The Tribe of Science has suffered a horrible and untimely loss with the murder of Yale MD/PhD graduate student Annie Le. The latest news is reporting that she was strangled and left in a wall in the basement of a science building at Yale University where she worked. By news accounts Ms. Le was an energetic and promising scientist. She was also preparing for her wedding to another graduate student.
This is tragic. It reminds us that violence against women is always lurking out there. It reminds us that those in the Tribe of Science are at risk. It reminds us to ask ourselves what we can do, if anything, to make our workplaces safer.
The connection with the Tribe of Science is worth thinking about, if I may take a sidebar. I confess I am no big fan of the media hoopla that seems to surround every missing blonde, blue-eyed, white, preferably Southern college woman in the US. The attention always seems so out of proportion, considering the relative anonymity of many poorer, less-educated, frequently black or brown women that go missing (only to be found murdered, if at all). I didn't have this reflexive distaste for the media circus this time around and it probably has less to do with the fact that the victim is Asian-American and more to do with the fact she is Scientist-American.
It is not a point of pride, it just is what it is. Things just hit closer to home when they are your people. I guess the aforementioned missing blonde, white college women are more salient to the members of the MSM. Well, this scientist is more salient to me and I imagine, DearReader, to you as well.
I didn't know Ms. Le, of course, nor am I familiar with her laboratory. But...there are people I know who have worked in the past or currently work at Yale. Certainly there are a number of scientific giants in fields of interest to me that are Yale professors. They must all be grieving. Worrying. Wondering how this senseless tragedy could possibly have been averted.
Even if we do not know Ms. Le or know people within a degree of separation of her...we know the Tribe. And we feel the grief and fears of the Yale scientists. We also feel a personal loss that a promising, intelligent, energetic scientist in training has been lost forever. What she might have accomplished...
RIP, Ms. Le.