An article I read in today’s Wall Street Journal left me shaking my head in disbelief. I read the article right before I gave a presentation to a communications team on the new rules and metrics on reputation today. Since I could not comprehend how something like this could happen, I blurted it out when I met the head of the communications department prior to the start of the meeting. I still cannot assimilate it so I am hoping that sharing this news will help me get back to work. The article is about attacks on the home of Swiss pharma company Novartis’ CEO allegedly by animal rights activists. The story is that activists have been targeting Novartis to discontinue animal testing of drugs, something that Novartis says they have taken “strong steps” to reduce. What is so terribly alarming is that the suspected attackers stole the ashes of CEO Daniel Vasella’s mother from her grave. This is in addition to a suspicious fire at his summer home in Austria this week. All I can say is that there are some rules that no one or no organization should break. Stealing a loved one’s ashes or consecrating a grave is immoral. Everyone, including activists who feel strongly about a topic, should follow a moral code by which they live and communicate with others. Violence of this type ultimately harms the reputation of all activists.