Perception vs. Reality: U.S. Ranks #7 in Gun Violence; Mexico Ranks #17

Is it safe to travel to Mexico?  Is it safe to travel to Oaxaca?  Is it safe to fly to Mexico City and change planes for Oaxaca there?

Here’s a web site you should know about:  NationMaster sent to me by my friend Sheri Brautigam, an expat who lives in Oaxaca.

It is a massive central data source and a handy way to graphically compare nations. NationMaster is a vast compilation of data from such sources as the CIA World Factbook, UN, and OECD.

I used their form to search using these terms:  crime, gun violence, homicides. What was generated was a map, graph, and pie charts of rankings by country. I was surprised to see that the U.S. outranks Mexico in the use of firearms that resulted in deaths.  If we are to believe the media, our friends and family, it would be a different story.

But statistics don’t lie.   That’s why you should keep and use this site to find out other factoids about life as we think we know it.

This coming Wednesday morning I will climb aboard a regional jet from RDU to JFK.  Six hours later I will land in Mexico City and board another regional jet for Oaxaca.  I am traveling alone.  I will negotiate the NYC airport solo and make my way through the new international terminal at the Benito Juarez International Airport in Mexico City by myself.  The airport in Mexico City is like many other new, clean and vibrant airports across the U.S., filled with restaurants, shops, and helpful staff.  It is a shopping and eating adventure, so if you have a layover it can be a lot of fun.

A recent Seattle Times article noted, “Mexico’s Ministry of Tourism said the number of foreign visitors in 2010 exceeded the approximately 22 million travelers who arrived in 2008 — before the outbreak of swine flu in April 2009 left resorts empty for much of the rest of the year.

The U.S. Commerce Department said visits to Mexico by US residents rose 8 percent during the first six months of 2010 — a period that includes spring break months — compared to the same time period in 2009.

Much of that has been attributable to the favorable exchange rate and cheaper package deals at Mexican resorts, Travel Leaders spokeswoman Kathy Gerhardt said.”

5 responses to “Perception vs. Reality: U.S. Ranks #7 in Gun Violence; Mexico Ranks #17

  1. I have just returned from a 10 day stay in the US, where I was repeatedly asked about safety in Mexico. It seems the media have done their job too well, perhaps better than the Canadian media, as the Canadian winter visitors in the Puerto Vallarta area seem to substantially out number the US visitors this season.

    While in the US, I saw a family take out and show off their gun collection, something I would never see in a Mexican home.


    • Kathleen, as always, I appreciate your wise and sensitive comments. Who would know better about safety for Americans than those of us who live in Mexico (as you do) and who travel there frequently (as I do). Perception is powerful as is cultural preconceptions that influence how Americans think and feel about people who are different from us.

  2. I should have pointed out I have been to the USA 4 times, both on business and on personal trips!

  3. When I was going to Nigeria to marry my husband, some people asked was I not scared. I answered no, I was always more nervous going to the USA. Why? Because of the gun culture.

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