Washington Post:

Thousands of people have fled their homes to escape a wildfire engulfing a forest in California’s north, which authorities believe was sparked deliberately.

Police have arrested a 30-year-old woman on charges of igniting the Fawn fire. Workers at a quarry in Shasta County said they saw the woman trespassing last Wednesday before the fire erupted in a remote canyon, according to Cal Fire, the state’s forestry and fire protection department.

As firefighters battled the flames through the night, she walked out of the shrubs toward them, looking for medical help, the statement issued Thursday said.

She certainly wasn't a standard loser, throwing out cigarette butts, or building an illegal campfire at a time of high fire risk, or an illegal immigrant, setting a wildfire to divert Border Patrol attention from smuggling routes, which have been seen in previous arson fires in the California wilderness. Here's what the San Francisco Chronicle had to say:

[Alleged arsonist Alexandra] Souverneva graduated from Palo Alto High school in 2009, the Campanile, the school's newspaper reported. 

She later attended the California Institute of Technology and graduated in 2012 with degrees in chemistry and biology, the university in Pasadena confirmed.

The Campanile said Souverneva tutored local students in chemistry, and her LinkedIn page indicated she worked for AJ Tutoring in 2020.

That's a pretty impressive academic background to have to be just tutoring children of the rich trying to get into fancy colleges. The Chronicle doesn't note it, but on her LinkedIn page, she describes her actual occupation as "shaman." The tutoring was probably to just get the bills paid. She sounds like a nut, and may well be someone disappointed in terms of academic life given that she went to CalTech and ended up in Palo Alto, home of Stanford University. All of this, except the 'nut' part, is speculation, of course. Academia looms large in her biography.

She wasn't the only nutty academic accused of setting wildfires. In August, there was him:

A man who taught criminal justice at Sonoma State University is accused of setting fires around the massive Dixie Fire and in Shasta County, California. CBS Sacramento reports Gary Maynard, 47, was arrested on Saturday and is charged with setting fire to public land.

The Dixie Fire has grown roughly 5000 acres since Monday night, and has burned more than 490,000 acres. It is 27 percent contained.

He also taught at the more prestigious Santa Clara University, but somehow didn't stay on. He was definitely a leftist nut and might have been a disappointed academic, too. Like Souverneva, he seemed to have mental health issues, and quite possibly, based on his behavior as well as hers, been a consumer of illegal drugs, which don't do much for one's academic prowess.

There's also this charmer over in New Jersey:

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – A college professor is facing charges for the scare at St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

Police say 37-year-old Marc Lamparello from New Jersey brought cans of gasoline. lighter fluid and lighters into the house of worship.

The alarming incident happened during Holy Week for Catholics around the world and just days after the devastating fire at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris.

Lamparello wis charged with attempted arson, reckless endangerment, trespassing and some violations of city codes regarding transport of flammable materials in public places, NYPD Deputy Commissioner of Intelligence and Counterterrorism John Miller announced Thursday.

As is suspected of the other two, he was a drug abuser and had mental health issues. 

All three of these academia's finest are suspected by investigators of setting multiple fires.

Now, to be fair, there are a hell of a lot of nuts out there setting fires -- Google 'arson' and 'woman' and all you can say is: 'teach women not to burn.' Nearly all of the accused have signs of drug abuse in their pictures as do these three, a lot of them are serial setters, and many have mental health issues.

But it's starting to stand out that some of the worst fire-starters are from the cool ivy halls of academia, as if something in the culture is telling the angry ones among them to go burn something. What is it? How is it that a profession that set such stake on telling America how to live seems to have so little capacity for cleaning house? It merits further study and maybe some mental health training or anti-drug use requirements for all the cossetted academia nuts out there since I'm seeing a pattern. Just as 'going postal' has seen some crazed postal employees and customers go on spray shooting sprees in the past, 'going academic' is starting to sound like druggy academics disappointed at their lots in life going out to burn something. How's that for a reputation, as if the wokester corrruption of education were not enough?

Image: Screen shot from CBS Weekend News video, via YouTube

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