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Old 20-04-2013, 10:48   #1
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Is It Safe?

As a gringo living in Central America one of the most frequent questions I am asked and see posted by Americans (and typically only by Americans) is "Is it safe?".

Living outside the USA and watching the headlines of late brings to mind asking the same question about the USA. Between our totally disfunctional political situation, crazies w guns, terrorists, and nut case talking heads fanning the flames...sure looks like a looney bin from here.

So, what is the perception of the rest of the world of the USA relative to this question?
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Old 20-04-2013, 10:56   #2
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Re: Is It Safe?

Statistically, Honduras and Guatemala are two of the deadliest places in the world.
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Old 20-04-2013, 11:01   #3
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True, but Im curious about foreign perception of the USA.
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Old 20-04-2013, 11:23   #4
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Re: Is It Safe?

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Old 20-04-2013, 12:07   #5
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Re: Is It Safe?

As a Visitor - my impression nowadays is that a PITA to deal with the Visa paperwork to get in there (not gonna be a spur of the moment thing - plane or boat).

In regard to "Safety", no undue concerns - just a matter of having an idea of exactly where I am visiting and how civilised the natives in that locale are. My take is that the USA has places that are as a safe as here, but also has places that are a little 3rd world in mentality if not also in appearance....and some attitudes of the natives still stuck in eras dating from the 50's back to the 1700's.

Apart from being certain of where I was, would probably keep away from discussing religion, politics and guns with strangers. Unless I had been drinking......

.....all told, if I ever have a reason to visit I would feel safe enough - just not a no brain vacation. But USA not top of my list (done Vegas! ).
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Old 20-04-2013, 12:09   #6
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Re: Is It Safe?

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Originally Posted by David_Old_Jersey View Post
As a Visitor - my impression nowadays is that a PITA to deal with the Visa paperwork to get in there (not gonna be a spur of the moment thing - plane or boat).

In regard to "Safety", no undue concerns - just a matter of having an idea of exactly where I am visiting and how civilised the natives in that locale are. My take is that the USA has places that are as a safe as here, but also has places that are a little 3rd world in mentality if not also in appearance....and some attitudes of the natives still stuck in eras dating from the 50's back to the 1700's.

Apart from being certain of where I was, would probably keep away from discussing religion, politics and guns with strangers. Unless I had been drinking......

.....all told, if I ever have a reason to visit I would feel safe enough - just not a no brain vacation. But USA not top of my list (done Vegas! ).
Yeah well if you liked Vegas, you probably wouldn't care for the rest of the country anyway. It's not exactly prototypical.
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Old 20-04-2013, 12:47   #7
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Re: Is It Safe?

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Yeah well if you liked Vegas, you probably wouldn't care for the rest of the country anyway. It's not exactly prototypical.
Lol - yeah, I had figured that out before I went. Which is why I went ......admittedly I never strayed too far from the strip, that because a) I was on vacation and b) was aware that not all of Vegas would be neon lights......plus I figured that the locals (in all forms of officialdom and private sector) would be very protective of their main attraction, so was unlikely to get into any trouble accidently from Gangbangers, KKK members or Hoodlums (do you guys still have them?).

And of course, like most people am not a one trick pony - I can and do enjoy different things, places and experiances. YMMV.

But OP did ask for perceptions of the USA from abroad.........everywhere has plusses and minuses and different places, people and experiances - the bigger the more of those.
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Old 20-04-2013, 13:05   #8
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Re: Is It Safe?

Us REAL Americans don't care what all you foreigners think anyway! Come on over as it helps ammo sales afterward when we have to restock, and that's good for the economy.

I grew up in the desert of California and later moved to Saratoga Springs in Upstate NY, which at the time was the "whitest" city in the country very low crime. When people back "home" heard I was living in New York they all asked me if I was worried about the crime! Just an example of how people look at geographic crime and danger and that they don't really know anything!
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Old 20-04-2013, 13:44   #9
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Re: Is It Safe?

both upstate and downstate ny were crime spared--nyc wasnt, but nassau county was still a place where one could leave doors unlocked. until 1964 we left doors open and were safe.

here in mexico, local folks think we in the north are crazy to live in and with so much violencia.


go figger....
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Old 20-04-2013, 13:52   #10
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Re: Is It Safe?

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Just an example of how people look at geographic crime and danger and that they don't really know anything!
Lol, yeah I still remember being in Nelson, NZ and being warned about the dangers of central Christchurch - was a bit p#ssed off at first because I had just left the place as thought I had missed a lot of fun .....but turned out that I had in fact been staying in the hot spot immorality and vice , unfortunately can't say I really noticed - but nonetheless had a few good nights out, including a pub crawl with a Canadian Body Builder (the size of a house!), a Maori transexual and a dwarf ......not sure who amongst us 4 was the odd one out .

To be fair, compared to the outskirts of Nelson it likely was Soddom and Gomorah . It's all relative I guess...........
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Old 20-04-2013, 14:00   #11
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Re: Is It Safe?

People fear what they do not know. It is that simple.

People ignore or manipulate statistics to confirm what they want to believe. It is that simple.

People listen to case-in-point situations rather than look at the status-quo. It is that simple.

The nature of the human mind is not always logical but often fantastical. Stereotyping is a built in human survival mechanism. If every time you saw a purple dog it bit you, it would be to your advantage to avoid purple dogs as a matter of course. This often leads us to make poor choices because many people don't have the training or mental fortitude to look past their personal stereotypes that they've gathered and see the truth. This is also made more difficult by the quality of news sources that we're able to see (they're almost always biased towards the bad news).

I'm sure there are safe places within cities that are considered unsafe, etc. The boundries we define can often skew results. For instance if you look at crime rates of a city it might be extremely high, but if you eliminate the inner city, it might look like a peaceful place.

All of these factors should tell us that it is a difficult to make a well rounded decision about any place. And any time a decision is difficult, there will be controversy. Everyone is going to point the finger at everyone else and say, "My place is better than your place." And there are people that will go to one place and say its "A-Ok" because their personal adventure had a positive result, even if the place really isn't safe at all. And vice-versa. A rare crime in a "safe" place can brand it a "bad place".

Your best bet is to look at the statistics in an unbiased way and define the region you plan to visit well and realistically. Look for the types of crime that you fear are most likely towards you. Make nice with the people around you. If you really want to go someplace, there is probably a way.
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Old 20-04-2013, 21:39   #12
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Re: Is It Safe?

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Lol - yeah, I had figured that out before I went. Which is why I went ......admittedly I never strayed too far from the strip, that because a) I was on vacation and b) was aware that not all of Vegas would be neon lights......plus I figured that the locals (in all forms of officialdom and private sector) would be very protective of their main attraction, so was unlikely to get into any trouble accidently from Gangbangers, KKK members or Hoodlums (do you guys still have them?).

And of course, like most people am not a one trick pony - I can and do enjoy different things, places and experiances. YMMV.

But OP did ask for perceptions of the USA from abroad.........everywhere has plusses and minuses and different places, people and experiances - the bigger the more of those.

Sorry, my answer to this disappeared into the ozone.

I found your answer interesting and intriguing -- not at all what I would have expected you to say. I've been to Vegas, and there's a lot more to do there than just bright lights and gambling.

It's just not like the rest of the US in any way -- maybe that town in Missouri -- Branson, that's it! -- but I haven't been there since long before it changed.

Unfortunately things like the KKK seem to be uniquely American ...
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Old 20-04-2013, 22:02   #13
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Re: Is It Safe?

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Unfortunately things like the KKK seem to be uniquely American ...

Really? I am pretty sure the concept was invented in Europe long long time ago and practiced on a grand scale in more recent history.

Currently, the idea is still present on all continents:
List of white nationalist organizations - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Old 20-04-2013, 22:30   #14
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Re: Is It Safe?

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True, but Im curious about foreign perception of the USA.

Kathleen knew some foreigners that thought every time a car wrecked in America it exploded. It does in the movies so it must be true. Their theory was we used "gas" and if we would switch to a safer, liquid, fuel we would be spared this.

You can't make stuff like this up.
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Old 21-04-2013, 01:35   #15
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Re: Is It Safe?

As a 'foreigner' I have no desire to go to the US, because clearly if I don't get mugged on the streets or in the park, I'll be wiped out in a high speed police chase, or shot by a 15 year old with a chip on his shoulder. And to top it all off, when that happens, nobody will speak English enough to help me.
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