Tag: safety

The World is Not Falling Apart

In my (accidental) ongoing series of posts talking about safety and security of the world, I’d like to bring up a new article by Slate entitled The World is Not Falling ApartNever mind the headlines. We’ve never lived in such peaceful times.  The article begins with the popular notion that the world is going crazy (something I hear constantly):

It’s a good time to be a pessimist. ISIS, Crimea, Donetsk, Gaza, Burma, Ebola, school shootings, campus rapes, wife-beating athletes, lethal cops—who can avoid the feeling that things fall apart, the center cannot hold?

But is the centre holding?  Is the world safe?  As Bill Clinton says, “Follow the trend lines, not the headlines.”   In other words, don’t look at individual news reports that can be discussing something a thousand miles away — and continue discussing it until the next disaster happens.  Rather, look at the statistics and see where the trend lines are heading.

As Slate discusses, the trends for nearly all violence has gone down dramatically over the last few decades.  Violent acts like homicide, rape, child abuse has gone way down.  If you take a look at the big violence happening around the world — mass killings, genocides, etc. — you’ll see that the past ten to twenty years has seen a major decline.  Armed conflicts and wars has dropped significantly since the early 90s.

Slate: Rate of Battle Deaths in Armed Conflicts

The world is not falling apart.  We just need to use an evidence-based mind set and look at the facts and not the headlines.  Even though ISIS and various (historically small) civil wars have taken over the 24 hours news channels, things are getting better out there.  That doesn’t mean violence will some day end (we aren’t heading towards a singularity of peacefulness, sorry), but I hope this article allows you stop being fearful about travelling the beautiful world on which we live.

What’s Safe?

With the United States declaring a Worldwide Travel Alert, the question of safety for our family has come up a few times.   Of course, a lot will change in 5 years, so nobody can be sure what we’ll be faced with when the time comes for our travel.  But what can we do now to make sure we’re being as careful as possible?  One thing is to keep track of worldwide events like terrorism — but not necessarily where terror events occur, but where they originated from and who supported them.  This can help identify areas of the world that 14 and 9 year olds probably shouldn’t be travelling to.  The world is a big place, so skipping a few countries shouldn’t be a problem…

So what can you do to research such a complex topic?  One thing would be to read the Global Terrorism Index put out by the Institute for Economics and Peace.  Their 2015 index just came out and you can see the PDF here.  The PDF is 111 pages, so not exactly fun bed time reading.  But, just looking at the rankings can give you a sense of which sections of the world you might want to avoid.  Unfortunately, there’s a few countries we’d like to visit that are pretty high on the Impact list at the moment (for example, Thailand is #10, Egypt is #13, Kenya is #18).

Looking at things from the other end, we have the Institute for Economics and Peace’s 2015 Global Peace Index (PDF).  Again, 127 pages, so a good long read – but at least not as depressing.  This index can help understand a country’s level of safety and security, degrees of militarization and more.  Thankfully, most of the countries we’re interested in visiting are fairly peaceful, though a few are red (Russia, for example, though it IS a massive geographical area that’s being lumped together).

Of course, the odds of being killed or hurt by a terrorist attack is much smaller than being hit by lightning, but the fact that poverty, class inequality, government corruption, civil unrest and other social ills are directly connected to terrorism can’t be ignored.  The world’s a big place, and we understand that, in 5 years, there just might be a few beautiful places that we’ll just have to skip during our trip.


2015 Global Peace Index

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