The United States Wins Two of the Most Dangerous Places on Earth Award
By: Jim Byrd
Does this describe you: Listless, yet agitated. Bored, yet full of angst. Hopeless, yet yearning.
Have you tested yourself many times, succeeded, and then felt as if you have crested the pinnacle of all available challenges?
You scaled Everest so many times it became monotonous; so you scaled Annapurna, the number one rated peak in the world. It has been attempted 130 times, with 53 deaths–a 41% fatality rate. You survived. Does scaling mountains seem passÃ© and banal? You find it increasingly harder to elevate your adrenaline to a satisfying level. Being chased by 1300 pounds of raging death on hooves at the festival of San Fermin Pamplona–the running of the bulls–has become repetitious. Base-jumping, boring. Punching through grade 6 hydraulics down the Futaleufu, redundant. Skydiving, boring 20 years ago.
Do you need to walk lock step with death to feel alive?
Kiplinger has the anecdote for the venom of apathy. Kiplinger has a storied history calculating the probability of death at specific places, situations, and activities with their unparalleled actuary competence, and are responsible for formulating the complex algorithm for the probable death index (PDI). Kiplinger made national headlines for the first time during the early stages of the Obama presidency. Dick Cheney had a secreted bunker to protect the life of the vice president in the event of catastrophe, which was so covert and clandestine it was the standard of 0.0 on the Kiplinger PDI. After Joe Biden decided it would be a grand idea to tell whomever would listen at the Gridiron Club dinner that the bunker was underneath the old U.S. Naval Observatory, the bunker’s Kiplinger index was raised to 1.9 post-haste.
Kiplinger has now added adventure promotion to their repertoire. They will be offering only the most extreme of escapades imaginable. All of their packages will have a minimum 5.5 PDI. So without further delay, Kiplinger presents the top four most dangerous adventures, based on PDI, available to the most seasoned and discriminating swashbuckling egotist.
4. Somalia. Perhaps what the doctor ordered is a seaworthy adventure that would rival any exploit of Captain Jack Sparrow. Navigating through the majestic seas of Somalia, you will be circumscribed by some of the most august beaches in the world, and of course the usual fare of bloodthirsty and contemporary pirates.
Just the jolt of the wheels touching down at the always American-friendly Aden International Airport in Yemen is enough to elevate your adrenalin to near noxious levels. You can expect to have your head adorned with a custom-made personalized hood as you are whisked away to the nearest port to board your private luxury 140′ Westship Yacht; then, you will promptly glide into the Gulf of Aden stealthily skimming along approximately 10 kilometers off the coast of Somalia. Your yacht will fly the inconspicuous flag of the United States of America, with an equally sized flag replicating the American $100 bill. If you have survived to the Horn of Africa, let the lure of the azure waters of Somalia’s bewitching coast invite you in for a swim. But don’t be alarmed by the ensuing bleeding of the mouth, unusual blistering of the skin, and labored breathing that locals also suffer from their refreshing swims, as your exposure to the toxic waste dumped in the area is more likely than not treatable by the on-board physician.
Just the idea of skimming the coast of a country whose economic foundation consists of pirating and ransom, and has a perpetual lock on last place by Transparency International as the most corrupt country in the world–much to the chagrin of Mexico–should be enough to enjoy your adrenalin operating at optimum levels for hours on end.
Once you have “made a hit” (attracted the attention of barbaric pirates), when a small fleet of motorized fishing boats, appointed with AK-47s and RPGs, start charging towards your vessel at break-neck speed–and considering the country is primary Muslim, this would not be a good time to lose your head–remain calm, this is the thrill you purchased. Even though your antagonized adversaries will be adorned with military-grade automatic weapons, rocket launchers, knives, and machetes, you will be armed with the President of the United States’ weapon of choice for your defense: a sharp tongue with an unlimited arsenal of nonsensical phrases and talking points to defend putting yourself in a ridiculously indefensible and obtuse situation. And, as an added defense mechanism, you can always blame George Bush.
Somalia only ranks 5.4 on the PDI since by purchasing an exit with the same ease that an American politician can purchase their way into office, you too can buy your way out of this fantastic adventure with the $25 million personal ransom bond you are required to procure from Lloyd’s of London, and the $125 million insurance policy covering the yacht. Barring the accidental discharging of a weapon, the uncontrollable urge to hack off an infidel’s head, or the intervention of the U.S. State Department, the chances of your leaving intact with these wonderful memories to share with your grandchildren are almost 50%.
Equipment: Westship yacht lease with $125 million insurance policy, personal insurance policy of $25 million, on-board interpreter to negotiate immediate release of yacht and all persons on-board, and physician trained in chemical burns, toxic waste contamination, and treating bullet wounds.
3. Mexico. Endearingly contiguous to four American states–Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California–is the remarkably challenging country of Mexico. Mexico enjoys an identical foundational government to the United States’ four branches of government: the executive branch, the legislative branch, the judicial branch, and the iniquitous criminal gang branch. The primary aspect that makes Mexico’s governmental structure and the United States so efficient is their incorporation of the criminal gang branch into their respective legislative branches, thus making one cohesive and nocuous unit.
Lace up your best shoes (running shoes preferred), and experience the wanton violence of Mexico by simply walking across the border and joining Kiplinger’s Downtown Walking Tour. Kiplinger suggests disregarding the State Department’s warning to exercise “extreme caution” when visiting any border town, and the banning of all diplomats from cross-border travel should also be considered bureaucratic folly.
Kiplinger suggests traveling to El Paso, Texas, then strolling across the border to the oasis of Ciudad JuÃ¡rez. You will be greeted with an arid, yet quite comfortable year-round climate in this Chihuahuan desert paradise, along with a rich history dating back to the Spaniard’s serendipitous visitations circa the 1500s. In sharp contrast to Washington, D.C., the city of JuÃ¡rez boasts the highest literacy rate in Mexico at 97.3 %, with most people aged 15 and above enjoying the ability to read and write. Once the prosaic historical sites have been consumed–you are here for adventure, not culture, right?–you can explore and hopefully participate in the essence of contemporary Mexico.
The first leg of the tour will be a ditch/vacant lot scavenger hunt. There will be wonderful door prizes for the first to spot a decaying body, perhaps from one of the infamous sexual homicides of women, perhaps from an ordinary run-of-the-mill drug related murder, or perhaps the fresh remains of the local chief of police. In addition to murders and decapitations, you can look forward to enjoying a breathtaking view of world-class kidnappings. Keep your ears at the ready, as the next scream could be a sexual assault or a stabbing, or perhaps just a perfunctory dismembering. If during the tour you become confused by the array of decapitated heads haphazardly adorning the streets, fret not, and just continue moving along; you will more than likely be able to participate in a game of match the heads with their respective bodies within a matter of blocks. Perhaps you could talk your guide into visiting the city dump, and if you are lucky, find a dump made just for human bodies, just like the city of Monterrey has. Monterrey has the record of 51 bodies just this past week. Can JuÃ¡rez beat that? Can you help?
As the day ebbs to a close, for the finale, you can expect one or two closing events: You may witness an oppressive and heavily armed drug cartel challenge the federal soldiers and law enforcement with grenades, AK-47s, and a sundry of other military grade weapons and explosives. Or, you may witness the orchestrated assassinations performed by prison inmates from a nearby Mexican prison, supplied with vehicles and weapons by compassionate guards and prison wardens, complete with day passes to perform mass executions, war, and various other necessary errands of the cartels. It’s tough to choose a winner here.
But do not judge Mexico’s wanton violence, nor blame the culture of the country, and do not thank this most hospitable country for your adventure, as Mexico’s president Felipe Calderon has so astutely pointed out, “The origin of our violence problem begins with the fact that Mexico is located next to the country that has the highest levels of drug consumption in the world. It is as if our neighbor were the biggest drug addict in the world.” Please give credit where credit is due–the United States Federal Government–so before exiting Mexico, turn north, and salute the United States for making this world-class adventure possible.
Mexico ranks 8.7 on the PDI, as the probability of death or maiming is only from being caught in crossfire, looking ransom worthy, stray bullets, standing too close to a carelessly tossed grenade, or making eye contact with local law enforcement without a pocket full of tips for their efforts.
Equipment: Jogging shoes, sunscreen, personal water supply, bribe money, and myriad documents validating that you do not work for the U.S. Government, Border Patrol, law enforcement, etc.
2. Detroit. Time for the great American urban adventure, Detroit. You could test your mettle against Everest’s North Face, hunt man-eaters in wilds of Africa with bow and arrow, challenge grade 6 white water rapids, or any other natural cataclysm provided by Mother Nature, but never before have you been able to test your survival prowess in a God forsaken post-apocalyptic world. A world that would rival the myriad visions flashing through St. John’s mind as he was authoring Revelations. Where a simple trip to the 7-11 will require you to employ every survival skill acquired during a lifetime of adventure, advanced military training, and walking the streets of Dearborn with a bible in your hand, just to return intact.
Once your armored personal carrier’s security platoon comes to a screeching halt just inside the city limits of Detroit, and you are unceremoniously dumped out as the platoon makes a hasty retreat for safer ground, your post-apocalyptic adventure has begun. Detroit has not always been an adventure seekerâ€™s paradise, as it was once one of the wealthiest cities in the country. Before falling victim to liberal policies and labor unions and becoming America’s Baghdad on the Lake, it was the global epitome of industrial might, boasting the highest median income in the country. But that was then, and this is now, so enjoy.
You can expect to be greeted by a barren urban landscape turned into a decimated wasteland the size of San Francisco. As you attempt to negotiate your way through the 40,000 abandoned houses, the wild Detroit savanna of 100,000 vacant lots, and the decaying and rotting structures that were the symbols of manufacturing might, you will be greeted by discarded syringes striking your ankles, gangs, robbers, crackheads, addle headed junkies, and wanton souls wandering the streets, all to give you the challenge of your life. Your AK-47, full military gear, and steel-toed boots will give you a fighting chance of evening the odds, somewhat.
To what or whom should you give thanks for turning one of the most powerful cities in the world into an adventure seeker’s medley? Atomic bomb? Earthquake? Volcanic eruption on the scale of Pompeii? None of the above. Credit can be bestowed upon decades of liberal policies that siphoned the capital and soul out of Detroit. And a big shout-out goes to FDR for forcing the nation’s mightiest city to be subjected to the UAW, and thus starting the slow, agonizing spiral of corporate death. Honorable mentions go to OSHA, environmental laws, federal tax rate of 35%, the ever preposterously dimwitted teachers unions, Washington, D.C., entitlements, crime, drugs, and counterproductive civil rights laws for the wholesale dissipation of humanity and industry of the greater Detroit area. If not for these high-principled and honorable entities, your Detroit trip would be as boring as a trip to Anytown, USA.
Detroit ranks 9.2 on the PDI for obvious reasons, with the 0.8 chance that you survive attributed to Lady Luck.
Equipment: AK-47, combat gear, steel-toed boots, Hazmat suit, .45 automatic, 2 hand grenades, night vision goggles, and a TerraFix 406 GPS emergency beacon.
1. Arizona. The number one destination and the most imposing, omnipotent, and dangerous reservation for the death defying expeditionist is the 118,000 acre Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge in southern Arizona. Nestled against the Mexican border, this idyllic paradise where families in days of yore could expect days filled with hiking, camping, and breathtaking panoramic views of flowing grasslands and mountains, teaming with pronghorns, black bear, falcons, quail, and a sundry of Mother Nature’s fascinating creatures. What the unsuspecting family unit can expect to encounter now are bloodthirsty drug lords, illegal immigrants, human traffickers, marijuana farmers, slave traders, cheap-labor traffickers, and a manifold of terrorists, all of which fall under one collective label by liberal politicians: undocumented democrats.
Unfortunately, the entirety of the 118,000 acres are not suitable for the type of adventure that would garner the number one position as the most dangerous place in the world for an adventure, as our federal government has only surrendered about 3,500 acres of our sovereign rights to our undomesticated rogue neighbors to the south, thus creating the American Fallujah.
This uncivilized and villainous piece of paradise has been closed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to the genteel citizenry of the United States, and has been restricted to unfettered access by illegal aliens. Even though this piece of expatriated paradise is off limits to U.S. passport carrying individuals, the Border Patrol has been restricted by the Environmental Protection Agency from entering the area unless on foot or horseback. So in colloquial terminology: the coast is clear. But be advised of one major deterrent: the Border Patrol can submit, in writing, a request to the Interior of Agriculture to enter the area on an appropriate vehicle, then wait 90 days for an answer. So bear that in mind for extended stays.
Do not underestimate this pristine piece of American perdition, as you will need to bring your A Game if you expect to survive guaranteed encounters with armed banditos wielding AK-47s, Russian SKSs, and an unlimited selection of other military grade weapons, sophisticated booby traps, beautifully cultivated marijuana farms (protected by highly trained militia), millions of pounds of human waste and trash, and the occasional bear.
No need to be burdened with the weight of unnecessary and expensive navigational equipment, as negotiating the vastness of this simple piece of purgatory is as easy as following the trail of human heads and disassociated bodies, as they will be your guide for egress and ingress of this enchanting land of dubious dominion.
Arizona was ranked at 8.5, but since Barack Obama and the Justice Department have focused their energy on green-lighting drug cartels operating unregulated within the Great State of Arizona, Kiplinger has been compelled to raise the PDI of Arizona’s National Forests to 9.8, with the remaining areas of Arizona a 9.4.
Equipment: Same as Detroit, plus a couple of rabbit feet.
As Kiplinger has discovered through years of assessments, despite Mother Nature’s wrath and wacky sense of humor in creating a myriad of unattainable natural creations and random acts of God, there is no comparison to the magnitude of danger, devastation, destruction, and human suffering that man can create to be challenged by rugged individuals for sport. So after another couple of years with Obama in the White House and the Democratic led Congress, you can rest assured that Kiplinger will be canvassing the North American continent, and the world, for more unparalleled adventures for next yearâ€™s annual catalog of rankings.
Jim Byrd's website is A Skewed View.