Permit me to relate some recent events here, in Panama, which have brought home — literally — and forcefully, to me the idea that there are contexts in which it is unwise if not suicidal to be either polite or "fair." In our quite remote, rural and otherwise tranquil area, we have not yet had any problem of the sort described below, and I of course hope that we never will. It would nevertheless be extremely foolish not to prepare for the worst, and we are doing so as best we can.
Within about ten kilometers of our small farm, several homes have been broken into at night — between two and four in the morning is the preferred time for that sort of thing. Here is an e-mail my wife wrote about these events and which was picked up by a blog site in Panama City, some 450 KM to our east. The burglars apparently are armed and pretty savvy; they would likely be classified as sociopaths. They typically use some kind of air-borne drug blown in through an open window to disable the residents. Then, they — generally several of them — break in, rape any reasonably attractive woman or girl not menstruating at the time, and steal things. Thus far, they have killed no one. There have been three such incidents recently. Many people in our immediate area are having difficulty sleeping at night, and in some cases someone stands watch at night, just as one would do on a boat out in the open ocean. Out in the open ocean where we sailed, the principal concern involved only the normal hazards of the sea; violent criminals were never a problem.
There is virtually no police protection at all here for various reasons, including that the nearest police facility is more than half an hour away and does not have a car. Efforts have been made to get them a car or a motorcycle. Even with a vehicle, they probably wouldn't have sufficient gasoline to go far. Donations for gasoline have been solicited. Getting the police to respond at our place until well after everything interesting had ended would be impossible.
There have been community meetings with the Mayor of the District and a meeting has been scheduled with the Governor of the Province. Even though Gringos have not, thus far, been victims of such attacks, the local Representante visited us and the very few Gringos living here, to make sure that we were aware of the situation. All seem seriously concerned and quite sympathetic. Unfortunately, they lack the resources necessary to take effective steps to deal with the problem.