Travel warning for US? Social media debate after 72 hrs of hate-filled violence
“Front page of @washingtonpost right now. The United States would be issuing travel warnings against countries with this kind of violence and instability,” Kate Woodsome, a supervising editor of video op-eds, tweeted on Saturday.
The front page was indeed filled with violence, showcasing two hate-filled crimes which played out over the course of 72 hours.
Among the grim features on the front page was the Pittsburgh synagogue massacre that killed 11 people during Jewish services on Saturday, which was described by the city's public safety director Wendell Hissrich as being “one of the worst” crime scenes he had ever witnessed.
Bombs sent in the mail to Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and liberal campaign donor George Soros completed the somber collage of photos and headlines.
Although it wasn't featured on the Saturday front page, there was a third hate-filled attack that occurred in the same time period, which saw a man unsuccessfully target a black church in Kentucky before heading to a Kroger supermarket and fatally shooting two African-American senior citizens – one of whom was buying poster board with his 12-year-old grandson for a school project.
A total of 293 mass shootings have already occurred in the US this year, according to data from the Gun Violence Archive. Last year saw 346 mass shootings take place. The FBI defines a “mass killing” as a killing of three or more people in a public place.
Most of those responding to Woodsome's tweet agreed with her, many pointing the finger at America's lax gun laws.
From the outside looking in, America seems obsessed with guns and violence. It’s ingrained in your culture and I don’t see it changing unfortunately— broadcast news (@BroadcastNews5) October 28, 2018
Its as plain as day. The problem in the US is GUN REGULATION . Why in the world would a Government allow anyone to buy an Assault weapon....WHY? Its just crazy— Helen Ledwidge (@HelenLedwidge) October 28, 2018
Some of America's neighbors to the north chimed in, with many Canadians saying they don't plan on taking a trip south anytime soon.
I'm a Canadian female in my 60's. In my whole life I have never, not once, feared walking down the street and getting shot at. Not wanting to visit the U.S. anytime soon. pic.twitter.com/Ooie1MmQAT— stroke_of_luck (@StrokeOhLuck) October 27, 2018
Some US citizens couldn't blame outsiders for staying away.
I know quite a few people who won't come here until this horror has passed.— mactavish 🌎 🏳️🌈 💙💜❤️ 🎃 (@mactavish) October 27, 2018
As an American I don't blame them. I wish I didn't have to endure this, why come voluntarily?— Heather McNamara (@xterratriisphly) October 28, 2018
An American living abroad also chimed in, saying he had no desire to return to his home country, for fear of what might happen.
I'm an American living in Australia. I'm too frightened to go back right now. I don't want to lose my life doing mundane things because some guy has a hard on for guns and Trump. Pass.— Jenspookies 🦇🕷️🎃👻 (@jenmovies) October 27, 2018
There were a couple of people who spoke out against the editor's tweet, though they were highly outnumbered in the thread.
Um, no. Stop your outrageous hyperbole. Shameful— BradyLand (@DrunkenPromises) October 27, 2018
Meanwhile, the US continues issuing its own travel warnings, including one for the Netherlands last month – a country typically known for its laid-back lifestyle, gorgeous canals, and fields of tulips. That announcement came largely in response to an attack at Amsterdam's Central Station in August which saw two Americans stabbed by a Muslim extremist.
The US overhauled its warning system for foreign travelers in January, creating a four-point ranking system for countries and an interactive world map. Washington's European allies Britain and Germany were ranked two out of four, meaning travelers should “exercise increased caution.”
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