John Allen Chau had planned long in advance to travel to North Sentinel Island, a remote location inhabited by people believed to date back to the Stone Age. People were aware that Chau appeared intent and focused on converting the Sentinelese to Christianity, even though no one really knows or understand their method of communication – among other mysteries about the people.

Answers about American’s travel emerging

In the initial days after he was reportedly killed by tribesmen using bows and arrows, news was actually unclear about whether the missionary, in his 20s, was curious about the islanders, just wanted to pass along his beliefs based on his convictions and how his travel was financed.

Anyone looking at his Instagram account photos and captions can readily discern that he dedicated much time to traveling and sharing photos from his adventures, which is maybe why he fancied himself an explorer.

In the time that has elapsed since fishermen in the area who enabled his repeat visits to the island and reported that Chau was killed, more details have emerged. The notion that his death might have followed a one-time or incidental visit is completely moot; he shared photos on social media dated of prior trips to the region.

No doubt, Christian missionary knew travel off-limits

He understood that the area was off-limits, as well, and not a tourist attraction. Mary Ho is at the helm of All Nations, which is headquartered in the United States and provides training for people before they go on missions. Chau “joined” the organization in 2017. According to USA Today, Chau did not conceal the fact that he believed “his life calling was to evangelize the Sentinelese.”

Mary Ho further explained that Chau made the trip as a missionary with All Nations.

He did take his self-identified calling very seriously. He devoted “years to training,” which included as an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT), as well as pursuing linguistics and anthropology, USA Today reported.

Chau got immunized and quarantined

The publication details the steps that Chau undertook before going to the island.

His planning appears to have been quite extensive. In addition to the training that he completed, he also “sought 13 immunizations and a quarantine,” Ho stated.

The idea that Chau might not have fully understood that he could potentially compromise the health and well-being of the Sentinelese is, therefore, unrealistic. It was crystal clear to him. Still, he went to the forbidden island, where he could have inadvertently carried and on passed a flu or cold virus with the possibility of wiping out an entire population of people.

Number of problems with going to forbidden territory

The problem is not that Chau enjoyed traveling, exploring, or that he was even a dedicated Christian with strong beliefs.

It is that an American organization was aware of his plan to proselytize to people within a “protected tribal reserve,” as The News Minute (TNM) reported. No one balked or told Chau to exercise self-restraint and not violate the law or the Sentinelese and their way of life.

But: that is still not the entire picture or problem. Police in India are investigating Chau’s activities before his alleged killing that also reportedly entailed meeting with at least two Americans before he paddled in a kayak and made his way to the island after the fishermen dropped him in the ocean. He knew that the island was off-limits, that the tribesmen killed others encroaching on their territory in the past, and that the inhabitants had no immunization to as much as the common cold.

Unwelcome visitor can wipe out population

Christian Vaughan and Bobbie Stratman were the two Americans who met with Chau less than a week before the fishermen claim he was killed and buried in the sand, TNM reported. After the world learned that Chau died, Vaughan referenced his deceased friend as selfless. Huh? Totally ignoring the potential for endangering an entire population is more akin to acting with reckless disregard for others’ lives.

The Sentinelese defended their land and Chau posed a danger to their existence. The depth of his conviction is not disputed. His courage is also not in question. His approach, however, posed a huge problem, which resulted in paying the ultimate price with his own life.

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