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Regarding Mexico: Biased News, Half-Truths and Fear Mongering Fuel Paranoia of All Things South of the Border

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Not the Whole Story 

The U.S. media and federal government have stirred up a toxic cauldron media blitz that has been force-feeding U.S. citizenry only partial truths and irresponsible generalizations about the violence plaguing Mexico. If to be believed, the entire country of Mexico, some 109 million people, would be cowering in their homes fearful of venturing too far out lest they be caught up in random drug violence or kidnappings. 

Mexico is the 14th largest independent nation in the world with crime per capita (based on 2006 statistics) of 12 per 1,000 people, ranking 39 in a survey of 60 countries.  If one took the time to do a bit of research instead of believing the selective, if not deceptive reporting and scare tactics that have become the norm in U.S. mainstream media, and of which few of us ever question, we might be surprised to learn that based on statistics of non-violent crimes and violent crimes such as homicide, the U.S., at times, ranks neck in neck based on demographics and location, and in some categories, surpasses Mexico. 

Random Acts Versus Non-Random Acts of Violence 

Drug cartels in Mexico are rampant and the escalating drug violence has wreaked havoc primarily on U.S./Mexican border towns.

U.S. citizens are not primary targets in places such as Mexico City or other tourist destinations as many would believe.  Kidnappings in Mexico City are largely of wealthy Mexicans who are held for ransom

While U.S. citizens have been kidnapped in the past several years, they are not being singled out as media would have us believe. 

Much of the violent crime in Mexico is Non-Random, i.e. targets are usually those involved in illegal drug trafficking or police and other government officials attempting to regulate crime in towns along the U.S./Mexican border. 

If you look at the recent State Department warnings, including warnings specifically aimed at college students traveling to the Gulf Coast of Mexico, you will note that many of the warnings listed are not about drug violence or kidnappings, but the strong ocean undertow, potentially dangerous aquatic life, advantageous “petty” crime often perpetrated on inebriated tourists or those not exercising common sense as one needs to whenever traveling abroad – or for that matter – to any U.S. city where crime is more prevalent.   

- Most cities and towns in Mexico are safe and are not dangerous 

   places to live or visit. 

- The drug violence is primarily isolated to the U.S./Mexican

   border. 

- Most guns used in the illegal drug trade and in acts of violence

   throughout Mexico have been coming into the country from the

   United States

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A native Californian, Jan Baumgartner is a writer and book editor. After many years along the coast of Maine, she now lives full time in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. She's recently finished editing two books; one, a memoir for a non-profit in (more...)
 
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Instead of looking South of the Border we better l... by Mark Sashine on Wednesday, Mar 25, 2009 at 4:10:00 PM
Sadly, many believe only one version of what they ... by Jan Baumgartner on Wednesday, Mar 25, 2009 at 4:39:58 PM
that we have seen in the Bush years, "scare t... by virginius "gin" arnold on Wednesday, Mar 25, 2009 at 5:37:58 PM
I loved it. From Mexico City to the border towns.&... by Patrick Lafferty on Wednesday, Mar 25, 2009 at 8:43:24 PM
Mexico is soft and in many ways, easy, comfortable... by Jan Baumgartner on Wednesday, Mar 25, 2009 at 9:01:14 PM
America, the richest nation on the face of the ear... by Mac McKinney on Wednesday, Mar 25, 2009 at 9:40:01 PM
and thank you. At this moment, in the background ... by Jan Baumgartner on Wednesday, Mar 25, 2009 at 9:47:17 PM
Personally, I am not going to walk through a mine ... by Doc "Old Codger" McCoy on Thursday, Mar 26, 2009 at 3:04:43 AM
Nore fear mongering, more brain washing more billi... by Sister Begonia on Thursday, Mar 26, 2009 at 8:46:34 AM
     It does not matter where ... by mikel paul on Thursday, Mar 26, 2009 at 12:19:16 PM
Great article!!  Our media is sick.  The... by Mad Jayhawk on Saturday, Mar 28, 2009 at 9:29:43 AM
If the zoo where you lived had a lion get out and ... by Mad Jayhawk on Saturday, Mar 28, 2009 at 9:35:24 AM