I was looking for some information on the US State Department website a while ago and came across this notice. Wow, the world is such a scary place, especially outside the borders of the US, a country that has come to be known within its borders since 9/11 as the Homeland, much to my dismay and that of many other thinking people.
Here are some of the places to avoid in a long and growing list of countries:
- high-profile public events (sporting contests, political rallies, demonstrations, holiday events, celebratory gatherings, etc.)
- hotels, clubs, and restaurants
- places of worship
- shopping malls and markets
- tourism infrastructure
- public transportation systems
Did they overlook anything? Travel abroad, check into your hotel, lock the door, and stay there! Room service, anyone?
The Caution notes that In multiple regions, terrorists, guerrilla groups, and criminals seek to kidnap U.S. citizens to finance their operations or for political purposes. That pretty much reflects the prevailing view that US American life is more valuable than non-US American life but I didn’t realize it was THAT valuable!
The caution neglects to inform the presumably concerned reader that homicide rates in the US were seven times higher than the average of other high-income countries, due in large part to a gun homicide rate that is about 25 times higher than in other high-income countries.
Having said that, most communities in the US are safe, as are most communities in other countries. The US, unlike most other countries, especially its peers, has to come to terms with mass shootings as common occurrences, which are related to the availability not just of guns but assault weapons (of mass human death and destruction). Then there is police brutality not directed against people who look like me but fellow citizens of color.
On a personal note, I’m happy that I live in one of the safer countries in the world where crime is pretty much limited to “crimes against property,” including the occasional drive-by bag and purse snatching, especially in HCMC/Saigon. No “cautions” here, just good old-fashioned common sense, e.g., leave your valuables at home (or in the hotel safe, if you’re a tourist) and carry your bag away from the street.
In the midst of this “worldwide caution” and rampant fear, here’s a question that practically asks itself: Why are so many people around the world so pissed off at the USA? Look at past and present foreign policy, CIA dirty tricks, military interventions and, more recently, Donald Trump’s incendiary comments and actions. Why do they hate us (US)? The reasons are obvious and plentiful but not to nationalists, whose ideological blinders do not allow for self-reflection and introspection.