Switzerland is a country with a gun tradition, both militarily and for sport. It has also faced high profile gun crimes in recent years. Just this week, pensioner Peter Kneubühl appeared in court for his 2010 shooting of a police officer after barricading himself in his home. And last week, a man in Daillon in the canton of Valais shot three people dead, and injured two others. That man’s weapons had been seized by police previously because he suffered a reported mental condition. Swiss gun laws and mindsets have evolved over the last two decades but the country still has a reputation for being comfortable with guns. This impression has been heard especially by some in the United States, as that nation faces a debate over guns following the Newtown shooting last month.
While Washington debates what to do about guns, some gun advocates are looking abroad for inspiration, to Switzerland. They say the Swiss have high gun ownership rates, low crime, and lots of freedom.
But some Swiss reject the comparison. After a long-weekend, Daniel Wyss’ gun shop in a village near the Swiss capital Bern, is buzzing with sportsmen and gun enthusiasts eager to re-arm.
Wyss said his customers are hunters, sportsmen, collectors, and folks who want to protect themselves. In that respect Swiss gun enthusiasts wouldn’t seem so different from those in the US.
But Jo Lang, vice president of the Swiss Green Party, said there is one big difference. Lang is a survivor of Switzerland’s worst shooting tragedy in 2001, when a gunman shot 14 people in a state legislature. And he’d like to see the difference remain…
On the top of Santa Barbara Island
Though most of the island trails were blocked by makeshift barriers to protect nesting pelicans and seagulls, two prized trails were still open for conquest–the one to the peak of Santa Barbara Island, and another to a small lighthouse on the very edge of the island. We had sailed for hours from Catalina, seeing nothing but rolling waves and the occasional scavenging bird. Now was our time. Santa Barbara has no residents, and only a small ranger house, and we would exploit that freedom in every way possible…to enjoy what nature had set neatly and alone off the coast of California.
In Western Germany the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center is the largest US military medical facility outside the U.S. and gives care to both US and coalition forces, as well as their families. KJZZ’s Tony Ganzer visited Landstuhl, and brings the voices of three Arizonans in the military medical system, with very different stories.
Editor’s Note: This is the first of three narrative accounts of a journey at sea. More dispatches to land in the coming days.
It’s sometimes hard to swallow: the stinging reality of things we can’t change. As regular readers of AnthonyGanzer.com know, my best friend Joe is heading to Iraq on a 1-year deployment. I’ve known him for many years, since our days teaching at a Boy Scout camp in the Inland Northwest. Joe taught lifesaving, and I taught rowing, but we both cherished sailing. We were both introduced to harnessing wind by a laughing coworker pushing us into a small boat, alone. Those coworkers are long gone, most never having sailed again. Joe and I…are sailors.