When in Rome…

…I couldn’t do as these Romans, as their laws aren’t very friendly to gun ownership and less friendly to carry. The US laws are no better as far as visitors are concerned. This is the main down side to foreign travel — visitors are treated as third-class humans by governments who treat their own citizens as second-class already.

The tourist areas of Rome had quite a few security theater actors who dressed to impress. Unlike large city cops in the US, they project a friendlier attitude.

Similarly dressed-up men stood guard around embassies and government buildings.

They were backed up by rifle holders with Beretta 70/90 automatic rifles. I didn’t observe additional ammunition, but it may have been stashed out of view.

A block or two away, additional vigilant cops lounged in reserve.

Army was also in evidence, putting on a show of presence.

By contrast, police in Germany were very rarely visible. Same in Switzerland. And in the US, I see more cops in a day than during all of my foreign travels combined. Certain tasks, like speed traps are operated mostly by people in the US but mostly by video camera in Europe. At locations like airports, German, Czech, Swiss, Italian and even Hungarian cops were generally more friendly than either cops or the bluebellies in America. US makes a terrible first impression on visitors these days, both in the intrusiveness of INS and in the extreme incompetency of the airport staff and TSA.

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7 Responses to When in Rome…

  1. Paul Rain says:

    Impressive jackboots. Just a good look generally.

    Does anybody really deal with INS on visits to the US? I understand that they will harass legal immigrants who would actually be desirable to allow into the country, but do they really deal with temporary visitors? And TSA is just TN’s engaging in TNB- you can’t blame the DMV workers for the fact that they’re allowed to work at the DMV.

    • Paul Koning says:

      If you enter the USA, you’re dealing with two outfits: the INS, which checks your passport and visa, and Customs, which checks if you’re bringing in any contraband. Unlike the TSA, these people tend to be well behaved and appear competent; I haven’t had reason to complain either as a visiting alien, permanent resident alien, or as a citizen.

    • Y. says:

      My 2c.

      Met INS in Boston. Professional, a bit thick though. They suspected me of coming to US to either work illegally in IT(laughable) or conduct commercial photography ( not entirely implausible).

      Had to unpack all I had and explain it all, spent an extra 25 mins exiting. Not sure how many others were also singled out from my flight. Possibly none.

  2. Flint says:

    In some places, operating video speed traps (and red light cameras, and such) is illegal: http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/rsa/html/xx/236/236-130.htm

    Of course, being an armed (ergo, polite) society, the cops here tend to be less offensive than most.

    • Paul Koning says:

      Interesting. So all those red light cameras in Milford and Nashua are illegal? Good to know.

  3. JoeS says:

    Dang, what was it “try and grow a beard” month there or what?

    A lot of police and military public presence outside of the USA is about tourism and visibility . But if you go into certain areas on subways or rails you run into extortion via immediate fines for infractions.

    Friendliness or lack thereof of police in the USA is many times influenced by the preconceived views of the person who encounters them. Then sometimes it’s opputunity for media theater. Still without public scrunity actual bad things would not always come to light.
    Now as to the “bluebellies” remark my understanding was that referenced a Union Soilder aka Yankee circa Civil War and Post Civil War. Has something changed in that regard?

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