The Deputy Head of Italy's Civil Protection Agency and six other scientists have been found guilty of manslaughter. It seems they were sent to l'Aquila to investigate residents' worries after a series of tremors in the area. Their report, while leaving open the possibility that these tremors were the prelude to an earthquake, apparently said it was unlikely.
300 people died when the quake finally struck around a week later.
Scientists all over the world have expressed their horror at the convictions.
However, I am rather in favour of locking these people up. Other suggestions are the cabal of busybodies who invented passive smoking without the least scientific analysis, driving a further nail into the coffin of the British Pub; and the global warming loonies, who have made us cover our countryside with unsightly windmills and photovoltaic cells and caused families to pay large extra sums on their energy bills to subsidise the freeloaders who make them. All this despite the fact that there has been no global warming since 1998.
'This is the death of service provided by professors and professionals to the State', said the current head of Italy's Committee on Major Risks, and I sometimes think that would be a good idea, too.
PS Luciano Maiani, whom I quoted above, has resigned in protest at the convictions. Italy needs more men of principle, rather than the venal time-servers who characterise public life here, and this blog salutes him.