By Bennett Fuson
It’s that time of year again: spring break. Among the banter about tanlines, wild nights and lazy days, everyone is begging one question: “Where are you going for spring break?”
It comes as no surprise to me when I receive worried glances and frightened whispers when I answer the aforementioned question with this statement:
“I’m leaving for Cancun, Mexico in three days.”
The American media has done a fantastic job of portraying Mexico as Dante’s newest circle of Hell. To be honest, they’re right, for the most part. Throughout Mexico over the past 12 months, the fight between the drug cartels and the Mexican government has claimed at least 2,000 lives, including more than 1,800 in Ciudad Juarez, a town on the Texas border, alone. Yet most of this violence is centered on the delivery channels flowing into the United States, thereby making the northernmost region of Mexico a war zone. Cancun lies on the far east coast of Mexico, relatively isolated from the main country. So far this year, three people have been claimed by the drug war, all government officials – a relatively small number, considering the death toll of the border towns.
This is a scary situation, to be sure, and it only gets worse. According to Newsweek, the war has spread upwards into the United States. Two hundred and thirty cities, including such criminal bastions as Anchorage, AK; Greenville, TN; and Sheboygan, WI have witnessed crimes in the past few months that are directly stemming from the drug cartel wars. The war has struck everywhere, and it seems that nowhere is safe.
So what, then, qualifies Destin, FL as a safer place than Cancun if the war is already here? My spring break plans include flying into the Cancun airport (full of military personnel) and taking a resort-sponsored van for the 10-minute drive through southern suburban Cancun from the airport to the resort, where I will not leave until I take the same van another 10 minutes back to the military-occupied airport and fly back to the good ol’ U S of A. I would say this is a pretty safe excursion. Unless coked-up drug pushers capture the resort by air or sea, I feel pretty safe. I would not say the same thing about Florida right now, where the basis of recreation is traveling around the city in search of entertainment.
This isn’t sarcasm; it’s fact. By eliminating stupid, risky behavior from the formula, the trip is rather solid. I feel like the proverbial parent waggling their finger, but it’s true; if you act stupid on spring break, you’ll suffer the consequences. Only this year, instead of detox, the punishment could be kidnapping or worse.
Keep it safe next week, Carmel. Bennett Fuson is an Entertainment editor for the HiLite. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.