Duly Noted – Arms, Liberty and Security.

Notions prejudiced by experience.


There is a relationship between “weapons” and “liberty”. That is because “arms” and “liberation” are also linked. The matter fuels debates that reflect semantics, hidden agendas as well as pre-conceptions. Not often enough are the facts discussed. In the writer’s case, the bias is clear. It comes from running in Budapest bearing a pistol with six shots in the magazine with a Soviet T34 tank in pursuit.  If one looks carefully, the legal access to weapons is not singularly an American controversy. However, the debate is defined and skewed by conditions said to be uniquely American.


The apparent concentration on America comes from a distortion that reflects a habit to focus on the US. Globally active American media that do not resist sensationalism enhance this tendency. US newsmakers exploit catastrophes. If a plane goes down, when a train is derailed, or a shooting occurs, then the reporters congregate there. The coverage is extensive even if there is nothing new to tell and the reporter does not know much about what he explains. Therefore, once a tragedy occurs, your correspondent switches from “Seean’en” to other providers. Unfortunately, by catering to the public’s taste if not to the voice of reason, these too began to concentrate on cataclysms.


The foregoing tells why murders get ample coverage – especially when they occur close to hordes of reporters, that is, in the US. Here we should not overlook that the exposure does more than a respond to mayhem. It also serves as a motive that spreads imitable tragedies. Copycats repeat the occurrence for our entertainment. Spectacular deeds guarantee coverage. That attention calls on the scene the imitators whose reason to act is the earlier publicity that promises “fame”. The attention given to bizarre cases mutates into new actions.  Heightened publicity is assured if ideological pre-conceptions find events that fit expectations. Related to these are favored extrapolations that can confirm dogmatic positions.


Most spectacular massacres occur in the US, as the country’s size and the attention she gets guarantee a titillating supply. America represented as a crazed trigger-happy center of wildly firing right-wingers that swing crosses is conceptually fitting. If someone in, let us say Norway, stages a massacre, then it is not the Norwegians who are found guilty of being blood thirsty but the “right wingers” there. That type, we are quickly told, you find mainly in the “red” states of the USA.


Could the relationship between cause and effect be interrupted? Such as by insolently suggesting that, the more effective defense pleas of madness become, the more insane murderers we get. And has anyone noticed that, the more a person tends to plea for the general access to legalized drugs, the more likely, that he will demand the proscription of weapons? Project this in jest upon another matter. Let us assume that we agree that adultery is “bad”. Having done so, we find that it is generally committed on living room couches. Does it follow that preventively all sofas need to be destroyed? (This is not a plea against efforts to keep guns out of the hand of criminals or the deranged).


Interestingly, especially for the many American readers of Duly Noted, is that “taking away their guns” is not a singularly American project. True, most of Western Europe’s normal citizens are already disarmed. However, one of the most “Western “ countries if we consider practiced democracy, long-term independence, economic development and the rule law, is an exception. More than that, the country is and has been literally armed to the teeth. Now, you wonder about which place we are talking. Valid information about Switzerland is as rare as it tends to be distorted.


The Yanks and the Brits can be thankful, because in WW2 they did not have to liberate Switzerland. She is, in part because of her crisis-resistance, an object of ignorance or, worse, of disinformation. To rectify that is not the purpose of this writing. The point that pertains to our topic is that, for generations, the country had an odd system of principled neutrality backed up by a strong military.


Several features of the latter are unusual. Before smiling dismissively, you should consider what follows. The Swiss Army is based on a militia. The national principle – it is strongly resented by the Left – is universal service. After basic training, the citizen is obligated to serve yearly for about two weeks to update his skills. He is also to maintain his marksmanship in his village’s gun club. (That makes target shooting a national sport. As an alien, the writer used to be glad to participate in a local club.)


The force created by mobilization is not only a conventional army but also, prior to that, also an ever-ready militia. The upshot is a well-equipped army and not a rag-tag band of over 600 000 out of a population of 7 million. Off duty, its members take their weapons home. Thereby, SIG assault rifles became a household tool. Through inheritances, the author benefited from the concept of an armed and therefore secure society.


This briefly sketched system is now under attack. Reflecting the change of values that regulate society, there have been cases in which ordnance was misused to commit crimes. The Left’s solution is not to prevent abuse by emphasizing the kind of moral principles that regulate behavior in the private sphere without needing to resort to the state and formal statutes. Much rather, they are for abolishing the military – has it not been unneeded for decades?  Implicitly, the effort expresses the longed for exemption of spoiled kids from service and obedience. Proposing new laws to register and confiscate citizen’s the firearms rounds out the measure.


Earlier, this essay referred to the American reader. With the last paragraph, he will have grasped something regarding the debate that surrounds him. Due to the Second Amendment, the controversy has a special American coloring. However, as shown, the issue does not stop at the water’s edge and has relevance beyond borders.


Confiscating the arms of those that will dutifully surrender them will obviously reduce the amount of weapons to which civilians have access. One needs to believe in the Easter Bunny’s ability to lay eggs to conclude, that such a measure will significantly reduce crime. The alternative to confiscation is to apply existing sanctions against violent crime. However, this “socially insensitive” idea will hardly be supported by the arms-banishers. Crime, they tell us, is the result of inequality. To combat that, taxes must be raised.  Since support will always lag behind rising demands, the discrepancy will be exploited to prove continued “deprivation”. That will take the blame from the criminals that will remain armed and place the guilt on “society.”

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