Written by Staff Writer
08 Aug, 2019 | 10:19 pm
Colombo (News 1st): The headquarters of USA Today in the suburbs of Washington, D.C., was evacuated on Wednesday (August 7) after authorities received an unconfirmed report of a gunman in the building. Police did not find an armed person and no shots were fired.
That realization came after officers with rifles and body armour swept through the site and a helicopter hovered overhead, as loud alarms sounded through the building. The apparently mistaken report follows another scare in New York on Tuesday night (August 6) when hundreds of people fled down sidewalks in Times Square after a backfiring motorcycle engine was mistaken for gunfire. The New York Police Department assured residents it was a false alarm.
Amnesty International issued a travel warning today (August 9) calling for possible travellers and visitors to the United States to exercise extreme caution when travelling throughout the country due to rampant gun violence, which has become so prevalent in the United States that it amounts to a human rights crisis.
Amnesty International says it aims to hold up a mirror to the U.S. using the model of the United States Department of State’s travel advice for U.S. travellers to other countries. This travel warning comes after two back to back mass shootings brought the US to a standstill.
The first of the deadly back to back shootings occurred in El Paso, Texas where a gunman killed many people at a Walmart store on Saturday (August 3). The latest U.S. mass shooting sent panicked shoppers fleeing. 22 people were killed and another 24 injured are injured what federal authorities now consider an act of domestic terrorism.
In less than a day later, a terrorist – identified as a white supremacist terrorist, armed with a rifle opened fire in a downtown district of Dayton, Ohio killing 9 and injuring 27 others. The assailant was killed by police officers responding to the call.
As of August 8th 2019, a total of 259 mass shootings have taken place in America with 979 people being shot and of those people, 246 have died.
In response to the rampant gun violence taking place in America, Amnesty International has issued a travel advisory saying “Travelers to the United States should remain cautious that the country does not adequately protect people’s right to be safe, regardless of who they might be. People in the United States cannot reasonably expect to be free from harm – a guarantee of not being shot is impossible.”
The travel advisory addressed growing gun violence, mostly hate crimes, including racism and discrimination, highlighting that the traveller’s race, country of origin, ethnic background, sexual orientation or gender identity may place them at higher risk after recent attacks linked to white supremacist ideology.
Amnesty International has been calling for common-sense reform regarding the use and possession of firearms, including comprehensive background checks, national regulations for registering and licensing firearms, required training, a ban on high capacity magazines/assault weapons, and mandatory safe-storage laws. Amnesty International USA’s campaign to end gun violence has focused efforts on passing S.42., the Assault Weapons ban, and the Disarm Hate Act.
The Amnesty International travel advisory comes on the back of an initiative by Faraz Shauketaly. The Newsline host wrote in his private capacity to Sri Lanka’s Foreign Minister asking the Minister to consider issuing a travel advisory against travel to the USA. Shauketaly cited Sri Lankan students and other visitors to the USA. Thilak Marapona the Foreign Minister has not responded thus far.
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