Wednesday, September 16, 2009

When Scientists Murder

The evidence in the Annie Le murder case now points clearly at animal-care technician Raymond Clark. He met with Annie the day she died. He was in and out of the building 10 times that day, including after hours. He failed a lie-detector test. And he had defense wounds all over his body.

My reaction to all this is sadness. When I first heard about the murder, I was sure it was someone from outside the building. I was reluctant to believe that a researcher could kill a fellow scientist, sure enough to bet on it. I was wrong.

Science for me has a moral component, a character-building component. That's why I call this blog Samurai Scientist. But it also teaches us to avoid prejudice and to investigate carefully based on all the facts. In retrospect, there's no shortage of assholes and anti-socials in the scientific community. The guy who murdered a call girl off Craigslist was a doctor.

I don't know if this tragedy could have been prevented. Nobody thought Raymond was capable of murder. The bottom line is that people are not what they seem. You do not have all the data. What they show you is only what they want you to see. Tread carefully.

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