THE CONCLUSION IS VERY SIMPLE. THE SITUATION IS GETTING BETTER, but attachment to weapons is still present in the society as well as mystification of it for purposes of ego increasing or hiding fear, defending from bullies etc.
This sort of research was necessary to be conducted since 1993 when the conditions regarding weapons were critical. Ten years later many of those conditions changed and it would be interesting to have some research result to compare. Unfortunately, international organizations had not supported this kind of projects in the region. Therefore the project developers had a hard time comparing the results from this period with any period in the past regarding small firearms and light weapons.
Problems emerging from inadequate and careless weapon handling in situations such as celebrations, games and competitions only are a part of a general problem.
Balkan Youth Union will make an effort to deal with this problem from the perspective of a citizen association – by RAISING AWARENESS OF PROBLEM OF WEPONS IN EVERY-DAY LIFE of us all, appealing to parents, friends and all other weapon owners to remove weapons from their lives or at least to store them responsibly – away from children and all unauthorized persons.
INTRODUCTION – DESCRIPTION OF THE RESEARCH
The experience from Balkan conflicts that brought along a permanent disrespect of individual human rights and freedoms had a consequence of prioritizing national over individual safety. Various forms of violence were than publicly promoted as a way of conflict resolving. Alternative opinions and actions such as multicultural dialogue were neglected. Even after the war the method of violent action is still the most common way of dealing with conflicts. Therefore a need for changes has emerged.
It is also necessary to deal with the problem of weapon. All of us have witnessed the abuse of weapons at weddings receptions and other celebrations as well as other situations of unauthorized use of weapons. However, the real scope of this problem is not known due to lack of research of this subject in the past. The time of conflicts has passed and it is time that the weapons are voluntarily surrendered and destroyed because it is the only way to prevent violence and promote non-violent conflict resolution methods. In order to achieve this, it is necessary to alter the culture that considers possession and carrying of firearms acceptable and positive. However, for a successful action it is not only necessary to know the goal that we strive to but also the position from which we have started. The purpose of this research is to give us basic information on attitudes of young people towards weapon use as well as on their experiences in this field. This target population has been chosen because of their exposure to the war during a sensitive formative stage of their lives. More importantly, this population is the one that we should count on when it comes to building a better society in the post-war period.
The research is of probe type. Its goal is to provide valid indicators of certain aspects of consciousness, system of values and predispositions for action of young people regarding the weapon issue. The questionnaire was prepared by the team in cooperation with expert associates. Team members with less experience have attended a preliminary training. The questionnaire had gone through a pilot research and afterwards the final version was prepared. The sample on which the questionnaire was tested had been carefully chosen, taking into account the fact that it is necessary to include both city and suburban municipalities in order to get as credible results as possible. Those variables have been considered during data processing. Of all elementary school students only the eight-graders were included in the research (the questionnaire would not have been appropriate for younger students) as well as students of all grades of high school. The research was conducted in six schools in Belgrade in central and suburban areas: ES «Ljuba Nenadović» Žarkovo, ES «Mitraljeta» Batajnica, The 1st school of economics, The 8th Gymnasium of Belgrade, The 14th Gymnasium of Belgrade, The High School of Commerce.
The Balkan Youth Union team shall prepare this report for publication in several forms: a written report, a PowerPoint presentation, a web site, a CD and a small printed issue. All publications are intended for a quality evaluation (they will be distributed within educational institutions) but also for all relevant institutions on the territory of the Republic of Serbia (institutes, ministries etc.).