Amnesty International, the worldwide human rights organization, has issued a travel advisory in the wake of two U.S. mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio. In a news release, Amnesty International said the instances of gun violence in the United States amounts to a human rights crisis.
The violence has had an effect on B.C. residents Patty and Hudson Mack. Their son, Sheldon, was wounded in the 2017 Las Vegas shooting that left 59 people dead. "When these events keep happening, these massacres, it takes you back and it’s hard to heal," Patty Mack told Global News, "If we can’t feel safe, and our children are going there, our families, are we willing to risk it?"
Part of Amnesty International's travel warning stems from an internal report that states the U.S. government has prioritized gun ownership over the rights of its citizens. The report also notes that while mass shootings are a large issue, there are also far too many individual gun deaths across the country.
The organization's travel warning comes in the wake of similar advisories issued by Venezuela and Uruguay. The United States government had previously issued a travel advisory against Uruguay and a 'do not travel' advisory for Venezuela. Both countries pointed to racism and discrimination in conjunction with gun violence as reasons not to visit the US.
The Canadian Government has maintained its low-risk rating for travel to the United States. As of Aug. 8, it specifically mentions mass shootings on its website, but states, "The likelihood of a tourist being a victim of such an incident is low." It does, however, recommend being "mindful of your surroundings, particularly at night."
Amnesty International's travel advisory drew different reactions on Twitter. Some responses showed agreement with the organization's warning:
Others, however, used the opportunity to express anti-immigrant sentiment.
Patty Mack believes that Canadians should vote with their wallets and travel elsewhere, depriving the United States of valuable tourist dollars. "I don’t know if maybe as Canadians or others around the world we should say with our money that we don’t support travel to the States," she told Global News.
The reality is that there are always risks associated with travel, and as the Canadian Government states on it's travel site, "The decision to travel is your choice and you are responsible for your personal safety abroad."