Sometimes I wonder exactly what is being broadcast on the news back in the US. I remember watching the local news back home and seeing what seemed to me to be a 50/40/10 split – US News, Local News (like a cat being rescued from a tree) and International News. It doesn’t surprise me that a lot of Americans (not all; don’t get mad) don’t really know what’s going on around the world. (I’ll admit that I’m way more up to speed for sure now that I live in Europe).
During this 10 split, I have the feeling that whats mainly being shown are terrorist attacks (yes, this is unfortunately a problem) and economic crisis issues like the current Greece situation. No wonder some of my family think that I’m living in a war zone and in an economy that’s going to fall apart any minute. No, things aren’t great over here, but I’m not scared to walk outside my house…
One example: the recent terrorist attacks on a tourist site in Tunisia were horrifying and definitely make you reconsider a trip to a country that is experiencing terrorist problems or with real threats. About 7 years ago I was on vacation in a tourist resort in Tunisia very similar to the one where the massacre occurred. You just never know, but you can take some precaution by avoiding vacations to war-torn areas or regions with “real” terrorist threats. [Note: as I’m writing this article I’m seeing now news about an explosion in a rally in Turkey.]
As a registered American in Madrid, I’m on the US Embassy mailing list. This means that every once in a while I receive an email for US Citizens abroad with information they consider relevant to share on a broad scale. Just a few weeks ago, I received a mail titled “Security Message for U.S. Citizens: Terror Alert Level in Spain” alerting me that the “assessed level of the threat of a terrorist attack in Spain” has risen from medium to high. Now, I’m curious:
How would the US Embassy rate the terror alert level in its country? Personally, hearing frequent incidents of police shooting unarmed people in the back every other day is quite disturbing. Or what about lunatics equipped with guns given to them as a present from their parents on their 21st birthday and massacring peaceful church goers? Or a crazy person, also with a gun that could easily be legally purchased, deciding to massacre people at a Marine station in Chatttanooga, TN?
You can never really know where a terrorist attack is going to happen (although you can have an idea of some areas that may be safe to avoid), but you also can never know where a crazy person with a gun in the US is going to decide to open fire. Honestly, I’m not sure which one is “better”, but I still tend to think that I feel “safer” knowing that any Joe Schmoe can’t go and buy a gun over here.
This is so spot on. As someone who splits time between the US and Spain (with Spain being the preference) I was slightly annoyed when I saw that email. It’s like… really? I also suspect that the high terror alert also had something to do with wanting to distract from the very public comparisons of Greece and Spain; sort of like the Spanish government’s way of saying let’s distract them lest they get too many ideas…
Thanks for your comment! After seeing the news about yet another crazy, random shooting in a theater in Louisiana it’s just making me think once again that I prefer the “panorama” over here. You definitely have to take the US Embassy mails with a grain of salt…
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