Does any American considering a trip to any western European nation actually consult the State Department's travel warnings? I ask because just as London was exploding in waves of violent, riotous behavior the State Department's Irish warning was a point of discussion in Ireland.

The State Department warns Americans coming to Ireland that

"there have been a limited number of assaults on foreigners and tourists, including violence toward members of racial minority groups. There have also been several reported assaults in Dublin by small, unorganized gangs roaming the streets in the early morning hours after the pubs close, and a high incidence of petty crime in major tourist areas—mostly theft, burglary, and purse-snatching."

Truth is, I don't have a problem with the State Department's warning, but they could have humanized it and made it more accurate and useful for Americans by adding the following: 'Stuff happens everywhere, even very bad stuff, but if you're inclined to travel abroad there are few cities the size of Dublin that are as safe to visit or regions/states in America that are safer than Ireland. Keep your head and you'll be fine.'

What annoys me is that they didn't say anything like that, but on their page about travel to the United Kingdom they did. In addition to omitting any mention of petty crime in tourist areas, which I bet is similar to what we have here, they included the following: "As with any major metropolitan city, U.S. citizens are urged to be cautious and aware of their surroundings."

Why couldn't the note on Ireland include the same?

Funny enough, any American looking at the these two warnings might well conclude that the UK would be a safer bet. Maybe those people who heed State Department warnings are at this very moment cursing the government for not warning them that they might encounter 'large, organized gangs roaming the streets in the early evening hours when people are making their way to the theater.'

Of course you can't blame the State Department for not warning people about the riots. Nobody saw this coming. It does, however, illustrate how ludicrous the State Department's warnings are.

Still, Ireland and Dublin have a right to feel aggrieved when you compare the language of the two warnings. One says use common sense; the other gives you pause for thought. And this week anyone who heeded the two warnings is possibly seeking shelter from the rampaging horde and picking his way through the broken glass of destroyed store-fronts of some London neighborhoods.