Monday, 19 July 2010

Padre mi perdoni, perché ho peccato...

The deadly earthquake that struck the central Italian city of L'Aquila on 6 April 2009, has had a bizarre aftershock: some of Italy's top seismologists could face charges of manslaughter for not alerting the population before the disaster. The indictment has outraged experts around the world, who note that earthquakes cannot be predicted and who say that the Italian government neglected to enforce building codes that could have reduced the toll.

The indictments, issued on 3 June by the L'Aquila public prosecutor's office, name six scientists as being investigated for manslaughter in relation to the earthquake. In Italy, this step usually precedes a request for a court trial, and is meant to allow the accused time to prepare their defence. The list comprises Enzo Boschi, president of the National Institute for Geophysics and Vulcanology (INGV) in Rome, the main institute in charge of seismic monitoring; Giulio Selvaggi, director of the National Earthquake Center based at INGV; Franco Barberi, a volcanologist at the University of 'Roma Tre'; Claudio Eva, a professor of earth physics at the University of Genoa; Mauro Dolce, head of the seismic risk office in the Italian government's Civil Protection Agency; and Gian Michele Calvi, director of the European Centre for Training and Research in Earthquake Engineering in Pavia. A government official, Bernardo De Bernardinis, deputy technical head of the Civil Protection Agency, is also under investigation.

The above is taken from 'Nature News' and the legal implications are self-explanatory.

Now, I am no scientist and maybe I am being stupid, but do we seriously expect seismologists to accurately predict when the next quake is going to hit? If this manslaughter case is successful, then there are going to be some extremely worried/happy* (*delete as appropriate) insurance agents in San Francisco, as well as many other places in the world that sit over geological fault-lines.

Will I be able to sue my weather man for hail-stones denting my car, if he did not tell me about it at 7.30 in the morning? If I break my leg on the ice this winter, can I expect compensation from the BBC Weather Centre?

Well, since this stupidity comes from the land where the Pope lives, is run by the Mafia, and 80% of the media channels are run by a buffoon called Berlusconi, then we should expect shameful litigation like the above attempt.

It makes President Obama's demands on B.P. seem almost reasonable, doesn't it? Let's hope that the Armani-suited lawyers have the same success when launching cases against all the Catholic priests who have been abusing children over the last 50 years or so - if they ever get around to it.


  1. 'Where there's a blame, there's a claim' gone mad!! On the last paragraph regarding the Catholic priests I totally agree with what you're saying. This sort of thing has been conveniently swept under the carpet for 50 years too long! Who am I to judge anybody - but the hypocrisy surrounding this issue and the lifelong damage to the young and the innocent makes my blood boil. I wish the Armani - suited lawyers every success! What goes around comes around.

  2. I'll tell you what makes my blood boil, Molly - Microwave Ovens!

  3. Isn't all this righteous indignation so typically Italian...won't they just write about it, yell about it, preach about it ~ and then actually DO nothing?
    And Molly darling, about the Catholic Church right now and hypocrisy...I could not agree with you more. This particular pontiff has a lot to answer for.
    Tom..step away from the microwave!

  4. Tom. Before you and I met I lived in London. Somehow I managed to find an Italian girlfriend who, to this day, was the most beautiful girl I've ever seen; she was simply sensational (with all the complications that that involves).

    Sadly, a friend wrote to tell me that she had been one of the victims of the Aquila earthquake. Her son had been seen on TV desperately trying to get the rescuers to dig at her crumbled home. RIP Natacha Monti.

    re the Catholic priests. My views are all too well known, and still NOTHING is done.

  5. Oh, I'm sorry to hear about that, Cro. That sort of personal involvement - no matter how distant - makes it all the more real, doesn't it? I once went out with a stunningly beautiful woman who had a very plain side-kick as her best friend. I actually heard her say to her friend one day, "You just don't realise how difficult it is to be as beautiful as me". I couldn't decide how I felt about that comment, and I still can't. Was it acceptable simply because it was true???

  6. I agree with her; it's almost a burden. It certainly was for Natacha.

  7. This is a step back to the middle ages when scientists were persecuted by the church/government for daring to say that the earth was not the center of the universe. It is pretty commonly accepted that earthquake prediction, like weather prediction, is subject to too many variables to be completely accurate. I hope these indictments are shot down quickly. And I also hope the Church is made to answer for its actions and somehow make amends for the harm they've done.