by Madeleine Borel
A great part of the Swiss army consists of fix term military personnel who are called up for military service at the age of 19 and have to serve their country once a year to the age of 35. Most of these men and women are in the possession of machine guns or pistols which are taken home, even when they are not on duty. In former days, officers and soldiers who stepped down on the account of their age could even take their weapons home as a kind of souvenir.
Unfortunately, crimes or accidents with army weapons happened in the last few years which this old Swiss custom contradicted. On one hand, anti-weapon protesters and leftists have taken advantage of the situation by ventilating this grievance in the mass media in order to startle the crowd. On the other hand, there are the radicals from the right-wing who strongly believe that their military guns are a status symbol of their manhood. In the meantime, the situation calmed down as there are other lurid headlines which dominate the tabloid press.
In my opinion, there is no reason, why soldiers should take their weapons at home, because most of them do not use them privately. Nevertheless, there are experienced people who practise shooting in their leisure time. Most of them belong to a shooting association and they own legal shooting licences. In general, these people are quite reasonable and therefore do not spell trouble to the community. Unfortunately, there are also weapon fanatics who not only own an arsenal of guns, but other arms as well. These are the real danger to community because they are unpredictable and sometimes even criminal.
To sum up, every dead or wounded person in virtue of an unhappy coincidence is too much.
For this reason, weapons should only be provided to people who own firearms licences or military personnel who shoot under supervision of an expert and have a good reputation. Unfortunately, this procedure is no guarantee, but at least everything humanly possible is done to prevent misadventure or fatality.
The author Madeleine Borel is a Swiss and reader of Bulan Observer. She is from Zürich and works at UBS bank as chief of the logistics management team. She speaks French, English, High German and of course Swiss German, her mother language. She recently concluded an intensive two-week English study in Edinburg, Scotland. Aside from Languages, Miss Borel’s hobbies include reading novels, listening classical as well as world ethnic music and cooking. Madeleine is a very fine cook and is at home with French and Swiss cuisine but she likes Asian kitchen as well.