If you’re an American whose vacation plans include, say, Ecuador or Beirut instead of Disney World, there’s a good chance some concerned fellow citizen will grasp their pearls and ask, “Isn’t it dangerous there?” Sadly, as a plague of gun violence continues, mass shootings go unanswered by the government, and gun sales continue unabated, people in other countries may be feeling the same way about the United States.
Now, in the wake of two mass shootings that killed 31 people, foreign nations are warning their citizens about traveling to the U.S. due to unchecked gun violence.
After the Dayton shooting early Sunday, the Japanese consulate in Detroit warned Japanese residents to “be aware of the potential for gunfire incidents everywhere in the United States, a gun society,” according to the Los Angeles Times.
Japan isn’t alone. On Monday, Uruguay’s Office of Foreign Ministry warned its citizens to “take precaution amid the growing indiscriminate violence” and hate crimes and racism “that cost the lives of more than 250 people in the first seven months of this year.” The warning noted that citizens should avoid crowded areas like theme parks, malls, festivals, and sports events due to the “indiscriminate possession of firearms by the population” and the “impossibility of authorities to prevent these situations.” Harsh, but fair. Last week, the U.S. State Department raised its travel advisory level for Uruguay to Level 2 (exercise increased caution) “due to an increase in crime.”
Meanwhile, Venezuela advised its citizens against traveling to the U.S. due to violence that it blames on “the supremacist elite in Washington.” But it’s worth noting that Venezuela has one of the highest murder rates in the world and that the U.S. has levied economic sanctions against the country (and possibly tried to back a coup).
Canada’s foreign ministry has also warned tourists about the dangers of mass shootings in the United States and, as L.A. Times reports, France, New Zealand, and Germany have all issued travel warnings in the past because of gun violence in the U.S.
Of course, it’s not just guns that can be cause for concern. The UAE has warned its citizens about wearing traditional dress due to potential for hate crimes. And the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the Bahamas has been warning its citizens about traveling while black in the U.S. since 2016, when it issued a note citing “recent tensions in some American cities over shootings of young black males by police officers.”
Sadly, we’ve earned these warnings.