On the heels of my recent thoughts on guns, fear and the resulting failure of leadership in the US, comes a pretty telling story from western Canada.
The whole event is best summed up at Canada’s Globe and Mail newspaper, but here are the highlights:
A Michigan police officer, Walt Wawra, is on vacation in Calgary, Alberta. He and his wife take a stroll in the renowned Nose Hill Park “in broad daylight on a paved trail” and meet a couple of guys who ask if they had been to the (Calgary) Stampede yet? The men ask the question again, “aggressively”, making the off duty officer speculate that they didn’t have “good intentions”. He wishes he had a concealed weapon on hand.
Remarkably, even without this weapon, all ends well.
Then he writes a letter to the editor of The Calgary Herald. You simply must read it and the follow up reaction in Canada.
What catches my eye is his reported exchange with these fellas.
When they asked if he’d been to the Stampede yet, he initially ignores them. They then repeat themselves “aggressively”.
Heck, I would too, thinking, “why is this guy ignoring me?”
Walt then steps between the men and his wife and says “Gentlemen, I have no need to talk with you, goodbye”. The men then “looked bewildered” and moved on.
Of course they looked bewildered. The were wondering why this guy was so unfriendly!
Remember this point: they peacefully moved on…
But even so, Wawra has the audacity to write a letter to a Canadian newspaper telling them that he should have been able to have his gun? While a visitor to a foreign country? He has the audacity to say that Canada’s gun laws make no sense?
The poor guy must wonder why Canadians are such Wary Lemmings when it comes to packin’ heat.
But here’s the kicker:
“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.”
Let me comment on each sentence of that paragraph.
Uniformed officer facing a Life-or-death encounter: Yes that certainly would be expected. But, it is not applicable to Walt Wawra in this situation.
Different expectations: Citizens are not trained law enforcement Walt. Canada is not part of the USA Walt. Canada makes their own laws, including those regarding weapons. Canada is a sovereign country. And in their sovereignty, they have decided that spelling your name on a a concealed weapons permit does not make you equal to the highly trained RCMP. End of discussion.
It is true that in Canada, for the most part, only police can carry handguns. And yes, some criminals do have them as well – helpfully shipped north from the USA. I am sure Canadians would love to thank you personally for that Walt. Bravo!
And in this Wary Lemming’s opinion yes – only the police should carry handguns. If criminals have them illegally, I’ll let the trained professionals handle it.
Canadians do tend to be pretty smug about the national health care system and tight gun laws. Both of these sources of national pride means that they don’t live in fear. Sadly, the same can’t be said for Walt Wawra. But at least he’s got the NRA to lean on.
Would it be too much to say that if Walt had been armed, someone might have been injured, or worse? All because a couple of guys, perhaps enjoying the festivities too much, tried chatting him up? All because a couple of guys rubbed him the wrong way while perhaps scalping? Or worse, maybe because Walt himself might have been having a rough day for some reason?
As a result of reasonable Canadian gun laws, we will never know.
I failed to point out that Canada’s current right wing government repealed one of the country’s more recent gun control laws – the “long gun registry” in February 2012.
As pointed out by Canada’s right wing newspaper the National Post, the conservatives then “attended a cocktail reception with pro-gun lobbyists on Parliament Hill to mark the historic change.”
That reception was closed to the media and the public.
Judging by the level of interest in Canada of the Wawra letter, it seems Canadians still prefer good gun control laws. It seems they are proud to be different than the US in this regard.
Unfortunately, the Conservative Government prefers to listen to NRA lobbyists, not citizens.
So, while it seems that Canadian conservatives have adopted their US mentor’s traditions of ignoring the majority in favor of back-room lobbyists, let’s hope the trend doesn’t continue to the point where Walt Wawra can next visit Canada with a pistol in his pocket.
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