Just having been to Germany a few weeks ago, I checked the Foreign Office’s travel warning about my home country: “There is a high threat from terrorism in Germany. Attacks could be indiscriminate.” The US State Department warns of the “potential for terrorist attacks in Europe”. This sounds dangerous indeed; more like a travel warning that I would expect for Mogadishu, Kabul or Baghdad.
But on second thought, it doesn’t sound dangerous. – It just sounds awfully vague. A threat in “Europe” with the “potential for terrorists to attack public transportation systems and other tourist infrastructure”. That can be pretty much anything, from the Metro in Paris, the tube in London to a bus in Berlin, a café in Marseille or a holiday apartment in the Alps.
By the way, even on days of terrorist attacks in Europe, fewer people die there violently than do on any given day in some cities in the US. Statistically it is safer to travel Europe (even with some terrorists lurking around) than to drive through New Orleans or Detroit.
I suggest a “terrorist threat template” that foreign offices around the world can use:
“The world is a dangerous place. There might be bad people somewhere, planning to do something bad at some place and some time against something or somebody. Please be warned that something terrible might happen to you, wherever you go. – And if it happens, don’t say that we didn’t warn you. Don’t hold us liable. And above all, be prepared that we might have to curtail civil liberties a bit more in order to avoid future terrorist attacks.”