Criminalizing Weather-related Fatalities

Deaths from natural disasters are traditionally considered “acts of God,” or “acts of nature,” beyond human control. This view is being challenged in a French trial where prosecutors have charged a small-town mayor with manslaughter for deaths caused by storm flooding. The precedent of criminalizing weather-related deaths would delight climate-change activists who increasingly call for criminal trials of anyone skeptical of their agenda. The mayor, Réné Marratier, was arrested after Cyclone Xynthia hit the French Atlantic coast in February 2010. The French State is seeking a four-year jail sentence for the drowning deaths of twenty-nine people in his town of La Faute-sur-Mer. The mayor’s lawyers describe the proposed sentence as “unprecedented and disproportionate.” After Hurricane Katrina, in comparison, no one suggested that Mayor Ray Nagin was criminally responsible for 1,800 deaths. In the early 1990s, Mayor Marratier...(Read Full Article)

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