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The most dangerous city in the world
April 11, 2013 6:46 PM   Subscribe

Photos from the most dangerous city in the world
posted by anothermug (26 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
That looks nothing like Camden.
posted by backseatpilot at 6:53 PM on April 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


Machete dude is havin a bad day.
posted by ergomatic at 6:56 PM on April 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


That was intense.
posted by damehex at 7:20 PM on April 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


A well-armed population is a well-behaved population.
posted by Avenger at 7:25 PM on April 11, 2013 [11 favorites]


Some of those pictures said they contained images that were graphic and you had to click to see them. What the hell were the rest of them then? I did not click.
posted by bongo_x at 7:26 PM on April 11, 2013


I think they just say that because dead bodied were present. They were not especially graphic. The most "graphic" picture, I'd say, was the man with the wounded shoulder.
posted by Steely-eyed Missile Man at 7:30 PM on April 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


The comments are really good and give some counter perspective to the photo essay. Of course it is never as simple as saying "this is the most dangerous city in the world." Even with a murder rate of 159 per 100,000 likely concentrated in a few areas and a couple of key sectors, that is a non-murder rate of 99,841 per 100,000. Those folks must be doing something else with their lives.

In fact the more i reflect on that, the stranger the framing of te article seems. I would think a more dangerous city would one where you are likely to be killed or injured by unregulated hazards, disease or war, and where those things might happen randomly and without warning. A better framing might have been "Scenes from the Honduran drug war."
posted by salishsea at 7:45 PM on April 11, 2013 [6 favorites]


45 of the 50 cities are in the western hemisphere, what would the number be without the US war on drugs?
posted by Cosine at 8:06 PM on April 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


159 per 100,000 is 0.16% of the population being murdered per year, every year. That seems small but over ten years, 1.6% of the population would have met an untimely end through this kind of attrition. That is fairly significant outside of warfare or insurrection.
posted by Avenger at 8:40 PM on April 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


45 of the 50 cities are in the western hemisphere, what would the number be without the US war on drugs?

Actually, Reagan's policy with regard to Honduras was very much Just Say Yes.
posted by Sys Rq at 9:23 PM on April 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Stephen Pinker has a good way of characterizing murder rates in experiential terms. People generally know around 100 people personally, which is to say as more than acquaintances. They're family, friends, friends of friends, coworkers, neighbours, etc. They're not just someone you've met, they're someone you know something about and have some emotional response to, good or bad. They're in your monkeysphere.

Now a murder rate of 1 per 100,000 (Western Europe at the turn of the 21st century) means that, over a decade, you'd have about a 1% chance of knowing a murder victim. At 10 per 100,000, you'd have a 10% chance over a decade of knowing a murder victim. 10 is where the U.S. stood in the dark, violent days of the 70s and 80s as a national average; notoriously violent cities like Detroit had a murder rate of 45 per 100,000.

At a murder rate of 100 per 100,000, it's probable that someone you really know well, will be murdered over the course of a decade. So, with a murder rate of 159 per 100,000, people in San Pedro all know, over the course of their lives, on average, at least 8-10 murder victims. And that's murder. That doesn't count all the violence that doesn't end in death.
posted by fatbird at 10:28 PM on April 11, 2013 [15 favorites]


Steely-eyed Missile Man: "I think they just say that because dead bodied were present. They were not especially graphic. The most "graphic" picture, I'd say, was the man with the wounded shoulder."

Although the ones with the bodies gave me the biggest emotional reaction, naturally, which to me makes them more "graphic" in a sense of the definition.

fatbird, that's an excellent point, but like salishea mentions I imagine that the violence is probably concentrated in certain areas, which means the murder rate is even more insane among certain communities.
posted by Defenestrator at 11:08 PM on April 11, 2013


That seems small but over ten years, 1.6% of the population would have met an untimely end through this kind of attrition.

Indeed, despite the obvious innocent bystander deaths, these murders will be overwhelmingly concentrated among males, say, age 14-34.
posted by dhartung at 11:32 PM on April 11, 2013


Whoa. I lived down in San Pedro Sula for a summer 15 years ago before traveling around to other parts of Honduras...I had NO idea there was such a violent situation going on down there these days.
posted by jnnla at 11:35 PM on April 11, 2013


I had NO idea there was such a violent situation going on down there these days.

That's the thing about the 'most dangerous city in the world' stuff about Central America. It's kind of only particularly dangerous if you're in a gang or running drugs or in a neighborhood where that happens. Which isn't to say that you'd want to live there, but most people won't ever see it. I was down there when Aurora happened, and people were asking me how dangerous it must be to live in the US with all the crazy people always going on shooting rampages. Even in places like San Salvador and Honduras.

At a murder rate of 100 per 100,000, it's probable that someone you really know well, will be murdered over the course of a decade. So, with a murder rate of 159 per 100,000, people in San Pedro all know, over the course of their lives, on average, at least 8-10 murder victims. And that's murder. That doesn't count all the violence that doesn't end in death.

I think it's more likely that a smaller (but still significant) percentage of the population will know a dozen or more people that got murdered while most people don't know anyone at all. This is gang warfare, not random spree killings.

I was in a town in Guatemala where people (not army or police) were openly riding around in technicals because the mexican and guatemalan cartels were fighting, but that doesn't mean that they were likely to gun down your grandma at the supermarket.
posted by empath at 12:08 AM on April 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


From the comments on TFA:

I'm from San Pedro. Other countries can help by controlling their own damn drug related problems. The violence in Honduras has increased due to several reasons, the main one been that demand for drugs in US and other "1st world" countries has increased.

Also, Mexico┬┤s military crack down has had some positive effects for Mexico but the problem is still alive and kicking...now the cartels are packing up and moving to what they consider "safer to operate" countries, like Honduras and Guatemala.


The first point is well-documented. A very sad externality of the US War On Drugs.
posted by nickrussell at 4:12 AM on April 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


There's some interesting discussion here at Crooked Timber on the US media's double-standard over the reporting of violence in Venezuela (Leftists! Anarchy! OMG!) vs. Honduras (acquiescent US-backed regime; don't mention the murder rate, plz). So it's good to see the ongoing horror in Honduras getting some MSM attention.

[Advisory/selling point: linked article contains full-on New Yorker-bashing; flame war.]
posted by Sonny Jim at 6:10 AM on April 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


The most dangerous place in the world

...Framing is key
posted by Reasonably Everything Happens at 6:26 AM on April 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


There's some interesting discussion here at Crooked Timber on the US media's double-standard over the reporting of violence in Venezuela

That's some interesting stuff, thanks.
posted by gimonca at 6:30 AM on April 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


I think it's more likely that a smaller (but still significant) percentage of the population will know a dozen or more people that got murdered while most people don't know anyone at all. This is gang warfare, not random spree killings.

While violence will certainly be concentrated within certain social networks, I think it's a mistake to assume that people outside those networks are usually unconnected. Every gang member has family and friends outside their circle; likewise every john or junkie murder victim, as well as innocent bystanders caught in the crossfire. Police killed in retaliation or raids, kidnapping victims, government workers trying to deal with poverty and the drug trade, etc... If the average for a resident is 8-10 over the course of your life, I'd bet that almost everyone knows at least 1-2, and that alone is a shocking number.
posted by fatbird at 8:45 AM on April 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


> The first point is well-documented. A very sad externality of the US War On Drugs.

Would "the first point" be the one that was bolded?

I'm from San Pedro. Other countries can help by controlling their own damn drug related problems. The violence in Honduras has increased due to several reasons, the main one been that demand for drugs in US and other "1st world" countries has increased.

Or am I misreading? I'm having a hard time seeing how an increase in demand (more people wanting more drugs) can be an externality of the US WOD. Should I be reading that as "an increase in unsatisfied demand"? I.e. the demand is the same as always but the supply is being to some degree restricted, so that there are more would-be users who can't score? That would make more sense as a consequence of the WOD but it's still hard to see it as an externality, since choking off the supply is the whole point of the exercise.
posted by jfuller at 9:28 AM on April 12, 2013


Yes, I believe you were misreading. It's the violence, not the demand, that is the externality. The violence is an externality in the sense that it's a result of US policy, but it happens outside the US, so US policymakers can ignore it with no repercussions at home. And the increased violence in Honduras is due to cartels seeing Honduras as a safer place to operate. Push them down in one place, and they pop up somewhere else. The only way to stop the pointless killing and incarceration is to legalize drugs. It is the only moral option. End the paternalism and let people make their own choices.
posted by the big lizard at 9:59 AM on April 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


OK, thanks for the clarification.
posted by jfuller at 11:45 AM on April 12, 2013


US aids Honduran police despite death squad fears

Will Congress act to stop US support for Honduras' death squad regime? In Honduras, Reagan-era atrocities are back as the Obama administration funds a state implicated in murdering opponents
posted by homunculus at 2:57 PM on April 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


so wild and such a tragedy. I last visited Honduras for a press trip just a few years ago, and they flew me into San Pedro Sula -- for convenience, but also because Tegucigalpa's TGU is one of the most dangerous airports in the world. we stayed in San Pedro a couple days, & wandered around the city plenty. needless to say my photos from that trip are much different than these.
posted by changeling at 7:53 PM on April 12, 2013


it happens outside the US, so US policymakers can ignore it with no repercussions at home.

Even further then that, it could be argued that the US receives a tremendous benefit, which is the ability to consume huge quantities of drugs, without being affected by the supply-side characteristics of illegal production.
posted by nickrussell at 4:48 AM on April 13, 2013


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