Sunday, 03 January 2016

Swiss Army Chief to Countrymen: "Arm Yourselves"

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During World War II, Hitler decided not to invade the Swiss because he realized that he would be fighting not just an army but an entire people and concluded that the invasion would not be worth the cost. And now it seems that the tiny country of Switzerland might once again be setting an example when it comes to protecting itself from invasion and tyranny.

On December 28, the German news blog “Deutsche Wirtschafts Nachrichten” (German Economic News) reported that the head of the Swiss Army warned his government that because the “risks of social unrest in Europe are increasing dramatically” and the “economic outlook is gloomy,” the situation in Switzerland is becoming dangerous and could be doomed if no plan is provided to protect his country.

"The mixture is increasingly unappetizing,” Lieutenant General Andre Blattmann (shown) said. He warned that the hope for Swiss prosperity "has long been once again called into question.”

“Social unrest can not be ruled out,” he noted ominously. 

Those involved in executing and extinguishing the threat of violent civil protest are becoming “dangerously aggressive” in their language, Blattmann added.

Blattmann doesn’t just criticize the current volatility without proposing a solution, however.

“Arm yourselves,” the general counsels his countrymen, in preparation of the chaos that he senses is certain to come.

It seems that the people of Switzerland are heeding the general’s warning.

On December 31, swissinfo.ch reported:

Applications for gun permits in Switzerland increased by 20% between 2014 and 2015, according to a survey conducted in 12 cantons by Swiss public television, SRF. 

The survey, published on Wednesday, showed that in the 12 (out of 26) cantons surveyed, the Swiss are increasingly interested in purchasing pistols, rifles and other firearms for private use.

The greatest increase — more than 70% — was measured in canton Vaud, with more than 4,200 applications in 2015, compared with 2,427 in 2014. 

There is a general climate of uncertainty and an increased fear of intruders, said Pierre-Olivier Gaudard, head of crime prevention for canton Vaud.

As one would expect, the government opposes the arming of civilians as an answer to the potential economic and civil maelstrom.

Martin Boess, director of Swiss crime prevention, responded predictably to the reported spike in sales of privately owned weapons.

“When there are more guns in circulation, there is a greater danger for society,” Boess said in an interview on a Swiss television news program. “That’s shown by experience in places like the United States. When there are more guns, there are more accidents with guns.” 

Someone should send Boess a copy of an article written for The New American by Bob Adelmann on December 30, 2014. Adelmann’s article focused on the fallacy parroted by Boess that more guns lead to more violence:

[John] Lott, the author of More Guns, Less Crime, noted in a July 9 [2014] report for Crime Prevention Research Center that the number of citizens now permitted to carry concealed exceeds 11 million, up from eight million just three years ago. And even that number may be far too conservative:

The number of concealed carry permit holders is likely much higher than 11.1 million because numbers are not available for all states that issue permits, such as New York. Additionally, four states and the majority of Montana do not require that residents have a concealed handgun permit to carry within the state so [that] number ... is not recorded.

That translates into nearly one in every 20 Americans licensed to carry. It also translates, according to Lott, into a continuing fall in the rates of murder and violent crime: a 22-percent decline just since 2007, a period of time, according to Lott, that the percentage of people licensed to carry has increased by an astonishing 130 percent.

One conclusion based on this data is that the more people who are allowed to carry, the lower the rate of violent crime.

Lott’s Crime Prevention Research Center also noted that states that don’t require a permit have much lower crime rates than those states that have the lowest permit rates. It noted too that "the murder and violent crime rates are also lower in the 25 states with the highest permit rates compared to the rest of the US.”

The statistics are impressive regarding violent criminals, according to the report:

When you allow people to carry concealed handguns, you see changes in the behavior of criminals. Some criminals stop committing crimes, others move on to crimes in which they don’t come into contact with victims.... Others actually move to areas where they have less fear of being confronted by armed victims.

The swissinfo.ch article reports, “In Switzerland, with more than 8 million inhabitants, there are about 2.5 million legal weapons, around half of which are used for Swiss military service.”

In light of the Swiss Army chief’s suggestion, that number appears to be increasing.

So, while the Swiss seem to be preparing themselves to defend their property against the destruction that will be wrought by the havoc that swirls in the wake of global unrest, the president of the United States is taking the cap off his infamous pen and getting ready to issue autocratic edicts further restricting the right to keep and bear arms protected by the Second Amendment.

Once again, The New American’s Bob Adelmann reports on the forthcoming fiats:

According to Politico, the president’s announcement, expected [this] week, will contain at least two additional infringements: requiring stolen guns to be reported to the ATF, and broadening the definition of who must have a federal license (Federal Firearms License or FFL) to sell firearms.

It’s the second infringement that’s going to cause the most heartburn among law-abiding gun owners. Present law requires all citizens who are “engaged in the business” of selling guns with the “principal objective of livelihood and profit” to pay a fee, complete a rigorous and invasive application that includes a photograph and fingerprints, and undergo background checks in order to do so.

But the president’s lawyers have decided that “engaged in the business” is far too broad, and so Obama will likely announce next week that anyone selling more than 25 guns in a year — or selling a gun in its original packaging, or hoarding more than a certain number of firearms, or selling a gun within 30 days of original purchase — will have to obtain an FFL. After the government has granted its approval, the new licensee would then be required to do a background check on every person he sells a gun to. In addition he’ll be forced to undergo audits from ATF agents dropping in unannounced to check his paperwork.

In the context of the president's disarmament campaign and the Swiss general's call to arms, it is worth noting that the American Founding Fathers admired the Swiss confederacy. The example of Swiss resistance to tyranny is mentioned repeatedly in the writings of the Founding Era, including the Federalist Papers and the debates of the Constitutional Convention of Philadelphia in 1787.

From their familiarity with the writings of the influential Italian Niccolò Machiavelli, they learned to admire the ability of the armed civilian militia to defend themselves against would-be conquerors.

In The Prince, Machiavelli observed that “the Swiss are well armed and enjoy great freedom.”

Of the relationship between their reading of Machiavelli and their zeal to protect their right to arm themselves against the agents of despotism, renowned historian and constitutional attorney Stephen P. Halbrook wrote: “Machiavelli became a sourcebook of republicanism for English Whigs and their later American counterparts. In particular, ‘the Second Amendment to the [U.S.] Constitution establishes clearly and explicitly the relation between the militia and the popular liberty in terms directly reminiscent of Machiavelli.’”

Perhaps there is still more to be learned from the Swiss confederacy and Swiss General Blattmann’s call to “arm yourselves.”

Photo: Lieutenant General Andre Blattmann

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