On April 6th, 2009 at 3:32 pm I woke up in my house in Rome because the bed, the walls, everything was shaking. I realized, horrified, that it was an earthquake and that there had been a catastrophe somewhere. It went on like this. Hundreds of buildings collapsed, killing 309 people and leaving 80,000 homeless in L’Aquila, 120 km away. Anyone who has experienced an earthquake will know that an indescribable feeling of anguish mixed with an absolute impotence of not being able to do anything. Then I thought about it several times to try to understand what twisted train of thought, what degenerate mental system, drives a person to react in a moment very differently to this: that Thinking of everything they can.
That same night two Italian businessmen were chatting happily because they knew they were going to make a fortune with public reconstruction contracts. There are people who see beyond others, this needs to be recognized. He tapped the phone and their conversation was traced. A phrase passed on for posterity: “I laughed in bed at half past three tonight.” This man laughed thinking about the money they were going to win. If we keep our cool, the equation will go something like this: Terrible misfortune equals great business opportunity, equals laughter. Another earthquake struck Amatrice in 2016 and the scene was repeated with two other businessmen laughing on the phone. Investigations later revealed that the contracts were in favor of family and friends.
Earlier, on November 23, 1980, another earthquake occurred in the Irpinia region in the south. In this case, an even more unreliable count was recorded: fatalities and horrors equal to the probability of more deaths. In Naples’s Pogiorelle prison, the earthquake caused panic and the chambers were opened. But then there was the Camorra, a local mafia war, and the factions were separated in prison. When the odds fell, he took the opportunity to settle the accounts. In the atmosphere of wild chaos, three people died, they were beaten to death. The officers lost control of the place for two days. In addition, the earthquake enriched the main Camorra clans, which until then were devoted to tobacco smuggling. They collected public money for the emergency and since then they have become a big criminal organization. A 1993 parliamentary inquiry report found that only a third of the billions earmarked for the region reached the 119 affected municipalities.
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We now know that in Madrid, in March 2020, when the pandemic was killing 300 people a day and we were all paralyzed with fear, two dynamic entrepreneurs went to join this successful business school. Not just anyone, you must have special skills. According to the prosecutor’s office, he had: through a cousin of the mayor, he contacted the Madrid City Council and sold them defective sanitary materials for 15.8 million euros with false papers. He took a commission of about six million and bought a ferrari And another 11 luxury cars, a yacht, an apartment in Pozuelo for a million euros and a week at a hotel in Marbella for 6,000 euros a night. In this case the equation would be like this, simplified: equal to pitch, ferry and dead ferrari, I feel like I can hear laughter.
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