How dare this man come to my country as a tourist, & behave in that manner!!!!! Guns before questions is a lot of the damn problem with people, & frankly I'm bloody sick of it!!! Then he has to bring up his 'lawd jeezuzz cryst' in his letter as if that makes a difference to what wanted to do!!!!!


American police officer bemoans lack of guns in Canada

by Sameer Vasta

A police officer from Michigan was tempted to pull out his handgun after a seemingly-friendly encounter in a Calgary park. I, for one, am glad he wasn't allowed to have one with him.

If Walt Wawra had his way, a simple and friendly meeting with a couple of Calgarians could have ended in injury, or even death. Thankfully, in Canada, people like Wawra don't have easy access to handguns like they do in Kalamazoo.
Yesterday, the Calgary Herald ran a letter by Wawra, a police officer from Kalamazoo, Michigan, where he bemoaned the fact that he was not allowed to carry his handgun into the country with him on his recent trip to Calgary.
According to Wawra, while he and his wife were strolling through Nose Hill Park during their recent trip up north, they were confronted by two young men who asked if they had gone to the Stampede. When Wawra and his wife didn't answer, the men asked again — Wawra then said that they had nothing to say to the men, and walked away as the friendly Calgarians watched them, bewildered.
Wawra decried the fact that he wasn't able to reach for his handgun during the confrontation. His letter made it clear that he would have felt safer if he were able to brandish his firearm instead of walking away politely.
Here's what I have to say to Walt Wawra: you are ridiculous.The men who approached you and asked if you had gone to the Stampede did so not because they wanted to harm you, but because they were friendly. In Canada, it's not abnormal to be cordial to the people that share the park with you and make conversation; it's especially normal to be asked about the Stampede while in Calgary during the Stampede. The bewildered look you got from the men wasn't because they were threatening, but because they were confused why you wouldn't just say "yes" or "no" and respond to their friendly banter.
If you had pulled out your weapon, Mr. Wawra, I guarantee the situation would have got worse, not better. If you had access to a gun and had brandished it in this situation, all the friendliness would have disappeared from the confrontation and instead be replaced by threat, fear, and confusion.
Nothing good comes from fear: people make stupid mistakes, and those mistakes end with people getting hurt.Mr. Wawra — the reason we don't allow concealed handguns in our parks is to protect ourselves from people like you. The fact that your first instinct in an encounter, friendly or otherwise, was to reach for your weapon, shows that the people we have to fear most are not happy Stampede-goers, but overly-suspicious, gun-happy gun owners that think violence can act as security.
If you had your gun, Mr. Wawra, what was probably just a friendly encounter with two boisterous and happy well-wishers could have ended with the unfortunate and unnecessary loss of life. You may have felt unsafe without your gun here, but I feel safer knowing you don't have it.

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Just ignore the guy. They like to go around and tell people what to do.

I found this to be SO messed up when I read it. 

The Canadians did not act in a threatening manner, they were unarmed, and they simply asked a friendly question.  I have lived in Alberta (though I am an Ontario born-and-raised gal).  The people there are so genuinely friendly and always talkative.  I remember being quite confused when strangers would approach me while I was on a walk and just start chatting.  It is not common here in ON, but I just found it refreshingly strange, not threatening.

How dare this visitor insist that because he has the right to be a douchebag in his own country, that we should allow such offensive behavior here!

All these nuts in the US are gun crazy.  It's the fucking NRA, who cooks their member numbers by the way, that cause all of this crap that over 90% of us americans DON'T want.  Ninety % is the number of us that want stricter gun control.  The lobbyist in DC, who work for the NRA, are dead set against it.  Fucking politicans.

Horrible pun intended!

I think you should put yourself in Wawra's place a bit.

Wawra said the guys got in front of him, blocking his path, and got too close for comfort.  In some places, this would likely be the start of a mugging or being surrounded by a gang. 

I would feel threatened by that, as a woman going around alone.  If it were in an isolated area I would feel very threatened and perhaps take off at a run. 

I don't know about in Canada, but here in the USA people offering stuff don't normally block your path.  And they would say they are offering free tickets, not "start a conversation". 

Partly because people with benign intentions wouldn't want to seem possibly dangerous. 

You don't know what those guys' intentions actually were.  Nose Hill does look like an isolated area, I saw a picture of it. 

As police officer, Wawra is probably often in dangerous situations, and he's developed split-second judgements about what is dangerous.

That doesn't mean he should be allowed to carry a gun in Canada, where he might act on his split-second judgements in a different culture. 

But the Canadians who are mocking him for it, are ignoring both Wawra's probable background and the actual situation that they don't know. 

However, you weren't there.  He described the two guys as quite aggressive. 

An attack could easily start by approaching someone with a seemingly harmless question, to disarm their suspicions. 

Again, I'm not saying that he should be allowed to carry a gun in Canada - but rather that a lot of people are casting judgement when they weren't there.

Many women are raped in places where they feel safe.  Just because people think of the park as a safe place doesn't mean an attack can't happen there. 

ps I note the person in the picture of Nose Hill Park has a dog with them, so they are walking around with protection.  A tourist likely wouldn't have a dog with them. 

I didn't say the dog was for protection,  I said the photo shows a (probably) woman walking with a dog in an isolated area.  She is protected by the dog, even if it isn't a trained guard dog.  People hesitate to attack someone with a dog. 

If women regularly walk around in that big isolated area in Nose Hill Park without a dog or any kind of weapon, and they feel safe - that is some kind of paradise.  Not true in any city I've lived in, and even in the small and relatively safe town where I live now, I would need to run for it if a pair of male strangers got in front of me, too close and acting aggressive. 

The man wanted his gun, in large part to protect his wife.  There is a realistic danger to a woman in an isolated area, even if she has a man with her. 

His depiction of the situation does seem threatening.  Isolated area, two men approach, block their path, they are aggressive, don't go away when the couple is disinterested.  For people to pile on and ridicule him is way off base. 

And, if you as a woman are OK with staying out of wild open areas, that's OK for you.  I am not OK with being barred from natural areas.  If I avoid the threat of rape or a beating or a rape + beating, by staying out of the natural areas that I love, I have ALSO been beaten and raped - in a different way.

The ridicule of this man for wanting to protect his wife - seems so oblivious of the situation of women. 

Also, the Stampede organizers said they were NOT sending people out to offer free tickets.  That was only a rumor.  Nobody knows what the two guys had in mind. 

It's not enough to poison the US with ubiquitous guns.  He travels to another country and bemoans not getting to poison them with the same culture of violence and guns.

It's pathetic.   Gun in hand, someone can just shoot people who are awkward, obnoxious, drunk, unseemly, or, god forbid, black.

He should keep himself, and his guns, at home.

I work in a medical office.  I can't tell you how many times people have threatened me with violence because I would not give them un-warranted narcotics, or fill out forms claiming disability because they felt entitled but were not, or wanted disability because their employers were obnoxious.   Or wanted narcotics, or wanted narcotics.  Or wanted narcotics.  The pharmacy quit stocking most narcotics because they were repeatedly robbed - they have to be ordered ahead, on a one day turn around basis.  I've been physically attacked at close range.  And I'm a big guy.   If those people carried guns, I  would be dead.  If I carried a gun, I would still be dead.  Surprise attacks with a gun can not be defended with a gun.  Proliferation of guns is not shown to improve safety.  I've known a few people who were killed by guns.

Being a police officer is different from working in a medical office.  He would have extensive training with guns.  And if a police officer pulls out his gun or has his hand on it, that doesn't mean he's going to use it. 

I don't necessarily think he should be allowed to carry a gun in Canada, but he's entitled to express his opinions and his feeling of threat. 

A person who's a tourist and doesn't know the place, would feel more threatened too.  He has no way of knowing if the park is safe or not. 

It's an old discontent for me that I can't as a woman be in an isolated natural area by myself, without being threatened.  I used to spend time outdoors all by myself - but repeatedly I overheard men discussing whether to rape me.  A guy did try to rape me once when I was out jogging - in an area I thought was safe, since I wandered all around there as a little girl. 

Once I was wandering around with a boyfriend after dark, among grasses and shrubs, in a place I felt was safe. There was a guy lurking nearby, however.  We got out of there quickly and to a lighted area.  He followed us out, hiding his face when he got to the light by bending down and pretending to tie his shoes.  Having a big guy around only helps some. 

It got a lot better after I got a big dog, but I still tried to hide my camping spots and hide myself so that men wouldn't know I was alone.  I can easily imagine an attack starting with a seemingly harmless question.

Then I got incredibly allergic to dogs ...

Patricia, those things don't happen much, maybe once a year.  But if guns were added to the mix....  terrible.    It would escalate the situation significantly.

I don't believe in getting into risky situations either.  Bad things can still happen but I don't think there is any evidence that freely available guns reduce crime or improve safety.


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