personal safety in dangerous countries


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mainecoon
June 11, 2012, 08:11 PM
I have never been to the Middle East, but I've spent some time in Central America and was amazed at how lawless it was and how brazen the muggers were. Got mugged twice at gunpoint and did not resist, got out OK. What do those on this forum do in these situations? Bring along a handgun to the country you plan to visit?

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rcmodel
June 11, 2012, 08:15 PM
I don't go to dangerous countries.

Problem solved.

Anyway, I think I'd rather be shot by a mugger in a foreign country then thrown in prison to rot in a foreign country for having an illegal handgun!!

rc

Skribs
June 11, 2012, 08:18 PM
I'm with RC. I don't travel. Heck, I don't even leave my county.

PT92
June 11, 2012, 08:25 PM
Yup--I have gotten to the point now whereby I do not wish to see my hard-earned (remember the days of an 'honest day's work for an honest day's pay' but I digress) be spent on Spec-Op type rescues of (I'm entitled to my opinion) 'stupid' Americans of whom wish to vacation in dangerous foreign countries--I say Americans (I guess anymore I need to qualify this by stating the Americans=U.S. Citizens in my scenario) should be required to sign a 'disclaimer' if you will stating that they cannot expect that precious/scarce U.S. resources be expended on costly rescue operations due to their bad/stupid choice of vacation location.

-Cheers

Certaindeaf
June 11, 2012, 08:28 PM
Bulletproof beater and a detail of paid mercs tailing way back.

rcmodel
June 11, 2012, 08:36 PM
+1000 to that.

It really chaps my butt to see news reports about the "poor helpless Americans" who were captured and held while on vacation in Godforsakenstan.
Then US spec-ops got to risk their lives several times over to go rescue them.

Good thing it isn't up to me, or they would have to get out the same way they got in.

Course, I feel the same way about "extreme sports" jocks who ski or parachute off mountains and have to be rescued off a cliff at 12,000 feet by good people in expensive helicopters risking their lives.

Leave'm there!
It's natures way of purging the gene pool of idiots.

rc

Texan Scott
June 11, 2012, 08:40 PM
Seen the world (it's pretty cool). Came home. Little desire to leave. God Bless Texas!
Poverty, ignorance, and overcrowding are big factors in violent crime. I'm not picking on the third world. I'm thinking of the first attempted carjacking I ever witnessed, in Waco. Epic Fail, too.
Hours of darkness, women, and especially alcohol are usually aggravating factors. Urban areas in the UK (and Germany) have rediculously high rates of knifings, bottlings, and beatings in places. Young males monkey-dancing at 2am, being drunk off their chumps, and somebody's 'bird' are stock characters in the PCSO 'funny papers'.
Stay home with your wife at night. Be sober. Mind your manners, and your hands. Don't talk smack or flash cash. Doesn't hurt to know the regular police officers on your beat, at least casually (as long as they remain under the impression that you're a nice, polite, interesting 'merkin'). YMMV, but it can only improve your chances.

foghornl
June 11, 2012, 08:42 PM
I have a passport, but it probably is NOT going to be used anytime soon.

Yeah...leave 'em where they are. Stupid SHOULD hurt. You wander around in known bad areas, well you cooked your own goose.

Sailing around Somalia, anyone? ? ?

Captain Brown Beard
June 11, 2012, 08:56 PM
www.deathvalleymag.com (http://www.deathvalleymag.com/)

All your 3rd World Expat needs. Pretty amusing reading too.

Covers topics such as, how to arm yourself in the 3rd world, where to and where not to go, etc.

EDIT: Mall ninjas will not appreciate the humor, enter at your own risk.

Magoo
June 11, 2012, 09:04 PM
-deleted-

Anyone have experience working onshore or offshore drilling operations in foreign (and maybe "scary") places. I've begun to expand my job search a bit lately as local and domestic work gets harder to find.

Mr.454
June 11, 2012, 09:06 PM
First look up the country you are thinking about going to at http://www.state.gov/. Then ask around at what ever hotel you are staying at they should be able to tell you what areas to avoid. If you have to go and buy a knife you know as a souvenir. Talk to the people and be respectful of language and culture. At least make an effort to speak to people in their own language don't be "the ugly American". Maybe take some trips to larger cities in the U.S. first to hone those street smarts. If you can't take a walk through Chicago or Detroit at night by yourself then maybe you shouldn't go to places like Sao Paulo.

kb58
June 11, 2012, 10:06 PM
When someone gets shot (here in the U.S.) it always seems to involve: late night, partying, alcohol/drugs, and testosterone. Part of me feels sorry for them, but I can't help wondering what they were thinking, putting themselves in situations with a high likelihood of that happening? What happened to just sleeping at night (yes, it's just a rhetorical question.)

Back to the OP, no, having an unlicensed firearm (in their country) will very likely get you thrown in jail for a very long time. Yes it sucks but you're on their turf.

foghornl
June 11, 2012, 10:11 PM
I didn't understand it when "Pops" told me (I was about age 8 or so), but I get it now:

"Nothing good ever happens after midnight, except for Sunrise."

303tom
June 11, 2012, 10:45 PM
I don`t go there..................

gbran
June 11, 2012, 10:45 PM
There are too many places in the good ole USA that aren't safe. I don't need to leave the country to find others.

Loosedhorse
June 11, 2012, 10:49 PM
My brother went to Russia as part of a group. I understand that part of the fees he paid went to an armed security detail that accompanied them, and part went to bribes.

When in Russia...;)

paintballdude902
June 11, 2012, 10:53 PM
the only foreign country i plan on visiting is afghanistan and im not too worried about muggers

CheckFire
June 12, 2012, 12:46 AM
Did some medical relief work in Honduras following Hurricane Mitch '98; country/economy/gov't was in shambles---poverty, hunger, disease, hopelessness, corruption, lots of lawlessness and roaming banditos.
(Think most big US cities and DC!)

AND largely some of the warmest, most grateful people I've ever met!!

We were in country without 'official' permission. The ONLY persons who robbed us were the National Police/ 'Army', at a mountain pass roadblock--- they were Heavily armed and determined, but bought off cheap--$37USD for 'permisso especial' :neener:

IME, I'd leave my guns at home and carry some separated Bribe $$---most places, you can buy your way out of trouble for a Lot less than you can shoot your way out of. Their Country, Their Way of Life.

I'd love to go back, but I recently read that Honduras currently has the highest per capita murder rate in the World--- 1 in 86. Following Mitch, the US fruit and coffee growers pulled out--Drugs are now the problem.
Beautiful Country and People, Dmn Shame. :mad:

Ignition Override
June 12, 2012, 01:23 AM
Two US guys with the same company were told not to Ever leave the hotel compound in Lagos, Nigeria, despite several going to a small food shop directly across the street.
Even airline crews are escorted by an armed guard from/to the airport.

The two guys decided to wander a ways outside the compound and were wearing only their underwear when they returned, following a mugging.

On the other hand, Americans who frequently go on business to the neighboring country, Ghana, find the main city (Accra?) much safer.

My parents spent three years in a good, safe colonial city in central Mexico (San Miguel d.A., in Guanajuato). They arrived about ten years ago, and later learned that if you ever go to prison in Mexico, the prison provides no food. Outsiders must feed you or you starve.
If somebody were to break a major firearms law in a foreign country, even the US embassy would have no influence.

A foreign prison might be a worse fate than being kidnapped by remnants of FARC in Columbia. No two locations are equally safe, even inside a given country.

Dean1818
June 12, 2012, 07:54 AM
I travel international as part of my job.

Many of the countries I visit are as safe if not safer than the USA

If you go to NY city, you stay out of certain parts of the city.

Even in Dallas, which is very safe, you stay out of certain parts of the city
(very small area) at night.

If you find out where these areas are before you travel, you will be ok.

I feel 100% safe walking in Dubai, and Singapore at any time of the night.

London, not so much.

I dont go to any countries where the state dept forbids trade.

I have travelled to many cities in Africa, Europe, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East.

I have never, ever, had a threatening situation.

The only problem I have ever had is a heated arguement with a Frenchman...... They ARE rude


Forget bringing a gun. Unless you are documented to Hunt in a country you visit, you CANNOT bring a gun to 99% of the countries in the world

hso
June 12, 2012, 04:54 PM
You can't practically take a handgun to a foreign country.

I never had a problem in Kuwait and never thought I was at any real risk. I did carry a knife and I did carry an umbrella cane and am trained how to used them, BUT the best defense is knowledge and vigilance to stay out of trouble spots.

Do your research before deciding to go, email the U.S. embassy where you're going for advice on security precautions before traveling and what places to stay away from while there. Don't stick out more than any other foreigner in the country. Don't be paranoid, but do observe your surroundings and the people and don't hesitate to leave for your hotel or the embassy if you think things are unsafe.

Enjoy the trip, people, culture.

BP Hunter
June 12, 2012, 05:27 PM
I agree with HSO. Be smart in traveling. If the place looks sleezy , avoid it.

My family travels alot but mainly for vacation. We are always with a tour group sponsored by Disney, so they know the only safe places to go. The "unsafe places" we have visited were Tunisia (N. Africa), Mexico, Ecuador and Peru. The people were very friendly because we knew the places not to visit.

We have to admit, Americans are not necessarily loved by many nations. SO we all just neet to be smart travelers.

Texan Scott
June 12, 2012, 06:07 PM
Invest in a few Toronto Maple Leaves jackets/ T-shirts before you go... learn to end every other sentence with 'eh?'.

browningguy
June 12, 2012, 07:41 PM
Apparantly unlike many here I travel quite a lot. My company has offices in Dubai, Malaysia, China, Singapore and Australia. We have security plans in place for most countries, and when we are working in particularly dangerous areas we hire armed security.

I think the attitude of many members here is extremely non-high road, I wonder if those seem people belive in the famed "American Exceptionalism". It's fine if you want to live in some 19th C. dream world where you can ignore the rest of the planet but many people can't, or don't want to. Americans should be free to vacation anywhere they want, the ignorance shown by our members frankly appalls me.

Sky
June 12, 2012, 09:10 PM
I travel international as part of my job.

Many of the countries I visit are as safe if not safer than the USA

If you go to NY city, you stay out of certain parts of the city.

Even in Dallas, which is very safe, you stay out of certain parts of the city
(very small area) at night.

If you find out where these areas are before you travel, you will be ok.

I feel 100% safe walking in Dubai, and Singapore at any time of the night.

London, not so much.

I dont go to any countries where the state dept forbids trade.

I have travelled to many cities in Africa, Europe, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East.

I have never, ever, had a threatening situation.

The only problem I have ever had is a heated arguement with a Frenchman...... They ARE rude


Forget bringing a gun. Unless you are documented to Hunt in a country you visit, you CANNOT bring a gun to 99% of the countries in the world

Friends in a foreign country have always kept me out of trouble or kept my 6 safe....Realize some are to trusting of the locals and can get into trouble..Choose friends wisely goes for any country.

Apparantly unlike many here I travel quite a lot. My company has offices in Dubai, Malaysia, China, Singapore and Australia. We have security plans in place for most countries, and when we are working in particularly dangerous areas we hire armed security.

I think the attitude of many members here is extremely non-high road, I wonder if those seem people belive in the famed "American Exceptionalism". It's fine if you want to live in some 19th C. dream world where you can ignore the rest of the planet but many people can't, or don't want to. Americans should be free to vacation anywhere they want, the ignorance shown by our members frankly appalls me.

In defense of myopic views it ain't just Americans who think, "if it doesn't come from my country it can't be all that"! Nationalism is alive and well and there is certainly nothing wrong with feeling pride in your nationality and country. Someone who stands on a soap box declaring how great wonderful something is without ever seeing anything but their back yard is not someone you should really get all that upset with; forgive them for they know nothing of the big world out there.

Guarantee there are places in America if you are caught walking down the wrong street anytime of the day they will not even put your picture on a milk carton; you are gone.

http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&frm=1&source=web&cd=4&ved=0CHIQFjAD&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.fbi.gov%2Fabout-us%2Fcjis%2Fncic%2Fncic-missing-person-and-unidentified-person-statistics-for-2010&ei=A-TXT92FOZCI6AG0nKG4Aw&usg=AFQjCNHTMPU-nBwbWabbvM5UcBmjST8CDA&sig2=RNkF8t9qWc11YnvJtteFPA

During 2010, 692,944 missing person records were entered into NCIC, a decrease of 3.7 percent from the 719,558 records entered in 2009

I live overseas several months out of the year and have never had a scare but I have not had a problem in the good old USA either.

Sebastian the Ibis
June 13, 2012, 12:43 AM
Simple avoid those situations:

Don't get drunk
Don't go to bad places at night (avoid night buses)
Don't hang out with jackasses (even if American)
Don't show up at the I hate America Rally

If you are really concerned, stop by the local youth hostel and chat with the western tourists and the proprietor. The proprietor would not be in business if he did not know about every local scam artist and robber. The backpackers will know about where you are going next.

I have completely filled two passports following these rules in the ass ends of the world and never had too many problems.

The Lone Haranguer
June 13, 2012, 06:56 PM
It would take a military posting to get me to go to any "dangerous" country.

Bring along a handgun to the country you plan to visit?
Handguns are forbidden in most or all of these countries.

txgunsuscg
June 13, 2012, 07:43 PM
Well, considering it has taken State Department intervention to keep me from getting arrested with only red training weapons when entering some countries (on a planned visit, with an official passport, to train their own police forces), I would say bringing your favorite pistol is a very bad idea.

The ideas posted above are good:

Do research (www.osac.gov, travel.state.gov)

Register with the Embassy when you get there, ask whoever you talk to for any information they have regarding traffic procedures, local customs, etc. Attempt to speak the local language (it goes a long way shedding the Ugly American image).

Don't flash money, wear obvious clothes, or be obnoxious. Stay in a safe hotel, travel during daylight hours, beware of walking into a "locals bar." Be careful when someone knocks on your door, use only official taxis.

Hope an earthquake doesn't hit.

I've traveled to 5 of the 7 continents, and most people I have met were very gracious and welcoming if you treated them the way you want to be treated.

razorback2003
June 14, 2012, 10:42 AM
I would hate to use a handgun in self defense as a gringo in South America, even if legal. You'd be better off hiring local and legal armed security in those places so they deal with La Policia if something bad happens.

You have to realize if an American messes up or even appears to mess up in a 3rd World country you will be all over the media portrayed as the trouble maker. They give their own people a pass but not Americans. Totally different systems than what we have in America.

mgkdrgn
June 14, 2012, 11:45 AM
I have never been to the Middle East, but I've spent some time in Central America and was amazed at how lawless it was and how brazen the muggers were. Got mugged twice at gunpoint and did not resist, got out OK. What do those on this forum do in these situations? Bring along a handgun to the country you plan to visit?
I think you will find being a victim of a mugging MUCH preferable to spending a few years in one of their jails. Most places don't allow their own citizens to have handguns, much less allow foreigners to carry them in public.

PT92
June 14, 2012, 12:03 PM
The problem with a thread like this (invariably) is that one can no longer seem to address 'sensitive' matters absent running into Politically Correct like ramifications or even blatant stereotyping. Personally, no one that I know of wishes to be ethnocentric (if they do it should be immediately flagged). However, and that being said, I still maintain that it's not safe for Americans to travel absent absolute meticulous planning/preparations for all eventualities as well as an understanding of the potential for adversity (of all types). Honestly, I do not worry about people like those found here @THR as we are cognizant individuals entirely aware of current events and the overall tone of the worldwide political environment. Conversely, I worry about people who travel absent even a fundamental understanding of the potential for danger and hence do no planning whatsoever--I would argue that there are far more people than one might believe who have no idea of what is going on outside of 'American Idol' if you will.

-Cheers

razorback2003
June 14, 2012, 01:53 PM
I wouldn't even drive in a foreign country as a visitor because of the risk of a car accident and being blamed for destroying property, hurting, or killing someone. I ride cabs and put that risk on the local cab driver. He will be in a much better position to deal with a car accident than I would be, whether or not I am at fault.

joecil
June 14, 2012, 02:31 PM
In the early 80's I worked as private security world wide from the government to private corporations. I was in the course of 4 years in 92 countries many of them really dangerous including such garden spots as the Middle Easts to parts of Africa. All I can say is I wouldn't take the job today even if I was the age I was then now. Even then I have gunshot, knife and other injuries gained in doing a job. Luckily I've come to realize I am mortal and at 66 years old don't push my luck any more.

AlexanderA
June 14, 2012, 03:21 PM
I have a lot of experience traveling in Greece, and it's "dangerous enough" now -- and will get a lot more dangerous in the near future.

I was mugged there a few years ago (by a gang of pickpockets) and since then I've learned to observe the following precautions:

1. Don't look like a tourist. Look around you and dress like the natives. Maintain a low profile at all times. Never flash money.
2. Don't speak English publically. If you can't speak the local language, try to keep quiet.
3. Don't go into known dangerous areas. Especially at night.
4. Don't travel in groups, particularly groups with small children or others who are less mobile. You'll be distracted watching each other rather than watching for threats.
5. Situational awareness is everything. Maintain distance between yourself and anyone, particularly anyone who seems to be following you.
6. Don't leave valuables in your hotel room, even if it has a safe.
7. Being armed won't do you much good, even if it's legal. It may even make you a target. But keep hasty improvised weapons in mind.
8. "Keep low and keep moving."

Skribs
June 14, 2012, 03:53 PM
The problem with a thread like this (invariably) is that one can no longer seem to address 'sensitive' matters absent running into Politically Correct like ramifications or even blatant stereotyping. Personally, no one that I know of wishes to be ethnocentric (if they do it should be immediately flagged). However, and that being said, I still maintain that it's not safe for Americans to travel absent absolute meticulous planning/preparations for all eventualities as well as an understanding of the potential for adversity (of all types). Honestly, I do not worry about people like those found here @THR as we are cognizant individuals entirely aware of current events and the overall tone of the worldwide political environment. Conversely, I worry about people who travel absent even a fundamental understanding of the potential for danger and hence do no planning whatsoever--I would argue that there are far more people than one might believe who have no idea of what is going on outside of 'American Idol' if you will.

There's a difference between sayings like "All Mexicans are violent drug-traffickers" and "There are drug traffickers that are causing a lot of violence in Mexico." No, I don't assume that everyone south of the border is evil; most of them are probably very nice. But the instability of the area is what puts me off. That instability is related to a few drug dealers and their peons, and the government. This isn't a stereotype - it is specific people that have the issue.

It would be just like me saying "I don't want to visit NY City because of their gun laws and reported crime rates." I don't think everyone from NYC is a hooligan. I just don't like their laws and don't trust the laws to protect me in a timely fashion.

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