05 July 2011

Only in Switzerland


Hi. Just back from a couple weeks in Italy and am organizing stories and photos.

But for now, another Only in Switzerland moment: last week in the Genève Apple Store.

Most soldiers take their weapons home with them between duty. You often see them on the train or around town with their big assault rifles.


30 comments:

  1. It's not just "most" soldiers. Any conscript, having completed his military duty, becomes member of the reserve, and is REQUIRED to keep the full-auto weapon at home with them, as well as 30 rounds of ammunition. In addition, the government subsidizes ammo costs so people can go to shooting ranges and maintain their skills. When a person becomes too old to be a reservist, they have the option of keeping their firearm after having it converted to semi-auto. Pretty good for keeping potential invaders at bay (and lower crime significantly :-)).

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  2. Just forget what anonymous said. You are not to keep the ammo at home anymore and can leave the gun where it belongs...

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  3. Yeah, Anon #1, the times they are a-changing here in CH. Soldiers are now encouraged to leave their assault rifles in local armories since it's unlikely the country will be invaded without an hour or two's notice. Earlier this year a bill was floated to forbid soldiers from having their weapons at home. It failed. I video news story went to a remote village and asked a few local men to see their rifles. One of them couldn't find his. Apparently, thousands are currently missing. As for the idea of keeping the weapons at home being a crime deterrent, you also have to factor in the number of young men who commit suicide each year with their easily accessible rifles.

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  4. We could debate the pros/cons of having readily available firearms in homes. It comes down to the fact that without someone aiming and pulling a trigger on a firearm, it can do nothing but collect dust. People ruin everything.

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  5. What a good idea for reservists to keep their rifles at home.Saves them being stored in an army armoury somewhere where they still have to be maintained by someone regardless if used or not.I guess the public are used to seeing men with assault rifles draped off their shoulders so do not deem them as a threat-which is how it should be.Good one Switzerland.

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  6. @bill harby
    who cares about the suicidees. if young men didn't have a rifle to kill themselves with, they'd surely use a noose, pills, knife, sword, car, long fall, etc. lets not sit here and blame suicide only on available guns.

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  7. Um, yeah. I have plenty of firearms at home, and if I were to contemplate suicide, that's probably not how I would do it.

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  8. I miss my time in CH. I had a wonderful time and people actually gave me their rifles, the old StG57 with no issues while on the train.

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  9. I don't believe there's a magazine in that weapon, so it's about as dangerous as a walking stick.

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  10. From what I have read (I've been to Germany a few times to visit my wifes family but have only spent a few hours in Switzerland) they are allowed to carry their rifle to and from the firing range and home, etc, but they can't carry magazines or ammo while traveling. The guns are basically inert when out in public, so no one bats an eye at them. Even with a few rifles missing, I'd hate to try and invade the Swiss.

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  11. I was in the U.S. National Guard - I touched my rifle once or twice a year - to qualify! I never got to practice, even if I was willing to buy the ammo.

    That is why the Swiss Army can outshoot any regular force in the world.

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  12. Let's face it - the Swiss are a far more enlightened culture than the US. Someday, maybe, my rifle will join me on a trip to the Apple store. Maybe for the iPhone 18. By then AT&T's network will be able to support a call....

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  13. The plea to "balance" gun ownership against suicide is an apples-to-oranges false comparison.

    It's like saying you have to balance the idea of keeping sheets, or some rope at home by factoring in the number of people who hang themselves each year. (In the US, 38% of all suicides annually are accomplished by hanging.)

    Chris

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  14. The degree of availability of firearms to law abiding citizens directly corresponds to the status of the citizens in that society. Slaves don't own firearms and they have few rights. Of course some people cannot be trusted - that is why there are prisons and licences - please focus on criminals not the law abiding.

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  15. Forget what 2nd anonymous said about keeping the ammo. You are no longer provided with the 30 round stipened to fight your way to the rally point but you can personally walk in to any gunstore and buy all the 5.56 ammo you can afford and bring it home with you 100% legal. There is absolutely no prohibition on owning the cheap and plentiful 5.56mm ammunition.

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  16. Looks like Israel. Lots of young soldiers of both genders walking around with their rifles slung over their shoulders. While in the army they are required to have it on their person at all time. Low domestic crime rate.

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  17. Isn't is a strange world we live in when the "right to health care" and the "right to wi-fi access" are considered by many in the ruling class to be more intrinsic a human right than the "right to self-defense"

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  18. Not only in Switzerland. You see soldiers with guns in Israel too. In many big cities in the US, you rarely see uniformed soldiers, let alone armed ones.

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  19. They must think we're stupid! Indeed--things are becoming more and more inverted. Need to turn the wheel back. We’ve forgotten what is important.

    Isn't is a strange world we live in when the "right to health care" and the "right to wi-fi access" are considered by many in the ruling class to be more intrinsic a human right than the "right to self-defense"

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  20. Sometimes I think Switzerland would be a good place to retire, but then I remember how they are about speeding...

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  21. Bill

    I'm seriously jealous. I lived in Geneva many years ago, skied a lot at Villars, Verbier, and Flaine. I'd love to go back, but without a Swiss Missus, it would be hard to get a work visa now. (My missus is British, but we met and married in Geneva.)

    gene@dublin.com

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  22. "As for the idea of keeping the weapons at home being a crime deterrent, you also have to factor in the number of young men who commit suicide each year with their easily accessible rifles."

    Why? Has there ever been a study done that indicates a TRUE correlation between suicide rates and gun availability? Japan has one of the highest suicide rates and one of the lowest gun ownership rates.

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  23. Dorothy Parker16 August, 2011 23:30

    Guns are noisy,
    Nooses give,
    Gas smells awful,
    You might as well live.

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  24. Thanks to whoever brought Dorothy Parker into the discussion. She had a tongue sharper than any weapon. Once, as she approached a building door at close to the same moment as a certain dowager, the elderly woman stepped back, commenting, "Age before beauty." Mrs. Parker never missed a beat. As she swept through, she replied sweetly, "Pearls before swine."

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  25. Bad guys don't like armed victims.

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  26. Bill Harby said...

    "Soldiers are now encouraged to leave their assault rifles in local armories since it's unlikely the country will be invaded without an hour or two's notice."

    Thank God today's megalomaniacal dictators are so courteous. I hear the UN is thinking of increasing the warning time to six hours. Awesome!!

    "I video news story went to a remote village and asked a few local men to see their rifles. One of them couldn't find his. Apparently, thousands are currently missing."

    Did you ever think maybe they're lying in order to dodge a future attempt to disarm the populace? The same thing happened in Canada when the government decided it was more "wise" than the citizens. But, then again, we all know the "news" is a trustworthy source.

    "As for the idea of keeping the weapons at home being a crime deterrent, you also have to factor in the number of young men who commit suicide each year with their easily accessible rifles."

    Good point. As we all know, regimes (sorry, nations) with incredibly strict gun control laws have very low suicide rates. You know, like......... Japan?

    Do us all a favor and stick to things you are truly knowledgeable about. Like tofu.....

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  27. Not having a gun won't prevent people from committing suicide. If somebody is determined to end their life, they will. Same thing applies to murder, armed robbery, etc. Plus suicide is legal in Switzerland, there are organizations in that country which specialize in helping people kill themselves.

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  28. A bit late to the party but I just wanna say I live in Switzerland and I've never seen any gun in public. Why? Because the army SIG (not your private one if you have an extra) can only be taken with you in public if you travel to the shooting range, the shop (to have it fixed) or in times of war. Second, it has to be concealed.

    That guy in the picture is an idiot and a poser. "Hey look at me I've got a gun" "yeah, so does everyone in the store..."

    Now a reply to the last Anonymous. Suicide is legal because obviously you can't really make it illegal ("if you commit suicide you'll be put to death!") but there are no organizations that help you kill yourself. Euthanasia is permitted in select cases: if your disease cannot be cured, and it causes a lot of pain that painkillers can't help with, then a trained doctor (who'll work for the hospital) can euthanize you, but you must give consent too.

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  29. I often see soldiers on the train with their assault rifle -- never loaded, of course. They're always in uniform and either going to, or coming from training or temporary deployment.

    When the guy in the Apple store was told by a friend that I'd just taken his picture, he removed the weapon from his back and put it under the table. If his commanding officer ever found out how he was in civilian dress in a store like this, I'm sure he would have been severely reprimanded.

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    Replies
    1. Nope. I am in the reserve and have to go to shooting practice minimum once a year. You receive a letter from the government giving you a deadline till when you have to fulfill the shooting.
      I go every year to the shooting range in civilian clothes and the rifle on my back. Of course I use the train or the bicycle because I don't have a car. After the shooting I usually go eat something and sometimes even do my shopping when I am on the way anyway. Never had problems doing this.

      Greetings from Zurich ;)

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