The photo below is a real front page story down here in deepest, darkest Dorset. The good people of Bournemouth are living in fear of old ladies and their mobility scooters. One old lady in particular, who callously ran over a ladies leg and then, having loitered around for about five minutes, fled from the scene at top speed. So, about 5 mph then. Distressed bystanders commented on how powerless they were to stop her. One of them lamented, ‘what can you do, rugby tackle a disabled pensioner in a mobility scooter?’ The first though that popped into my mind, was that one could casually stroll after her and place one hand on the front of the scooter to prevent its feeble motor propelling the vehicle any further. But I wasn’t there. I just simply don’t understand the terror.
How more far removed can you get from the graphic front pages of Mexican tabloids, with their beheaded bodies and other gruesome photo shoots? It’s easy to jump to the obvious conclusion. Mexico must be far more dangerous than the UK. The truth? It is! Far more dangerous! But that’s rather a broad truth. Sure, measure the murder rates per capita of each country, and there’s only one conclusion you’ll come to.
There are about five crimes that you’d think you could, potentially fall victim to on the streets of Mexico. Being murdered, kidnapped, robbed, assaulted or pick-pocketed. Being murdered didn’t worry me. Highly unlikely. I gave murder less consideration than I did my chances of winning the lottery. And I didn’t play the lottery. Robbed? It definitely happens. Probably a bit more in DF than in London, but I’ll bet there isn’t a massive amount of difference in it.
Assaulted? I never felt in fear of that in Mexico, and not just because the average would-be-assailant would need a ladder to clock me one on the chin. The average Mexican just isn’t particularly violent or confrontational. Not compared to the average Brit, who seems only too happy to lash out with little to no provocation. Pick pocketing? Pretty similar odds in both countries I’d say.
Then there is kidnapping. It is virtually unheard of in the UK, and when it does occur, it’s rarely the type of ransom inspired kidnapping that Mexico has earned a degree of infamy for. It’s usually a non violent, non threatening custody dispute between parents. There’s no way around it, as far as kidnapping is concerned, Mexico is much the more dangerous place. The prospect never kept me awake at night, but I must confess that of all these crimes it is the one I was most wary of, the one I would most worry about. Mexicans agree. The Green Party had plenty of support from people I knew there when they proposed executing kidnappers.
So where do I feel safest? Mrs P told me the other might that she’ll miss the safety and security of the UK. I understand her point. Me too. But there is one consolation. We can sleep pretty well at night in DF, safe in the knowledge that whatever the next day might hold in store for us, it is extraordinarily unlikely that either of us will have our toes mildly squashed by a rampaging, arthritic señora in a mobility scooter.