I just finished reading Fareed Zakaria’s book “The Post-American World“, (not bad, but I like his TV show better), which talks about the fear that has entered the lives of Americans in recent years. (Sounds like its another negative-America book but its actually not). He compares it to how it was when he first came to American as an 18-year old student, how he was in awe of the country and the people, who seemed capable of anything and taking on anything. It reminded my of myself as a young Canadian growing up next to this country, feeling like I got the “short end of the stick” because I was not born south of the border, as an American. But that has changed.
Probably President Roosevelt’s most famous line was “All we have to fear is fear itself – nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror”.
For Americans to say that they will not travel to Puerto Vallarta because of cartel violence, beheadings or kidnappings strikes me as “unjustified terror”.
Fareed writes: “America has become a nation consumed by anxiety, worried about terrorists and rogue nations, Muslims and Mexicans, foreign companies and free trade, immigrants and international organizations.”
John McCain, in his book Why Courage Matters – The Way to a Braver Life, (who Fareed also quotes), wrote “Get on the damn elevator! Fly on the damn plane! Calculate the odds of being harmed by a terrorist. Its about as likely as being swept out to sea by a tidal wave.”
Calculate the odds folks. How many visitors to Mexico, to Puerto Vallarta, have been a victim of drug cartel violence? Who knows anyone, anyone, who has been kidnapped? Or of someone you know that has experienced any form of violence down here? And then go read the local newspaper to see what’s happened in your city or state recently. Violence or robberies do sometimes take place in PV (they do everywhere), but they are not frequent. Its just that when it does happen, it blasted all over the international news, over and over again. Sensationalism. Because the robberies or violence in your home town are not “sensational” enough these days. Its much more exciting to talk about drug cartels in Mexico and try and link it to how safe your son or daughter may be down here on Spring Break. The only problems we have had here lately is when they were so drunk they got into fights or fell off terrace railings of hotels.
Drug cartel violence is serious and it does need to be not only contained but curbed. But the violence, for the most part, is a long ways away from PV, and it hasn’t involved foreigners.