Films like Desperado, From Dusk Till Dawn, The Way of the Gun and Once Upon a Time in Mexico have given us all that same fantasy: Rob a bank, hightail it down to Mexico and live the rest of your days resting in a wooden chair drinking tequila under a sombrero in a town that looks something like this:
Yep. Living the good life.
Suddenly, some pissed-off drug lord you ripped off shows up, and a full-blown firefight erupts -- swarms of old ladies covered in knit blankets cry out in Spanish while crossing themselves and running into one of the four churches in sight. After a long and grueling battle, the drug lord is dead, and you move on to the next town, a traveling honorable gunman who will draw only when he has to.
Turns out that you are actually on the back lot of Universal Studios Hollywood, because no freaking town in Mexico actually looks like that anymore.
See, when you actually go to Mexico City, you can't help but notice that the buildings not only are not a series of tan churches (in fact, Mexico has at most 7,000 churches, while the U.S. has around 450,000) but also seem like they came from the future.
By LAR Fernando Romero, Arturo Robles Gil
And as you may remember, there were not a lot of gunfights on The Jetsons.
There are no banditos running around raping and pillaging -- in fact, the U.S. has twice as much rape and about 20 times more theft. Not to mention roughly four times as many overall crimes, so, you know, go America. If you were on the run from the law and rolled down to have a barroom knife fight with Danny Trejo, the cops would arrest the shit out of you. Then they'd send you right back to the U.S. to be tried and jailed, because Mexico is actually nowhere close to being a safe place for American criminals.
Obviously we're not trying to say that there is no crime in Mexico -- it certainly has its share of drug-related violence. It's just not a lawless action-movie free-for-all.
Although we'd like to think that Enrique Iglesias carries around a rocket launcher, just in case.
David Bell is a freelance writer and video editor.
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