Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Is Mexico Safer than the U.S.?

Is Mexico Safer than the U.S.?
Posted on February 25, 2011
by Patrick Osio

Here comes Easter break again and young people will be young people; high school and college kids will travel to distant places where the drinking age is either less than it is in the U.S. or where authorities don’t care to enforce minors’ drinking laws. For several decades Mexico has been one such place of choice where the legal drinking age is 18. Mazatlan, Acapulco, Puerto Vallarta and Cancun were the “fly-to” favorite places and Rosarito Beach and Ensenada the favorite “drive-to” places from Southern California. But not this year, or for that matter neither was it last year.
Our government and the U.S. media have convinced most Americans that Mexico is not a safe place to visit as drug traffickers are fighting it out to see which gang will have the right to sell their illicit drugs to the very group that will not be visiting Mexico. They will have to wait until they return from Easter break to get their Mexican smuggled drugs at home.

But what really struck me was that the preferred country to visit this Easter break in lieu of Mexico is the Dominican Republic. It struck me because Dominica is rated as the number one country with the highest propensity for crime in the world. According to facts gathered by NationalMaster.com, their total crime per 1,000 residents (per capita) is 113.822 –Compared to the U.S. that is 8th in the world in total crimes at 80.0645 per 1000 residents, making chances of being a victim of a crime in Dominica better than 10%, and slightly less than an 8% chance of being a victim in the U.S.
But here is the real clunker: Mexico, the country our government tells us not to visit and the media has a field day reporting any crime be it significant or not to further put the fear of God into staying away from there – well, it ranks 39th in total crime in the world with a per capita of slightly less than 13 crimes per 1000 residents that is a 1.3% chance of being a victim of crime in Mexico.
So Mexico is out, Dominica is in, yet the chances of being a crime victim there is greater than in the U.S. and the chances of being a crime victim in the U.S. is greater than in Mexico. But, for our own safety we need to stay out of Mexico.

Have you ever felt like you’re being duped but you can’t quite put your finger on why; what’s the motive? Is it to keep us from facing some bitter truths? We keep reading how crime is down, how safe we are compared to most other parts of the world. But is it true?

So here are some multiple choice questions for you:
1. Which country has a higher crime rate per 1,000 residents?
Mexico, b. Germany, c. Canada, d. U.S.
2. Which country has the highest murders with firearms?
Mexico, b. El Salvador, c. U.S.
3. Of the following countries, which has the least number of drug offenses?
a. Germany, b. United Kingdom, c. Canada, d. Switzerland, e. Mexico
4. Which country has the most prisoners?
a. United States, b. China, c. Russia, d. India, e. Mexico
(Answers: 1. d. U.S., 2. c. U.S., 3. e. Mexico, 4. a. U.S.)
In one of the only bright spots due to its recent gang related murders, Mexico, on a per capita, ranks as more dangerous than the U.S. occupying No. 24 and Mexico No. 6 in the world, but in total number of murders the U.S. is No. 5 and Mexico No. 6.
In fact, much of the crime data per capita 1000 population suggests that in many respects Mexico is safer than the U.S.: in assaults the U.S. ranks No. 6, Mexico No. 20; burglaries the U.S. No. 17, Mexico No. 34; car thefts U.S. No. 9, Mexico No. 22; fraud U.S. No. 18, Mexico No. 29; Rape (Canada No.5), U.S. No. 9, Mexico No. 17.

No doubt that, at the expense of Mexico, we are being duped. Is it to hide our insatiable appetite for illicit drugs and cheap labor, and so by pointing the finger of guilt to the biggest supplier of both we exculpate our actions or, at minimum, pacify our own guilt?
 Maybe it’s time for “the home of the free, and land of the brave” to take note.

Patrick Osio is Editor of HispanicVista.com. He can be reached at: POsio@aol.com.

Thursday, August 04, 2011


Using the phrase "Politically Correct" evokes numerous responses and differing perspectives. Some cultures over use the phrase, others laugh at the very mention of it. This week a prominent public figure sent a letter to the White House apologizing for a comment he made last Friday on a Denver radio station. He used the phrase, "like touching a tar baby" in reference to being linked to a specific side of the debt debate.

While this term has been used to refer to something which is "hard to remove oneself from", it has long been recognized as a derogatory term for black Americans. It is something that Amor is all too familiar with. The commonly used term "tar squares" is used when building an Amor house which can best be describes as a small black square of roofing paper with a nail running through it. It is used to hold the long sheets of tar paper on the side of an Amor house that provides the backing needed to support the wet stucco when it is applied.

Long ago it was a common thing to hear someone ask for or ask someone to make more "tar babies." But as time passed we became well aware that this was offensive in many cultures so we specifically eliminated and requested others to eliminate the use of this phrase. Thus, "tar squares" has become the commonly and appropriate acceptable way to describe this product.

A great description of how to make a "tar square" is in our latest "House Building Manual":

I find it quite interesting that something as insignificant as a small black square could have such offending power if described or used inappropriately. Recently when I was helping build an home at the San Carlos Apache Reservation I was reminded that the Apache are generally a very gentle culture compared to your mainstream American . They aren't generally comfortable looking you in the eyes and their handshakes tend to be very gentle and relaxed. This is quite contrary to how I was raised to interact with people- "a strong, firm handshake and look them in the eyes, son!" Even something as simple as a hand shake or eye contact can offend someone from another culture.

Its perhaps one of the greatest challenges of short term missions. How do we serve those we have been called to or sent to help and understand their culture in a very short time, with the hope of reducing or simply not offending them- when we are doing our best to love and serve them? Its why many missionaries around the world cringe at the thought of short term [visitors] coming to serve with the very people they have served and patiently learned to understand their culture and their ways.

I would highly recommend anyone interested in this challenge to read one of my favorite books on this subject, "When Helping Hurts" by Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert. I would also recommend you visit their website at www.whenhelpinghurts.org and definitely check out the "Video and Audio Interviews with the Authors" under the "About The Book" tab.

A good reminder, if there ever was one, is to follow the words of Paul from Romans 12:18, "If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone."

Friday, April 01, 2011


I have heard Billy Graham speak on the radio and television, and read of his ministry most my my life. The "Gospel" he spoke was so basic, simple, and sincere that it seemed impossible to be confused on what he spoke about. I think of all the Presidents that Graham ministered to, President Johnson had to be one of the greatest challenges. Once President Johnson asked Graham to preside at his funeral, without notes, just from the heart. He wanted Graham to "preach the Gospel."

What came next has never left me after I read about it. When Graham got home he wrote a letter to President Johnson expressing his love and assurance about the afterlife for him. "We are not saved because of our own accomplishments," Graham wrote. "I am not going to Heaven because I have preached to great crowds or read the Bible many times, I'm going to Heaven just like the thief on the cross who said in the last moment, 'Lord, remember me.'"

In a Time interview with Billy Graham, he once again broke it down,

"I think we all need forgiveness. I look at my own life and my own heart, and someday I will stand before God, totally naked. I won’t be preacher, or whatever I’ve been. It'll be just before God, and I’ll need forgiveness. I’ll need the mercy of God and the grace of God."

Its very easy to get so busy with all the activities and responsibilities of life that we often forget that it was God who brought us into this world, and it will be He who accepts us into the next. With all our frailties, all our mistakes, and all our imperfections. Try ,as hard as we may, to accomplish great things, yet we just aren't perfect. We need God's grace.

It reminds me of a typical Amor home that has been build by volunteers with little or no skilled labor. The house isn't perfect when its done- the slab has crack a little as it dries, the wall's may not be perfectly straight, the door may not fit just right. Yet, when the home is done it is received with great joy and appreciation by a very needy family . The slight imperfections and the irregularities are simply forgiven and overlooked. Its the thought that counted, its the love and the "heart" that the family who receives the home recalls. We know that we tried our best and in spite of it all we still need the grace of this family.........and we will always "need the mercy of God and the grace of God!"

Monday, February 07, 2011

Scott Heads to Cienega in Cancun, Mexico

Scott Heads to Cienega in Cancun, Mexico

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