We are in the days just after Christmas, and soon it will be the New Year. Everyone's partying or going to church. There's also an awful lot of people going to the hospital or the morgue. It's all very customary at this time of the year, because people drink too much and get on each other's nerves and fight and argue more (... and of course end up killing or injuring someone) or drink too much and then get in a car and drive (... and of course end up killing or injuring someone) or drink too much while lighting fireworks (... and of course end up killing or injuring someone).
According to statistics from the National Police, a total of 82 people in Honduras died violently in Honduras on December 23, 24 and 25. Of the total, 61 died from gunshots and 21 from either machete or knife wounds. Most of these cases were the result of excessive Christmas celebrations. Another 70 Hondurans were injured, and another 17 were killed in traffic accidents. The good news is that the number 82 represents 30 less victims than died violently over the same period last year. The bad news, of course, is that most of these deaths were probably avoidable had people chosen to "celebrate" a little less excessively.
During Christmas last year, I wrote a similar piece as this one, in which I highlighted the particularly sad (at least to me) deaths of two individuals -- newlyweds Maleny Gabriela Sánchez, 20, and Adonay Salgado García, 22. They had been married just two weeks earlier. Maleny and Adonay were run over by a drunk driver on Christmas eve after having attended a church service in the village of Joya Grande. I haven't run across as gut-wrenching a story as that one this year, although I'm sure there may well be. But I'll note the deaths of Róger Gabriel Zelaya Arias, 39, and Rafael Mencía, 52, in the municipality of Guayape. Róger was killed by four bullets to the head. Rafael died from 10 machetazos.
I have found it tragically ironic that celebrations supposedly honoring an individual whose life was dedicated to teaching people how to love and forgive unconditionally and thereby discover the secret to living in peace are accompanied by so much suffering and death. The greater tragedy is that we've somehow grown to accept this as natural and unavoidable, rather than be outraged like we are when we perceive our human rights have been compromised. (12/29/13) (image courtesy Internet)
Note: The author is the co-founder and editor of Honduras Weekly. He is an aerospace market analyst by profession. He was born in Tegucigalpa. He is the author of "The Good Coup: The Overthrow of Manuel Zelaya in Honduras".