Murdered in Mexico? Give Me A Fucking Break

The other day, I wrote an article for Travel and Escape Canada about Cuba and the recent resurgence of  cholera, discussing whether it was safe to go and whether or not I’d recommend someone reschedule their trip.  A woman responded to the article and said that she’d deal with cholera and Cuba any day over going to Mexico. I thought it was strange for her to randomly bring Mexico into the conversation, so I took the bait. Why’s that? Because of all the murders, she said.

I’ve gotta be honest: This really annoyed me. You do know you have a better chance of getting stabbed in NYC than in Cabo, right? To this, I received no response.

The above is a great example of a common problem for our southern neighbor: Irrational fears and flawed perceptions leading to a distorted version of reality. I’m reading a great book that discusses this exact subject, how our logic is so backwards on so many levels when it comes to our evaluation of risk. The classic example is how people who are afraid to fly view driving as less dangerous, when in reality driving is much more dangerous and greatly increases your risk of death or injury. Think about it. People view flying on a plane as a threat (which kills such a small percentage of people), but are perfectly comfortable eating at McDonald’s and living with the fact that they’re 30, 40, or 50 pounds overweight (heart disease is one of the leading causes of death in America).

In this same fashion, Mexico has become a victim of a skewed perception based on unbalanced coverage in the media that has since been circulated as fact by water cooler conversations between two people who have never been there. Can you die in Mexico? Sure. Just as your plane could crash, just like you could be killed anywhere. But given the actual facts about the probability of their occurrence, you are actually more likely, statistically speaking, to be murdered in New Orleans. But yet a million or so people go to Mardi Gras every year. Check out the graphic below:

homicide rates

There was a time when Mexico had its problems, for sure, a time when you would need to use a bit of common sense when traveling, but it has been so blown out of proportion it’s not even funny. The media loves to report on the dirt and make one incident seem like the norm, and then neglects to cover how it’s gotten a lot better, how Mexicans are some of the nicest people you’ll ever meet with ten times the culture of America.

Having traveled to Mexico a half-dozen times in the past two years, I get so tired of people who have never been there telling me how scary it is. It’s not even about the tourism aspect at this point for me – spend your money wherever and however the hell you want. I’ve made many Mexican friends over the course of those visits, people I’d welcome into my home in a heartbeat, and it “kills” me to see their country get a false reputation.

If you haven’t been to Mexico in the past year, or you’ve been a victim of any sort of crime in the States, then it’s officially time to stop moving your lips.

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4 Comments Add yours

  1. Leo Salazar says:

    AWESOME!

  2. jennaintersimone says:

    This is fantastic. THANK YOU.

  3. I tell people this all the time. The media has hurt the Mexican economy. I feel safer there than any place I have ever been. Thank u!

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