(Swiss) Army weapons "kill 300 people a year" (Mostly Suicides)


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davec
December 16, 2006, 11:18 PM
http://www.swissinfo.org/eng/front/detail/Army_weapons_kill_300_people_a_year.html?siteSect=105&sid=7357024&cKey=1166289493000

More than 300 people are killed every year by army guns, according to a study led by the Swiss criminologist Martin Killias.

These weapons play a central role in suicides and Switzerland's grim history of family killings, said the research, published on Saturday ahead of a parliamentary debate on the subject.


The study revealed that private guns and army weapons were used in 36 per cent of domestic murders.

The majority, 60 per cent, of murders outside the home on the other hand involved illegal weapons.

However, army weapons were used in more than two-thirds (68 per cent) of suicides.

Killias said the total number of deaths from army weapons, an extrapolation from data from six cantons, was far higher than he had expected.

The figures, published in the latest journal of the Criminological Institute at Lausanne University, are part of a full study which should be released in the summer.

Killias said it was also alarming that domestic murder happens so frequently every second murder or attempted murder in Switzerland occurs within the family circle.

"It is undeniable that keeping weapons at home causes major problems," he said, adding that threats involving army weapons should not be forgotten.


Tradition

For Killias, the keeping of weapons and ammunition at home cannot be justified.

"Do we want to continue accepting the deaths of almost 300 people a year by pistols, rifles and carbines in order to perpetuate a tradition which allegedly strengthens the will to defend oneself."

All able-bodied Swiss men aged 20-30 are conscripted for about three months and issued with a rifle, to be used only in the event of an alert.

After initial training, conscripts are required to do three or four weeks of army service a year until they have served a total of 260 days or reached the age of 34.

Throughout this time they keep their rifles and 50 rounds of ammunition at home.

"The misuse of weapons and family dramas could definitely be reduced if soldiers were not issued with ammunition to take home," said Killias, who also called for the sale of ammunition to be drastically reduced.

Although these arguments and demands could gain majority support among voters, they have a tough time in parliament where they face a formidable gun lobby, which puts pressure on the centre-right parties in particular.

The next discussion on revising the gun law is set to take place in the House of Representatives on Tuesday.


Grim history

Exactly five years ago Switzerland was shocked when a gunman shot and killed 14 people in Zug's cantonal parliament with his army rifle, before turning the gun on himself.

In the first half of 2006 there were at least six incidents where a man shot his wife or partner before turning the gun on himself. In a highly publicised case the husband of former women's ski champion Corinne Rey-Bellet killed her and her brother and seriously injuring her mother with his army pistol before killing himself.

In September the government said family tragedies and suicides were not valid reasons to stop soldiers from keeping their army weapons at home.

Swiss Defence Minister Samuel Schmid, a member of the rightwing Swiss People's Party, argued that Switzerland's militia army needed to be able to mobilise rapidly, "for example to protect airports and railway stations".

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Manedwolf
December 16, 2006, 11:21 PM
Looks like their anti lobby is trying to find the clippers...to neuter them like the rest of the EU.

Oh well. I HAD thought that at least Switzerland would escape dhimmitude in the coming European Caliphate.

Maybe not.

Cosmoline
December 16, 2006, 11:21 PM
Why is suicide any of the government's business? There's a disturbing Orwellian overtone in the notion that the state should take guns from people to make it harder for them to kill themselves.

SamTuckerMTNMAN
December 16, 2006, 11:37 PM
articles like this are so sick...these writers drip their agenda and bias like puss from oozing herpes blisters on the b*lls of the sick tyrants who are pulling the heart strings of the clueless gullible public.......

ugh. Where are the good men and women who think about what drives their emotions, can they observe and critique? Can they swallow the bitter pill that is reality, the fact that some things are bad but alternatives are FAR worse.

Switzerland, for the sake of your country, drive these basta*** out of your beautiful nation!!!
st

telomerase
December 16, 2006, 11:42 PM
Are they implying that murders and suicides would be reduced if...

Oh, never mind.

Soybomb
December 16, 2006, 11:47 PM
I've never understood why people get worked up about the method someone uses for suicide. Or for that matter why they assume someone willing to shoot their spouse wouldn't strangle or knife them.

I don't know if we have any swiss readers here, but if so what are your carry laws like? I've seen things that imply they got alot tighter about 10 years ago. If so, was that brought on by some event?

Kentak
December 16, 2006, 11:48 PM
Why is suicide any of the government's business? There's a disturbing Orwellian overtone in the notion that the state should take guns from people to make it harder for them to kill themselves.

It's the government's guns the article is talking about. So, I guess they figure they can take their guns back if they want to.

SoCalShooter
December 16, 2006, 11:49 PM
Why is suicide any of the government's business?

Yeah that's what I am wondering. I mean whats the point in killing yourself, you live in swizterland you got ISSUED a rifle and 50 rounds of free ammo, hell life is pretty damn good.

A little more politically oriented suicide is not the governments business its a personal decision if your life sucks or you think it sucks and you dont want to be part of it anymore then go ahead and end it.

Back on topic though, the article does ooze of anti-gun slime, I think however that the Swiss have an excellent system.

300 per year? Honestly thats not really not bad, hippies are always trying to save everyone.

LAR-15
December 17, 2006, 12:09 AM
So Swissland will go the way of the EU in terms of gun control.

How sad. :(

LAK
December 17, 2006, 12:16 AM
I would suggest that these few (for now) killings and suicides are the net results of the cultural and political destruction of Switzerland as a nation. Just the beginning manifestations of their cultural and political homogenization with Europa. The guns used are superfluous, and I am sure that the change agents like comrade Killias know that.

---------------------------------------------------

http://ussliberty.org
http://ssunitedstates.org

Prince Yamato
December 17, 2006, 12:40 AM
50 rounds of ammo for emergency defense? Cripes, that's not even 2 AK mags.

K-Romulus
December 17, 2006, 03:30 AM
I was just arguing with my wife about Switzerland. She heard an NPR story that made it sound like the Swiss are about to become the next Rwanda re:domestic homicides.

I tried to tell her that the high stats (i.e., "every other Swiss homicide = domestic violence based") is overblown because of the already low Swiss homicide rate (one that beats the UK/CAN/AUS and every gun control country in Europe, much less the whole planet).

Lone_Gunman
December 17, 2006, 09:16 AM
Does anyone know what rifle the Swiss issue its citizens to keep at home?

GTSteve03
December 17, 2006, 11:44 AM
Does anyone know what rifle the Swiss issue its citizens to keep at home?
I think it's the Sig 550 series, but I could be wrong.

repo
December 17, 2006, 11:51 AM
Here is a very interesting fact, Switzerland has LEGAL assisted suicide (i.e. ethanization of terminally ill and elderly people):

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2003/02/12/60II/main540332.shtml

another okie
December 17, 2006, 11:59 AM
The man who killed the 14 people was not, repeat not, in the Swiss army. You'll notice the article just mentions that story without connecting it to the army.
They had an initiative vote a few years ago to abolish the army. It failed, but there are both anti-gun and anti-army organizations in Switzerland.

I think with the end of the Cold War and the fact that it's been sixty years since there was a hostile power nearby, they are starting to forget the reason they have an army.

They are also moving towards joining the EU, or at least synchronizing their laws.

theCZ
December 17, 2006, 12:08 PM
Personally, I think the author of this piece isn't really representative of most of the people in Switzerland. From what I've seen of the Swiss, they take pride in being different from the rest of Europe. Their kind of quirky about a lot of things, but tradition is VERY important to them. And they value their defensible neutrality very highly.

Vitamin G
December 17, 2006, 02:26 PM
My first visual was that of swiss people slicing open the ol' wrist with swiss army knives...

Rem700SD
December 17, 2006, 02:34 PM
Throughout this time they keep their rifles and 50 rounds of ammunition at home

The Swiss definately need more ammo...

Have they looked into actually treating the CAUSE or circumstances of the suicides?(HINT: it's not the guns...)

Dan

El Tejon
December 17, 2006, 02:42 PM
My understanding is that the 50 rounds is emergency only. Most soldiers have far more than that and is sold OTC at ranges throughout Switzerland.

So, the murderers cannot kill with kitchen knives or privately owned guns, just with government guns? Suicidal people cannot use drugs or gravity to kill themselves? There are no tall buildings or bridges in all of Switzerland?:rolleyes:

The Swiss use the StG 90 (SIG 551).

Same inane arguments different country.

Durruti
December 17, 2006, 02:46 PM
My understanding is that the 50 rounds is emergency only.

Yep. The 50 rounds is to be used in case of invasion (or some other such thing) so that the militiaman can join up with the rest of his people, at which point he'll be issued much more ammo.

Novus Collectus
December 17, 2006, 02:48 PM
Whenever an anti-gunner brings up that most suicides in America are committed by using a gun and they claim that if there was no gun that they would not have killed themselves, I always point out Japan!!!
Japan has almost no gun ownership and absolutley no private handgun ownership, yet they have a higher suicide rate in Japan than we do in the US!
The lack of a handgun or a rifle will not stop someone who wants to kill themselves.

mbt2001
December 17, 2006, 02:55 PM
If there are people unhappy enough and down enough to off themselves, but are restricted from doing it by government mandate, wouldn't it be just as logical that other indicies go up because instead of shooting themselves, they drink themselves into a stupor and drive their car??

So what is really gained? Let's severely impact our traditional defense posture because (a small small small minority) of people that don't want to live anymore choose not too...

yeah, that makes sense. :uhoh:

meef
December 17, 2006, 03:07 PM
Breaking news, this just in!!!

Switzerland has just announced that over 20,000 people a year cut themselves with Swiss Army Knives. An as-yet uncounted but expected to be enormous number also inflict paper cuts on themselves handling government forms.

Reactions by the anti knife and paperwork lobbies are expected to be forthcoming with recommendations later this week.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled thread.

Manedwolf
December 17, 2006, 03:27 PM
Japan has almost no gun ownership and absolutley no private handgun ownership, yet they have a higher suicide rate in Japan than we do in the US!

The preferred method there seems to be stepping in front of trains at the last moment.

If someone wants to off themselves, they will. What would you do, there? Ban trains?

Novus Collectus
December 17, 2006, 04:11 PM
If someone wants to off themselves, they will. What would you do, there? Ban trains?
Nah, they'll just start with banning the bullet trains first.

Mk VII
December 17, 2006, 06:28 PM
Killias has a published a good deal of anti gun research in the past

Sistema1927
December 17, 2006, 06:52 PM
I have, unfortunately, witnessed my fair share of suicides. While those committed with firearms are normally messier (but not always) than other methods they are quick and relatively painless.

I have seen a few botched hangings and poisonings where you know that the deceased suffered terribly in their final minutes. If they take away the guns (like that's going to happen) despondent people will resort to other methods, amny of them very painful.

PirateJoe
December 17, 2006, 07:59 PM
i honestly don't know why the focus is on army weapons. they act as if suicides with non-army weapons (or knives or rope for that matter) end up any less dead than suicides with said army weapons. :banghead:

Wes Janson
December 17, 2006, 08:25 PM
I have, unfortunately, witnessed my fair share of suicides. While those committed with firearms are normally messier (but not always) than other methods they are quick and relatively painless.

I have seen a few botched hangings and poisonings where you know that the deceased suffered terribly in their final minutes. If they take away the guns (like that's going to happen) despondent people will resort to other methods, amny of them very painful.


Quite right, but to those on the other side, life itself, no matter how painful, limited, or agonizing, is to be preferred over anything else. This cuts across traditional political boundaries.

Sistema1927
December 17, 2006, 08:28 PM
Quite right, but to those on the other side, life itself, no matter how painful, limited, or agonizing, is to be preferred over anything else. This cuts across traditional political boundaries.

I am fully in agreement with you. However, people who kill themselves are typically not thinking in a rational manner. If they want to end their life they will find a way to do it. The choice of weapon shouldn't be the focus, but rather working to help people work through the depression before it comes to this tragic end.

wacki
December 18, 2006, 03:58 AM
The majority, 60 per cent, of murders outside the home on the other hand involved illegal weapons.

Let me get this straight. Every able bodied man has a machine gun/assault rifle yet most of the murders are performed with illegal weapons? Anyone know what the most common illegal weapon is?

wacki
December 18, 2006, 04:06 AM
Japan has almost no gun ownership and absolutley no private handgun ownership, yet they have a higher suicide rate in Japan than we do in the US!

Just curious what is the best source for Japanese suicides? The CDC would be the best for US deaths obviously but the CDC doesn't cover Japan.

LAK
December 18, 2006, 04:23 AM
PirateJoei honestly don't know why the focus is on army weapons.
It is "army" weapons in private hands that are the first target of the change agents in the soon to be latest province of Europa called Switzerland. That is why "army" weapons are the subject focus of the change agent in question, comrade Killias.

-------------------------------------

http://ussliberty.org
http://ssunitedstates.org

Beagle-zebub
December 18, 2006, 04:26 AM
nationmaster has data on suicide rates of nations, taken from a 1998 UN survey. America is about 11 per 100,000; Japan's is 23 per 100,000.

MD_Willington
December 18, 2006, 12:42 PM
Why is suicide any of the government's business? There's a disturbing Orwellian overtone in the notion that the state should take guns from people to make it harder for them to kill themselves.


It's because they can't collect taxes from dead people... Can't have the cash cow killing itself now can we...

wacki
December 18, 2006, 02:31 PM
nationmaster has data on suicide rates of nations, taken from a 1998 UN survey. America is about 11 per 100,000; Japan's is 23 per 100,000.

I get different results:
http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/cri_sui_rat_in_age_25_34-suicide-rates-ages-25-34
http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/cri_sui_rat_in_age_15_24-suicide-rates-ages-15-24

Looks like Japan has a lower suicide rate in both.

mdao
December 18, 2006, 03:06 PM
Wacki:

Look up the data by sex, not by age groups. It'll show that the Japanese male suicide rate is a bit higher than the American male suicide rate, and that the Japanese female suicide rate is much higher than the American female suicide rate.

It's likely that cultural differences account for the differences in when and why the Japanese commit suicide when compared to Americans.

spooney
December 18, 2006, 03:34 PM
I would guess that United States Army weapons kill 300 people a year as well(exluding those killed in wars of course) should we stop the army from owning weapons as well?

Fosbery
December 18, 2006, 03:35 PM
I used to go to Switzerland quite regulariyl to shoot SLRs and pistols. Havn't been in a little while but I'm going again over Christmas :D

The Swiss I meet are very pro-gun in an apathetic sort of way. They're not passionate like a lot of Americans. When you ask them about guns they just shrug and say 'they're important.'

There are anti-gun Swiss though. I fear that the pro-gun Swiss, whilst large in number, will not have the vigour to resist gun control in years to come.

They have already suffered a full-auto transfer ban and restrictions upon concealed carry amongst other things.

They used to be issued 75 rounds of ammunition in a sealed container for emergency use. It may have gone down to fifty, I forget. Ammunition (which is always match grade) is dirt cheap and sold to civillians by the government.

Swiss ranges are like heaven to me. K31s, 510s, 550s, P210s, P220s...all loaded with match grade ammo with electronic targets and covered firing points with benches and even shooting beds that you lie down on to shoot from.

Keith Wheeler
December 18, 2006, 05:22 PM
It's likely that cultural differences account for the differences in when and why the Japanese commit suicide when compared to Americans.

Yes. Suicide in America tends to be linked to depression and sadness. In Japan suicide was considered for many years to be the only way to "save face" in certain situations. It is still highly romanticized. I've even seen a Japanese "how to" book on suicide. Check out what Yukio Mashima (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yukio_Mishima) did.

Also look to Scandinavia for high suicide rates. Most medical folks tie it to depression from the long winter nights.

Obviously the suicide rate of a nation is not driven by access to firearms.

crunker
December 18, 2006, 06:13 PM
I believe that if someone feels so bad that they feel like their life should be ended, then that's their business.

What the Swiss should do is have some kind of moral/leadership course in their militia service.

wacki
December 18, 2006, 06:22 PM
mdao, I don't see a listing by sex. I don't even see a total.
http://www.nationmaster.com/cat/cri-crime

Software piracy losses * [ pie chart ] [ map ]
Software piracy rate * [ map ]
Suicide rates in ages 15-24 * [ map ]
Suicide rates in ages 25-34 * [ map ]
Suicide rates in ages 35-44 * [ map ]
Suicide rates in ages 45-54 * [ map ]
Suicide rates in ages 55-64 * [ map ]
Suicide rates in ages 65-74 * [ map ]
Suicide rates in ages above 75 * [ map ]
Total crime victims * [ map ]
Total crimes * [ pie chart ] [ map ]
Total crimes (per capita) *

mdao
December 18, 2006, 06:32 PM
wacki:

It can be found in the "Related Stats" sidebar for the suicide related stats.

Here's the link to them though.

Male suicide statistics.
(http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/hea_sui_rat_mal-health-suicide-rate-males)
Female suicide statistics. (http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/hea_sui_rat_fem-health-suicide-rate-females)

matis
December 18, 2006, 06:35 PM
"So, the murderers cannot kill with kitchen knives or privately owned guns, just with government guns?"


I don't think you understand, El Tejon.

Although the Swiss do have better gun laws than most of the rest of Europe, they are still Europeans. And as Europeans they tend more toward socialism than do (some) Americans.

Socialists think that the government must provide the necessities of life. And in the Soviet Union, if you displeased the authorities sufficiently (e.g. dissented), they would take away your job (where you pretended to work and they pretended to pay you) and your apartment, and even your university degrees.


Following this reasoning :D , in order to commit murder or suicide you NEED a government gun and government ammo. And if they take them away, then you simply CANNOT commit such acts. Right?

Hope that clears it up for you, El Tejon.

Just PM me should you need anything else explained.;)

matis

Novus Collectus
December 18, 2006, 09:23 PM
Suicide rate in Japan was 26.1 per 100,000 in 1998. http://www.theforeigner-japan.com/archives/200304/news.htm

In 2003 it was 27 per 100,000 which is double 2003 US rates and more Japanese kids were committing suicide as well probably making the above stated figures for 1998 in another post no longer applicable. The age groups where the US suicides were higher in 1998 may now be about the same, or higher as well in Japan now. http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Japan/FG28Dh01.html

It is not the access to firearms that affects the rate, rather the people's determination to do the deed is the determining factor. When places like Johns Hopkins makes claims that kids are more likley to carry out their suicide because a gun is handy, well they obviously ignore Japan's figures where there are no guns when they make the anti-gun bias claims.

Librarian
December 19, 2006, 02:29 AM
There are also World Health Organization stats (http://www.who.int/mental_health/prevention/suicide/country_reports/en/index.html):

Japan 2003
Male 38/100,000
Female 13.5/100,000
Total 25.5/100,000

US 2002
Male 17.9/100,000
Female 4.2/100,000
Total 11/100,000

Switzerland 2002
Male 27.4/100,000
Female 12.5/100,000
Total 19.8/100,000

Or, the whole international table (http://www.who.int/mental_health/prevention/suicide/suiciderates/en/print.html) is available (years reported vary widely).

Trying to associate some aspect of guns with suicide rates is not especially useful, IMHO. Partially it's because measuring the number, prevalence, distribution of firearms is at present quite poorly done even here in the US, where there is an active and sometimes passionate academic research establishment in the area.

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