St. Vitus

April 05, 2013-PragueCastleCathedral-4316

April 05, 2013-PragueCastleCathedral-4316

The St. Vitus Cathedral was constructed in 1344 using a Gothic Style of architecture.  The Cathedral was and still is a central church of the Czech Republic and includes the crypts of many Bohemian kings and Holy Roman Empires.

For more on my travels to Prague, see the following posts:

Friday, April 5th: (Prague): http://cameronpiper.com/praha/
Saturday, April 6th: (Prague): http://cameronpiper.com/charles-bridge/

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Class today was just like any other Monday.  Italian in the morning and the Economics of Organized Crime in the afternoon.  Except for this Monday’s class of Organized Crime, we had a guest speaker named Giovanni Tizian.  Giovanni is an expert on the dealings of the Italian Mafia ‘Ndrangheta, a mafia from the southern part of Italy in Calabria.  He has written a few books about how their organization has corrupted Italy and is very active in anti mafia organization – so much so that he is under police protection.

He spoke about the corruption within the Public Works of Italy – specifically about highway and metro projects that have taken many years to complete due to the constant investigations of companies tied to the mafia.  The trouble in Italy is that the mafia’s wealth and power is so great that they can essentially subsidize work for companies, making it hard to be legal and choose the fully legal option.  The control which contractors are selected, where the project will be constructed, and what the costs of a project are.  Since they can do these projects for so much less (because they don’t have to deal with loans, thus boosting the prices of legal companies) it puts people in a tough situation.  Even on street level, this legality happens every day.  Sometimes people will be asked if they would like a receipt, which is one price, or without, which is another (which can be almost a quarter of the price with a receipt).  Tax evasion.

Even though many people of Italy try to live their lives through legal means, this added pressure (especially in a time of economic crisis) is one of the big reasons the mafia has a stronghold on Italy.

Another reason I was excited for today was something happening back in the States – Marathon Monday!  I had numerous friends or friends parents running in the event, so I was anticipating hears the good news of a their finishes later in the day.  As I sat eating dinner, checking various sites for reports of their times, I saw the awful news of the two bombs.  My stomach sank, and I lost any bit of appetite I had left.

We live in a world that is no where near perfect.  Every day on the news you hear about a bad thing happening somewhere in the world.  Headlines always stream across the bottom of a TV about a new kidnapping, murder, or drug dealing.  We’re all so immersed in our daily lives that we’re essentially numbed of these dealings – which is terrible.  Hearing something happening at an event that starts in the town over from my hometown really hits home – for lack of a better phrase.  An event that celebrates possibly thousands of people’s LIFE goal to cross a line 26.2 miles from where they started.  To say they’ve overcome something – whether it is physical or mental.

But yesterday, for these thousands of people and many of those who wished to celebrate with them, utter shock and disgust was forced upon them due to the actions of one or more sick and twisted humans.  I am very lucky and thankful that all of my friends and family are safe following this, but my thoughts and prays go out to those who are not as lucky as I am.

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Comments

  • Dad June 5, 2013 Reply

    Did I tell you that my fantasy baseball team is named St Vitus ? It’s actually St Vitus Dance….a song off Black Sabbath Vol. 4 !

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