If you’re wondering who Arthur Frommer is, he’s the chief author of Frommer’s Travel Guides, which can be found at virtually every U.S. bookstore. So when Frommer argues that people should reconsider visiting Arizona, that’s not definitely good for Arizona’s tourism sector. But Frommer’s reasons are…interesting (italics mine):
I am not yet certain whether I would advocate a travel boycott by others of the state of Arizona… But I am 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….
I would feel as I do regardless of the political identity of the speaker whom these thugs attempted to intimidate. The continued tolerance of extremists carrying guns is a frightening development which strikes at the heart of the political process and endangers the ability to carry out a reasoned debate. Is there any responsible citizen of the United States who believes that people should carry guns to a public debate or speech? If Ronald Reagan were delivering a political talk in Phoenix, Arizona, would they have felt it was proper for protestors with guns to mill about outside the hall from which he would leave?
I’ll leave it to you in the comments to debate if Frommer’s right. But what occurs to me is that the same sort of comments could have been made–and to the best of my knowledge, were not made–regarding the segregationist South. And there, there wasn’t the threat of political violence, there was political violence, including murder.
Of course, maybe if more people had said something sooner….