What they really think: America seen through the world's travel warnings

Tourists take pictures as a cruise passes the Statue of Liberty on January 21, 2018, in New York.

(CNN)If your friends and allies won't tell you what they really think, check their travel advisories.

Uruguay and Venezuela aren't the only countries to have issued travel warnings about the risk of gun violence in America -- though their language citing "hate crimes" and the "supremacist elite" in Washington was head-turning in the wake of deadly shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio.
Close US allies have long warned their citizens about the risks of exploring the United States. And while most online advisories rank the US as safe to visit, many also make mention of domestic mass shootings, typically categorized as terrorism -- and also warn about the astronomical cost of American health care for visitors whom misfortune befalls.
Sometimes politically pointed, but more often simply pragmatic, each country's travel advisories are usually published only in the local language. And because they're designed to keep their own citizens out of trouble, the frankness with which such documents review US security, health, local law and customs can offer a fascinating portrait of America -- which Americans themselves may struggle to recognize.

Warnings about terrorism and mass shootings

Canada, which is right up there alongside the US in terms of gun ownership, advises its citizens to "take normal security precautions" in the US, and notes that "incidents of mass shooting occur, but account for a small percentage of homicide deaths in the country." With 34 guns for every 100 people, Canada ranks fifth in the world for gun ownership according to the Small Arms Survey. The US is first, with 120 firearms per 100 people.
"The likelihood of a tourist being a victim of such a (mass shooting) incident is low," adds Canada. Although US gun homicide rates far outpace those of fellow wealthy countries, the likelihood of any individual being a victim of such an incident remains statistically low, though no less horrifying.