Any time there is a major story on Flint, I find myself checking the Detroit newspapers to see the local coverage. The Free Press had a story on just how rare the charges are:
There first thing that I found surprising that the charges aren’t linked to the lead in the water, but to the related problems that led to a Legionnaire’s Disease case that was a result of water treatment issues.
The main point of the article, however, was that officials being prosecuted for endangering public health is very rare, while prosecutions for corruption are fairly normal. Yet both are fundamentally failures to live up to public trust.
Perhaps it’s a little easier to make the line to pressing charges when the case is “He or she took a suitcase full of cash,” than it is to make the case with “He or she knew this was serious and didn’t make the phone call they should have made.”
Or is there something else at work here? As a scientist, I’m deeply uncomfortable with the idea of criminalizing a mistake in professional judgement. The scientific community was deeply upset by the prosecution of geologists for “failing” to state the dangers of the after-shock of an earthquake in Italy a few years ago.
Do we artificially extend the protection we should give to scientific judgement to cover moral judgement? This seems to me to be linked to why this is considered unusual .