Travel Plans?

So are we all happy for Rio de Janeiro and the neglected southern continent? Maybe a bit sad for Chicago, but maybe Carl Sandburg did it in ninety years ago by calling it “hog butcher to the world.”

And maybe this week’s New Yorker should have come out a week earlier. “Gangland: Who Controls the Streets of Rio de Janeiro” is not calculated to send me to the nearest travel agent to buy tickets.

Item: Three million of Rio’s fourteen million inhabitants live in shanty-towns called favelas controlled by gangsters with private armies. Sometimes they shoot it out across the highway to the airport.

Item: “Rio de Janeiro is the top-ranked city in the world for ‘violent intentional deaths.’”

Item: “Rio’s police . . . kill more people than police anywhere else in the world. . . . By any ordinary calculus, public security in Rio de Janeiro is a disaster.”

Item: Ninety per cent of the murders in Rio go unsolved.

Item: The police are untrained and corrupt, “criminals themselves.” “There are no foot patrols, no contact with the civilian population.”

The Chinese cleaned up Beijing (temporarily) in time for the last Olympics so maybe the citizens of Rio will get a few weeks of law and order — if they are still alive seven years from now. And how much of this do you expect to see in the glitzy television coverage of the 2016 Olympic games?

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