Should terrorism threat prevent you from hitting many destinations? Recent attacks in Paris, Istanbul and Brussels may stop you. The media enhances this apprehension through fear reporting. Many people feel they’re living in a dangerous world, where they can easily be victims of an attack.
However, if we stop and examine the pattern, frequency and locations of these hostilities, several things become apparent. First, terror incidents occur where full-scale warfare or major terrorist groups exist. In other cases, most strikes transpire in a hand full of countries.
Many Western governments create the illusion their citizens are in an enhanced state of danger. This situation is not the case.
Fear represents a powerful weapon. It’s instinctive for all animals to avoid harm. This avoidance behaviour can be utilised to implement unpopular policies and actions. If you create a high degree of fearfulness, people will want a solution to reduce it, even if the level of fear is a misconception and their rights reduced.
This deception should not deter one from travelling. Crossing the street, walking down stairs, eating and driving present unlikely danger. These day to day risks are much higher than getting killed in an attack. If you can’t travel because of terrorism risk, you can’t do anything. Talking to locals and keeping abreast of the news can keep you safer. Government sites also help, but these can be over cautious and at times, inaccurate. Posting on Lonely Planet’s Thorn Tree contributes to getting views from recent visitors or residents of you destination
Although terrorists often target places frequented by foreigners, the chance of an incident is minimal when you consider how many visit these destinations. For example, transportation is a favourite target, but even here, given the number of planes, airports, trains and buses out there, they’re still infrequent. Sadly, your city or country may not be a lot safer, so the riskiness of travel is probably only slightly greater than staying home for some.
The situation today is fluid and can change fast. One must monitor the news and make decisions on where it is safe to go. Further, a series of events in Europe or Asia has no impact regarding visiting Chile or Uruguay. Europe and Asia are large areas. Terrorists don’t attack most areas.
Violent incidences are increasing, especially this year, but remain at very low to non-existent almost everywhere. Like many things in life, this limited degree of risk must not stop you from going on foreign adventures.
Let me know your views on this contentious issue in the comments below.