“We travelled together and we are supposed to go home together! I will bring him home soon in a box! You really love to travel huh that you chose to die here in the US!”, said Leah Bustamante Laylo, a recent victim’s mother.
The “Crime” Scene
A national tragedy lurks in the shadows as the vicious cycle of mass gun violence jibes at the door. While the world is inclined to restrict its definition of “mass shootings” in terms of the number of casualties, a life lost is still a life lost. It may be four or more people shot dead in a single incident; quantifying the lives lost to mere statistics has surpassed the value of victims, and the grief borne by their families. According to The Gun Violence Archive, as of 1 June 2022, there have been 231 incidents of mass shootings, resulting in, at least, more than 8000 deaths, and 15,000 injuries. The recent spike in gun violence across the country is appalling. “Who are these perpetrators and why are they so indifferent about human lives?”, I ask myself.
Inter alia, the shootings have transpired at elementary schools, nightclubs, supermarkets, shopping malls, private dinners, temples, subways, churches, hospitals, and even cemeteries,i.e., public places. Some shooters were racially motivated, while some just inflicted maximum violence. Just when we hope the violent incidents cease, there’s more. I was reading an article in a Special Series called “Simon Says” and Mr. Scott expresses how an 18-year-old can buy a gun, but not a can of beer. Now, that relative comparison certainly provides some food for thought. Organizations and communities continue to protest against the current gun laws- demonstrations are held, roads are blocked, in some instances tear gas is fired, and then? People go back to sitting around in their living rooms, watching “headlines” and “breaking news” of yet another teenager being gunned down in the capital city, while residents wonder if they’re the next victim. “Guns are the number one killer of children in the United States of America. The number one killer. More than car accidents. More than cancer.”, said President Joe Biden.
Asking The Experts
As the USA battles a myriad of issues at the moment- the Russia-Ukraine war, Roe vs. Wade decision, nuclear negotiations, pro and anti-gun law protests, Capitol riots hearings, and climate crisis to name a few, Stacey and Savannah, experts at The Counterterrorism Group’s (CTG) NORTHCOM team state that these landmark events and historical decisions are likely to impact and maybe even exacerbate racially-motivated shootings across the country as copycat crimes may be on the rise. “See something, say something, it’s important to be extra cautious”, they advise. Jennifer Loy, the Chief of Staff at CTG says “we may not be able to speak for everyone but before travelling, truly learn about the country. We want every visitor to the States to be able to enjoy and visit any place without fear or inhibitions. They must experience the same love as residents of the USA do.” That being said, understanding the landscape of a country is no easy feat. Hence, it is always recommended that travellers seek guidance or even better if they are acquainted with any local residents, consult them.
When Is The Finale?
This sudden uptick in active shooter incidents and lone perpetrators has once again targeted the USA. The country has been “shot” by its own unlawful gun owners, despite the federal limitations. Inviting the question ‘why?’ is extremely ambiguous and one without a targeted answer. An influx of tourists persists in the States while the country attempts to heal wounds that still bleed. Hence I resonate with Mr. Biden, “For God’s sake, how much more carnage are we willing to accept? How many more innocent American lives must be taken before we say enough? Enough.”
In the end, who is responsible? Who really shot the bald eagle?
Precautionary Advice To Travellers:
- It is recommended to have an itinerary before visiting any country. While crossing land borders or travelling via air, travellers may be asked for an itinerary.
- At this time, using private cars is suggested. Exercise caution and avoid public places that might be targeted by extremists until tensions subside.
- Minimize safety risks by being vigilant and aware of your surroundings.
- Familiarize yourself with exits and exit routes through crowds, and avoid the middle of large crowds. Be ready to react very quickly to any sign of an emergency.
- While visiting areas frequented by tourists, such as New York, Florida, California, Bronx, and San Francisco to name a few, be extremely careful.
- Report suspicious activity. To minimize safety risks, avoid areas of large public gatherings or protests. Even events intended to be peaceful can escalate unexpectedly and quickly become violent.
For additional information on the entry requirements in place for the United States of America, visit Sitata’s COVID checker website. Consider getting a Sitata membership for up-to-date travel and safety alerts.
For businesses that require a more detailed report on the respective countries, please refer to our in-depth country analysis report which is available from our support representatives.