Sometimes it is morally imperative to insert ourselves into someone’s situation and then there are other times when it is mortally imperative that we just mind our own business.
And it’s up for each and everyone of us to decide.
I was just having this conversation with Max. I told him that I had been reflecting on yesterday’s murder and I had come to the conclusion there are three things you don’t do in Mexico when stumbling across the scene of a homicide: Hang around. Take a photo or talk in public about what you saw.
By doing the first two, you become a witness (whether you saw anything or not) and/or you come immediately under suspicion as an accomplice. Both not good. One can cost you your life and the other can cost you a great deal of money (to buy your innocence/freedom). Here you are guilty until proven innocent.
Talking in public about what you saw typically goes hand in hand with you making conjectures; speculating, whether that was your intention or not. Merely talking about a crime carries with it the implication you have an opinion. That is all part of the storytelling. Think about it. We color our world.
But there are many instances – including some here in Mexico – where it is sometimes morally imperative to suck it up and stick ourselves into the middle of the fray of others. For instance you’re not much of a human being (man or woman) if you don’t try and stop the beating and robbery of an old person; even at your own peril.
In my five years here I have perhaps witnessed only two minor altercations. And if I remember correctly both situations were fueled by alcohol; rendering personal involvement and reason useless.
Civility and politeness goes a very long way in disarming potential misunderstandings.
I wish I could say that was true for more highly tuned information aged based cultures. But it has been my experience that rudeness, indifference and just plain maleficence are the norm in higher educated societies where for example a person’s right to free speech somehow throws a gigantic immunity blanket around their assholeness.
You can bring your asshole self to Mexico but you better plan to leave it at the beach. Act like a rude asshole where I live and you might find your dead self wrapped in Visqueen and dumped in the canal.
I am serious. A gringo was murdered here about two years ago and there was literally no investigation. The murderer is still walking around free. That particular recently deceased man lived incautiously and it got himself killed.
There is no immunity from self (or lifestyle) here. Actions – big and small – all have consequences. And a part of me kind of respects that.