On the one hand, the news of two days ago (yes, yes, sorry but life keep interfering with my blogging) of "six scientists and a government official [being]sentenced to six years in prison for manslaughter by an Italian court on Monday for failing to give adequate warning of an earthquake that killed more than 300 people in L'Aquila in 2009" sounds like an excellent precedent for many other events.
Can we gaol the people who get the various financial predictions wrong? Of course, the hacks in the media would be the first to go in that case.
Or the people who predict wrongly the outcome of various EU negotiations? Can we gaol them?
Naturally, all those scientists who have been threatening us with huge destructive heat waves if we did not stop all our activity at once and crawl back into caves should get hefty sentences. After all, did they actually predict the recent fairly harsh winters? Did those who went on and on about the British drought predict the floods we have actually been experiencing? I think not.
Unfortunately, a little bit of thinking makes one realize that this is not such a good idea after all. Undoubtedly, the immediate result will be scientists not giving any opinions or advice at all, in case they get it wrong and end up in gaol. As for the long-term problem: I note that there is only one official in the group and six scientists. To what extent was the problem caused by officials not doing their job and how is not prosecuting them going to prevent future tragedies of this kind?