Fun_People Archive
8 May
The Swiss Army and Gun Control

Date: Mon,  8 May 95 20:34:02 PDT
From: Peter Langston <psl>
To: Fun_People
Subject: The Swiss Army and Gun Control

From: Cecil Adams' The Straight Dope 3-17-95
Copyright 1995 Chicago Reader

     Your column is the only reason I pick up the [Los Angeles]
Reader. However, I could not let the article on Swiss Army knives
go unchallenged. There is no such thing as a Swiss Army. They are
a neutral country and, as such, have no standing army. They do,
however, have a National Guard which uses their knives.  From my own
perspective, who cares. But as I'm sure you'd agree, the straight
dope's the straight dope only if it's straight. --Jeff Birkenstein,
Fountain Valley, California
     People are always telling me I'm the only reason they pick up
the paper. Clearly I am to the alternative press what Michael
Jordan is to the NBA. Luckily it hasn't affected my personality.
     Now to your complaint, worm. You should call up the Swiss and
tell them what they're supposed to call their armed forces. They
have the idea it is the Army. There is no such thing as a Swiss
National Guard. (There is also no Navy, for reasons that ought to
be obvious but, given the state of public education, may not be.
There is, however, a merchant marine. Go figure.)
     While I was on the phone with the nice man from the consulate,
I asked if Switzerland still had compulsory military service for
males between the age of 20 and 50. Ja wohl, he said, although the
upper age limit was recently dropped to 40. And are the troops
still issued automatic rifles? Mais oui, he said. And do they still
take their rifles home with them when not on duty? You got it, bub,
he replied. So, I said, warming to the topic, in view of the fact
that you've got 1.6 million men and an indeterminate number of
women with an automatic rifle in the house, is Saturday night in
Switzerland a bloody spectacle of drunken louts and drug dealers
machine gunning each other in the streets? Why no, said the nice
man. We toast each other with hot chocolate and whittle cuckoo
clocks with our Swiss Army knives. So you've been lucky, I hissed.
Just wait.

[=] © 1995 Peter Langston []