In an incredible decision, the Italian supreme court has condemned seven scientists and officials to six years in prison for failing to warn the population that an earthquake was about to hit the L’Aquila area. The earthquake, magnitude 6.3, caused over 300 deaths and devastated the historical city in the early morning of April 6th 2009.
I say incredible because if we’ve all learned anything in geology class it’s that earthquake cannot be predicted, ever. Condemning someone for failing to predict an earthquake is akin to holding someone responsible for not choosing the correct lottery numbers or for failing to predict accurately the results of an amateur badminton match.
The Italian prosecutors accepted it was impossible to forecast earthquakes with any accuracy but said the Commission had given an overly reassuring picture of the situation facing L’Aquila when the earthquake struck. However outside analysts are deeming the media as responsible for seeking out, accusing and convicting “someone” for something that nobody could have foreseen.
On that note, remind me never to become a weatherman, tarot reader or astrologist.