The Helvetian Feeling Towards Guns

 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.




Filed under Europe and Bulan Observer, Friends and Opinions, Views and Concern

3 responses to “The Helvetian Feeling Towards Guns

    • We surely need strong five pillars of criminal justice if we want peace and security in the Philippines and if we want to see more foreign investors filling up the arrival than the departure lounges in our airport.

      But as I see it, the Korean killings in our country could be a sign of ethnic tension, a reality to be found also in other Asian countries and in many parts of the world.

      There are various factors involving its psychology :First, affluent foreigners are a source of provocation for a materially and morally poor local resident or group of residents as gangs, etc., who already has/have been harboring negative emotions against certain ethnic group or groups in the Philippines.

      Second, in many countries, foreigners are classified by the local residents- roughly speaking- as either good or bad, friendly or unfriendly, primitive or educated, arrogant or humble, bearable or unbearable, well-behaved or crude and wild, etc. These are character valuations that influence the perception and attitude of the local inhabitants toward its foreign populace. Hence, some foreign groups are preferred and some are not and the Philippines is no exception to this. If- as you said- death is a fact of life, “favoritism” is also a fact of multiculturalism.

      Third, the real experience of the local inhabitants with certain foreign group or groups tend to either strengthen or weaken this ethnic tension or, on the psychological level, this psychic projections of the local people.

      I have no experience living side by side with the Koreans and other foreign groups in the Philippines. But what I gathered in my conversations with some people in the Philippines, the Japanese are perceived as educated, humble, generous, etc. With the Americans, we know our ambivalence towards them- at least on the collective level, because on personal level of relationship with any foreigner, these issues look different.

      All these explain up to a certain degree why some people from certain foreign ethnic groups get targeted, victimized or killed while others are not.

      Therefore, the government should devise sets of programs for the integration of the foreigners. For foreigners also need such support in order to correct less-conducive (to living together) preconceptions and assumed roles and attitudes that they bring with them. Perceived arrogance begets hate, anonymity harbors ethnic tensions and favors the production of negative psychic projections. Both local inhabitants and foreigners feel threatened in this case.

      The recent hostage crisis in Manila was an example of ethnic tension coming to surface in a man who was in a very difficult position. He chose a bus filled with Hong Kong Chinese tourists and let go the Filipino photographer and maybe also that Filipino driver. In any case, as far as I know, he did not shoot a Filipino, nor fired at the advancing police.

      Affluence in a land where many are fighting for survival is a source of irritation. Tourists get killed because they symbolize affluence. And sex-tourism irritates more because basically this is also a threat to the instinct of reproduction of the male local population. I mean this is not readily visible as this occurs within deeper layers but in the end it plays a role in all these aggressive behaviors toward foreign groups.

      Koreans learning English as sex tourists? Why, do we have now more English instructors working in this industry or more local girls shifting from call centers to this horizontal business?
      Well, Filipino ingenuity, we used to say…

      But sex industry and sex tourism are present also in rich, “industrialized” countries. Like the OFW remittances, they also contribute much to the GNP of our Republic, only that our girls must not leave home to earn and must not remitt, must not have valid passports but just have to wait for the these foreign men to come.

      Hence, guns and sexual diseases have always been deadly in the history of any society. If not guns, maybe knives.

      Switzerland is the most armed population than any other country in the world by population ratio and the number of guns that each household has. But from daily news I hear more about stabbing deaths. In the Philippines, I guess this is similar because knives are just everywhere and not everybody can afford to have such “loose” firearms. And given the political and economic situation of the Philippines, total control of each firearm is close to impossibilty as it is even in rich and peaceful countries. But in our country it is a extreme phenomenon. Google loose firearms and you’ll find almost only search results from the Philippines.

      Killings, prostitution, ethnic tensions, sexual diseases are just expressions and/ or by-products of the most basic in man, namely, the instincts of aggression and of reproduction, which until now are the same as they were millions of years ago.

      But the tools for killings have evolved a lot and probably also the moral control mechanism, but the danger of “loose” instincts remain a fact of life.

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