Among the horrors of the downing of the Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, thought to be perpetrated by Russian-backed separatists using a ground-to-air missile is the fact that one-hundred and eight HIV/AIDS researchers were killed. Let that sink in for a while... one-hundred and eight top-flight AIDS researchers, men and women who devoted years of their lives to the study of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, were killed in a stupid, brutal act in a pointless regional conflict.
Among the dead is Joep Lange, Ph.D. and M.D.- doctor, scientist, humanitarian. More than one headline blazed, "Could the cure for AIDS have been on that plane?"
Centuries work adding to accumulated scientific knowledge, decades of activism- all brought to cessation by a deed that took seconds of thoughtless action. The effects of this meaningless attack will reverberate for generations.
Back in 1991, I was captivated by a shooting at the University of Iowa, Iowa City, that claimed the lives of several authorities in the field of theoretical space plasma physics. My fascination with this rampage was largely due to the near-elimination of experts in an esoteric field of research. My main thought was, "The killer is now the foremost expert in the field, and by the time he gets out of prison, everything will have changed." Talk about setting things back by decades... and theoretical space plasma physics doesn't impact the lives of tens of millions of people worldwide. That tragedy doesn't quite compare to this recent one. One-hundred and eight brilliant, good people killed by dumb, bad people who are basically engaged in a dick-measuring contest.
Humanity kinda bites.