I am compelled to add my voice to the chorus of disgust about targeting the school of UCLA neurobiologist Dario Ringach children by angry animal rights activists. Dr. Free-Ride began the chorus, and was quickly followed by Pal MD, Scicurious, PZ Meyers at Pharyngula, Mark CC, Nick Anthis, and Drugmonkey, and more Drugmonkey…** updated** and Ambivalent Academic, and Orac, and more Orac…and at Speaking of Research…
A rather longish excerpt from Dr. Free-Ride’s post that pretty much sums it all up…
Harassment drove UCLA neurobiologist Dario Ringach out of primate research in 2006. This was not just angry phone calls and email messages. We’re talking about people in masks banging on the windows of his house in the night, scaring his kids. Without support on this front from other scientists or from UCLA, Dario abandoned research that he believed to be important so that he could keep his family safe.
Since then, there has been more violence against researchers who work with animals. UCLA started to stand up for its researchers in the face of incendiary devices. Scientists started calling for an end to violent tactics in their journals, and in petitions, and in demonstrations.
As someone with experience being on the receiving end of such tactics, Dario stood up to decry their use against other scientists.
And, Dario participated in the dialogue at UCLA that was aimed at getting people with different views on animal research to engage with each other peacefully and productively. On a panel that included a strong defender of animal rights, Dario explained the role he thinks animal research plays in answering scientific questions that matter to us — to the public as well as scientists.
Not everyone on the panel, or in the audience, agreed with Dario’s point of view (although I daresay this was so for every one of the six panelists). But all seemed to recognize that it was a honest articulation of his view, and that it was his right to hold it and to articulate it.
For just daring to stand up and share his view, Dario was targeted for more home demonstrations. And now, activists threaten to bring the demonstrations to his children’s schools, to “educate fellow students what their classmate’s father does for a living”.
Express the view that scientific research is worth doing, plan on your kids being harassed? Is that what we’ve come to? Is this really the society we want to live in?
If it’s not, we need to stand up and say so, in no uncertain terms.
I can not for the life of me understand the logic or the justification one would use to target a scientist’s CHILDREN. That, my friends, is terrorism plain and simple.