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Aug 08 2012

What do you mean, we can’t shoot Canadians?

This is an actual letter to the Calgary Herald from an American tourist.

I recently visited Calgary from Michigan. As a police officer for 20 years, it feels strange not to carry my off-duty hand-gun. Many would say I have no need to carry one in Canada.

Yet the police cannot protect everyone all the time. A man should be al-lowed to protect himself if the need arises. The need arose in a theatre in Aurora, Colo., as well as a college campus in Canada.

Recently, while out for a walk in Nose Hill Park, in broad daylight on a paved trail, two young men approached my wife and me. The men stepped in front of us, then said in a very aggressive tone: “Been to the Stampede yet?”

We ignored them. The two moved closer, repeating: “Hey, you been to the Stampede yet?”

I quickly moved between these two and my wife, replying, “Gentle-men, I have no need to talk with you, goodbye.” They looked bewildered, and we then walked past them.

I speculate they did not have good intentions when they approached in such an aggressive, disrespectful and menacing manner. I thank the Lord Jesus Christ they did not pull a weapon of some sort, but rather concluded it was in their best interest to leave us alone.

Would we not expect a uniformed officer to pull his or her weapon to intercede in a life-or-death encounter to protect self, or another? Why then should the expectation be lower for a citizen of Canada or a visitor? Wait, I know – it’s because in Canada, only the criminals and the police carry handguns.

Walt Wawra, Kalamazoo, Mich.

The letter has been confirmed as genuine by the newspaper.

I’ve been to Calgary several times. I never knew I should have shot those pushy Canadians who tried to say hello to me.

Next time!

I think I might have second thoughts about visiting Kalamazoo, though.

167 comments

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  1. 1
    Loqi

    Yeah, a bunch of guns is just what the Aurora shootings needed. A bunch of untrained, scared, and bewildered civilians opening fire into a dark, smoke-filled room full of people.

  2. 2
    PatrickG

    I’m going to need double confirmation on this one. This man cannot possibly be from Kalamazoo. Just too funny.

  3. 3
    Tom Foss

    PatrickG: I looked into it. Turns out he’s actually from Walla Walla, Washington.

    Or maybe Cucamonga?

  4. 4
    Keith Peterson

    Wait, I know – it’s because in Canada, only the criminals and the police carry handguns.

    Precisely. Why do ordinary citizens need weapons on them? It’s not like Canada is known for exorbitant amounts of crime. As a Canadian, I’m damn proud our police force does it’s job and we don’t see a need for guns just to go to the corner store for a jug of milk. Oh wait, we need weapons in case someone says something that might kinda sorta be considered threatening.

    By the way for those Americans reading, in Calgary if someone asks “have you been to the Stampede?” he’s asking if you been to the annual rodeo/expo/festival they hold every year. Apparently being friendly to tourists means you’re being rude or pushy or threatening.
    I’m starting to see why my fellow Canadians don’t really like most Americans…

  5. 5
    Josh, Official SpokesGay

    The US is pathological. After all the recent gun violence I am gobsmacked that people are less and less in favor of gun control. Any social psychologists here? What explains this fucking through the looking glass madness?

  6. 6
    autumn

    Even in the US, unless one is fond of very dodgy alleys after dark, or is a drug dealer who is known to keep loads of cash on hand, the chances of being violently assaulted in a manner that would allow one to use a firearm to protect one’s self is very small.

  7. 7
    PatrickG

    Not a social psychologist here, but I’ll wave my hands and mutter something about propaganda, fear, a complete detachment from reality, and so forth. Right after the Aurora shootings gun shops in Colorado experienced runs on their merchandise by people afraid that crazy black manObama would finally implement his super secret agenda to outlaw guns by not pushing gun legislation.

    Also, too, Rebecca Watson is responsible for gun violence in the US.

  8. 8
    mythbri

    Wait, I thought Canadian season was the same as moose season. Or are they lumped in with Liberals?

    Dammit! How am I ever going to remember when it’s legal to shoot people for asking if I’ve been to a rodeo?

  9. 9
    Keith Peterson

    What explains this fucking through the looking glass madness?

    Stupidity? Ignorance? Possibly both.

  10. 10
    magistramarla

    Kieth,
    I’m an American and I knew exactly what the young men were talking about. I followed the news when the Royals visited the Stampede. I would have loved to have been there.
    Many Americans are just too wary when traveling. I’ve traveled in Japan and Greece. I found the residents of both countries to be friendly and accommodating, and I wasn’t at all afraid.
    My daughter is currently traveling in Southeast Asia. She’s had her fiancee with her for part of the trip, a friend for another part and she has traveled alone for part. She’s totally fearless and has had an incredible time there.
    Please don’t judge all Americans by the boorish behavior of some like the one in PZ’s post. Some of us know how to be citizens of the world.

  11. 11
    Lyn M: ADM MinTruthiness

    @Josh

    My completely not researched or backed-by-science opinion is that many people must feel a sense of control if they have/could have a gun. They are thinking, “Oooo, what if I want one?” Not, “Oooo, those weirdo jerks won’t have one!”

    In addition, I think it is seen as much closer to normal to have a gun, not seen as weird. So having a gun is OK! The people murdering in theatres part is because there are weirdos out there. But not us!

    To me, this parallels the way rape culture works. Something is seen as normal, and is supported culturally, which in fact works damage.

  12. 12
    barbyau

    You know what’s funny? Is that the NRA sells conceal and carry laws by telling us guns will help in a situation like Aurora. Did they? Colorado has a conceal and carry law. I was PROMISED these things would be stopped instantly if everyone was allowed to pack heat. Yet this guy made it out of the theater alive. Please explain.

    Or, please explain to me why the next step isn’t mandatory weapons since the fact is that more guns make things safer, right?

    And I find it interesting that a police officer would want to be a non-uniformed guy at the scene of a crime and be one of the guys firing. Surely he as an officer knows that a cop can’t be dispatched to that scene and be expected to know who’s a GOOD shooter and who’s a BAD shooter at first glance, right?

    God, the stupid. People latch on to a concept that feels good and don’t bother thinking it through. That his sloppy thinking makes his life more dangerous is justice I suppose. Most police organizations seem to back some sort of gun control.

    Too bad he has to live out his Dirty Harry fantasies by putting others at risk.

  13. 13
    ingrid rebeccagault

    #5 Josh I’m no social psychologist but I think I can explain this. I remember those stupid lockdown drills at school and during one, I was huddled near these two morons who were talking about using the one Jewish kid in our class as a meat shield. I only mention this kid’s religion because that’s what they referred to him as, “the Jew”. Texas, not known for its religious (or none) tolerance. Anyway, they were going on about how if anyone came in here, they would “kick his ass” with all their barely-pubescent scrawny might, and use his gun to roam around the school picking off co-conspirators.

    It’s the macho Jack Bauer-Jason Bourne-Whatever that old movie was called where the Soviets invaded a high school bullshit. Some losers find some hidden power in them through the magic of patriotism and testosterone and save the day. They want gore and glory. They don’t just want to survive an attack, they want to be the one who was prepared, the hero. They want to be that guy who utters cold one-liners while picking off bad guys and making the ladies swoon. Let’s face it, I like that fantasy too. But I don’t go out, buy a handgun, and pretend that’s a viable way of surviving something like that.

  14. 14
    Antiochus Epiphanes

    We can’t shoot them from Texas until the fascists lift the ban on conceal and carry ICBMs.

  15. 15
    YankeeCynic

    I’m living in Arizona right now, and a good number of the folks around here carry concealed weapons (you don’t even need a permit if you’re a state resident). I’ve had colleagues who just can’t understand why I wouldn’t want to carry a gun around everywhere.

    The bottom line, I tell them, is that I refuse to walk around feeling like I’m under siege. There’s a mental shift that comes with being armed. If you take that step, you start looking at everyone as a potential threat. Who wants to live like that? Even IF it somehow lowers my safety in some rare, isolated incident that risk isn’t worth walking around the grocery store feeling like I’m back in Iraq or Afghanistan. It says a lot about some people that they feel the need to take that step.

    Amusingly a large number of people who do are evangelical Christians. So much for the “you’ll know them by their love” thing.

  16. 16
    rturpin

    I wonder if a concealed handgun serves as a sort of psychological booster for some people. I hope Walt Wawra would not have pulled his handgun in the circumstance he describes. But perhaps had he had it, he would have been more confident in saying “no”? Or just less apprehensive about the whole situation?

    Which isn’t an argument for him carrying a gun.

    I just find it odd that in my many decades of walking many streets, familiar and strange, in quite a few nations, I’ve never felt a pressing need to be carrying a gun. Not even the few times I’ve heard gunshots nearby. Yet many people seem to feel the need for such, even under circumstances that seem to me quite benign.

  17. 17
    Zeno

    It’s reported that the two young men who so frightened the American tourist and his wife were merely handing out free passes to attend the Stampede. If that’s not a shootable offense, then what is??

  18. 18
    Keith Peterson

    magistramarla, I don’t judge any of Americans until I talk to them. As I said, many of my fellow Canadians however are losing their patience with America though.

    In all honesty, I think every Canadian is a bit anxious watching what their southern neighbors are doing to their country and wanting to bang on the border and yell, “Hey! Keep it down already! We’re trying to run a country here!”

  19. 19
    jasonnishiyama

    You mean I should have looked scarier when I picked you up at Calgary International last March?

  20. 20
    Lyn M: ADM MinTruthiness

    @ Zeno

    It’s reported that the two young men who so frightened the American tourist and his wife were merely handing out free passes to attend the Stampede. If that’s not a shootable offense, then what is??

    Add that it comes with fries and poutine?

  21. 21
    Jadehawk

    this dude was scared of two young guys asking an American tourist if he’s been to the rodeo yet?

    really?

    clearly, Canadian friendliness has reached heretofore unknown levels of aggressiveness, if it can scare the fuck out of US cops.

  22. 22
    Lyn M: ADM MinTruthiness

    Now here’s a stray thought, were either or both of the boys people of colour? Anyone know?

  23. 23
    Glen Davidson

    God, someone said “hi” to me when I was walking a couple of days ago, so of course I shot him.

    Better safe than sorry, you know.

    Glen Davidson

  24. 24
    Jadehawk

    Now here’s a stray thought, were either or both of the boys people of colour?

    they were young and foreign, what more do you want?

  25. 25
    Jadehawk

    Even in the US, unless one is fond of very dodgy alleys after dark, or is a drug dealer who is known to keep loads of cash on hand, the chances of being violently assaulted in a manner that would allow one to use a firearm to protect one’s self is very small.

    well, there’s always the option to “investigate” any and all nighttime noises in your environs with a drawn gun. increases your opportunirisk of having to “defend” yourself with a firearm immensely.

  26. 26
    Lyn M: ADM MinTruthiness

    @Jadehawk

    I keep forgetting that Canadians are foreign, being one and all. Your point is made.

  27. 27
    Mattir, Another One With Boltcutters

    It’s horrid to admit, but my mother insisted on smuggling (pre-9/11) “her little friend Boom-Boom” to Toronto for my brother’s wedding. You never know how out of control those Canadians might get, especially since my brother’s ex-wife is from India and there were, like, scary looking brown people in turbans, listening to un-Christian music and painting their hands and eating food that smells funny.

    I think I’m feeling a lot better about having cut off my relationship with my mother when the Spawns were infants. They might ask her a scary question, and then I’d be down one or both Spawns. (In all seriousness, when I did visit my mother, it was a bit frightening to come home late or move around the house while she was asleep, knowing that Little Boom-Boom was always within reach.)

    Sigh.

  28. 28
    Alethea Kuiper-Belt

    PZ, I’m sure it’s perfectly fine for you to shoot Canadians, just as long as they’re not in Canadia. The breeding range is protected, sure, but if they’re on your lawn then fire at will!

    /do I need sardonic joke tags, or is “Canadia” enough?

  29. 29
    Inaji

    Jadehawk:

    this dude was scared of two young guys asking an American tourist if he’s been to the rodeo yet?

    really?

    My reaction exactly. Jesus, if this guy thought asking if they’d been to the Stampede was aggressive, it worries me. It worries me even more that he’s a cop.

  30. 30
    Glen Davidson

    What do you mean, we can’t shoot Canadians?

    Why do they even call them Canadians if we can’t shoot them?

    I’m so confused.

    Glen Davidson

  31. 31
    mythbri

    Can you Stand Your Ground in someone else’s country?

  32. 32
    Jadehawk

    Why do they even call them Canadians if we can’t shoot them?

    I’m so confused.

    just to clear up some confusion, canadian bacon is made from pigs, not canadians.

  33. 33
    YankeeCynic

    @31: You can. You’ll just go to jail. You know, because of that whole murder thing.

  34. 34
    dccarbene

    I’m surprised no one has commented on the the role The Lord Jesus Christ plated in preventing our distinguished guest from losing their shit…

    See, being really close to the North Pole and all, TLJC is extrasuperpowerful in Canada. With a boost from Santa, of course.

  35. 35
    Chiroptera

    Did I understand the story correctly? He did not draw a gun, and then nothing happened? What’s his point again?

  36. 36
    Jadehawk

    What’s his point again?

    young foreigners talked to him, in broad daylight, aggressively, and he didn’t have his bankiegun with him to comfort him. a tragedy, truly

  37. 37
    Inaji

    Chiroptera:

    What’s his point again?

    Why, that you need a gun, of course! After all, Canada may very well be swarming with friendly young people looking to aggressively give away free event tickets. Can’t have that, oh no.

  38. 38
    Lyn M: ADM MinTruthiness

    mythbri

    Depends on the country. There is no stand your ground law in Canada. You have the right to self-defence and defence of another, particularly your family, but you have to use appropriate force. If the person attacking you or yours, gives up, you have to stop hitting or whatever. You are then to call the police so the attacker can be dealt with.

    Law is similar in Britain and other commonwealth countries. The effect of the stand your ground law is that it allows a pre-emptive strike, so to speak. Cases I have read involved a person who got in a fight, then the person may have left for a moment, got a weapon and shot the other. I haven’t read enough cases to know if this is typical, but I also note that in many of them, alcohol played a big role. It seems to be a subjective standard. If you feel in fear of your life or of serious harm, you may open fire and this will count as self-defence.

  39. 39
    imthegenieicandoanything

    We’re effectively a nation of idiots and goons. When there’s any difference.

    Fuck “America” if a plurality believe, as polling indicates, that this ‘Mer’kin morAn (and, very likely, closet bigot) “has a valid point” in writng this LTTE. Just fuck it and let it die.

  40. 40
    anteprepro

    Walt assumes hostility based on little to no evidence, can’t logic his way out of a paper bag, and desperately, desperately wants to be able to have a gun at his side at all times. Sounds like a real winning combination.

  41. 41
    BrianX

    The idea of a cop so clearly destined to be the sort of person who introduces himself by name and address is pants-shittingly terrifying.

    Also, not all cops carry off duty. My dad usually didn’t.

  42. 42
    HappiestSadist, Repellent Little Martyr

    keithpeterson: Yeah, kinda like that. I mean, we’re kind of terrified by how much of America is leaking into our country (see our current government), but we’re mostly just trying to politely not look at the trainwreck to our South.

    I used to reassure myself that with the state of the current school systems, at least the US couldn’t find us when they realize we have oil. Then I find out that that clown somehow found his way in.

    At least he didn’t have the gun and therefore the chance to execute the scary scary Canadians handing out free tickets? And to think, we get to enjoy people like that guy as well as the arm-in-arm five-abreast stopped in the middle of the sidewalk to look at the map tourists.

  43. 43
    Jadehawk

    And to think, we get to enjoy people like that guy as well as the arm-in-arm five-abreast stopped in the middle of the sidewalk to look at the map tourists.

    introduce one to the other. both problems will solve themselves in short order.

  44. 44
    feralboy12

    Stories like this are why you should never trust survey results regarding the use of guns to prevent crimes when the survey depends on self-reporting. Had something similar happened in the U.S., and he pulled a gun, he would have considered it “using his gun for self-defense.”

  45. 45
    HappiestSadist, Repellent Little Martyr

    Jadehawk: GENIUS!

    Seriously, I like tourists, have enjoyed my past work in the tourism industry and will help to offer directions to anyone holding a map and looking puzzled, but please, visitors, use some sense when it comes to sidewalks and rush hour! Also, in front of elevators, doors and escalators is a bad spot to stop and marvel, take pictures or check the map.

  46. 46
    craigrheinheimer

    “I’ve been to Calgary several times. I never knew I should have shot those pushy Canadians who tried to say hello to me.”

    Putting aside the issue of guns, it’s fascinating how you dismiss this man’s interpretation of the situation. He surmised that the two men intended ill towards him and his wife. You were not there, yet you make light of his assessment.

    I don’t recall you taking the same stance with Elevator Gate.

    All I am saying is that if we give respect to Rebecca’s account of her situation (which I agree we should) why do we give less respect to this man’s situation?

  47. 47
    HappiestSadist, Repellent Little Martyr

    Right, because friendly people handing out free passes to tourists who are apparently trigger-happy xenophobes is exactly like feeling uncomfortable at being blatantly propositioned after speaking on not wanting to be hit on. Good for you.

  48. 48
    Josh, Official SpokesGay

    #46

    Please tell me you’re joking. Please tell me you don’t really think an aggressive, reach-for-the-gun-first reaction is reasonable. Please don’t tell me you think that’s on a par with the entirely believable and mundane observation that a man behaved in a creepy fashion in an elevator.

    You do not get to derail this thread into a pit for your grievances about Rebecca Watson. NO. NO. NO.

  49. 49
    vaiyt

    @29: Those were foreign people asking if they’d been to the Stampede.

  50. 50
    jasonnishiyama

    As an aside, if Mr. Wawra had been packing heat in the park and had merely waved it at the two in question it is very likely that after the encounter was over Warwa would have had an opportunity to meet the CPS tactical team followed by a lovely 5 year stay in Canada.

  51. 51
    silomowbray, sans frottage pour la douche

    Wow.

    Well, speaking as a Canadian and someone who likes most of the Americans he’s had the pleasure of meeting, I think you’re all still welcome to visit us anytime. I remember reading a while ago that American ultracons and xenophobes (read: Religious Right and social conservatives) are the least likely to travel to foreign countries, and most of them don’t even have passports. Maybe this is oversimplified, but as a result I think most of you south-of-the-49ers that travel to Downtown Canada (where us Canadians all know each other) aren’t the type to get freaked out at the idea of not having guns hanging off every hip.

    My wife’s uncle (who lives in NYC) came to visit us with his family a while ago and after a few days asked me: “Where are all your cops?” He didn’t spot a single Mountie or municipal police officer for the week or so they were here. I never really gave it much thought, because the Mounties here always seem to be around whenever I’m doing a little over the speed limit. *Ahem*

  52. 52
    Charlie Foxtrot

    Hmmmmm…
    *turns to “Places I want to visit” list. America down one, Bolivia up one.*

  53. 53
    Inaji

    craigrheinheimer:

    Putting aside the issue of guns, it’s fascinating how you dismiss this man’s interpretation of the situation. He surmised that the two men intended ill towards him and his wife. You were not there, yet you make light of his assessment.

    I’m not making light of damn thing. Mr. Wawra is a dangerous individual with a very fucked up mindset. This is a person who wanted to be able to draw a gun on two young people giving away free tickets. I’d say his ability to assess a situation is pretty damn bad and that’s not a good thing for someone who generally runs around with a loaded gun.

    I don’t recall you taking the same stance with Elevator Gate.

    Do ya think that’s because the two situations aren’t remotely comparable? Or were you just dying to find a way to drag egate into this and diss Rebecca?

    All I am saying is that if we give respect to Rebecca’s account of her situation (which I agree we should) why do we give less respect to this man’s situation?

    Rebecca was alone, in the middle of the night, in an elevator, being propositioned by a guy who heard her say she did not want to be hit on. Yeah, that’s exactly the same as being in a public park, in broad daylight, and approached by friendly people offering free tickets.

    You ought to try thinking more often, you’re badly out of practice.

  54. 54
    HappiestSadist, Repellent Little Martyr

    Josh @ #48: That too.

  55. 55
    Lyn M: ADM MinTruthiness

    @mythbri #31

    Just realized the other way that comment could be taken. D’oh!

  56. 56
    petejohn

    Wow.

    But on another note my mom was born in Kalamazoo. She’s not batshit, so that’s good.

  57. 57
    Alethea Kuiper-Belt

    By the way, where did the info that the young men were giving away free tickets come from? It seems reasonable, but I didn’t see it in the stories I read.

  58. 58
    mythbri

    Can we give gratuitous mention of Elevatorgate the same status as Godwinning? Please? No?

    Who knew that Rebecca Watson is just like the Nazis?

    /Godwinned

  59. 59
    keresthanatos

    pounding head on desk….. the stupid gene is spreading too fast in my country……..now I am really scared……gonna go put my tyvek suit back on, fuck guns they will be no use.

  60. 60
    mythbri

    @Lyn #55

    It’s okay. ;) I found your explanation of Canada’s self-defense laws informative, and of course more reasonable than Castle Doctrine and SYG.

  61. 61
    michaelbusch

    @Lyn M @11:

    That would be the mindset described like this?

    “Give a guy a gun, he thinks he’s Superman. Give him two and he thinks he’s God.” – John Woo in “Hard Boilded”

  62. 62
    michaelbusch

    Gah. Typos. Hard _Boiled_.

    That some people react like that to being armed scares me.

  63. 63
    Lyn M: ADM MinTruthiness

    @ michaelbusch

    Didn’t see that movie, but it seems consistent.

  64. 64
    bionichips

    I actually have in-laws who live near Nose Hill Park. It is in an upscale part of town. Not a place I would expect to have problems.

  65. 65
    Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :)

    “What do you mean, we can’t shoot Canadians?”

    Well, they’re out of season…

  66. 66
    loopyj

    @17: Sounds about right.

  67. 67
    Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :)

    Putting aside the issue of guns, it’s fascinating how you dismiss this man’s interpretation of the situation. He surmised that the two men intended ill towards him and his wife. You were not there, yet you make light of his assessment.

    You know, if a tourist posted a blog post describing being pushily offered tickets to an event and said “guys, don’t do that” and made no reference to guns, we’d mostly be agreeing with him.

  68. 68
    John Morales

    Azkyroth, the person in question implied it was a life-or-death situation; the gun reference was predicated on that and thus more basic.

    (Care to try again?)

  69. 69
    marinerachel

    Well, Mr. Wawra might be pleased to know he can hold onto that handgun if he stays out of Canada. I’m not sure anyone’s forcing him to visit.

    I’m sorry he felt threatened while in our fair country. I wish I knew what it was that these gentlemen did which made him uncomfortable so I could endeavour to be more sensitive to visitors in the future. I cannot comprehend what it is about what they did that was threatening though.

  70. 70
    F [is for failure to emerge]

    As if more criminals would not then carry guns if it were expected that most people carry them. Licensed, even.

    As if the kind of people who like to get into fights wouldn’t have that damn gun in their waistbands, just waiting to be used.

    As if people who can’t properly use a weapon or assess a situation don’t provide for more, not less, problems when they carry weapons.

    As if there are many situations where a firearm would do any good.

    As if generally having them handy doesn’t allow for more accidents and ‘crime of passion’ uses, and more “stand your ground” bullshit. Or premeditated murder designed to look like one of these.

    There are too many things to go wrong, as they do, and too many complete morons, like these: http://slatest.slate.com/posts/2011/07/12/arizona_senator_lori_klein_lawmaker_allegedly_points_gun_at_repo.html

  71. 71
    Crissa

    Gosh, I didn’t know Kalamazoo was so dangerous.

    As an American, I’m ashamed, but then I went to their crime statistics… I’ve never actually lived in a city with that high of crime. I’ve visited Oakland, sure, but you don’t yell at people who greet you: You smile back and say you don’t understand if you don’t. Sheesh.

  72. 72
    timgueguen

    Give the guy credit. At least he knew enough not to bring a handgun into Canada. Reportedly several hundred handguns are confiscated every year at border crossing from people who don’t realise you’re not supposed to bring them into Canada without permission. I would suspect there are probably several hundred more cases a year where Ameican tourists come into the country with handguns undetected, and manage to go back home with them without being caught.

    It’s surprising in a way there hasn’t been a case where an armed American tourist has shot someone in Canada, or even just caused an incident with their pistol. It’s the kind of thing that would make for some very interesing press on both sides of the border.

    Canada has its own anti-gun control groups, including people who’d like to see conceal carry become easy. But the latter are a lot more on the fringe of the gun control debate than they are in the US. Even a lot of the “Grandpa shouldn’t have to register his .22 he uses to shoot pests on the farm” folks would find the idea of people pakcing pistols odd and disturbing.

  73. 73
    Menyambal

    Long ago, my girlfriend and I were taking a walk through the suburbs south of Seattle. A girl who looked about ten years old walked up to us and asked us how we’d liked the boat show.

    I didn’t even know there was a boat show going on in the area, and couldn’t imagine why she’d assume a couple of random pedestrians would have been there.

    Since I didn’t have a gun, I couldn’t shoot her. I said, “No, we didn’t get there.” My girlfriend, who was a bit more socially adroit, asked the girl if she’d liked the boat show, the girl said yes, and wandered off again.

    I thank the Invisible Pink Unicorn (Blessings on Her Holy Hooves) for saving us—even though I didn’t believe in her then (which just proves Her power).

  74. 74
    Muz

    Trolling or real: I’m not sure which one makes this funnier.

    Of course, Walt was right to be worried. The Stampede is a well known tradition where Canadian gay men (two men alone in a wooded park = gay, ok) chase nervous middle aged tourists in a big group off the nearest cliff, where their accomplices at the bottom relieve the broken corpses of their pearls and diamante glasses.

  75. 75
    robro

    I wonder how many of these folks who think they have a right to carry guns around, understand that it wasn’t always that way in the US. For example, the ostensible cause of the Gun Fight at the OK Corral was because the cowboys hadn’t turned in their guns, and the Earps came to confiscate them. From what I can gather, towns often required people to check their guns when they came into town because of the well understood dangers of having people walking around with sidearms.

  76. 76
    ibbica

    For crying out loud: Feeling vaguely “threatened” is a TERRIBLE reason to pull a gun on someone. It amounts to threatening to KILL them, for having the audacity to annoy you. That is NOT moral, ‘right’, or acceptable behaviour.

    We can argue ’til the cows come home about whether guns are even an appropriate tool for ‘self-defense’, but in this case that is IRRELEVANT. There was NO attack to ‘defend’ against. This was NOT a life-threatening situation.

    It is, rather, a shining example of why people should NOT be walking around armed: had this man been armed, we may well have been discussing how it came to be that two young people lost their lives.

    Sure, by all means go ahead and complain about ‘pushy salesfolk’ and ‘damned peddlers’ and ‘pesky beggars’ all you want! But no, threatening to shoot people is NOT a sane or appropriate response.

    You feel threatened? Before reaching for your gun: RUN.

    STOP trying to play the macho cowboy, STOP thinking you’re entitled to threaten and harm others, STOP insisting that you have a right to KILL other people, STOP thinking you have to defend with deadly force your right to stand in a particular spot of ground, get over your ego and your pride and GET THE HELL OUT OF THERE. If you believe your life is threatened, SAVE IT, don’t try to take another down with you!

  77. 77
    marinerachel

    “Stay home in that safe country of yours officer jitterfingers.”

    Best comment ever.

  78. 78
    eigenperson

    Lakritz writes,

    As an American who is also a Canadian citizen, all I can say is, thank God I live in Canada.

    That’s only part of the story. She should also be thankful that Wawra does not live in Canada. Otherwise, he and people like him would do their best to change the law.

  79. 79
    strange gods before me ॐ

    By the way, where did the info that the young men were giving away free tickets come from? It seems reasonable, but I didn’t see it in the stories I read.

  80. 80
    Zeno

    By the way, where did the info that the young men were giving away free tickets come from?

    Follow PZ’s second link (to where the newspaper confirms that the letter is real) and scroll down to the Twitter feed at the bottom. I was referring to the tweet that says:

    Yep, 2 readers now confirm #NoseHillGentlemen were handing out free #Stampede park passes in Nose Hill. Officer Wawra, you’re an idiot.

    I don’t follow Twitter myself, so I don’t know how much other information is in that stream.

  81. 81
    Holms

    That is one of the most innocuous ‘confrontations’ ever, and he would have pulled his gun on them? Walt Warwa, you are what is wrong with America; America, you are full of fuckheads.

  82. 82
    demonhauntedworld

    The letter in question becomes somewhat more ominous when you realize that “Canadian” is often used as a codeword for black people in certain parts of the U.S. (see #4 and 5):
    http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=canadian

  83. 83
    Jafafa Hots

    The bottom line, I tell them, is that I refuse to walk around feeling like I’m under siege.

    I’d say the same thing only I’d phrase it as “because I’m not a coward.”

  84. 84
    Trickster Goddess

    One time while hiking in Nose Hill Park I had a surprise encounter with a coyote. It left me alone, though, because it was in the process of being attacked by a crow. (True story)

    It’s a tough neighbourhood, I tell ya.

  85. 85
    Trickster Goddess

    @82

    Coincidentally, when I was working in the Vancouver film industry, I learned that the American producers among themselves sometimes referred to their Canadian workers as “snow n*ggers”.

  86. 86
    Rip Steakface

    @82 demonhauuntedworld

    No, it’s not. Urban Dictionary is chock full of trolls, and those are two prime examples of them. I’m an American and have never heard Canadian used as code for blacks.

    You know what people would say here as a codeword instead? Hobo, or “freaks.”

  87. 87
    Louis

    1) I’ve been to Kalamazoo, one of the companies I used to work for had a site there, it didn’t strike me as this sort of “gun toting yeehaa shoot Canadians” an environment. That might be due to a biased sample of folks I met though…

    2) Re: Tourists. One of the funniest arguments I have heard against the smacking of children was from the UK comedian Jeremy Hardy: “People say that smacking children is good because it’s the only language they understand. Fair enough, but this also applies to tourists and the elderly.”

    Personally, as someone who grew up in a highly touristy part of the UK: I endorse the smacking of tourists. Preferably with some sort of bat. I’m thinking: Pipistrelle.

    3) Rebecca Watson.*

    4) Guns don’t kill people, people kill people. SO DON’T GIVE PEOPLE GUNS, FUCKNOZZLE!!!! How hard is this? Seriously? Put the gun down, step away from your adrenal gland, smoke a bowl and chill the living fuck out. Practically the entire civilised world gets along juuuuuust fine without ubiquitous guns, except the USA. Seriously learn to deal with this fact.

    5) If someone came up to me and asked me if I’d been to Place X in an aggressive tone, I’d rush out a denial, put on a false beard and run for it. I’m usually guilty of something. Alternatively, I’d steal his helmet and put it on the top of the enormous Christmas tree in Wimbourne square on New Year’s Eve 1988 after trying to drink my body weight in whiskey and failing dismally by virtue of being a skinny 14 year old over-influenced by the writing s of P G Wodehouse** at the time.

    WHICH TOTALLY NEVER HAPPENED AND YOU CAN’T PROVE A THING!

    Louis

    * The US comedian Lewis Black (a personal favourite I have to say. His comedy is worrying identical to my inner monologue. Which as his comedic style has been described as “having a mental breakdown” always makes me feel good) made the joke: “Michael Jackson. {audience laughter} That’s it. That’s the joke. All I have to say is Michael Jackson and you do the rest. He’s his own punchline. He works for any joke. How many clowns does it take to change a light bulb? Michael Jackson. My dog’s got no nose, how does he smell? Michael Jackson.”. I feel that Rebecca Watson has achieved a similar status in atheist/sceptical circles for different reasons (less pleasant ones for her, sadly). MJ was funny because of his ridiculous actions, RW is funny because of the ridiculous actions of others.

    ** One of the things I love about the “ZOMG violent video games make our children killers” crowd is that, quite genuinely, I was inspired to steal a policeman’s helmet by the acts of the Drones in P G Wodehouse novels. It just seemed like such a lark. As a determinedly upper middle class child in a horribly cosseted environment where even moderate drug offences etc were simply ignored, this was the one act that got me in the most trouble for the first twenty something years of my life. Watch out people, literature corrupts. BAN WOOSTER!!!!!!!

  88. 88
    Alethea Kuiper-Belt

    Thanks for the info. Twitter feeds, when I’m at work, just look like a big block of red.

  89. 89
    Louis

    BTW Lewis Black is funnier in the non-paraphrased version.

    Louis

  90. 90
    madtom1999

    At Vancouver Airport there is terminal for internal flights next to a terminal for international flights and a completeley seperate US flights terminal.
    I guess those from the US think they get special treatment* but I think we all know better now.

    *More expensive Cuban cigars?

  91. 91
    andrewskegg

    Sounds like they were being asked to a local restaurant or night club. Frankly, I am relived the jittery off duty police officer did not draw a loaded weapon on these two gentleman as the situation could have easily spiralled out of control.

  92. 92
  93. 93
    dianne

    the ban on conceal and carry ICBMs.

    Here’s my proposal for a compromise on this issue: Conceal and carry ICBMs are allowed, but only if they’re truly concealed on your person. If they are visible or readily detectible, they’re illegal. Also, smaller weapons are illegal because clearly you can’t take down the coming dictatorship, be it Obama or Rmoney, with a handgun. Only an ICBM will do.

  94. 94
    raymoscow

    A 20-yr police veteran is unable to deal with two verbally ‘aggressive’ young men without a pistol? Does this guy need a gun to handle every potential problem?

    If so, he seems unqualified for police work.

    He also fails to notice that he actually had verbally sorted the ‘problem’ without the threat or use of violence.

  95. 95
    Lyn M: ADM MinTruthiness

    @ robro #75

    I wonder how many of these folks who think they have a right to carry guns around, understand that it wasn’t always that way in the US. For example, the ostensible cause of the Gun Fight at the OK Corral was because the cowboys hadn’t turned in their guns, and the Earps came to confiscate them. From what I can gather, towns often required people to check their guns when they came into town because of the well understood dangers of having people walking around with sidearms.

    Actually, the opposite is said to have happened. The Clantons had just come from court and were unarmed. They met with some others of the family, who probably were armed. The Earps and Doc Holliday closed in on them, some speculate because they were unarmed at the time.

    The dis-arming ordinance was controversial, although it was enforced in some famous towns in the Old West.

  96. 96
    gordona

    And like a good USer he wants special privileges the US doesn’t afford its tourists. According to Lonely Planet or somesuch a non-USer can’t even buy a gun in the US for several months. Fortunately my trained New Zealand indifference allowed me to deal with pissed off waiters when I gave them god-tips. By the way thanks for drawing my attention to them on this blog (I think) some months ago. Saved a fortune.

  97. 97
    triskelethecat

    For some reason, I seem to remember this guy’s name. Don’t recall why – but my parents live in MI and I may have seen him in some paper with a letter to the editor or something. And, K’zoo does have a bunch of uh…gun lovers…who think that all those non-white, (add your own epithets) should to back to (add your own slur for country).

  98. 98
    dianne

    And, K’zoo does have a bunch of uh…gun lovers…who think that all those non-white, (add your own epithets) should to back to (add your own slur for country).

    The US is a multiethnic country and has been for centuries. Head back to England if you don’t like it*!

    *With apologies to all the English people I’m implicitly wishing these guys on. Don’t panic, they’ll be too disturbed by the NHS to take me up on it.

  99. 99
    alasdhair

    Never mind the NHS, just seeing unarmed policemen will freak them out ;-)

  100. 100
    Nick Gotts

    dianne,

    That wouldn’t work for them: England is multiethnic too, and has been for centuries (Elizabeth I, in the late 16th century, complained about the number of “Moors” in the country).

  101. 101
    Hammer of dog

    I feel sorry for people whose default position is that anyone they don’t know is a threat. Such paranoia must be very stress inducing.

    Also, if guns were illegal then yes, anyone owning a gun would be a criminal. I recently had this discussion with a classmate. He used that tired line on me, so I asked him, “If gun ownership were made illegal tomorrow, would you turn in your guns? Or would you maybe keep one or two?” (I’ll presume for the moment that we would retain our other rights, like that against unreasonable search and seizure.) Not surprisingly, I did not get an answer. In this case, silence was all the answer I needed.

  102. 102
    anubisprime

    From fear ignorance and cowardice it is but a simple hop to carrying a concealed weapon as a camouflage for the inadequacy that is apparently primarily a fundamentalist Christian trait.
    Explains the ‘gud ole bhoys’ in the NRA…for Ma, Apple pie, country muzak and ‘merica de brave in the name of jeebus kristos!

    So macho are they that they want no one to know they are carrying their own personal baba pacifier all snug and neat because they have not grown up yet..and they still suffer night terrors from reds under the bed to psychopathic clowns inhabiting their wardrobe…or indeed their local cinema!

    Self fulfilling prophecy really…you sell guns and wallow in gun culture someone will get shot…and not just the deserving.

    But fundamentalist xians just lurve’ them some Schadenfreude…it makes them feel all pink and fluffy inside every-time their tyrannical delusional god character has a brain fart and the innocent die!
    Blaming atheism, after all, never gets old!

  103. 103
    randay

    I was approached by two young guys in slacks, white shirts, and old-fashioned narrow ties, very suspicious, outside my house. They menacingly asked me if I knew someone named Gawd and started to pull something black out of their pockets. They obviously weren’t from the neighborhood, seemed to have bad intentions and I thought they were mafia looking to settle scores with this Gawd guy and maybe thought I was involved. Fortunately I was packing, drew, and shot them before they could hurt me.

  104. 104
    birgerjohansson

    If the deterrent is proportional to the firepower, will I be extra safe if I carry a rocket-propelled grenade /flame thrower in plain sight?

  105. 105
    Louis

    Randay,

    I’d have taken off and nuked the site from orbit. It’s the only way to be sure.

    Louis

  106. 106
    Maureen Brian

    I am somewhat confused. Why did this silly man ever go to Canada if he expected and needed to be exactly like home?

  107. 107
    Shplane, Spess Alium

    It’s the fact that idiots like this make up much if not most of our police forces that makes cops completely untrustworthy. Sure, I might be dealing with Officer Brofist who’s going to give me the complete benefit of the doubt and helps little old ladies save kittens from trees.

    Or I could be dealing with the asshole, and get shot for asking him if he’s been to the rodeo.

    @maureenbrian

    Probably the same reason why my step-grandfather (Is that what you call a guy who marries your grandmother but is not your grandfather? It seems appropriate) complains about our local Japanese restaurant not having butter and rolls.

  108. 108
    Lyn M: ADM MinTruthiness

    @maureenbrian #106

    Why did this silly man ever go to Canada if he expected and needed to be exactly like home?

    A lot of Canada is very like the USA. Calgary is supposed to be as it is considered right wing. But there are differences. I remember an American woman asking directions in the Toronto subway saying how like her home in the US she found Canada. I pointed out the train she needed and commented cryptically, “Wait until you try to buy a six pack of beer and a bottle of wine for a party.”

    In Ontario, you buy most beer from one government outlet but whisky and wine must be purchased at a different outlet. Some wine you can buy in grocery stores, but last I was in Ontario, there was little choice there. When I visited California and found umpteen varieties of beer in a humble grocery store, I was quite impressed. Québec is different, of course.

  109. 109
    sailor1031

    If Kalamazoo has so much crime one wonders if some of it might not be attributable to paranoid overreaction on the part of the police there? Judging by the obvious mental state of Walt Wawra, IQ and psychological fitness standards must be a tad low in the KPD. Scary.

  110. 110
    McC2lhu doesn't want to know what you did there.

    As someone that was born in Calgary and spent most of my life there, and am only abroad out of courtesy to my wife’s love of the food in Little Saigon in OC, the typical Calgarian would never want you back in town anyway, Walt. Stay home and polish your guns. The once every half decade gun violence that happens in the region is more than enough without arming everyone so the random chance of unfortunate matching of psychopathy with easily obtainable arms creates the bi-weekly grisly news headlines on American news. Tell your gun-nut friends how much you hated the place too so they can stay away as well.

  111. 111
    hypatiasdaughter

    #105 randay – You wins the thread!

  112. 112
    hypatiasdaughter

    Ooops – Sorry Louis, I meant #103 randay

  113. 113
    donny5

    I think Walt should thank his lucky stars he didn’t take that gun with him. There is no “Stand Your Ground” laws in Canada and so he probably would have shot those boys and now he’d facing a life sentence in jail.

    Being a Canadian, I think it is easy to sit on this side of the boarder and think of Americans as a bunch of gun happy hillibillies but whenever I go to the U.S. I always find Americans to be very generous, friendly and out going people. I have been all over and it seems the same wherever I go.

    I do despise American gun policy because the easy access has allowed guns to filter into my country. I live in Toronto this summer there a number of public shootings that are gang related because it so easy to get guns from across the boarder. Maybe the crimminals could get them anyway but why make it for them?

  114. 114
    HappyHead

    Walt there is one of the major reasons why, when I lived across the border from Detroit, I refused any and all invitations to go over the border into Michigan. That, and the number of people my friends working on the bridge had to turn back to the US because of the rifles/guns sitting out in plain view in their car/truck, that they were very angry they couldn’t bring into Canada with them.

  115. 115
    aaronpound

    It’s the macho Jack Bauer-Jason Bourne-Whatever that old movie was called where the Soviets invaded a high school bullshit.

    I think you are referring to Red Dawn. I’ve seen it a couple times, and I’ve come to the conclusion that it is fairly unsympathetic to the “must have gun to defend my rights” crowd. The only handgun owner we see is cold and dead, with a “They Can Pry My Gun from My Cold dead Fingers” bumper sticker. The soldier who pulls the gun out of his hand does so pretty contemptuously – clearly the gun owner wasn’t much of a hindrance.

    The group that ends up turning into guerrillas does so reluctantly, mostly just wanting to hide out in the woods, away from the ongoing war. The one who is the most gung-ho about killing is warned that his hate will burn him up, and it does. Almost all the kids die. Hundreds of other people die. Using guns has consequences in the movie, and they aren’t pretty.

  116. 116
    Ibis3, Let's burn some bridges

    Calgary is supposed to be as it is considered right wing. But there are differences.

    For example, I don’t know that Walt would be too comfortable with a Muslim mayor.

  117. 117
    TGAP Dad

    I’m sure when he looks in the mirror he imagines a mild-mannered superhero-type fellow ready to swoop down and save the day from any would-be bad guys about to menace the innocents. I see George Zimmerman with a hair trigger and a copy’s swagger.

  118. 118
    nms

    I doubt he would have shot anyone. If he were going to shoot people for speaking to him, he’d have left behind a trail of bodies by now.

    I think this is more a case of going on holiday in a furrin land without your security blanket. With any luck next time he’ll opt to stay home.

  119. 119
    What a Maroon, el papa ateo

    I love the irony here:

    I thank the Lord Jesus Christ they did not pull a weapon of some sort, but rather concluded it was in their best interest to leave us alone.

    So JC is responsible for the fact that they didn’t have weapons, and not the same laws that didn’t allow Wawra to carry his?

  120. 120
    CT Chimako.27

    I’m an American and have never heard Canadian used as code for blacks.

    I’m a southren, surrounded by racists of all stripes, never heard a single one bother to use any code words at all. I’m not sure they have the brains to do that. If they are trying to fly under the radar at work they use the “PC” words with a little deranged sneer. “blaaack African american”

  121. 121
    nickcharles

    Broad daylight in a motherfucking park with your S.O. does not equal 4 AM alone in a fucking elevator with a stranger. I’d be a little more forgiving of the guy and his fucking 2nd Amendment fwapping if he’d been approached in similar environs, and I don’t recall Rebecca Watson lamenting the absence of a fucking derringer in her fucking garter when confronted by Elevator Guy.

    Jesus fucking Christ…

  122. 122
    Jeffrey G Johnson

    The hyper-hyper-vigilant conservative mind is so full of imaginary fear. And the two men he encountered were probably just religious proselytizers spreading the “good” news.

    I wonder what it would be like to encounter Walt on a trail. The man seems decidedly hostile and unfriendly to strangers. Noticing that he carries a gun would even make him scarier. In conservative world it’s much better to be hated and feared than to be liked or loved.

  123. 123
    Ms. Daisy Cutter, General Manager for the Cleveland Steamers

    Anteprepro:

    Walt assumes hostility based on little to no evidence, can’t logic his way out of a paper bag, and desperately, desperately wants to be able to have a gun at his side at all times. Sounds like a real winning combination your typical American cop.

    FIFY.

    Ray Moscow, unfortunately that is the type of individual that the police in the U.S. recruit for. I shudder to think how Wawra has treated people in his custody over the last two decades.

    (Anyone who wants to argue “a few bad apples” here can go get bent. Yes, there are good cops, but, as I’ve said before, the other 90% give them a bad name. American police culture is overall violent, bigoted, and dishonest.)

    Jadehawk:

    just to clear up some confusion, canadian bacon is made from pigs, not canadians.

    Not Canadians wearing blue uniforms?

    And to think, we get to enjoy people like that guy as well as the arm-in-arm five-abreast stopped in the middle of the sidewalk to look at the map tourists.

    introduce one to the other. both problems will solve themselves in short order.

    Awesome.

    Happiestsadist, I wish it were just tourists. It’s lots of people, everywhere.

    craigrheinheimer:

    I don’t recall you taking the same stance with Elevator Gate.

    Gosh, it couldn’t be that there’s a significant difference between…

    a. Man, a veteran cop, out in public with wife in broad daylight, being approached by two people handing out passes to a tourist attraction and wishing he could have had a gun handy; and

    b. Woman, in elevator, at 4 a.m., with strange man who stops the car between floors and propositions her, and who merely says in a video later, “Guys, don’t do that”?

    Demonhauntedworld, I hate to give Wawra any credit, but he didn’t actually use the term “Canadians” in his letter. Just an unpleasant coincidence, I think.

    Rip Steakface, I was going to say before DHW provided links that I’ve heard that usage of “Canadian” elsewhere. It’s not widespread, however.

  124. 124
    Ms. Daisy Cutter, General Manager for the Cleveland Steamers

    Jeffrey G Johnson:

    The hyper-hyper-vigilant conservative mind is so full of imaginary fear.

    A friend whose trainwreck syndrome is even worse than mine once lurked on some forum for wingnuts. One of them wrote that he had to go to Washington, D.C. in the near future and was terrified, because Washington was full of SCARY NON-WHITES AND FURRINERS and it has gun control. Other people were advising him on what sorts of non-gun weapons he should be concealing on his person. Like, knives all over his body, including his shoe tops.

    Have I mentioned that the trip was a class school trip for one of his kids, and he was a chaperone?

  125. 125
    What a Maroon, el papa ateo

    So Kalamazoo, with a population of about 74,000, had 9 murders last year (at least I assume that the data in the link was for last year, though it doesn’t specify). It’s one of the most dangerous cities in the US.

    Calgary, with a population of over 1,000,000, had 11 homicides last year.

    I hope Officer Wawra feels safe now that he’s back home. Although judging from the crime rates, I wonder how wise it is to let Kalamazoo policemen go on vacations.

  126. 126
    trewesterre

    Oh man, my other half’s parents live in Kalamazoo. Remind me not to be nice to the locals if I’m walking around drunk.

    That’s what it sounds like (a little). A couple of guys had a bit to drink, probably they just came from the Stampede and were just being extra friendly to a couple they saw walking in the park. I can understand not really knowing what to say to exuberant drunks (or general random strangers who say anything other than “hi”), but even though I’m generally awkward about it, I’d probably just say a few words in response and continue on my way. I’m not sure what’s threatening about other people out enjoying the day in a busy park.

  127. 127
    PatrickG

    I don’t know, it might actually drop the rate of gun violence if more officers went on vacation:

    “Among the other five justifiable homicides in Kalamazoo County, three were fatal shootings of civilians by police officers…”

    Just one article, no pretense at rigor here. Sometimes random googling is fun though.

  128. 128
    Skip White

    I’m shocked, shocked to think that this heroic patriot’s God-given rights from the second amendment to the U.S. Constitution cease to exist once he’s not in the U.S.!

  129. 129
    jiuguizi

    I spend my undergrad in Kalamazoo. But I was in the tiny liberal arts college,s o my perspective might be way off. But generally speaking, everywhere I went in Michigan, Kalamazoo included, was not all that different from Wisconsin, or dare I say it, Minnesota. Mostly nice, normal people, with enough diehard NRA boosters to remind me that I felt infinitely safer when I lived in a functioning police state on the other side of the world.

    In fairness to Kalamazoo though, they do have the Kalamazoo Plan going for them, which is generally awesome.

  130. 130
    HappiestSadist, Repellent Little Martyr

    Chiming in that I’ve head of the alternate, racist meaning of “Canadians” as well, through sites for service industry people to vent. Lots of people whose co-workers won’t serve “Canadians”.

  131. 131
    trewesterre

    Kalamazoo also has a pretty awesome pizza place (Bilbo’s) and a decent microbrewery (Bells). I haven’t spent a lot of time there, but it doesn’t seem that bad.

    Well, I guess there was the time I was driving from my other half’s friend’s house (yeah being the DD), got lost and we found ourselves suddenly in a trailer park. That was weird. My OH also has some stories of various sketchy incidents he witnessed at various points… so maybe it’s just a thing where I haven’t been there a lot.

  132. 132
    gregoryhilliard

    My wife and I were visiting Toronto back in ’82, and on the balcony across from us were two men from Windsor in town for a convention. The one guy was my size (5-8, 180), and the other about 6-4, but he stood behind the shorter man and eyed us warily. The shorter guy said not to mind him, that he thought all Americans carried machine guns. He did point out that Windsor is right across from Detroit.
    I love Canada and have been there a half dozen times. It still amazes me that a Canadian would think that I would leap the eight feet between balconies to get at him. On the 23rd floor of the Delta Chelsea.

  133. 133
    shades

    Oh, come on, I’m an American who doesn’t watch TV and has never been to a rodeo (or Alberta), and even *I* know that’s what the Calgary Stampede is.

    Of course, I’m one of those pesky Americans that travels outside her own country on a reasonably regular basis and is for gun control, so I probably don’t count as a Real American.

    It’s really all about the paranoia, it seems. This guy’s in a different country (OMG!) and someone TALKED to him (zOMG!) and he didn’t have his security gun (zOMGBBQ!1!). Paranoia’s the problem with all the anti-gun-control people, and, it seems, most of the right — they believe everyone is out to get them and their ‘way of life’ and act accordingly. Fear of the unknown is fairly natural, and when you have a culture that supports ignorance, that’s a LOT of unknown.

    As for travel, when I took a solo trip to Europe my grandmother freaked out about my safety. I told her that in Seattle I could be mugged with a gun, and in Paris I’d be mugged with a knife — and I’d rather take my chances with the knife, thanks. :P

  134. 134
    OldEd

    And, contrary to what some Christians apparently believe, we can’t enslave them, either… What a shame.

  135. 135
    HappiestSadist, Repellent Little Martyr

    gregoryhilliard: Before I got online, and thus ended up with a majority of my e-friends being American, I was sort of wary of Americans in general. In my defence, I was also quite young.

    Remember, no bringing guns across the border into Canada, but if you’re going the other way…:http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/story/2005/06/08/despres050608.html (There’s a reason I describe my hometown as David Lynchian.)

  136. 136
    anubis0100

    Man, talk about near-death experiences. This story convinced me to never again leave my house without my rocket launcher.

  137. 137
    mikmik

    anubis0100, LMAO!
    Are we sure this cop isn’t from the NYPD, or maybe Oakland?

    If I was him I would have been suspicious, too. I mean, how often to Calgarians ask tourists if they’ve been to the Stampede? Especially guys chawing on a lump of tobaccy the size of their fist?

  138. 138
    anteprepro

    It was dark out. The streets were dimly lit by intermittent lampposts. Racially diverse groups were skittering about, chattering in a speech that was incomprehensible to my ears, glaring in my direction, scratching at their pockets with lips pursed in an expression of sheer hatred. There was no refuge for me in this city. The moon gleamed on the gnashing teeth of a thousand would-be criminals, biding their time, basking in the shadows until me or my beloved got close enough for them to pounce. To take their revenge for the years of fighting against their kind. Against the Criminal Class.

    We ducked into the nearest building, its door unlocked. It was dimly lit, relatively empty, with a few people sitting quietly at tables. They stared, with a subdued anger sparkling in their eyes. They hated me. They would all eviscerate me with nails peeled out of the floorboards, tear me into nothing but a fleshy carpet, and spit upon my lonely grave. We sat down in a dark corner, and the rest of the people inside went back to their nonsensical chatter, directing their faces towards each other instead of threatening me with their hateful gazes. But I knew. I knew their plans, and their violent urges.

    My beloved sat across from me. Asked me why I looked so nervous. I spoke sweet nothings, white lies. I could never say out loud what mortal danger we were both in. I could never shatter the illusions of my naive S.O., who did not quite realize that we were in the belly of the beast.

    Suddenly, one of the horrible denizens of this place shambled up to us, clothed in darkness with a gleaming white, shark-like grin. With incredible, intentional speed, he came over to our private little corner, aiming his movement directly towards us for reasons I simply couldn’t fathom. With a pad of paper with illegible scrawlings all over it, he asked “How can I help you?”. I stared in gaping horror. The audacity. He grinned more deeply, even more sinister, his face glowing in sadistic delight as he asked “Can I get you something to drink?”. Poison. He was going to poison us. And then I noticed, in sheer quaking terror: A knife. A knife was on the table. And the man dressed in black chuckled in the silence, eyes darting to the knife. He was out for blood.

    I was a hero that night. If it weren’t for the Second Amendment, I would not have been the savior of that restaurant. Oh, it may have technically been homicide to shoot that waiter, but it was clearly justified. Why won’t anyone believe me? I am one of the good guys! One of the good guys!

  139. 139
    ButchKitties

    The guy apparently has the personal protection of the Lord Jesus Christ, so I don’t see why he thinks he needs a puny human weapon like a gun.

  140. 140
    PatrickG

    @ButchKitties

    God helps those who help themselves shoot first, ask questions later.

  141. 141
    PatrickG

    @ anteprepro

    NOT A KNIFE! QUELLE HORREUR!

  142. 142
    neilcn

    I have a different perspective to this police officer – I’m also a police officer with 25 Years service, and I have NEVER carried a gun while on duty. Most of us here in the UK don’t – and surveys show we are still content to be a largely unarmed policing service. I do feel that it makes for a more community orientated policing style, not to assume that you will need to draw a weapon every time a citizen approaches you in conversation…….

    …..I’d be worried if this guy was on my team.

  143. 143
    cuervocuero

    What gets me is the ‘hero’ noted their baffled expressions at his response.

    Also, Nosehill park is not ‘wooded’ in the way people might think ‘Red Riding Hood going to Gramma’s house’ kind of park. It’s several acres of natural preserve long grass prairie at the high altitude end of town with a view of the mountains and downtown, etc. You have to work to get into the scattered copses in the hollows and lees and even then, you’d likely trip over deer and coyotes. It’s very popular for dayhiking. So, this dude was having a ‘facedown’ in the wide open, hot summer sun. He was in more danger of being struck by lightning from a foothills thunder storm.

    With my luck, he’d have shot at them and hit me, there’s that little in the way. Bet there’s a lot of American rodeo folks rolling their eyes at their fellow Yank right now and talking about the shallow end of the gene pool. I mean, the dude’s bragwhining in print about being acephalic.

  144. 144
    Tekore

    Re: #46

    So, are you implying that if Rebecca had just shot the guy in the elevator, then you would be cool with that as a totally justified response?

  145. 145
    patterson

    I love this story, especially as I’ve just been debating with a bunch of anti gun control types. I normally don’t bother but their arguments were just so bizarre and disconnected with reality that I had to point this out to them. It didn’t go over well.

    If it happens again I’ll have to remember officer Wawra from Kalamazoo.

  146. 146
    Crissa

    I wrote a quick and to the point letter to the http://www.kalamazoopublicsafety.org/contact to request that Officer Wawra be made aware of the proper handling of his firearm. I took his lawfully given statement to mean he did not understand the proper use of his firearm.

    My father was shot and killed by a police office mishandling his weapon – he shot up our car because it did not yield for him in a busy supermarket parking lot. I feel rather strongly that police should be under the strictest of oversight when it comes to gun use. We trust officers to be the ones we depend up to be armed and to respond appropriately when we need them.

  147. 147
    gdr55

    This guy’s a cop? Don’t the Kalamazoo P.D. recruits have to take an intelligence tests to like any police service here? Obviously the couple had tourist written all over them. Even if they weren’t walking around in a coat and gloves when it’s 30C, (that’s 86F to you yanks) some do stick out. These two guys were just being friendly. Besides if you’re in Calgary in early July and not there for the Stampede, what are you there for? Bozo the clown should be happy he didn’t have a gun. Let’s see illegal possession of a restricted weapon (handgun), illegal transportation of a firearm, , using a firearm in the commission of a crime, carrying a concealed weapon, that’s about 15 years right there and buddy hasn’t pulled the trigger yet. This year was the 100th year of the Calgary Stampede. If he had have shot those people he might be out in time to celebrate the 150th. I’ll take our Peace, Order and Good Government over Life Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness any day.

  148. 148
    jackolantern

    Forgive me if I’m repeating something that’s already been posted, but I didn’t read all the comments.

    It’s probably a good thing that off-duty officer wasn’t allowed to carry in Canada, because we’d probably have two injured/dead Canadians and one dumbass rotting in one of our prisons.

  149. 149
    nickcharles

    Yeah! Rotting in one of your liberal, pinko CANADIAN prisons! Why, I hear in Canada only the prisoners are armed! The guards are just there to ensure the linens are fresh, the maple leaf emblazoned mugs are brimming with Molson’s, and the TVs are tuned to the hockey game! GOOOOOOOOOOOOOAL ANARCHY! Now pass the fucking maple syrup, pig!

  150. 150
    What a Maroon, el papa ateo

    QUELLE HORREUR!

    Quit that commie speak, buster. ‘Round these parts, we talk Christian, gaddummit.

  151. 151
  152. 152
    keresthanatos

    This is where I live: Spartanburg SC, USA 2012 ; some stats

    Aggravated Assaults in 2012: 1,423
    Number of Births in 2012: 3490
    Burglaries in 2012: 2,683
    Birth Rate per 1000 People in 2012: 13.2
    Forcible Rapes in 2012: 104
    Number of Deaths in 2012: 2615
    Larceny and Theft in 2012: 8,216
    Death Rate per 1000 People in 2012: 9.9
    Motor-Vehicle Theft in 2012: 1,123
    Number of Infant Deaths in 2012: 49
    Murders in 2012: 17
    Rate of Infant Death per 1000 Live Births in 2012: 14
    Robberies in 2012: 324
    Total Property Crimes in 2012: 12,022
    Total Violent Crimes in 2012: 1,868
    Total Area in Square Miles: 819
    Area Rank: 1,131
    Population in 2012: 271,087
    Population Rank in 2012: 225
    Persons per Square Mile in 2012: 334.3

    Only August, the heat has slowed things down.

    City of Spartanburg

    Population 37,013 Spartanburg violent crimes
    MURDER RAPE ROBBERY ASSAULT
    REPORT TOTAL 6 18 129 495
    RATE PER 1,000 0.16 0.49 3.49 13.37

    United States violent crimes
    MURDER RAPE ROBBERY ASSAULT
    REPORT TOTAL 14,748 84,767 367,832 778,901
    RATE PER 1,000 0.05 0.27 1.19 2.52

    sorry about the lousy formatting, to busy dodging bullets and Knives, the ex is visiting….Gawd is she hot…. I love strong wymenzs

  153. 153
    carlie

    Crissa, I’m really sorry. That’s too terrible for words.

    A couple of weeks ago in the Adirondacks (upstate New York), an off-duty cop on vacation shot and killed what he thought was an intruder coming into his hotel room. It was his son, who was staying with him.

  154. 154
    Anthony K

    I’m sorry to hear that too, Crissa. I’m glad you wrote a letter.

  155. 155
    kayden

    Thank goodness Wawra wasn’t armed during his visit to Canada. Can you imagine the international incident that would have been created if an American tourist killed two unarmed Canadians whose only “crime” was to approach him to invite him to a stampede?

    Whoa! Talk about ugly Americans.

    I can picture my Canadian family/friends shaking their heads in disbelief when they hear this story.

  156. 156
    sadunlap

    @ gdr55

    On behalf of my country I apologize for Officer Wawra, for Kalamazoo, for … well, the general idiocy of this, this, I don’t know what to call it.

  157. 157
    Lyn M: ADM MinTruthiness

    @ Ibis #116

    Awesome!

  158. 158
    AtheistPowerlifter

    Oh you silly Americans…Officer Wawru is very “in tune” with the Canadian criminal subculture, and is lucky to be alive!

    Canadians aren’t admitting it here…and I may get some flack for revealing this…but every Canadian knows that “Been to the stampede yet..?” means: “Your money or your life you fearful backwoods Yank!”.

    Seriously, what’s with the culture of fear in America?

    AP

  159. 159
    Menyambal

    In American national news, some customers at a late showing of the new Batman movie noticed a man in the audience had a pistol tucked under his belt. They notified the theater, they notified SWAT, and they told everyone to come out with their hands up for a pat-down. The guy with the pistol didn’t come out, he just kept texting. It turns out he is a lawyer of some sort, with a concealed-carry permit, concerned about getting home safe, and feels his second-amendment rights were violated. They arrested him for failure to cooperate with police.

  160. 160
    grendelsmother

    Walt Warwa should have been the man whom the RCMP senselessly tazered to death instead of the Polish man.

  161. 161
    deborahreagan

    Way too many of my countrymen (and women) are idiots and are absolutely scared of everything. I lived in Calgary for 3 years in the late 1990s and loved it. I’ve since 10 years of hard time in Bakersfield, California, lived in The Netherlands for 3 years and have just moved to Beijing, China. There is one common question I’ve been asked in every foreign country and you know what it is? “Do you own a gun?” NO! I don’t! Baseball bats work better for me :)

  162. 162
    DaveH

    Heh. It’s “cultural differences”.

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/story/2012/07/23/wdr-guns-windsor-border.html

    Some idiot lawyer is actually trying to use that as a defense when he represents Americans caught with guns at the border.

    I don’t think mandatory minimum sentances usually work as a deterrent, against the crime itself or recidivism (they almost always make it worse in the latter). However in this case, against “upstanding U.S. citizens” the deterrent might actually be worth while, since they have so much to lose. Just getting caught at the border with a restricted (e.g. all handguns) or prohibited (many handguns, many types of semi-auto rifles, any magazine over 5 rounds for a rifle or 10 for a handgun) gets you three years in jail. Although, the Crown prosecutor (equiv to the DA) has the option to reduce that. Note, not the judge, the prosecutor. The judge has no choice. (sigh) Our current idiotic government makes we want to punch a wall.

  163. 163
    plutosdad

    At a hardware store last night a teenager tapped me in the chest then stared at me. I asked “can I help you?” and he just kept staring. I asked again “do you need anything?” and he said nothing, and walked away. It was around that point I realized he had a developmental disability. If I were this American I might have flipped out at nothing and killed an innocent person.

    There was another time just last month I was trying to find a store on my phone while on the sidewalk, and a guy rode up on his bike and stood barely a foot away and said “are you navigatin? are you navigatin?” I put my phone in my pocket and walked away. That was creepy and with all the phone thefts I figured better safe than sorry. Again, I did not feel the need to shoot the guy.

  164. 164
    ck

    People like this fellow is one of the many reasons American tourists have such bad reputations internationally. They go to a foreign country, and complain endlessly about how it’s not exactly the same as home which is exactly what this letter to the editor was.

    If you want some place exactly like home, just stay at home. Maybe if you did, your compatriots who do want to experience new things while travelling internationally won’t get treated so poorly.

  165. 165
    keresthanatos

    sorry about the delay in posting, (server problems, admin cut off iptables and left it off) what I was trying to impress is that though I live in one of the rougher places in the southeast (safer than 1% of all american cities), I don’t automatically assume “bad intentions” from strangers approching me.

    He needs a long vacation in the Alaskan wilderness. At least up there you have a need for high capacity mags, shotguns, hand guns, long guns, bows, guns,knives and grenades and claymores, and RPG’s (ok, ok, i admit it, I am really,really paranoid about Kodiak bears, and Grizzles).

    Short of that he really needs to apologise to the whole population of Canada. Makes it look like all us Merkans are Loons.

  166. 166
    PatrickG

    @ keresthanatos

    Makes it look like all us Merkans are Loons.

    Sadly, generalizations along those lines are fairly accurate. Not 100%, but we are kind of loons.

    Though I’m still very impressed that I was able to travel freely and visit museums in Guatemala/Nicaragua* as a (very) white American without any (obvious) animosity. I know I’d hold a grudge…

    *Those museums/curators did not like Reagan. Not blaming em, just sort of a Whoa! moment when I saw how he was described.

  167. 167
    Useless

    Damn! And he didn’t turn over all his money after a threatening question like that? If that had been Kalamazoo, I’ll bet those two would wish they had kept quiet.

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