Conclusion, with lessons and rhapsody (M. Stucchi)

Conclusion. The appeal trial has come to an end, with the conclusion we know. First of all, the appeal sentence has given back to the defendants the dignity they deserve as persons who performed well their job, after having worked for years assessing the earthquake risk and trying and convincing people and administrators that it is worth to mitigate it. We now wait for the motivation and we respect the sorrow of the victims’ families; in the same way as we always did it, asking us – well before L’Aquila – whether we always did  the best we could. We also respect other’s opinions; we always said that sentences can be discussed. Simply, we would like that all interpretations could put the pieces in the right order, avoiding slow-motion reconstructions biased by the occurrence of the earthquake. Someone hopes that parts could reconcile; better, we may welcome the start of a serious discussion on the main issues. Probably it would be more effective if such a discussion is performed by less engaged people with respect to the last four years. The blog will survive to share the existing documents and to host possible updates. We thank contributors and readers.

Lessons. Many have discussed of the so-called “L’Aquila lesson”. Some have written heavier sentences than the judge; some have drawn watersheds, built up theories, etc. Among scientists, some helped the prosecutor directly; some said that the jail was too much, but, yes, the “Aquila seven” did some mistakes. Most of them only read the Motivation, what was not an easy task, of course; but it does not represent all the truth, as it is nothing else that the explanation of how the judge came to the decision and which material he used. An important “paper”, of course, which, however, does not take into account most of the material proposed by the defendants and other possible interpretations. Many of them will have to review their position (some already tried to jump on the winners’ chariot); and there is nothing worst than a teacher who has to change his teaching, because wrong.
I do not want to join teachers here; only some hints. First of all, it seems  from the appeal sentence  that a statement of the first degree trial is coming out as invalid: the one of the judge saying that “the statement that the only defense against the earthquake is represented by reinforcing buildings is so obvious, so useless” and it does not represent anything else than a “clause of style”. Contrary to it, one lesson could be that we can start again discussin about how to mitigate seismic risk, after five years of blackout.
The other one, not new but more clear now, is that earthquake risk mitigation must start from the citizen, forgetting the idea that it must come from above (State, local administrations, Major Risk Committee, earthquake forecasters, etc.) only; and that, when somthing goes wrong, we have to find someone else guilty, always. How many of those who discuss about earthquake risk do know whether their house is safe? Isn’t it better to know it before than after? Our homes can be made safer; this can be learned in schools, more than to bring students to the trial, as happened in L’Aquila.

Rhapsody. The issue of the [missing] “analysis of earthquake risk”, opposite to the missed earthquake prediction, is one of the refrains of the first degree sentence. The more one reads it, the more he finds out that the judge is in a dead end, may be with the help of his scientific consultants.

p. 265. “Obviously, we do not want to say that, on the basis of the historical data, the earthquake of 6 April could have been forecasted or that, on the basis of the historical data, the defendants should have raised alerts or evacuate the whole city” [why the city only?]

p.268. “Obviously, we do not want to say that, on the basis of the analysis of the lenght of the swarm , the earthquake of 6 April could have been forecasted or that, on the basis of such analysis, the defendants should have raised alerts of impending earthquakes to the citizenship or evacuate the whole city

p.280. “Obviously, we do not want to say that, on the basis of seismic hazard maps or the probabilistic studies, the earthquake of 6 April could have been forecasted or that, on the basis of such studies, the defendants should have raised alerts of impending earthquakes or evacuate the whole city”

p. 290. “Obviously, we do not want to say that, on the basis of the vulnerability data, the earthquake of 6 April could have been forecasted or that, on the basis of the those data, the defendants should have raised alerts of impending earthquakes or evacuate the whole city” [impending earthquakes on the basis of vulnerability data? strange]

p. 300. “Obviously, we do not want to say that, on the basis of the exposure data, the earthquake of 6 April could have been forecasted or that, on the basis of those data the defendants should have raised alerts of impending earthquakes or evacuate the whole city”.

After each one of these statements the Sentence writes (cut&paste):
“the judgement of  predictability did not have as a goal the earthquake as natural event, but the analysis of the earthquake risk according to parameters well known to the defendants, such as R = P x V x E”.

We stop here: we do hope that damage cause by such approach can be repaired soon; that “do it yourself” seismologists can go back in the dark, and that earthquake risk can be studied again in schools and universities, for true.

 

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