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Swiss Miltia System; An Armed Citizenry

Swiss Miltia System; An Armed Citizenry

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Published by bawb-2
A hsitory of the Swiss citizen-militia system and its effects on the country and its people.
A hsitory of the Swiss citizen-militia system and its effects on the country and its people.

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Categories:Types, Research, History
Published by: bawb-2 on Dec 30, 2009
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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From "AN ARMED SOCIETY" by Stephen P. Holbrook 
Where Is Freedom GuaranteedBy A Heavily-Armed CivilianPopulation?
In A Land Where Assault Rifles Are FreelyIn The Homes And Hands Of Her Citizens!
In 1444, at a small river in northern Switzerland known as Saint Jacob on theBirs, some 1,400 Swiss Confederates wielding bows and arrows, polearms, andswords attacked 44,000 French invaders, some of whom were armed with anew technology -- firearms. After four hours, 900 Swiss were killed, but theremnent defiantly refused to surrender. They were promptly massacred andthrown into mass graves. The audacity of the small Swiss force to assault amassive, seasoned army served to deter further invaders. European tyrants of the day must have thought,
"Don't mess with the Swiss -- they're crazy!"
Switzerland, Europes' most peaceful country,has no standing army.Instead, the country is defended by amilitia composed of virtually all male
citizens.The government issues rifles to these citizens, and the rifles arekept at their homes.
 Such also was the intent of the founders of the United States and the intent of the Constitution for the United States; that the executive could not raise armies,that responsibility resting solely with Congress and then only for periods notexceeding two years; that standing armies should be minimized in times of  peace; and that defense of the nation should rest with the armed citizen militia.Such is the intent of theSecond Article of amendmentto the Constitution for the United States.Exemplifying the slogan,
"What if they gave a war and no one came?"
Switzerland avoided both World War I and World War II. Though Switzerlandwas surrounded by the Axis powers,
even Hitler was afraid to invade thiscountry of riflemen.
 Winston Churchill wrote in 1944: "Of all the neutrals, Switzerland has thegreatest right to distinction....She has been a democratic State, standing for freedom in self-defence among her mountains, and in thought, in spite of race,largely on our side."The Swiss call their rifles "assault rifles" to add to the mystique and convinceforeign rulers that these people mean business. These rifles have never beenused for criminal purposes, although they would certainly be used against anyinvader. Instead, they are used for essentially one purpose: to shoot as many bullseyes on paper targets as quickly as possible at sporting competitions...The Swiss have the reputation of being the world's foremost bankers. The factthat many are regular shooters and presumably better able to protect their stashes can't hurt their reputation for protecting your gold.In Switzerland, firearms in the hands of the citizenry are considered wholesomeand a civic duty. Newspapers and cosmetics are advertised in shooting programs I picked up at the rifle range. Can one imagine the New York Times placing an advertisement in a program for a U.S. pistol shooting event?The backbone of Swiss defense and independence is the individual citizen withhis assault rifle, which he keeps at home and with which he stays proficient byentering matches such as today's Historisches St. Jakobsshiessen.The St. Jacob's historical shoot exemplifies aspects of Swiss culture whichexplain why none of the belligerent countries invaded Switzerland in World
War I or II. This country has a centuries-old tradition of bloody and stoutresistance to the most powerful European armies. Its people have continuedinto the twentieth century to be an armed citizenry whose members regularlyexercise in weapon handling and practice.My friends listened in disbelief as I explained that the then pending "CrimeBill" in America would make it a five-year felony to possess a firearmmagazine holding over ten cartridges if the magazine had been made after 1994. They laughed contemptuously at the anti-gun claim that "assault rifles"have but a sole purpose: to kill as many people as quickly as possible. To theseItalian Swiss, a fucile d'assalto (assault rifle) has only one purpose in peacetime: to shoot as many bullseyes as quickly as possible.These Swiss saw this disarming of the American people, denying them the rightto possess assault rifles, as contrary to the rights of the citizen. Indeed, the riflesto be banned by the Crime Bill were not real "assault weapons," they weresemi-automatic sporters. The Swiss pointed out that for centuries, no European power has dared aggress against Switzerland, a nation in arms. An armedcitizenry in Alpine terrain has never been very inviting. If Switzerland were to be invaded, the invaders would face assault rifles in the hands of skilledshooters -- the Swiss citizenry.After shooting, we sat in the festival tent drinking Ticino Merlot wine mixedwith a clear Sprite-like soda, a regional favorite for a hot day. Locals excitedlytold me the history of the Mesocco region, and explained the broader Swissideal of freedom.
Swiss Freedom & Liberty
 The idea, but not the reality, of liberta (liberty) existed in medieval Milan andspread abroad, including to the Mesocco valley. The people were poor anduneducated, but yearned for freedom. Mesocco freed itself from Milan in 1478, but economics and political power continued to make it difficult for peasants toown weapons. The three independent communities of Mesocco in that centuryare represented today by the blue, white, and gray on the ribbons on which theshooters' medals are pinned.Machiavelli's 16th Century political writings called Switzerland
"most armedand most free."
Within parts of what is now the Italian-speaking part of Switzerland, however, there was an everpresent struggle between the rulingclasses and the peasants. The commoners were allowed to have "huntingweapons" under the Articles of 1524, issued from Llanz by powerful lords in

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