The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA


May 2, 2013

Readers' Forum 5-2 | Swiss gov’t comparison grossly misleading

— Joseph Torchia’s Readers’ Forum letter on April 26, “Be prepared by arming every household,” said that “The Swiss government provides weapons, unlike our government, which wants to take ours away.”

That is grossly misleading.

Not only isn’t our government trying to take guns away (if so, when and where was it attempted?), but the Swiss weapons he refers to are military property issued to conscripts in the equivalent of the Swiss army reserve. Switzerland has no standing army. Instead, it has mandatory military training for young, able-bodied males and relies on them for its defense. That isn’t a “unique” concept. We had no standing army and relied on a “well regulated militia” back in 1791 when the Second Amendment was ratified.

The percentage of households with guns in Switzerland is significantly lower (10 percent) than in the U.S. (18 percent).

As to our supposed “pushing Christian teaching aside for secularism” and “centuries of Christian influence having shaped the souls of the Swiss,” 20 percent of Swiss citizens practice no religion. Depending on the source, that’s 25 percent to 100 percent more than the percentage of U.S. citizens who practice no religion.

Torchia also rails that “Radical Muslims want to destroy our country.” He may be surprised to know that 4.5 percent of Swiss citizens are Muslims, three times the percentage of Americans who practice Islam.

Finally, before the “Patriots” start firing back at me, I own guns, including former military issue assault rifles. I just don’t like facts being cherry-picked and twisted to appear to support arguments they in truth do not support at all.

Daniel Waltimire


Alternative to Newtown weapons a sure bet

Here is my answer to Frank Filia’s April 26 question, “What would have happened in Newtown, Conn., if the shooter would not have had access to firearms in his home?”

I’m pretty sure Adam Lanza would have stolen a gun somewhere. No, that would be illegal. I’m sure he wouldn’t do that.

OK, he would have probably made a backpack full of Molotov cocktails with gasoline and burned the school. No, that, too, would be illegal.

All right then, he would have waited until a group of little kids were huddling at a bus stop and run over them with his mother’s car. Sorry, that one is illegal, too.

Pipe bombs, illegal. Knife attack on a group of little kids, illegal. Everything I have mentioned is illegal, as is murder in the first place. Do you really think that this psycho would have just given up and went to play video games instead?

Doug Crouse


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What is the biggest key to reducing gun violence in Johnstown?

Tackling the area's drug problem.
Controlling folks moving into city housing.
Monitoring folks in treatment centers and halfway houses.
Tougher sentencing by the court system.
More police on the streets.

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