It is a sad day for science. Emotions have trumped reason. The people of L'Aquila needed someone to blame for loved ones dying in a 2009 earthquake. The verdict is in and seven Italian scientists and technicians are the scapegoats.
I previously posted here about the case against the seismologists and others who were being charged with not providing adequate warning of an impending earthquake. Is the Italian court system is a kangaroo court where a pound of flesh is more important that justice or science? This ruling seems indicate that it is. Scientists know that it is impossible using scientific means to predict when, where and how severe an earthquake will be.
Fortunately those found guilty of manslaughter by earthquake can appeal the verdict. Perhaps reason shall prevail the next time around. Perhaps they are guilty, but manslaughter is a stretch. Perhaps they were guilty, but of trying to read the crystal ball that everyone demanded they read. The public is guilty of expecting scientists to know all when sometime scientists just plain don't know.