I am now insured for injury or death if caused in part or completely by acts of terrorism or unlawful actions.
In the USA.
I was unsure if such cover was on my travel insurance and so I rang and checked after I watched news reports this evening another young white American male who took a gun to school and tried to kill all of his classmates
He succeeded in killing ten and maiming many others.
These mass shootings – that occur mostly in schools – occur every thirteen days here in the US.
They have been happening for decades.
It is frightening.
It is madness.
It is however insurable.
When I rang up the US Agent of insurance company that I bought my travel insurance from he told me that being in the US meant that I was now more than seven hundred and eighty times likely to be shot than where I bought my Singapore policy.
I told him that I wasn’t that surprised.
The Insurance Agent’s name was Hank.
When I asked Hank if I was covered for death or injury caused by acts or terrorism he asked me if I was affiliated with or the subject of any organisation or any sect that promoted acts of violence or hatred.
I told Hank only the Human Race.
He snorted in gruff acceptance.
After some clicking and clacking on his keyboard Hank told me that I might not be covered if it turned out any injuries or death I sustained was as a result of me being a specific target of a terrorist action.
“Like a jihad Hank?”
“Against me specifically?
I don’t think that I am the target of any extremists but I can’t say for sure.
“What about being maimed or killed collaterally?
“Covered” Hank informed me.
“A million for medical expenses and two million for death” he added.
I thought these seemed sufficient amounts.
“Will you be visiting any schools whilst you are here?” Hank asked me.
I told him that I was not.
Hank told me that the campus of an American high school was statistically the most likely place to be shot dead or maimed.
A male American between the ages of sixteen and twenty-five would likely undertake the shooting and they will be armed with multiple automatic or semi automatic weapons and many surplus rounds of ammunition.
They are generally armed to the hilt and have a thought-out and sometimes drawn out plan of homicide.
The shootings would most likely occur in the late morning or early afternoon.
Even teenage terrorists are late risers.
American citizens own an estimated 270 million guns and a little over 3 million new guns are manufactured and sold each year. One third of the population is armed. In the first half of this year alone nearly 7000 Americans were shot dead.
Hank told me that he thought I would also be covered if I were maimed or killed as collateral damage if I happened to be walking past a school and another such shooting were to go be going on.
I told Hank that I would completely avoid knowingly going near any educational institutions here in America.
They are dangerous places.
I asked Hank if my insurance also extended to cover me in the event of an earthquake or a Tsunami.
When he asked me my whereabouts in the US and I replied that I was in Los Angeles he made some more tut tutting noise.
“A force majeure. Not covered,” Hank replied.
“Seismically a very dangerous place to be” he added.
“Smack on the San Andreas Fault and overdue for a big one” I agreed
I negotiated additional cover for earthquakes and Tsunamis – including search, rescue and repatriation cover.
It wasn’t cheap.
I was in Kathmandu in Nepal when the second earthquake struck there earlier this year and I thought for sure that I was then going to die.
I saw buildings crumble and fall and I saw many people perish in only a minute and a half of violent waves of shaking.
Never before have I tasted such fear and fallibility.
It was truly terrifying.
I told this to Hank whilst he was taking my credit card details for payment of my extra coverage – which now included Identity Theft. It is a major problem here in the US and television shows are punctuated by advertisements telling Americans that one case of Identity theft occurs every three seconds. There are also major television advertising campaigns promoting the long-term use of anti anxiety medication.
For whole families.
It is quite depressing.
When I asked Hank if there was any other insurance cover he thought might be necessary for my rather long stay in the US we went through the limits and exceptions to the policy I had bought.
Hank told me that I was statistically more likely to be shot, run over or drowned than any other loss event and he told me to be careful where I went.
He repeated his earlier advice that I should avoid schools.
I asked Hank if he thought I would be safer if I bought a firearm whilst I was over here and he said that is it probably wasn’t such a bad idea.
He told me that he had a couple.
I asked Hank that if I bought a gun here would the Insurance Company give me an “I’m packing” discount on my excess and he told me that he thought that they wouldn’t but he said it was a good idea.
He in fact said it was a “mighty fine idea”
I have fired a gun once before and the friends with whom I am staying have a couple of firearms here.
I have seen them.
One of them is a Gloch pistol and another is an enormous Magnum - and my friends are licensed to own and fire them.
They wont let me shoot them though.
I have asked.
When we were having dinner outside the other night on a balmy Vegas summer evening a drone buzzed in out of nowhere and sat hovering in my friends garden - less than ten meters from where we were eating.
We were all a bit surprised.
It wasn’t particularly big and it made a quite soft buzzing noise as it sat there.
I asked if anyone could see whether or not anyone could tell if it was weaponised and no one could say for certain.
I called for the Gloch and the Magnum – and there was a bit of a rushed consultation amongst the Americans. I thought it would be an almost immediate and automatic response here.
Blow it away.
One of them grabbed the hose and sprayed the drone – which quickly made it zip up and scoot away.
So we assume it was at the very least camera-carrying.
The US army use the same ones to shoot people and to blow things up.
After the excitement of the desert drone incident my American friends told me that there are quite a lot of drones buzzing their way around the Nevada and Californian skies.
Anyone can go and buy and build a kit and quite a few obviously do.
Although the water drenching solution to drive the drone away was effective, the engineers and lawyers amongst the group quickly suggested that having an automatic drone intrusion system would be the way to go.
They suggested that installing a drone defense system where your own drones would detect and respond to any drone intrusion on your property and then blow them away.
Seek and destroy.
It is the American way.