USA - Introduction
The United States of America is the Sole Remaining Super Power. Secretary of State John Kerry said April 18, 2013 "... so many nations are looking to us for leadership. So many nations see us as that indispensable country. We stand for optimism. We stand for opportunity, for equality, for freedom, for dignity, for people’s ability to have a job and an education and do better in life. And we stand in opposition to all those who want to replace hope with hate, who just want to blow themselves up and take people with them or want to conduct jihad without any viable program, purpose, or alternative view that makes people’s lives better. So those are the things we believe."
America is the land of the get-rich-quick scheme. From time to time, too many people made too much money too easily, and money and moneymaking came to be far too nearly the exclusive subject of American thought. Nothing seemed to be considered for a time but "millions" and how to get them. Everybody who had an opportunity bent himself to improve it, and folks who lacked a tempting opportunity searched for one. A large proportion of the population gambled in stocks. The game of trying to get something for nothing was played very hard by a great many people, with the usual result that there were some winners and a great many losers. The markets had their ups and downs. There were panics, jolts, and depressions, and rises again.
Medical costs in the United States are extremely high. A visit to a doctor in the United States for even minor complaints can cost several hundred dollars, excluding laboratory tests or medication costs. In the absence of accepted health insurance (or proof of ability to pay), payment would generally be required up front.
The road network is generally of good quality, but secondary roads can sometimes be impassable or degraded due to bad weather. Weather acts through visibility impairments, precipitation, high winds, and temperature extremes to affect driver capabilities, vehicle performance (i.e., traction, stability and maneuverability), pavement friction, roadway infrastructure, crash risk, traffic flow, and agency productivity.
The transportation system -- roads and bridges, especially -- is in a dire state of disrepair. One in four Alabama roads are in poor or mediocre condition, according to the American Society of Civil Engineers' 2013 Report Card. That percentage is the fourth lowest in the country. By contrast, about 75 percent of roads in Wisconsin are in such condition. About 22 percent of Alabama bridges were found to be structurally deficient or functionally obsolete, or about 3,608 bridges out of 16,078 in the state. That puts Alabama in 21st place out of 50 in that category. Rhode Island has the worst bridges, with 56.5 percent deemed structurally deficient or functionally obsolete.
Travelers' attention is drawn to the very strict safety regulations. When luggage is checked in or checked in, it is necessary to answer seriously and accurately the questions asked by the employees and avoid any jokes about the contents of luggage, very serious trouble with the services Security (which may extend to imprisonment) being liable to result from any equivocal attitude.
The United States has more violent crime than many other countries. There is currently a heightened threat of terrorist attack in the United States caused by those motivated by the rhetoric of extremists involved in the conflict in Syria and Iraq. Based on 2015 FBI data, the states with the highest levels of violent crime (per capita) are Washington DC, Alaska, Nevada, New Mexico and Tennessee. They also show that the southern states generally tend to have higher violent crime rates.
Mass shootings continue to occur in public places. Most of these shootings have occurred in workplaces and educational facilities. Others have occurred in public places, such as shopping malls, restaurants, community centers and places of worship, as well as military and government properties.
In the main urban centers, basic safety rules should be followed and information on the neighborhoods to be avoided should be avoided, the areas where it is possible to travel on foot and the hours beyond which special vigilance is required. Theft of means of payment and identity documents are more frequent in tourist areas. It is advisable to deposit passports and means of payment in a safe place and to keep a photocopy of the first pages of the passport and the "visa waiver" green document handed in by the immigration authorities upon entering the territory. Due to the high risk of bank card fraud due to the lack of a secure microchip and PIN, it is recommended to make cash payments for small amounts.
The Americans are generally very respectful of the law. With the police, it is imperative not to make false statements, not to raise their voices, and to avoid sudden or aggressive gestures. When a driver is followed by a police car turning on his light and sound signals, he must immediately put himself on the aisle and sit in his car with his hands on the wheel while waiting for the police officer.
If you overstay your legal entry (I-94) into the United States, you can be arrested, deported and likely barred from re-entering the United States in future. If you are travelling in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona or southern California, expect to have your documents, including passport, visa and I-94 entry, inspected by authorities without warning and on a random basis, including on public transport.
Since violent protests in Ferguson, Missouri in August 2014, high-profile police shootings of African Americans continue to spark protests in US cities. While mostly peaceful, these protests can turn violent. Most recently in September 2016, violent clashes erupted in Charlotte, North Carolina following a fatal police shooting. Nine people were injured and over 40 arrested. A State of Emergency was declared and a curfew imposed until order was restored.
In many States, the possession of firearms is permitted and current. It can be legal in many US states for their US citizen resident members of the public to openly carry certain firearms in public. Tourists should therefore be calm under all circumstances.
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