I am stunned. I learned of some news yesterday and it’s taken this long to even be able to put my thoughts down in coherent sentences. Here’s the news: a group of Italian scientists were put on trial for not correctly predicting a 2009 earthquake that killed 309 people. Yesterday they were found guilty. And what were they convicted of? Manslaughter.
Manslaughter, for not correctly predicting whether a big earthquake would happen.
Are you f-ing kidding me? (That’s pretty much the only coherent sentence I’ve been able to come up with these past 24 hours.)
So let’s set out some facts here. Firstly, the “perps” in this case are highly respected and experienced experts in seismology and geology. Second, the seismology community is unanimous in stating that no technology exists anywhere in the world which can accurately predict earthquakes. And third, these guys didn’t make the earthquake happen!
What’s next? Are we going to jail the weatherman every time someone dies in a blizzard? Are we going to send in the SWAT team to take down those scumbags at the hurricane watch centre the next time a Cat 5 swerves off its predicted course? And who’s responsible for not knowing beforehand about the Mount St. Helens eruption back in 1980 – is there a statute of limitations on charging scientists with manslaughter?
Or maybe we should inject a dose of common sense into these proceedings, and recognize that the 2009 earthquake, while tragic, was nobody’s fault. The scientists were aware of the seismic activity and were watching it, but there was no hint of the looming disaster before the disaster itself struck. There are absolutely no grounds for these charges, and a very dangerous precedent has been set. I implore the Italian justice system to summarily overturn this lunacy before every predictive science in the world shuts itself down for fear of jail time.
It’s bad enough that an Alberta teacher was fired for having the audacity to give his students zeroes for not doing work. Now we have innocent, hardworking and very smart people serving time just to try and ease the grief from an event they could neither predict nor affect.
If there are any other extenuating circumstances to this case, please let me know. As it is, I’m starting to see this nasty pattern of blame being targeted at innocents whenever somebody’s upset, and it’s clear that the justice system isn’t going to protect us.
Mount St. Helens – Wikipedia Public Domain
L’Aquila Photo copyright New York Daily News
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