Six Italian scientists jailed for six years each for failing to predict 2009 quake that killed over 300 people
Which of course has resulted in scientists in Italy saying "This is the end of scientists giving consultations to the state." This is a nicer way of saying The next time there's an earthquake you're all fucked, because you won't get notice from us.
Which, you have to admit, is fair. After all, if you were a weatherman and one of your contemporaris was convicted of manslaughter because he failed to predict a tornado that killed an entire midwestern town, you'd quit the biz as well.
But, see... because I'm just bent, I am seeing a different route here. If I had been on the defense team, you know what I would have done?
I'd have sued the Catholic Church for punitive and compensatory damages.
You see, earthquakes are Acts of God. And while the Heavenly Father cannot be criminally prosecuted, His kingdom on earth can certainly be fined.
I mean, if we're going to be absurd here, let us reducto the absurdam. if a scientist is criminally responsible for deaths caused by not properly predicting an earthquake, then let's indict God for all those destructive acts. Suck on it, Roman Catholic Italy.
Would this make it to trial? Of course not. (I doubt those scientists will see any jail time, either, as any decent court of appeal will throw it out for these very same reasons.) But it would highlight just how ridiculous this whole thing is, and the Vatican would probably start exerting pressure on the Italian government to Make This Go Away Now.
Come to think of it, this would make an awesome idea for a movie. Who's a good modern version of Jimmy Stewart?