Thu Dec 17 08:51am EST
Contrary to popular perception, El Paso is not a particularly violent place -- Congressional Quarterly ranked it as only the 257th most dangerous city for all major crimes last year, behind Eugene, Ore., Madison, Wis., and New York City, and the murder rate in El Paso is one of the lowest in the nation. According to FBI statistics, you were more than four times as likely to wind up a victim of murder or negligent manslaughter in Tulsa or Oklahoma City in 2008 as in El Paso.
Not that statistics make the slightest difference to even some diehard Oklahoma fans, who have heard enough of the nightmarish cartel stories from across the border in Ciudad Juarez to decide that following their team to the Sun Bowl isn't worth actually dying hard:
... many Sooner fans who annually travel to OU’s bowl games are sitting this one out. And concerns about safety are playing a role.
On a NewsOK.com online poll, almost half of the more than 800 respondents who aren’t going to the Sun Bowl noted their reasoning was they don’t feel safe with all the violence happening across the border from El Paso.
"Juarez has the highest murder rate in the world," said Edmond resident Craig Blankenship, who has traveled to the last 10 OU bowl games with a group of about 20 family and friends. "We're not interested in El Paso. We will stay at home and watch it on the tube."
Thousands of tickets to the game against Stanford -- one of the better matchups of the postseason -- remain unsold, according to the Oklahoman, despite a charity drive to buy tickets for troops stationed at nearby Fort Bliss. OU cornerback Brian Jackson went as far as suggesting the second-oldest active bowl game should be moved from the city after 76 years, despite the most pressing danger in the vicinity of the Sun Bowl itself being UTEP coach Mike Price parading through the crowd with a pickaxe six times a year.
On the bright side: There are tickets available! You, too, can spend New Year's Eve in sunny, safe El Paso and see the game for less than $50 via StubHub and the like or in the vicinity of $60 from the game itself. Just steer clear of the border and the troubadours in Rose's Cantina, and you'll be fine.