Just when you thought American tourists couldn’t do any more to make us all look bad, you realize that when it comes to looking like fools, Americans are truly exceptional.
Meet Walt Wawra, a police officer from Kalamazoo, Michigan, who recently vacationed in Calgary, Alberta with his wife. But like any good American, he knows that we are never truly safe, anywhere. Walt wrote to the Calgary Herald of a harrowing experience:
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.
Two short paragraphs in, and we already have guns, implicit mockery of Canada, and the invocation of Aurora. This is not off to a good start.
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.
From this description, only their tone was aggressive, whatever that might mean. Walt’s years as a cop must give him unique insight into interpreting Canadian tones. Beyond that, it is unclear what exactly happened. Perhaps the two men looked bewildered because Walt didn’t surrender his wallet out sheer politeness? Oh well – at least there’s no need to blow such a minor situation out of propor–
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.
Goodness, I can see the cause for Walt’s fear. Stampedes kill people, and it probably ain’t a pleasant way to go! What is this Stampede that these nefarious ruffians spoke of, anyway?
Organized by thousands of volunteers and supported by civic leaders, the Calgary Stampede has grown into one of the world’s richest rodeos, one of Canada’s largest festivals and a significant tourist attraction for the city. Rodeo and chuckwagon racing events are televised across Canada.
Walt, Walt, Walt. Maybe the problem isn’t park ruffians. Maybe the problem is that the Canadians aren’t the thugs here. Have you considered that? (Of course he hasn’t.)
Not at all surprisingly (or undeservedly), Canadians are not taking this outrage lying down. The situation became a Twitter meme for a time (#NoseHillGentlemen), and the Calgary Herald felt the need to confirm for readers that Walt Wawra’s letter was not a hoax.
Oh, and the two guys Walt thought he might have to shoot? They were event promoters giving out free tickets to Stampede. No wonder they looked “bewildered.” I hope the event organizers include something in the training for next year’s Stampede on how to approach skittish American tourists who seem to be wondering who needs to get got.