Sunday, July 10, 2016

Bahamas issues travel advisory ...

... for the U. S.

Over the last half century I've travelled a lot - Mexico, Central and South America, the Caribbean islands, most of the South Pacific islands, occasional trips to Europe, and Africa. I've gotten accustomed to travel advisories, some from our State Department about dangerous situations in other countries, and others from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) about endemic diseases such as malaria. Such advisories take this form.

The CDC wishes to advise all US citizens traveling to country X but especially to the affected areas to exercise appropriate caution generally. In particular travelers are asked to to exercise extreme caution in those areas and to take appropriate preventive action. Avoid those activities that might put you at risk for disease Y.

But now we learn, from a Ring of Fire report, that the Caribbean nation of the Bahamas has issued a travel advisory for its citizens traveling to the US.

"We wish to advise all Bahamians traveling to the US but especially to the affected cities to exercise appropriate caution generally. In particular young males are asked to exercise extreme caution in affected cities in their interactions with the police. Do not be confrontational and cooperate.”

The similarities of the Bahamas advisory and my prototype above are not coincidental. I just rewrote the Bahamas advisory.

Think about it. The Bahamas are treating us like a disease-ridden fourth-rate country. They should. We are.

It’s a sad day in America when a warning like this is not only appropriate but necessary. May we work toward solutions to these horrific problems we are facing while the world watches on in fear.

The rest of the world understands that the US is experiencing a major public health problem - an epidemic of gun violence - and one that puts young black men at risk for infection - one symptom of which is getting shot by police. The world gets it. Why doesn't the Congress of the US get it?

If I were a young Bahamanian man, I'd head for Papua New Guinea (look it up) and take a chance on malaria. There's a cure for malaria, and highly effective prevention measures. But a cure for our gun violence epidemic seems beyond our reach. We cannot even implement common-sense prevention measures.

It is indeed a "sad day for America."

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