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.After his statement was picked up by the Associated Press, it was like trying to get the genie back in the bottle. The mayor of Phoenix was immediately on the phone to Frommer that day trying to orchestrate a visit to his fine city and stress its safety.
I think the quick phone call was a testament to Frommer's status in the travel world. He's the founder of industry staple, Frommer's Travel Guides, and still creates content for Web sites and publications everywhere. (Although the current owner of the travel guides, John Wiley & Sons, distanced itself from Frommer's personal remarks.)
On Saturday, Frommer again made a similar statement on National Public Radio:
I, as an individual, will not travel to Arizona until and unless the police department of Phoenix, Arizona agrees that in situations of the sort that they encountered this past week, that they will not stand by like scared rabbits.While much of the hullabaloo has been about second amendment rights, at least one Arizona newspaper said what many were thinking.
"We believe even though you have the right to carry a weapon, that doesn't necessarily mean you should. Common sense should prevail," the Arizona Daily Star editorial said.I admit I don't understand the obsession with guns or the need to carry one to a restaurant or bar. But if the state legislature passes "open-carry" gun laws in public places, visitors have a right to feel tense or fearful about what could happen. The law isn't about second amendment rights, but allowing residents to carry weapons in public, at best, helps them to intimidate others or bolster their self-confidence. The byproduct of this event can be hatred, anger, fear or despair -- but either way, it's not predictable or controllable.
So a percentage of people, Frommer included, dislike the idea of people carrying weapons in public and may stay away from Arizona. For the freedom of carrying a weapon, Arizona may find any of its visitors also using their freedom of choice to travel elsewhere.