Tragedy in la Fortuna certain to hurt country

Friday, the Web site: published a scathing report/reader comments about the security of Costa Rica and the tragic shooting death of a 16-year old Kansas student while on a school-sponsored trip.   Let’s get ready for the blame game:

(1)  The victim who didn’t listen to his guardians that he was not to leave his cabin after curfew.  Seems kind of a harsh consequence to me;

(2)  The alleged undocumented Nicaraguan who was an unlicensed guard at a La Fortuna de San Carlos lodge hotel.  Yes, if he is guilty, he is in big trouble here — more-so because of his nationality and situation.  Locals will consider him expendable but he doesn’t have deep pockets to carry the backlash;

(3)  The owners of the lodge who hired the alleged undocumented worker.  There’s an option the pundits can sink their teeth into:  he’s at fault for the hiring.  And he has deep pockets — at least it will be perceived as such, if not in fact (he’s probably struggling to keep his tourist operation open).

Question begs:  why would he hire this foreign person when so many Ticos are in need of a job?  Many here who have marginally-profitable businesses know the answer to that and have experienced the one-sided financial outcome when a local decides on a big cash labor payoff from an “employer who is foreign” versus the option of working responsibly.

(4)  Guns!  There’s the problem!! If guns were outlawed, we’d all feel safe and secure.  But guns don’t kill, people do.  Yes, you can take the guns from the law-abiding citizen but they are not the problem.  Criminals don’t follow the rules.  The criminal element in Costa Rica is multiplying and getting more embolden in their violence (crime pays better than a job, with little downside because getting caught is a joke);

(5)  The government for failing to adequately provide the basic right of security for its people.  Obviously, private guards (and guns in the hands of homeowners) wouldn’t be necessary if we had a handle on crime here.  Those “legal” guns would sit comfortably bedded down in some locked, citizen’s cabinet never to be needed for protection.  People would feel secure and be happier.

Administration will claim they need a new committee formed to study the problem (even though it is obvious) but will basically come up with more huggy/feel-y proposals whilst the justice system goes on its merry way of catch and release or charge the victim of a violent attack for trying to protect himself.

I suspect we’ll hear the mantra that there is no money for public security and we need to tax corporations more and other entities that don’t create the security problem but suffer as victims (an impoverished Tico rarely gets robbed).  Does that make sense?  Where is the money coming from for “huggy/feel-y” programs and is it paying off?  Art and culture programs seem to find funds and provide for great photo ops.  New social programs are always popular.  Is there any government waste/indulgences that could be tapped instead of more taxes on victims?

For the tragic loss of this young life, the government has succeeded in allowing such fear for public security that the law-abiding citizen has only himself to depend on when criminals do their violent thing.

Congratulations, we’ve made big-time news AGAIN and I don’t think this is going to endear tourists to visit our country.
For those who click the link, suggest you read the blog comments.  This story is going to hurt all of us who call Costa Rica our home.

Mary Jay

EDITOR’S NOTE: The story made CNN with Wolf Blitzer Friday.

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