Switzerland

May 7th, 2018 14 Comments

 

We were still living in Europe when I reached adolescence and my father wisely decided that shipping me off to boarding school was preferable to serving a lengthy prison sentence for murdering his only son. Any parent who has raised a child as obnoxious as I was all the way through adolescence will rightly argue that there should be a special reduced sentence for parents who succumb to temptation: “Involuntary manslaughter resulting from extreme provocation; six-month prison sentence, maximum, with probation until all other children have passed safely through adolescence.” Something like that; perhaps more lenient.

In any event, the school I was shipped off to was in Switzerland, run by a father-and-son team of educators with lengthy educational pedigrees and credentials. The father was a doddering and decrepit old fossil in his late fifties, early sixties, something like that. The son was just a regular old man in his thirties, and—as Switzerland mandates military service for every able-bodied male between nineteen and thirty-five (I always thought it was twenty to forty-five, and researching this article I found other ages cited, but nineteen to thirty-five is close enough for government work)—I have a vivid memory of watching him, in his uniform, strap a fully automatic rifle across his shoulders, and bicycle off to train or serve or both. The rifle was kept somewhere in the vast and freezing old chateau that housed the school; all Swiss soldiers are required to keep and maintain their assigned service weapons with them.

Some quick stats for you:

**Switzerland has an almost entirely civilian militia (only 5% of the military consists of professional soldiers) who go through basic training and then continue to train and/or serve one day a month plus two or three weeks once a year. (I think this is still more or less accurate.)

**Switzerland has a long history of being politically neutral, but it has more soldiers relative to its population than any other country on earth.

**After service, men (and now women) are allowed to keep their personal small arms.

**Switzerland has the third-highest rate of private gun-ownership in the world.

**Children are taught to shoot at very young ages, where the phrase “taught to shoot” should correctly be interpreted to mean marksmanship, safety, maintenance of a firearm, responsibility, and patriotism. There is an annual shooting competition for children as well as ones for doddering old crocks like my headmasters.

**Switzerland has one of the lowest rates of crime and/or violent crime (including murder by any means) of any country in the world. (Statistics are like opinions, but while the actual numbers vary depending where you look, all sources agree on this.)

**Switzerland consistently ranks among the top five in the annual list of “happiest nations on earth.”

**Switzerland ranks second in the United Nations list of “human development,” a list which includes wealth, education, life-expectancy, and health.

**If I have my stats right, Switzerland ranks first in average wealth per resident.

I could go on, and some of this may have varied somewhat over the years, but you get the idea.

So, in case you were ever naïve enough to believe anti-gun politicians and progressive billionaire-sponsored anti-gun groups who sanctimoniously intone that they have no intention of trying to take your guns, that all they want is the “common-sense regulations” that will make us all soooooo much safer, because, after all, “if it saves just one life,” yadayadayada… If you really were that naïve, consider the following:

The European Union has mandated certain gun control measures that affect every member nation. Switzerland is not technically a member of the EU, but it is a member of something called the Schengen Area, which is, essentially, a border-free zone that allows any EU citizen to travel, live, or work in any EU nation. As a member of the Schengen Area, Switzerland is required to abide by the EU rules governing firearms. This gets complicated and I don’t wish to get bogged down in legalities here, but the bottom line is that the safest and most peaceful nation on earth, the one that has relied on a citizen army to keep it both safe and neutral for around five-hundred years, where the chance of being murdered, or even becoming a victim of violent crime, is considerably less than in any other country on earth, that same country is now being required to disarm its citizens, which is to say, its citizen army, all in the name of safety.

Worse still, various Swiss progressive groups and organizations, including the Socialist Party are calling for even more draconian gun control measures including removing local (i.e. canton) control and turning it over to the government, requiring training and sports-participation standards, and government registration.

To what end, I hear you cry? Not to make Swiss citizens safer, to “save just one life,” because other than possibly Antarctica, there is nowhere on planet earth where you can be safer. So why? Ah. Good question.

Possibly so progressive socialists can force Switzerland down the same primrose path they forced Great Britain to skip down, and we know how well merry England, the country that used to be the safest on earth, has fared in recent times.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    …was für ein schöner Ausflug in Ihre Jugend Herr Parker, ich konnte mir das Lachen nicht verdrücken…ich hoffe als Vater waren/ sind Sie sehr verständnisvoll zu Ihren Kindern, da Sie durch Ihre Kinder wohl immer an die eigenen Taten erinnert wurden/ werden….
    Die Schweiz ist ein wundervolles Land, mit weniger Kriminalität, als jedes andere Land, die aber auch die wenigsten Asylsuchenden aufnehmen. (die Schweiz hält sich noch an die “Dublin Verordnung” ) Ich bin NICHT rassistisch (bitte nicht falsch verstehen!), aber im Moment werden von vielen Asylsuchenden die meisten Straftaten begangen. “Ein wenig Schweiz wäre für die Sicherheit auch hier wünschenswert.” …. Manuela

    • Anonymous says:

      …die Schweiz ist auch eines der wenigen Länder mit aktiver Sterbehilfe…siehe der aktuellen Fall “Goodall” , (möge er in Frieden ruhen)…. ich persönlich hab da meine Zweifel daran ein von Gott gegebenes Leben einfach zu beenden….
      Allen einen schönen”Christi Himmelfahrt Tag”… Manuela

    • Anonymous says:

      …Gottes Schutz und Segen sei mit euch allen …. Manuela

      • Anonymous says:

        …ich bin etwas neugierig, bitte um Verzeihung für meine Frage: …Herr Parker, wie alt waren sie, als Sie das erste Mal eine Schusswaffe in der Hand hatten und geschossen haben ? Welche Schusswaffen sind ihre Lieblingswaffen ? Haben Sie ihren Kindern auch das Schießen beigebracht ? …. Manuela

        • I no longer remember how old I was when I first shot a gun, but it was probably in my early teenage years. And yes, I taught both my boys to shoot at very young ages, always in a safe place, and with my supervision. Neither of them ever owned their own gun or was allowed to shoot on his own, and neither of them have any interest in shooting now as grownups, but at least I exposed them to it in a safe and responsible manner.
          JP

          • Anonymous says:

            Vielen lieben Dank Herr Parker, dass Sie sich die Zeit genommen haben mir meine doch ziemlich privaten neugierigen Fragen zu beantworten, das weiß ich sehr zu schätzen. Danke. Ich glaube Ihnen, dass Sie sehr verantwortungsvoll mit Waffen umgehen und dies auch so weitergegeben haben…. (für Sie als Jäger ist das eine Selbstverständlichkeit)… Es wäre wünschenswert, wenn jeder der eine oder (auch mehrere) Waffe(n) besitzt so verantwortungsvoll damit umgehen würde wie Sie, dann müsste man sich keine unnötigen Gedanken machen und die Waffendiskussionen wären nicht erforderlich, aber leider fehlt bei manchen Menschen das Verantwortungsbewusstsein. …. Manuela

  2. Anonymous says:

    True! It is a good question as to why there’s a push to control guns? Usually it seems to go hand in hand with crippling a nation who will have to rely on the government for protection rather than protect themselves. It could also be a push to head in the direction of a sole governing body over Europe. Or possible to gain some of Switzerland’s wealth. All I know is once guns can be taken away, it’s easier to take over a place or nation. Perhaps that is the end game.
    Cheers
    MH

  3. Anonymous says:

    https://ijr.com/2018/05/1092452-philadelphia-woman-handgun-home-intruder/

    You don’t hear about this in the National media.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Wow. This just breaks my heart. I am sorry I am such a pessimist but I only see one outcome for this country, which I am sure the progressive socialists are just grinning from ear to ear. Is there any chance that the EU rules governing firearms can be voted down by the Swiss? Would they consider pulling out of of the EU / Schengen Area (or is it not so much as being a member that makes them a part of it but due to location?)?

    Thank you, JP! As always, your articles are informative and very interesting.

    Mary Ellen
    Arkansas

  5. Anonymous says:

    A couple statistics you failed to add to complete this picture. The US has roughly 101 guns per 100 people, and Switzerland has roughly 24 guns per 100. Per capita we are far ahead on ownership (including illegal guns). Also not clear in many studies, but further skewing your message, EU counties gun ownership is much more shotgun and long rifle (read: hunting) dominated. The US has far more handguns than anyone else, and far more violence related to handguns. The AR-15 gets all the headlines.

    I understand the brunt of your argument regarding culture and societal issues, but if you are going to make a point, please tell the entire story, and that prevalence has a hand in the narrative of gun violence.

    • You are right about the numbers (Switzerland comes in third, as I mentioned, behind America and Yemen), and yes, more of those guns are long guns, but every legitimate study (as opposed to studies conducted by Bloomberg et al) refutes the concept of prevalence as a factor. In places where handguns are used in appallingly high rates of violence (think Chicago, Baltimore, Oakland, and so on) any argument about guns as a causative factor is ridiculous because of the draconian guns laws already in place in those states. One would have to first remove all illegal drugs from the equation before would could even begin to conduct a study as to prevalence and crime rates. And as I have written before, ask the first 100 cops you meet what percentage of violent crime is directly associated with drugs and 99 will say all of it.
      JP

  6. Anonymous says:

    Arrggg liberals and progressives are ridiculous!

  7. Anonymous says:

    Can I just say how stupid that whole thing is. It’s legislation like this that makes zero sense to anyone with a working pair of little grey cells.
    Maybe it’s because in Nebraska we still drive around with rifles clearly displayed in rear windows of pick-up trucks, where nearly every farmer has a gun near by at all times.

    It is simply ludicrous to disarm one of the safest nations on earth for the sake of other people. What do they honestly think will happen? The Swiss will suddenly decide to go nuts and shoot anyone who crosses the border? It’s crazy! The citizens are SAFER in Switzerland than almost anywhere.
    This is making my brain hurt and I’m not sure I’m even making sense. But they don’t make sense…at least not to me.

    Ginny

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