Sunday, May 11, 2014

Law & Ordnung

Arizona Rifleman on Swiss nonchalance regarding weapons:
I admit to doing a double-take when I saw a guy with a slung katana picking up some groceries in the main station, but nobody else seemed to care. “Guy with a sword getting a liter of milk and some eggs. Meh.”

Even rather unusual things, like the guy wearing a full-body ghillie suit with a rifle slung on his back buying a cup of coffee from the McDonalds, go completely unremarked-upon by anyone here.
Of course, the Swiss culture is pretty alien to me in a lot of ways. The very sight of the weapon in public is subconsciously tied to “Oh, this person is a participant in some organized and/or sanctioned activity.” And if there's anything to which the Swiss respond well, it's organization and sanction.

If you had a flamethrower, they would probably just assume that you were a licensed flamethrower owner on your way to your flamethrower owner’s club’s mandatory monthly practice meeting to keep your flamethrower certification in good standing.
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44 comments:

billy.harvey said...

If you had a flamethrower, they would probably just assume that you were a licensed flamethrower owner on your way to your flamethrower owner’s club’s mandatory monthly practice meeting to keep your flamethrower certification in good standing.

You should come sometime - it's a blast.

armedlaughing said...

IF ONLY in the U.S.

gfa

Tam said...

gfa,

"IF ONLY in the U.S."

Eh... you're missing the flipside to the equation, though: The reason that the Swiss think anybody walking down the street with a big weapon is engaged in some officially-sanctioned endeavor or activity is because anybody walking down the street in Switzerland with a big weapon actually is engaged in some officially-sanctioned endeavor or activity.

There is no word in Swiss* for "Because f$ck you, that's why."



(*Waiting to see how long it takes for someone to tell me there's no such language as "Swiss". ;) )

Steve Skubinna said...

Actually I do like the Swiss and consider them Honorary Non-Europeans. Yeah, they do suffer from that ingrained European deference to authority, but on the other hand their stubborn insistence upon strict neutrality sets them apart from the lowing herds that surround them. They might turn out being the last Europeans to go under.

Not only is there no such language as "Swiss" but they don't print all their documents in Helvetica, either.

Tam said...

Oh, I like the Swiss, too, but they have this voluntary self-organizing streak that makes my anarchic American soul itch. ;)

Sebastian said...

Swiss German is a good bit different than Hochdeutch from my understanding. My German teacher in high school said it pushed the bounds of mutual intelligibility with other dialects of German. Though they all speak and are taught in high german in the German speaking parts of Switzerland.

ExurbanKevin said...


(*Waiting to see how long it takes for someone to tell me there's no such language as "Swiss". ;) )


There is a language called "Austrian", right?

But that's what our President told me!

OC is boring here in Arizona. Nothing happens when I see someone carrying or when I myself carry a pistol.

If I saw a cop carrying a rifle, though, I'd ramp up the sensor sweeps, because that is not normal, and might be an indication that the caca is about to get verdadero. Why would we EVER think that civilians carrying M4geries would provoke a different response?

Tam said...

The fundamental difference can be summed up in the fact that participation in schutzenfest is seen as a civic duty in Switzerland, while our second most popular televised sport is directly based on running from the cops. ;)

Steve Skubinna said...

One of my most persistent impression of the Swiss is from my days in Korea, early eighties. At the DMZ were two Neutral Nations Camps, each one managed by two neutral nations (so I wonder how they ever came up with the name for the camps).

The camp on the north side was manned by Czechs and Poles, the one south by Swedes and Swiss. I found it amusing that the UN side actually had two neutral contingents, while the other side got two Warsaw Pact countries.

Steve Skubinna said...

Another fundamental difference - can you imagine a TV show like Cops gaining any viewership in Switzerland?

Sebastian said...

According to the Wikipedia article, Germans need subtitles to understand Swiss German:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swiss_German

So I'd say that kind of makes it a separate language :)

Al T. said...

"buying a cup of coffee from the McDonalds"

Holy Crap! That's just alien to me - linking coffee & McDonalds....

Kristophr said...

Hmmm ... flamethrower ownership is lawful in most states.

I need to start a National Flamethrower Association club.

I'll bet I could sell memberships to people who just want the sticker to put in their car's rear window ...

Kristophr said...

I could have an Armed Citizen column ... summarizing stories of honest citizens using flamethrowers on criminals!

Steve Skubinna said...

Sent a link to this post to a friend, who responded:

Tam on Swiss is wry.

To which I respond, damn it! Wish I'd thought of it.

Crustyrusty said...

"Not only is there no such language as 'Swiss'..."

Try speaking Hochdeutsch in Bern and see how far you get :-)

Chris Stephens said...

Having traveled to CH and having been among folks of the "gun culture" there, I can personally tell you that no one gives a young man or women on their way to the range for their annual qualification a second glance. For one, it is part of their common "cultural contract" that they have far greater respect for themselves or each other than can be found in the United States. Contrary to popular belief, they do not have have any nationalized concealed carry, but folks from the ages of 18 to 45 are required to do their annual qualification and many do keep their issued SIG 551 in the home with a 20 round box of ammunition.

Chris Stephens said...

Having traveled to CH and having been among folks of the "gun culture" there, I can personally tell you that no one gives a young man or women on their way to the range for their annual qualification a second glance. For one, it is part of their common "cultural contract" that they have far greater respect for themselves or each other than can be found in the United States. Contrary to popular belief, they do not have have any nationalized concealed carry, but folks from the ages of 18 to 45 are required to do their annual qualification and many do keep their issued SIG 551 in the home with a 20 round box of ammunition.

Chad said...

Sure, I have my flamethrower permit right here. I'm licensed for up to 2 gallons of fuel at a time, 4 if I'm in support of the infantry club.

Old NFO said...

Your last comment beat me to it... And there is the fact that Swiss maintain their military weapons (including fully automatic rifles) at home along with a goodly stock of ammo... :-)

Chad said...

Oh, and we did this a few years ago...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CzTpHbGeEpg

Tam said...

You know, I was gonna footnote my footnote with a mention about Swiss German, and then I thought "Nah, not even the internet is that Aspie."

Oh, internets, you never fail to make my soul hurt!

Tam said...

Chris Stephens,

That's what I said, only not in such a circuitous manner.

Mattexian said...

I think Romansch is considered the native Swiss language, not related to any used by their neighbors, but it is a small minority that speak it.

Sebastian said...

Oh, internets, you never fail to make my soul hurt!

I don't think I meet the threshold for Assburgers, but I do share many of the traits ;)

perlhaqr said...

they have this voluntary self-organizing streak that makes my anarchic American soul itch.

Hey now, "voluntary self-organization" is practically the very definition of anarchism! ;) :D

Chris Stephens said...

Hello, Yes Romansch is spoken than by 10% of the country which is multilingual. The majority of Swiss are made up by Swiss Germans in the North, Swiss French in the West and Swiss Italian in the South. Back on topic, the concept of "Common Cultural Contract" is the core of their Democracy whose 1876 Constitution is patterned after the U.S. Constitution. The Confederation Helvictia has not deviated or broken their Constitution as has happened in the U.S. The Swiss are not without problems and the growing concern is their open borders with the EU. The majority of crime is sourced to immigrants in their country. However, there are lot's of Swiss gun owners and their NRA is the Willem Tell. Having traveled there and met with several gun owning friends, I can tell you first hand what you won't see published in their papers or internationally in ours as far as crime and the back lash to immigration reform. BTW, if you a re Macedonian, Estonian or Bosnian, you can't own a firearm in CH...

Mark Philip Alger said...

I think that the default assumption here used to be something similar. Trouble is, we stopped slapping idiot leftists down when they came with their panic-mongering, and "whoo! We're all gonna DIE!" BS and their legalistic nitpicking on the subversive side of principle. We went, "It's a free country." and the statists took advantage until, allofasudden, it wasn't.

Darrell said...

Want to see something beautiful? Here's a 50th anniversary K31 over at r/guns:

http://imgur.com/a/Guryx

Tam said...

Oof.

Anonymous said...

I have spent less than a day in Switzerland, but it is one of the wierdest places I have been to, because of what I did not see: an urban area (Lugano) with no litter and no graffiti. Even wierder because it was a way stop on a tour of Italy, where they apparently graffiti everything they can reach. I am not sure I want to live in a place that insists on being that tidy.
Kishnevi

Bubblehead Les. said...

Keep in mind, that there are Swiss who speak French and Italian.

And something tells me that THEIR Rifles haven't been dropped only once. ; )

God, Gals, Guns, Grub said...

You should come to one of our monthly flame-thrower club meetings... we always include a hot meal the second Saturday of the month...

Also, the Grenade Launcher Club meets the third Tuesday each month if you're interested...

Dann in Ohio

Kristophr said...

Found one ...

This is a Flammenwerfer ... it werfs flammen!

Kristophr said...

You could use one to defend against a Grizzly attack ... instead of being eaten by a Grizzly, you would be eaten by an angry flaming Grizzly!

D.W. Drang said...

Amazon.com: La Place de la Concorde Suisse eBook: John McPhee: Books

I'm in for the Flammenwerfer Club.

Mrs. Drang is 1/4 Swiss, BTW, and FWIW.

Windy Wilson said...

I think Swissdeutsch is more a matter of pronunciation than any real difference in grammar and vocabulary. I was visiting cousins in Austria once and we were watching some auto racing on one of the two Austrian TV stations. The cousins all left the room and my brother changed the channel to the Swiss station and found he understood the accent better (somehow closer to High School German than the Austrian or Bavarian versions). The cousins return and ask, "what happened? We can't understand this."

fast richard said...

You are right about that basic assumption. When I looked out the hotel window early one morning in Switzerland and saw a young man on a motor scooter with a large rifle slung on his back, I assumed he was on his way to some official training activity.

I was more surprised by what we saw on a walk through town later that same day. A house where someone's hobby appeared to be making dollhouses. There were little chalet style houses all over the yard, complete with little garden gnomes standing on the porches and hiding in the grass.

armedlaughing said...

Tam - thanks for the nuance!

Of course I meant free civilians carrying w/o the social/legal stigma of 'OMG - he's got a gun!'
Something we probably never truly had since before Wyatt Earp.
:-)

gfa

Tam said...

Mark Alger,

"I think that the default assumption here used to be something similar."

That any American seen carrying a rifle must be engaged in some officially sanctioned government business or sport? I'm not sure about that.

Rob K said...

Tam, he did say "something similar". Not to be all aspie or nothing :)

But I think he's not far off, at least in American occupied America where I grew up (Indiana and Kentucky). People assumed on seeing a long-gun that you'd been doing something like hunting or target shooting. A rifle in a rack in a pick-up truck was not something to freak out about.

You would likely have been looked at funny for carrying a rifle in to McDonald's to get your cup of coffee, but that reflects more America's heavily automotive culture-- why would you carry it in when you could just leave it in the car?

Will said...

At the '94 SOF International 3-Gun Match, one of the competitors was a Swiss, attached to their embassy in DC. He told me that he got permission to use the Match in lieu of a traditional target meet to comply with his annual (semi-annual?) military rifle qualifications. He was using a Sig rifle of some unremembered type (it did have a solid folding stock).

Matthew said...

There's a youtube channel I follow, swissbianco, immigrant Swiss guy, blacksmith (metal worker) by trade, and he has little good to say about their "gun culture" vis-a-vis ours.

Theirs has been going the way of all things Left more and more in his experience, with all sorts of obtrusive regs that we elide when we talk about the "Sig in the closet" and the battle rifles on main street.

NotClauswitz said...

The Swiss girl I knew in HS had a machine-gun at home but thought it was icky. Before there was Switzerland I wonder how many of the forgotten Roman Legionaries holed up in desolate locations in the Alps and never on the re-supply train thought about banding-up in cantons? There's hidebound places where the local language is still more Latin than Swiss.