Moral Compass or Moral Agenda? One might get you killed.

Last week a couple from Utah were executed at a checkpoint and their twelve year old son shot by unidentified gunmen in Patatlan, Mexico. The family was traveling through Patatlan at 3:30AM on their way to Acapulco when they come upon a checkpoint run by unidentified gunmen. The family chose to try to run and lost their lives as a result. So you ask what this has got to do with a moral compass or a moral agenda? The father in this scenario was known as “Perfect Paul” because of his strict adherence to rules, policies, and procedures. Sadly that kind of perfection does not translate in Mexico or the rest of Latin America. That kind of perfection does not translate in Africa or Eastern Europe, and certainly not in most of Asia. The reality is that while traveling to much of the world, you may be faced with situations that involve two realities. Your two realities may be to make a bad decision or a worse decision.

In Mexico, and much of the rest of the world, there is an unwritten code that you must provide “tips” (really bribes) to law enforcement officers, military members, and local thugs who run check points. Yes in western society we call this paying a bribe. If you are a strict adherent to a moral agenda, failure to tip the police officer with a statement like “please give this to your family for me” as you hand them the money, could cost your life.

First let me add that traveling anywhere in Mexico at 3:30 AM is a horrible idea. In fact nothing good will happen between the hours beyond 8PM-7AM. It is best to ensure you are off the streets and tucked away off the road prior to 8PM. Second, you need to do your research on checkpoints, law enforcement, gangs, cartels, and opportunists before making a trip overseas. Some of your research questions should include asking about customary “tips” and how much you should have available for your travel.

My additional recommendation would be to determine where the discrepancies are between your do-not-cross lines and your willingness to handle checkpoints and other issues which may arise. A strict moral agenda is rigid and unyielding. It projects personal convictions onto others and demands that others adhere to what you believe to be right and wrong. In other words, it holds others to your own standards. A moral compass allows for course corrections to be made when presented with an unpleasant reality. In the end, it is important to know that you may only have two choices: a bad decision or a worse decision. Your life depends on you making decisions that keep you and your family safe when you travel.

We recommend that you do solid travel research before you travel. This research should always include talking to someone who has made the trip before. Make sure you understand local crime, kidnap and ransom, narcotics trafficking, murders, and the economy. It is critical to understand where you should go for help and who you should and should not trust. More than anything, we suggest you make those decisions well before you travel. Our Anti Kidnapping and Hostage Survival course will teach you what to do in situations like what happened to the family from Utah, and much more. Check out the link below. After all, it is only your life. What is that worth?

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