The trouble with Giuliani's behavior is that it was completely irresponsible toward several different sets of people.
- Science-fiction movies to the contrary, it was irresponsible toward the authorities for Giuliani to act over their heads. He was lucky not to be jailed for causing panic. As it was, his action forced the authorities to deal with this unwelcome controversy on top of the widespread destruction.
- It was irresponsible toward other scientists for Giuliani to act on the basis of a method that is not trusted by the scientific community. In fact, no method of earthquake prediction is trusted. Contrary to the movies, there are no lone geniuses with unique powers of deduction. This convenient fiction is exploited by antiscience activists such as global-warming deniers with the slogan "science does not work by consensus." But where science informs policy, consensus is mandatory. By wrapping himself in the mantle of science, Giuliani irresponsibly damaged its authority.
- It was irresponsible toward himself for Giuliani to put himself and his institution at grave risk. Remember, he was urging people to abandon their homes weeks before any earthquake actually occurred. It would take only one family whose abandoned home had been looted to sue him into lifelong povertyeven assuming his forecast was well grounded, which it was not. And as we all know from the movies, a mob of angry villagers can be a deadly threat outside the law.
- It was irresponsible toward the people to alarm them without a full explanation of his method, his reasoning and his uncertainties. Sparing this essential information is not a kindness, but a dangerous expression of contempt for the public's intelligence.
Kim Hannula, as always, is informative too on what Giuliani did wrong.