Brussels is essentially shut down for a third day — public transportation has ground to a standstill, shops are closed, and tanks roll down empty boulevards. Parisians look around each corner furtively, with images of carnage permanently ingrained and a state of emergency reflected in the martial law currently in force.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of State has issued an incredibly helpful travel warning–
The State Department alerts U.S. citizens to possible risks of travel due to increased terrorist threats. Current information suggests that ISIL (aka Da’esh), al-Qa’ida, Boko Haram, and other terrorist groups continue to plan terrorist attacks in multiple regions. These attacks may employ a wide variety of tactics, using conventional and non-conventional weapons and targeting both official and private interests. This Travel Alert expires on February 24, 2016.
Wow, and did you know the sun rises in the east? Let’s all hide under our beds!
This world is a nasty place but is this our reaction to terrorism? Staying home? Shutting down great cities? Issuing cryptic travel warnings that spread fear rather than provide any constructive guidance?
And then the doublespeak. Yesterday, U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said on Meet the Press:
But in general, with this holiday season coming up, we want the public to continue to go to public events, celebrate the holiday season, travel, be with their families and the like and to know that law enforcement, our intelligence community, our national security officials are on the job overtime.
That’s a message I can sign on to. Let’s stick to this one.
As clients continue to cancel travel plans to Europe, I can only encourage you to please travel, please do not cancel your plans, and please understand that your risk of being run over by a car outside your house remains much greater than any terrorist attack.