SOME OF YOU know that from time to time, I have dabbled in the unpredictable but highly compensated sideline known as "damage control," often (if not quite accurately) described by laypeople as spin.
The damage-control specialist is the kind of person who would write, of a nuclear blast that vaporized Manhattan, "Many species of rodent pests that have harassed New York residents for decades were finally eliminated yesterday when..."
Well, the U.S. Department of State has issued one of its occasional travel advisories, this one pertaining to vacationers who'd planned to visit Mexico, which is lately beset by serious street crime on the part of druglords and their marauding gangs.* Though the State Department doesn't mention it here, this crime sometimes has included not-quite-random acts of violence directed pointedly at visiting U.S. citizens (carjackings, a now-and-then rape and/or murder, etc. Although in fairness, these are more likely to occur in places like Haiti).
The Mexican government, intent on defending its honor, has released a statement in which it says there's no need to worry, because "innocent bystanders aren't usually affected." Now there's a line that's bound to inspire confidence in would-be travelers! I can hear the conversation already:
Wife: "Honey, didn't I hear something about how it's dangerous to go to Mexico now?I also got a kick out of the "tips" that one helpful TV station gives to spring break-minded college students who may head south of the border, particularly this:
Husband: "Nah, I wouldn't worry about it. The Mexican government says the automatic-weapons fire usually misses bystanders, or only hits them in non-life-threatening areas of the body."
Wife: "OK then, I'll get the suitcases out. Oh, don't let me forget to pack the snorkles for the kids!"
"Don't stay out after dark."Riiight. Also: "Avoid alcohol at all costs."
By the way, if you're a serious thrill-seeker and you're looking to plan a getaway that might include the chance of, say, a beheading or the explosion of a nearby car bomb, here are some destinations that are sure to get the juices flowing.
And here, also, is a press release from Mexico's Board of Tourism regarding the construction of a half-billion-dollar beachfront resort. You'll note the release makes no mention of rumors that the new property will be bulletproof and will include, in its basement, a morgue...
* Does anyone else maraud besides gangs? You always seem to see those two words used in combination.