Guns: A Tale of Two Countries

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Gun-free Mexico vs Gun-filled Switzerland

Guns are not the problem, and I speak from personal experience. Growing up in two countries with dramatically different attitudes and laws on firearms — one nation where civilian gun ownership is banned, the other where it is mandatory for many — gave me unique insight into this issue.

As the debate on guns and gun control rages in America, I can’t help but think back on lessons learned during my childhood. It’s not quite a tale of two cities, but almost.

In the most peaceful country on earth, it was not unusual for me to see children on bikes or young men on trains openly carrying fully automatic weapons over their shoulder as if it was nothing. Nobody even bothered to look twice. Guns in closets or above kitchen cupboards were ubiquitous in family homes.  

In one of the most violent nations on Earth, by contrast, only criminals and government agents — many of them vile criminals, too — could be seen with a weapon in public. And yet, murder and mayhem are ubiquitous there.

Let me share with you a bit about my upbringing. While I lived in eight different countries on four continents over the years, the two nations I’m going to tell you about stick in my mind — for very different reasons. I subconsciously learned a lot, and I think you will too. 

Gun-free Mexico:

When I was four, we moved from the United States to Mexico for my dad’s job. Even as a little child, it was obvious to me that this was a very different place.

One of the first observations I remember was that every single house had a wall around it — oftentimes topped with broken glass, barbed wire, or even electric fence. I had never seen anything like that in Florida. And yet in Mexico, it was everywhere.

All I remember my mom saying about it when I asked her was that Mexico was not as safe as Florida, but that we would be fine and dad would keep us safe. She was right on both counts. But we did have a lot of close calls. 

By Alex Newman

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