Canada is all a-Twitter re: a letter to the editor from a retired U.S. police officer living north of the border. Walt Wawra was defending the right to keep and bear arms, citing an encounter with some potential perps (or friendly Canucks). Instead, Wawra brought down a s-storm of criticism, derisive of America’s second amendment protections. First, here’s the letter published in calgaryherald.com.
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.
At the time I was writing this post there were 189 comments underneath Wawra’s missive. Most of which don’t show much love for Mr. Wawra or The Land of the Free and The Home of the Brave.
[Note: although I’ve bitched about vox populi as a journalistic genre, this story is about public reaction to Wawra’s letter.]
“God, this cop is a joke,” Torontonian_in_van writes. “Please go back to Michigan and never come back to Canada. Ever.” medicalguy11 is even less inclined to parse the point: “Hahahahahaha Americans.”
Needless to say, the Canadian punditocracy has piled on. The word “laughingstock” is being bandied aboat [sic] like a puck at a Flames game. Here’s Herald columnist’s Naomi Lakritz’s take.
Americans argue that they need to carry guns, because having a concealed weapon makes them feel safe. Their thinking seems to be that at any given moment, they could be under attack from the very next person they meet on the street, and they’ll need to shoot in self-defence. Whereas, when you walk down a street in Canada, you don’t assume that you’re at risk of being suddenly assaulted or killed. You just see ordinary people going about their day and you give their motives no further thought.
And so, Americans, unaware of just how sick their handgun mentality is, continue to fight like crazy to prevent any kind of handgun-control legislation from being implemented. A 9 mm handgun, purchased legally, was the weapon of choice in Oak Creek, Wis., on Sunday when six people were killed and three more wounded by a white supremacist at a Sikh temple. One might argue that if the worshippers had carried guns, they could have killed the guy first. But sitting in a temple armed to the teeth while listening to a sermon about brotherhood and peace is ridiculous.
Because . . . it is. I guess the temple’s murdered leader—a man who tried to defend his members with a butter knife against a Glock-wielding neo-Nazi—would have agreed that concealed carry in a house of worship is a ridiculous idea. Or, at least theoretically, not.
Not everyone up north considers Wawra a paranoid putz. Some Canadian readers understood that the former cop was making a point about what could have happened in his Calgary encounter and what an average Canadian could have done about it if it had (i.e. nothing much).
Of course, we live in transnational times, electronically speaking. So Yanks south of the border have weighed-in on the Wawra controversy. To no great effect. BusterBrown:
Sigh… I give up on you Canadians. You just don’t get it. You are ALL so anti-gun that you berate your own countrymen / women just for mentioning the evil firearm. There are several posters here that have said that they were mugged, beaten and raped but they made the mistake of saying that they wished that they had been able to defend themselves with a weapon. Looking at the vote buttons scores of these poor people, they were unanimously voted down. I guess it is better to be a living, beaten-down, subservient liberal with no dignity than it is to stand up against the thugs and protect yourselves and family. So keep on smiling and trusting strangers at close encounters. I am sure that in another decade or so, your whole country will be violence-free and full of rainbows and unicorn milk.
[h/t James Sutherland]