Thursday, May 23, 2013

dying in mexico

"More Americans murdered in Mexico than in any other country in the world."

Well, there is a headline to catch your attention.  Especially, if you are an American.  And living in Mexico.

Last year, the Canadian newspapers were all atwitter about Canadians being targeted for violence in Mexico.  You read that correctly.  Targeted.  Apparently, those maple leaf flags sewn on back packs were mistaken for bull's eyes.

But Americans are not going to allow their northern brethren to yank the stick of victimhood out of their star-spangled hands.  No, sirree.  We are going to announce that we have come in first.  Even if the record is a bit macabre to be touting.  648 over a ten-year period.

And I'll bet you know exactly what I am going to write next.  But you may be surprised.

I have written several posts on the use of crime statistics to gauge what most of us experience living here.  Using calm and logic, I have tried to persuade people that Mexico simply is not as dangerous as most Americans have come to believe.

By the way, the woman I met last year is going to be surprised that her figure of 7 million Americans being killed in Mexico in a year was a tad high (breaking spring).  But it doesn't matter.  That is a matter of scale, not attitude.

That type of fear is irrational.  And irrationality is not subject to logic arguments.  So, I am done making them.  At least about violence.

I frequently receive email on this issue.  They usually go something like this.  "I visited Mexico frequently when I was young in the 1970s.  I am now ready to retire and would love to live there, but my husband/wife is worried about the terrible violence.  What can I tell him/her to have a change of mind?"

In the past, I have spun my lawyerly web of numbers attempting to assuage the fear's of the doubtful spouse.  But no more.

Anyone who is afraid of violence --  or sanitary conditions, or parasites, or poverty -- should not come here.  Period.

In fact, they should consider just staying in the perceived safety of their living room.  Because, if you are looking for scary people, unkempt public bathrooms, wormy fish, or street beggars, you can find them here.  Just as you can find them in your own home towns -- or any place you may visit in the world.  Even Paris.
Are there real crime problems here?  Of course, there are.  People are here.  And where there are human beings, there is crime.

A crime story is playing out right now just north of us in Puerto Vallarta.  An American and Canadian came down to sponsor a mixed martial arts event.  They both disappeared right after they withdrew the sponsorship money from an ATM.  That was two weeks ago.

The families are understandably frantic.  Especially now that they have heard rumors that the two men were whisked away from the ATM in a police patrol car.  You can imagine how the families feel when the Canadian consulate tells them to rely on the police to investigate the disappearances.

That is also a reality of Mexico  -- as it is in many countries.  The police cannot be relied upon to always do the right thing.  Rather like the American IRS.

So, if all of that scares you -- stay home.  But if you are willing to take the risk of traveling to or living in a land filled with limitless adventures, come on down.

I am staying.  And having company is always nice.

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