Danger and RIO…

dangerandrioTragedy and Beauty comingled

Brazil is certainly one of the most violent countries in the world. In 2012, 56,337 people were murdered. In the same year, fewer than 15,000 people died violently in the U.S., a country with 60 percent more people. Not surprisingly, beautiful Rio de Janeiro has actually gotten safer for white people as the 2016 Olympics are approaching. In the past decade, homicides in Brazil among whites have decreased 24 percent but have increased 40 percent within the black population. Those who have money can afford to hire private security and build electric fences and gated communities.

The poor have to deal with a police force that killed some 2,000 people in 2012, roughly five per day.  Per capita, one-eighth as many individuals were killed in the United States. It is common to see pre-teens toting semi-automatic rifles roaming about the poor neighborhoods. Drug gangs rule most of the hills, and in a continuing struggle by the pacification units of Rio police, many neighborhoods quickly turn into war zones.

Jobless single parents, some who are crack heads or prostitutes, have reared generations of slum children. Many kids find it safer to form packs and live on the street rather than home. You can imagine why Lucas Rocha, my character in “Rio – Reluctant Ascension into Infamy” would have done almost anything to protect his twin six-year old sisters. He joins a nefarious gang to be a drug runner at night to care for Fernanda and Inez by day. Sometimes people do bad things for the greater good.

I was compelled to write a fictional thriller about Rio after several trips there in the 80’s. Now, with onset of Olympic development turmoil “Rio – Reluctant Ascension into Infamy” will be released soon. In the meantime, I encourage you to subscribe to my weekly newsletter about some compelling human-interest stories from Rio or possibly even your own home city.  Stay tuned. Before you know it, the world will be watching!

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