With all the press that the Catalonia independence movement has gotten internationally (and the Ramblas terrorist attack before that), many people have made comments to me about my safety. Directly on email, and on social media, people have admonished me to “Be safe” or have asked “Is it safe over there?” Let me tell you my thoughts.
Safety in Barcelona in general
Okay, I haven’t felt this safe in a big city in, maybe, ever. Sure there’s crime. Sure there’s pickpockets (and everyone eventually falls prey to those buggers). But I’ve never seen any crime or danger. We’ve been here 6 weeks and I have yet to see any signs of aggression in public. Come on, how many of you in other places see “men” getting all agro outside a bar? All the time! And you rarely see public drunkenness here, and when you do it’s tourists stumbling on Las Ramblas. I was coming home from a bar at 3am and saw a young woman alone on a bench on my street searching for something in her bag. That would never happen in the USA. Never.
Safety with the Independence movement
We went down to both the pro-independence protest and the pro-unity protests. Both had hundreds of thousands of people. Police were hard to find in the crowds or around the fringes. And the people there were absolutely calm and non-violent. Same with Election Day. No violence did we see. Note that the only violence you see in the media is from the police! And the last people they’re coming after is some expats.
The terrorist attack on Las Ramblas a couple months ago was horrible, and shook the city to it’s core. There have been two Mosso armored vehicles parked at the top of Las Ramblas ever since the attack, right where the terrorist started his rampage. Unfortunately terrorist attacks happen everywhere now, and we are on our guard, but I feel we can’t let the terrorists win by restricting what we want to do with our days.
Relative safety compared to the rest of the world
A friend on Facebook told me that she had some American coworkers who were reconsidering a business trip to Barcelona. Are you kidding me?! Americans worried about their safety abroad?! They need to look hard in the mirror. It is waaaaay more dangerous in the USA. Just look at guns. No-one has them here. And the States is filled with homicidal (white male) gun-totting nut-jobs! The frequency of occurrences of me getting scared for my safety in (liberal peaceful) San Francisco is an order of magnitude higher than here in Barcelona.
So don’t worry, friends. I’m safe. Melinda’s safe. The kids are safe (Alexis got home last night at 4:30am from a nightclub – yeah, she felt safe the whole time). It’s all good.