Service of I Never Thought It Would Happen Here: Warnings about Travel to the U.S.

August 15th, 2019

Categories: Tourism, Travel, Travel Warning, Trust

Photo: newyorktour.com

Most American tourists who plan to visit countries that are in the news due to unrest read the State Department’s website to evaluate the danger before booking the trip. International travelers no doubt check in with the keeper of their country’s travel warnings as well.

It breaks my heart that we’re now the subject of warnings by other countries. The potential impact goes well beyond the slap at my national pride and obvious financial repercussions.

Our state department assigns each country with one of four numbers to reflect the safety of travel: 1=exercise normal precautions; 2= increased caution 3= reconsider travel and 4= do not travel. Businessinsider.com recently focused on South American countries reporting1’s such as French Guiana, Uruguay, Paraguay, Chile and Suriname and 2’s Peru, Ecuador, Brazil, Guyana and Columbia to 4: Venezuela.

Photo: newyork.cbslocal.com

The reasons for Venezuela’s last level: “The State Department warns of crime, civil unrest, poor health infrastructure, kidnapping, and the arbitrary arrest and detention of US citizens. The agency ordered government employees and their families to leave the country in January 2019. There are also shortages of food, electricity, water, and medicine. The agency warns against travelling between Simón Bolívar International Airport and Caracas at night and not to take unregulated taxis from Simón Bolívar International Airport.”

Claire Parker’s Washington Post article “Gun violence in America prompts Amnesty International and a growing list of countries to issue travel warnings” raised my eyebrows and made me sad: How can this be happening in MY country?

Parker wrote: “A travel advisory the organization issued Wednesday ‘calls on people worldwide to exercise caution and have an emergency contingency plan when traveling throughout the USA. This Travel Advisory is being issued in light of ongoing high levels of gun violence in the country.’ ”

Parker added that Uruguay and Venezuela “have also discouraged their citizens from traveling to the United States, citing this weekend’s mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton, Ohio, as indicators of danger and a rise in hate crimes. The Japanese Consulate in Detroit, meanwhile, released a statement Sunday calling the United States a ‘gun society’ and urging Japanese nationals to stay alert after the Dayton shooting.”

Photo: thrillist.com

She continued: “These are just the latest countries and international groups to label gun violence in America a safety concern. In recent years, Germany, Ireland, Canada and New Zealand have issued similar warnings about travel to the United States.”

Shouldn’t Washington pay attention to this dramatic shift in image that points to the United States as an unsafe place to visit–and by extension, doubts about the security of this country as a safe place in which to park money? You’d think that this would be a wakeup call to immediately revise gun sale regulations and enact measures to ensure reasonable private gun ownership for an administration that honors the almighty dollar above all else.

In addition to lives, which seem to be last in a line of priorities for Congress, and the shame of the well-deserved reprimand by the international community, much more is at stake than hotel, restaurant, and airline bottom lines. Real estate and American-owned businesses should be prepared to suffer losses as international investors seek safer havens for their treasure.

And it’s not just violence-by-guns turning tourists away. A Crains New York news alert on Wednesday August 14, 2019 warned: “Chinese tourists sidestep NYC as trade war rolls on.” To end on a fittingly mercenary note, who, in DC, is watching the store?

Photo: bustle.com

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11 Responses to “Service of I Never Thought It Would Happen Here: Warnings about Travel to the U.S.”

  1. BC Said:

    Texas shooter bought an AK 47 on line. How to stop that?

    The bad guys can always get guns on the black market or from another country. Laws are part of the answer, but I believe one should have the right to carry. Many in our community carry a gun when they are outside our gated perimeter for protection.

    Partial cause of violence? TV, movies, kid’s games which are violent. As pediatricians, we saw this coming years ago.

    Walmart just took off the market t-shirts which extolled violence!

  2. Jeanne Byington Said:

    BC,

    Doing nothing to stop violence-by-guns may be one reason we’re where we are.

    I marvel at the police force in England where men and women carry no guns. Some may today–but as of a few years ago most didn’t.

    A start: stop the sale of automatic guns to the general public. Make it illegal to own or sell one. Licensed gun owners should pass a skills and eye test every few years and they should be registered with all information about them vetted/confirmed before a license is given or renewed. Tighten up who is allowed to buy guns anywhere in this country. Raise the age–as we do for drinking. And reduce the numbers of venues that sell them so that law enforcement can get its arms around enforcement of stricter laws.

    How can any guns from other countries get past our borders? They are hard to hide and should be illegal for members of the general public to bring in to the US–no exceptions.

  3. Francine Ryan Said:

    Will all this ever be explained or reversed in our lifetime? It is unspeakably sad and I feel real fear about those I care about being literally caught in the crosshairs.

  4. Jeanne Byington Said:

    Francine,

    Doing nothing–which is what has happened to date–is NOT the answer.

    Years ago my bag was checked when I entered department stores in Paris. Retailers here will have to join concert producers and even movie house owners in doing the same. The extra cost would be worth the safety and would help get the word out that there is a price to stop violence-by-guns. Anything to reverse the passivity and shoulder shrugging would be a help. As for schools, many have already made strides to protect their precious charges.

  5. Anonymous Said:

    Trump is truly undoing America. These warnings are something I could never have imagined.

  6. Jeanne Byington Said:

    Anonymous,

    In addition to humiliating the words that come to mind about the travel warnings are shameful and crushing. Perhaps the patriotic will take note and take action.

  7. BC Said:

    One can now make plastic guns on 3 dimensional computers. How to stop that?

    Easy to get guns from Mexico!

  8. Jeanne Byington Said:

    BC,

    I’ve only landed by plane in Mexico so I don’t know what it’s like crossing the border though with the spotlight these days on this border I’d imagine, if it were a priority, that importing guns from this country could be stopped pronto.

    As for computer-generated guns, I can only guess that they cannot be retrofit as automatics. And if purchases of the blueprints were scrutinized the same as gun sales, it would help.

    There are all sorts of laws that people break which doesn’t mean we should remove them from the books–take drinking and driving; speeding; driving without a license; driving without a seatbelt in place; selling opioids and Rx drugs on the street; tax fraud and so forth. I’m for any effort to make it more difficult for people to get hold of guns. In this case, some with bad intentions might be prevented from acting them out.

  9. Thomas Stier Said:

    Tom on Facebook: Sad state of affairs.

  10. Patty Raddock Said:

    Patty wrote on Facebook: No one with a lick of sense, for sure. Sad, indeed.

  11. Jeanne Byington Said:

    Patty,

    One of my earliest memories was thinking “you knew that could happen!” when a babysitter gave me a glass jelly jar in which to play in a Manhattan sandbox. In Central Park the sandboxes were framed by cement. When I made a sand cake by filling the glass, turning it over and slamming it on the cement before sand leaked from the container the glass shattered in my hand. I therefore cannot believe that nobody in Washington thinks of the repercussions of each inaction or action with so many examples.

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