Several years ago, I took a trip the Davao City in the Philippines. By all accounts, I should not have gone. Davao and Mindanao was considered to be an unsafe place — according to the State Department of the U.S. I think a journalist had been murdered and there was some terrorist activity going on. Whether it was a good or bad decision, I went anyway. I had decided that the likelihood of something diabolical happening was wildly unlikely. Overall, I had a great time.
Beijing and China have no such State Department warnings because, Beijing and China are relatively safe. Probably much safer than my home of Los Angeles, which, sadly, invented the term “drive by shooting.” Still after the tragedy at the Olympics and the murder of a U.S. citizen, I wonder how the public at large will interpret Beijing as a possible vacation spot in the aftermath of tons of news coverage on a terrible event that left one dead and one in serious condition after an apparent and random stabbing by a Chinese citizen.
These kinds of randoms acts can sure give pause to visiting a place where these things happen. I am certain that someone reading the paper with not a lot of awareness might consider China a dangerous place. They might be willing to avoid a destination like China. Part of me understands.
Of course, I still want to visit China because it is home to history and culture that is thousands of years old. It has a wall that is four thousand miles long and was once guarded by a million soldiers at a time. It is one of the seven wonders of the world. It is a burgeoning economy with 1.3 billion people in it. All this is fascinating to me and worthy of a place that I should visit one day. More importantly, I would hate for a single negative event to define how I should think of any place. Bad things happen everywhere and I could just wait around in Los Angeles and one would happen here — or I could keep traveling and enjoy the world.