Daillon massacre

#1
On Swissinfo Daillon gunman wanted to settle family dispute
The Swiss gunman who killed three women and injured two men in the tiny alpine village of Daillon on Wednesday evening wanted to resolve a “long-running family problem”, according to the Valais public prosecutor’s office.The 33-year-old man who went on the shooting spree in southwest Switzerland remains in hospital recovering after being shot in the chest by police while being apprehended on Wednesday. He has been charged with murder and a psychiatric examination has been requested.

Officials say the shooter, whom police has not identified, was a ward of court who lived on disability benefit and was hospitalised for psychiatric treatment in 2005 following intervention from his family and police. His legally-held guns were seized and destroyed at that time. The 33-year-old also has a history of drug abuse.

Despite this earlier seizure, the police said the gunman still owned a small arsenal of weapons including two historic Swiss military rifles known as ‘mousquetons’, a shotgun, an air rifle and an alarm pistol. Police also found dozens of rounds of ammunition, a machine-gun belt, knives and bayonets.

The man started shooting at fellow villagers around 9 pm on Wednesday. He began firing from his apartment, shooting at people in the street and in neighbouring buildings, but later came out into the street, police said, adding that he appeared to have fired dozens of rounds from at least two weapons: a mousqueton and a shotgun.

The three female victims – aged 32, 54 and 79 – died of their injuries at the scene, police said. Two male victims were taken to hospital suffering from serious gunshot wounds.

Valais police said on Saturday that one of the injured men, the husband of the 32-year-old female victim, was no longer in a life-threatening situation but remained in intensive care. All were local residents of the village which has a population of 400.
French connection?


It emerged on Friday that French police investigating the murder of a British-Iraqi family in the Alps have asked to question the Daillon gunman.

Saad al-Hilli, his wife Iqbal and her mother Suhaila al-Allaf were all found dead inside their car near Lake Annecy in the neighbouring Haute-Savoie region on September 5, 2012 along with a French cyclist who police believe was an innocent bystander. The couple's two young daughters survived the attack.

Investigators have so far failed to report any progress in solving the case, but they have previously raised the possibility of someone with psychiatric problems being behind the shooting.
...
We've had a lot of threads about US gun safety. Heavily armed but peaceful Switzerland often comes up. The truth is despite a much more sober attitude to weapons than Americans the Swiss do have a significant gun safety problem. The main area for concern is a very high suicide by firearm rate among men, not far behind are various kinds of family shootings and drunken incidents.

In this case we have a family row, drink taken and it's notable that the perp had mental problems was seen as a risk by family and the police had sensibly destroyed the modern millitary part of his arsenal but he was still left with a shotgun and had acquired antique but serviceable bolt action military rifles. You could see this as a failure of the relatively liberal Swiss attitude to gun control or contemplate what the body count might be like if he'd gone amok with an assault rifle.

Personally I think the Swiss model of limited controls on basic hunting arms and a fairly easy but thoroughly policed FAC process for getting your hands on guns designed for homicide is a good balance respecting safety risks and traditional pleasures of gun ownership.
 
#2
The main area for concern is a very high suicide by firearm rate among men, not far behind are various kinds of family shootings and drunken incidents.
Whilst its true that the proportion of suicides where guns are used is high, and its also true that the suicide rate is high, its important to remember that correlation is not causation.

The suicide rate in France is also extraordinarily high, especially amongst men, without it being pinned on firearms - same in Belgium.

Its lazy to pin the two things on each other - all it indicates is that in switzerland, people who have made the decision to top themselves use a gun, which they have access to and are fairly confident will do the job, instead of hanging themself or jumping off bridges, even though the same number of people are doing it as other neighbouring countries.

It's key that the overall homicide rate in switzerland, despite its widespread gun ownership, remains a little over half the rate that we have in the UK.

One eminent researcher said the following about the high french suicide rate:

The relatively high suicide rate in France is investigated and a number of influences are hypothesized as causative. These include, on a societal and demographic level, a history of high immigration, low emigration, a high proportion of old people, high urbanization, extraordinarily high alcoholism, and the extreme gap in income between upper and lower classes. The rigid bureaucracy of the state can leave the individual feeling infuriated and defeated. The legal system produces many injustices, such as long imprisonment without charges. The Church is liberal and supplies little prophylaxis against suicide. Overall, social integration must be judged to be low. Culturally, French values include an underlying pessimism, no strong fear of death, strong pressures to behave correctly and much malice toward neighbors. The modal personality structure contains defensive, constricted elements producing a vulnerable pseudo-autonomy. French child-rearing practices are effective in producing such personalities.

I think its hard to disagree that there are a great many similarities between the description of French society above, and the Swiss.
 
#3
Having lived in all of them Swiss culture (actually it's very clearly plural there being a huge divide between the languages) is as different from most of France as it is from Germany or Austria.

The Swiss have probably the most secure lives in Western Europe, well ordered, rarely unemployed and pampered by social services when they are, heavily insured against all eventualities and they have even legalized assisted suicide. Unlike France it all works well but lacks elan, it can be a bit dull. They suffer from some of the same social ills as France. The French have rather stronger family structure than the Swiss and don't really have an aging population by EU standards, they breed about as much as the prolific Irish. The Swiss in contrast are dying out. It has far higher levels of immigration than France but is also more grumpily tolerant of foreigners and folk of different tongues. The Swiss in general rub along fairly well with each other while the French are involved in a Hobbesian competition to brown nose the Chef.

Switzerland is a federation of pretty distinct identities, languages being the most obvious marker. I can't say much about Swiss Italians having yet to live amongst them. The Swiss French generally hate and deplore all things French though often holiday and retire there. Internally the Swiss French vary from the dour mean spirited Prods of Geneva to the happy go lucky army hating Papists of the Jura. Their relation to Swiss Germans is stronger than they'd like to admit, especially along the Röstigraben.

In my experience it's the Swiss Germans that are eager to top themselves and those that succeed often do so with a gun. This also happens to be the group with the strongest attachment to gun ownership particularly in the central farming cantons. Every Swiss German seems to know someone who ate a gun.

There's some kinship between the liberal (and generally gun adverse) urban centers of Zurich and Basel and metropolitan France but the Swiss Germans have a very different society, it's most marked in the farming cantons. Here identity is very cantonal and communal. Unlike France this is a very traditional society that's almost stopped breeding were most women still don't work leaving men as sole bread winners. It can be officious but is surprisingly tolerant of eccentrics. Religiosity is often fairly high especially amongst women. There is far more youthful drug abuse than I've seen in France and in some cantons they drink like fish. This is a wild generalization but it's a bi-polar culture, serious, hard working (if a bit slow handed) often jolly but given to wallowing in bouts of gloom. There are also high reported rates of mental illness and they love to go to shrinks and get medicated.

Bearing arms is historically connected with voting rights and mature male Swiss German identity. Yearly army service is often seen as a relief from heavily subsidized micro-farming. The army is also a glue that holds this very traditional often very right wing society together. Chaps do come unhinged as their service ends and old age is perceived set in. Here I think there is really a strong relationship to Swiss culture of bearing arms and suicide. It's not just the mundane experience of handling firearms intended to kill people but their not very exciting role in the identity of young men. And the hard fact is a gun is both a very reliable method of suicide and a symbol of the lost opportunities of youth.

To look on the bright side suicide rates in Switzerland have dropped by about a third since the 80s. This may be connected with a decline in this Swiss culture of arms. Men now finish military service before the onset of middle age and increasingly avoid it. In the US more than half of suicides are with a gun, one in three Swiss suicides are still with a gun, 40% are with a millitary weapon. Psychologist reckon a high proportion are not premeditated but impulsive tragic acts. It's estimated about half of suicides denied their preferred method will live on.

Gun suicide rates correlate with gun ownership rates by canton:

[h=3]ABSTRACT[/h]This study aimed to examine the association between the availability of firearms at home, and the proportion of firearm suicides in Switzerland in an ecological analysis. The data series were analysed by canton and yielded a fairly high correlation (Spearman's rho=0.60). Thus, the association holds also at a sub-national level.
Link.

There's also this from Canton Basel pointing out that 30% of domestic homicides are with a firearm only blunt force trauma being commoner at 40%. Pistols feature heavily here, a good proportion illegally held, there are lots of illegally held handguns in Switzerland. Also that the presence of unsecured military weapons in Swiss households is real danger to younger family members who may have mental problems or have drugged themselves up to the gills. That suicides with military weapons tend to be younger, without a history of mental problems and of economically promising chaps is particularly sad.

I'd conclude that Swiss gun culture is actually a causative factor in a lot of Swiss suicides, daddies neglected sturmgewehr lying behind the bikes turns into a menace, but at least it stops some selfish buggers chucking themselves on the tracks and making the trains late.
 
#4
I would imagine boredom drives them to it.
I like Switzerland, but it's a bit like a Cookoo clock, predictable and nothing untoward happens, and everyones in bed by 10.
 
#7
Excellent posts alib and labrat. Do you have a source for the French suicide rate extract please labrat? That may be of interest to a friend of mine.
 
#11
Now I've been around the block, but I've never seen an airport which didn't sell Toblerone, 70 degrees, Tin hut middle of the Sahahra, windswept arctic wasteland.....toblerone.

How do they do that?
 
#12
Now I've been around the block, but I've never seen an airport which didn't sell Toblerone, 70 degrees, Tin hut middle of the Sahahra, windswept arctic wasteland.....toblerone.

How do they do that?
Great marketing, and additives giving it a shelf life of 50 years, perhaps it's the secret ingredient that makes the Swiss run amok, that and mandatory yodeling classes in elementary school.
 
#13
You probably cant completely ban loons running amock but americas couple of times a month is excessive
 

Grumblegrunt

LE
Book Reviewer
#15
I understand the swiss have been looking at ending the rifle at home with 40rds standard reserve requirement thing as more and more service weapons are being used.

that said the crime rate was kept low probably because there was a machine gun in every wardrobe.
 

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