This is a very curious case study in social violence. This family was driving in Brazil and misunderstood directions. They ended up in a gang controlled favela. A drug gang shot up their car and the mother ended up with a bullet wound before they were able to escape. It’s important to understand that this wasn’t a “random” gang shooting. It wasn’t a robbery either. The gang members did not take anything from the family.
No, this was pure social violence. Take a look at this link from Rory Miller explaining the difference between social and asocial violent crimes. What happened here is more similar to the idea of the “educational beatdown” than any other motivation. How do I know? This quote explains it all:
“But due to a mix-up they were directed to the slum – and were challenged by an armed gang.
When Mr Dixon refused to heed their demand to turn back, they fired a volley of bullets, one of which hit Mrs Dixon in the stomach.”
Social violence almost always comes with a warning. In essence, the drug gang was telling these folks “You don’t belong here. Get out.” When the husband refused, the gang took that as a challenge to their authority and broke out the pistols to punish the infraction.
It’s dangerous to attribute your own values and morals to the members of a criminal subculture who do not share your worldview. Travelers need to understand this concept well in order to stay safe. There are some places where tourists are not welcome. Open air drug markets (which are the mainstay business in the favelas) are an example of such places. There are many others. Pay attention to how people react when they see you. If you are greeted with scorn, disdain, pointing, insults, and the shaking of heads, it’s time to get out.
Just because you would never shoot a lost tourist who mistakenly drove down your street does not mean that the locals will afford you the same consideration.
For more information on this topic, I highly recommend reading Rory Miller’s books Facing Violence and Conflict Communication. You should also read Marc MacYoung’s book In the Name of Self Defense. Both of these authors are at the top of the heap with regards to researching how social violence occurs. Pick up these books. Your combative education isn’t complete until you internalize the message these authors are trying to spread.