Welcome to Offshore Living Letter, Your #1 Resource for Offshore Diversification

Safety Overseas vs. Safety In The U.S.: The Truth

20 Jul
Paris, France. Safety Overseas

Safety Overseas vs. Safety In The U.S.: The Truth

Stuff Happens

I got an email from a reader recently that I’ve been thinking a lot about.

I want to address it here. Because this reader probably isn’t the only one with this opinion.

It was a very short—but very revealing—email…

“I had my eye on France but now it is very dangerous with upheaval everywhere. Too scary!”

If you haven’t followed the news from France… on June 27, 17-year-old Nahel Merzouk was shot and killed by police during a traffic stop in a Paris suburb.

The police alleged Merzouk was trying to run over an officer when the fatal shooting happened… but video contradicted this account.

Protests—and riots—began across France as a result… protests against the police killing, against racism (Merzouk was of Moroccan and Algerian descent), against inequality.

So, yes, there has been some upheaval in France.

Safety Overseas: Here’s What You’re Missing

But here’s what this reader… and I think a lot of other people… are missing.

To take one event that happens in any country (and that happens to make it onto the American news)—and let that event change your opinion of the entire country—is just crazy. It’s really missing the forest for the trees.

France is a big country. It’s got 70 million people and it’s twice the size of Colorado.

I love France. Kathleen and I spend part of every year in Paris. Our daughter and son-in-law live there year round. We have many friends there.

So, I know what I’m talking about.

And here’s the truth: The vast, vast majority of people and places in France right now are totally unaffected by the headlines making the international news. Our relatives and friends are going about their daily routines just as they always do…

Just like… you probably remember… in the United States in 2020, when George Floyd was murdered by police officer Derek Chauvin, it ignited protests against police killings, against racism and inequality… and there were riots and violence and looting…

But across the vast majority of the United States, most people were just living their lives as they always had, going about their routines, doing their thing.

The truth is—we’re all biased towards what we know.

And so, you might think of your life in the United States as “safe”… and expat life in a foreign land like France as “scary”… even though, statistically, you are far more likely to be a victim of violence in the United States than in France.

The United States is now one of the most violent places on earth (thanks to mass shootings and gang warfare, and plain old regular family feuds and domestic violence)… it ranks 131 out of 163 countries in the latest Global Peace Index. More violent than Angola, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Haiti. More unsafe than every single country in Europe… except Ukraine, where there’s a war going on.

My point—as I’ve said—is that we think of things close to home as “safe” and foreign lands as “unsafe,” even though the reverse may actually be true.

Go Offshore Today

Sign up to our free twice a week dispatch Offshore Living Letter
and immediately receive our FREE research report
on how to live tax-free today, while earning up to $215,200!

So, Don’t Let The News From France Put You Off Going To France

Protests happen from time to time in a large democracy like France—just like they do in the U.S. or Canada. Like I say, you’ll remember the BLM protests or the 2022 truckers’ blockade in Canada… sometimes these events make international headlines…

I stopped counting the number of times people asked me whether Kathleen and the kids were safe when we lived in Paris, and now that our daughter and son-in-law are living there… and I didn’t even know there were protests or riots going on.

I’m back in the States right now taking care of some family business.

When I arrived a few weeks ago, a friend of my mom’s asked if the family was OK in Paris… and I didn’t even know there were riots. Because I hadn’t watched the U.S. news covering them. And my daughter and son-in-law hadn’t thought to mention it because for them life in Paris was just going on completely as normal. There were no protests in their part of town.

The fact that this reader who wrote to us has written off France because of one week’s new cycle is just an indication of how ignorant most people are… and definitely most Americans.

But in a way, you can’t blame them. Because they’re fed this misleading message constantly.

I even received an email in my inbox from one of our colleagues in the offshore space… I won’t name them… trying to capitalize on events in France with a completely bogus portrayal.

The email warned that the supposed “birthplace of freedom and democracy” (France) was “axing social media to put out dissent.”

First off—France is the “birthplace of freedom and democracy”? I must have missed that day in history class.

As I recall, there was democracy in ancient Athens more than two millennia before the French Revolution. And in any case, freedom and democracy aren’t the same thing… and democracy doesn’t necessarily equal freedom (at least not for everyone; just ask the slaves in the Athenian democracy).

France was relatively late to the democracy game, in 1792, well after Britain, the U.S., and some smaller states in Europe had “modern” democracies.

And as for the idea that France is banning social media…

The truth is that French President Emmanuel Macron made a stupid comment suggesting social media could be “cut off” to stop the riots—but, of course, no cutting off of social media ever happened.

Too many people in the offshore world don’t have boots on the ground in the right places and speak based on theories, rather than first-hand experience.

As my son-in-law in Paris put it: “The real story is the French president is an idiot, like so many politicians, so never rely on them.”

And if you want an example of a real Western country where social media is being banned… look no further than the United States, and specifically the state of Montana, which recently banned TikTok, supposedly because of the app’s links to the Chinese government. (Although why exactly the Chinese government cares about the dance videos you’re watching on TikTok… no one has yet explained.)

Look… the world’s not perfect. Stuff happens. Violence happens. Protests happen.

But if you let one week’s news cycle from one country stop you from discovering your perfect place overseas… that’s on you.

Most protests are short-lived anywhere in the world and then life goes back to normal. Sometimes that’s a few days or a few weeks, but rarely does it upend an entire civilization… especially the birthplace of freedom and democracy… or, er, a democracy with a long tradition, like France.

And indeed, sometimes when it’s in the news for the wrong reasons—it can be precisely the best time to visit a country… because all the tourist lines are gone.

If you took to heart all the stories in the mainstream media, you’d probably never leave your bedroom—never mind go overseas.

And what a poorer life that would be.

Stay diversified,

Lief Simon

Lief Simon

Editor, Offshore Living Letter