The island is all abuzz about a murder that took place late yesterday afternoon in downtown San Pedro; a shooting purportedly connected to another murder that occurred just a few days before, and likely not very coincidently taking place on the day of the funeral of the first murder victim.
I have read through hundreds of comments posted on the local news articles about these murders, and a good majority of the comments were made by tourist types who state in a variety of ways that because of these crimes (and others that have made the news) they will likely never visit (or return visit) to San Pedro, and some who are second- guessing in commentary whether or not San Pedro is any longer a fit and safe place to which they might consider moving. Of course this town thrives on its tourism industry. News of crimes can and does have a detrimental effect on the psyche of potential visitors.
Personally, I think that psyche is all too fragile and not based on any sort of real perspective. I chose to make San Pedro my home. I continue to love this country and its local people, and I have no more fear of being here than I had living in my prior hometown in the States. In fact, my prior hometown is also abuzz right now with news of a murder that also took place just yesterday in its downtown area, an area where a local several days long festival attended by many out-of-towners was taking place, an area not all that far from my prior residence, an area where all the bars I frequented are located; that news, and news of car jackings, home invasions, sexual assaults, reports of gang infiltrations from the Chicago area a few hours to the north, a recent kidnapping and disappearance of a young girl who came from China to attend college and is now presumed dead. Just like here, it’s never ending the crime reports taking place in my prior hometown – a prominent national college town located in Central Illinois, nestled amidst lots of smaller surrounding rural, farmland communities.
Yet, with all that crime taking place in my prior hometown, I have absolutely zero fear of taking the upcoming trip I have planned to go there. I do not question whether or not it is any longer a safe place to visit or be. I will go downtown where the murder occurred and I will not worry because a murder just took place there.
It’s been said ad infinitum, but it bears repeating again for those who so quickly lose perspective at the mere suggestion that a horrible crime has occurred wherever it is they were thinking of going. Crime occurs everywhere in the world. There is never a guarantee wherever it is you are RIGHT NOW, or wherever it is you MAY GO, that you won’t become an innocent victim of either some petty or serious crime. While it is true that the crimes occurring in my prior hometown are far more likely to be solved and perpetrators prosecuted than is the case here, that does not change the fact that crimes “there” are just as prolifically occurring as “here.”
You can let news of crimes define you, limit you, deter you from traveling, keep yourself locked up “safely” inside, or you can simply choose to live. I choose the latter. And I will continue to love this island and it’s people, I will continue to feel about as safe here as anywhere, and I will feel quite sorry for those who could visit, thought about visiting, and won’t. Their loss.