Domestic safety alert: 500 Americans will be killed by guns this week in the USA. For safety, we advise taking loved ones to a safer continent such as Europe. (This is true. Five hundred Americans were killed by guns last week in the USA. An average of 500 Americans were killed every week in the last year. Officials are perplexed why no one seems to care in the USA. Perhaps being killed by a Muslim with a gun is more painful or evil.) And furthermore, 200 Americans will be killed by drunk drivers in the USA next week (12,000 died in alcohol-related accidents in the USA last year…a typical year).
The US government has stepped up the drone attacks inside Pakistan in the last month, killing many good and bad people. Our intelligence community has intercepted chatter that terrorists are planning to unleash some kind of retaliation against “soft targets” in Europe. So, the USA has issued a “Travel Alert,” warning citizens to be “vigilant” in Europe. A “Travel Warning,” which is much more serious, is not under consideration. The alert says little beyond the world is a dangerous place. And I knew that already. It advises people to stay away from unattended packages and to scram if they see violence…always common sense, even without a government alert.
When asked, the government officials who issued the warning stressed, “We are not saying to defer travel plans to Europe. Absolutely not.”
Here at Europe Through the Back Door, this is our busiest season for tours. We have thousands of travelers in Europe this fall. My son is there in Barcelona as I type. I’d be there tomorrow if I didn’t have work to do here in the statistically much more dangerous USA.
Of course in my office we are paying close attention to the news and don’t want to belittle the threat. But, as always, we urge our travelers to keep things in perspective. Each year 12 million Americans travel to Europe and 12 million return home safely. I can’t remember the last time an American tourist in Europe was hurt by a terrorist. On the other hand, every year another 30,000 die in the USA ‘ victims of gun violence (this is eight times the per-capita gun-caused deaths in Europe).
Assuming you believe in statistics ‘ regardless of what the news headlines say ‘ we have one strong piece of advice that could very well save lives: If you care about your loved ones, you’ll take them to Europe as soon as possible. It’s just much safer over there.
If there was a terrorist attack in Europe tomorrow and Americans died, I’d say exactly the same thing. I refuse to let fear and fear-mongering media mess up my perspective. And, as a patriotic American citizen, I know the best thing I can do to keep my country strong and safe is to travel a lot, engage in the world, and return home with the good news: Life is good, and fear is for people who don’t get out much.