Tourists to America receive warnings of violence

Violence overwhelms the United States in varying forms and with varying intentions. Gun violence in America leads to massacres in everyday places, like supermarkets and churches. Hate crimes target underrepresented communities when they are trying to get on with their lives. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, there were more than 8,000 hate crimes in 2020. Violence plagues every crevice of the country.

The world has taken notice of the brutality, making it a point of consideration for tourists. The Pew Research Center found that countries like Canada, New Zealand, Spain and many more believe discrimination is a “very serious” problem in the U.S. As a result, many other developed countries issue travel warnings to their citizens planning trips to America.

Australia and France warn about the potential for violence but do not specify the type. Canada, Mexico, Japan, Germany and New Zealand express the danger of firearms. All countries either list gun crime or the possibility for mass shootings on their travel advisory websites like Smartraveller, used by Australia. Israel, for example, uses a scale of one to four, and the higher the number the higher the risk is to visit the country. 

According to CNN Travel, Australia had a deadly mass shooting in 1996 and tightened its gun policies almost immediately. The U.S. should be capable of this efficient change as well.

According to the Gun Violence Archive, there have been more than 620 mass shootings in the country in 2022 alone. Of those 620 shootings, only a handful reach mass media. Every single one of those shootings are important to discuss, yet they do not all reach major platforms.

A study conducted by doctors who treat gunshot victims found more than 80% of victims in cities like Philadelphia, Cincinnati and Rochester, NY are Black but less than 50% receive news coverage. The majority of America has developed a numbness for mass shootings and gun violence. We have become desensitized to the pain and suffering because there is too much to track. It is overwhelming trying to follow all the shootings and learning the names of all the victims. These names are ingrained in my brain, yet it feels like I’m tucking them away in a series of filing cabinets.

Gun violence has been an issue Americans have been begging to have fixed, yet politicians tend to continuously reach dead-ends. The country as a whole has not reached a consensus over gun policies. Meanwhile, U.S. allies have long set policies about firearms and possession of them.

In 1996, Tasmania, Australia experienced a mass shooting resulting in 35 deaths. As a result, Australia placed a near ban on all fully automatic or semiautomatic firearms, according to Britannica.

Japan follows suit with its requirements for retaining a firearm. According to CNN, a firearm license is required but can only be obtained after attending an all-day class, passing a written test and shooting-range test with at least 95% accuracy. Civilians must also receive a mental health evaluation, pass a drug test and undergo a background check.

Another warning set out by Mexico is the liability for harm against tourists due to “‘historical racial and ethnic tension, including opposition to immigration,’” according to CNN Travel.

It is unfortunate that our neighbors need to be warned about the possibility of unwarranted harm. We share a border yet the peace is disrupted by hatred. Mexico even goes as far to list the El Paso, Texas shooting in its travel warnings. Although the website is currently inaccessible, the CNN Library research team found an archived post that warns travelers about the U.S. in May 2021.

Shortly after the shooting, the Texas Tribune quoted Mexican Foreign Secretary, Marcelo Ebrard, who said, “We consider this to be an act of terrorism… It was carried out in the United States but it was terrorism against Mexican citizens.”

It is shameful that people need to worry for their safety when they want to go on vacation. How could a country preach its greatness while bearing the burden of killing so many people?

It would not be a surprise for U.S. allies to view the country as a laughing stock. The U.S. has so many issues but it feels like not a single one has progressed towards an answer. Many Americans, young and old, are exhausted from seeing the trauma inflicted on innocent people.

No country should want to be known for the pain and suffering caused to its people, yet it feels like that’s all the U.S. is. It is naive to wish for the world to be a perfect place but the U.S. has only been taking steps backwards. The only way for progress to be regained is for politicians to establish concrete laws surrounding violence in America.

Photo courtesy of Andrea-Piacquadio, Pexels.