Some people check the State Department's website for their list of the most dangerous countries, places they're suggesting Americans avoid-- like Somalia, Afghanistan, Sudan, Nigeria, Pakistan, Mali, Algeria. Arizona isn't on the list. But it's on one that makes more sense: Frommer's. First off, I don't know if Arthur Frommer, the guide book magnate, is a Democrat or a Republican or an independent. It never even crossed my mind. On Wednesday, though, he indicated he's not a teabagger.
He's not advocating a boycott of Arizona (yet) but he does say that he's "shocked beyond measure by reports that earlier this week, nearly a dozen persons, including one with an assault rifle strapped about his shoulders and others with pistols in their hands or holsters, were openly congregating outside a hall at which President Obama was speaking to the Veterans of Foreign Wars."
For myself, without yet suggesting that others follow me in an open boycott, I will not personally travel in a state where civilians carry loaded weapons onto the sidewalks and as a means of political protest. I not only believe such practices are a threat to the future of our democracy, but I am firmly convinced that they would also endanger my own personal safety there. And therefore I will cancel any plans to vacation or otherwise visit in Arizona until I learn more. And I will begin thinking about whether tourists should safeguard themselves by avoiding stays in Arizona.
What Frommer didn't mention is that Arizona is also home to a bizarre bunch of crackpot right-wing extremists who are very, very dangerous. It's a violent part of the country and he's worried tourists will wind up getting shot. Pam Spaulding brought a whole other perspective on this climate of crackpot violence today. Tempe fringe "pastor," Pastor Steven Anderson of Faithful Word Baptist Church has been urging that gay people be executed: "The same God who instituted the death penalty for murders is the same god who instituted the death penalty for rapists and for homosexuals, sodomites and queers... Our country is run by faggots. You know who was the man who was the architect of the bailout? His name is Barney Frank, he is a pedophile..."
And he doesn't stop with Barney Frank. He thinks Obama should be killed too: "God Hates Barack Obama, I hate Barack Obama. I hate Him. God wants me to Hate Barack Obama... Someone who commits murder should get the death penalty." I don't hate Arizona. In fact, I love Arizona. And most people are know from that state are probably as mortified about this kind of crap as you are.
UPDATE: Almost Three Years Later
What a mess! Arizona is, if anything, even worse and even more dangerous for civilians and tourists. Just today, another mass shooting by a local crackpot neo-Nazi! Anti-immigrant fanatic and vigilante lunatic "T.J." Ready murdered 5 people, including an infant before committing suicide. He wa shoping to run for Pinal County sheriff. Probably safer to visit New Mexico or California.