May 29, 2022


There is no greater injustice in economics than Seth Smith; just hearing his name makes me boil with anger and depression and nihilism. It is so sad. Now that his killer’s court case came to a conclusion this week, and we have ostensibly obtained some semblance of closure, I am sadder than ever.

Seth Smith was a double major in economics and history at UC Berkeley. He was only 19 but a third-year student, scheduled to graduate next spring at the age of 20… he must have been very smart. He was a beautiful and brilliant young guy who had everything going for him. His dream was to attend graduate school at the London School of Economics.

At ~10 pm on June 15th, 2020 — almost exactly two years ago — Seth went out for a walk. On this walk he was shot in the back of the head, execution-style. His body was found half an hour later by a man walking his dog, sprawled on his back with one of his earbuds still in his ear, indicating he was listening to music. Here is a picture of the bus stop where Seth’s body was found.

Unfortunately for Seth, nobody cared about his murder, except for his mom, who was tweeting about it. It was not a national news story.

* * * * * * * *

Here is how Berkeley administrators reacted to Seth’s death, in probably the most evil fashion I could imagine. Let’s linger on this statement for a bit because it deserves a rant of its own.

Many of you may have had a close relationship with Seth and are feeling a sense of loss and disbelief.

Others, like many of us, are experiencing stress, grief and anxiety related to the coronavirus pandemic and the recent murders of George Floyd, Riah Milton, and other Black Americans.


Carol Christ

Stephen C. Sutton
Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs

Sunny Lee
Assistant Vice Chancellor and Dean of Students”

First and foremost: they made Seth Smith an “also-ran” in his own obituary… they may as well have acknowledged that people should be grieving over climate change or the plight of indigenous women. This email says nothing about the search for the murderer, about the cooperation with authorities or any important information that may make students feel more secure. Instead they chose to blithely pander to partisan twitter talking points. What a disgrace. When confronted by a producer for Fox News, Berkeley admins sassily doubled down on their virtue signaling.

Read the whole thing.

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