So this story has been making its way around the internets about Walt Wawra, a visitor to Calgary who was set upon by two hoodlums whom he was unable to shoot because of Canada’s over-the-top gun laws that make it illegal to, like, shoot people. It’s already been torn to shreds by the rest of the intelligent world, but it looks like fun so I want to join in. My response in red.
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. [Some might even say you, in particular, should not be carrying a gun at all.]
Yet the police cannot protect everyone all the time. A man should be al-lowed [what?] to protect himself if the need arises. The need arose in a theatre in Aurora, Colo., as well as a college campus in Canada. [Look, there is an argument to be made that if people were "al-lowed" to carry guns, then they could be used to stop violent crimes. There's something to this: absolutely *some* violent crimes could be stopped if the victim or witnesses were armed. Aurora was *not* such a crime. For starters, James Holmes was wearing fucking body armour. Secondly, the room was dark, loud, and filled with fucking tear gas: who knows how many other people might have been shot. Finally, if two or more of the victims had been armed, on what rational basis do you expect that they wouldn't have been shooting at eachother? All you'd know in that situation is that there are two other people in the room who are armed threats. So pro-gun folks: fine, keep bringing up Aurora, but realize that you're shooting yourselves in the foot (so to speak) when you do.]
Recently, while out for a walk in Nose Hill Park, in broad daylight [you know, the time of day when most violent crimes occur] 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 [as is typical for muggers, who can often be stopped with nothing but a request for them to leave you alone], 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. [Not to mention the fact that they just let you walk off without incident] I thank the Lord Jesus Christ [of course you do] they did not pull a weapon of some sort [because in America-land, you have to assume that everyone around you is armed], but rather concluded it was in their best interest to leave us alone. [-slash-left you alone because you asked them to]
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? [Yes, typically. But in what way was this anything resembling a life-or-death encounter? Guys walk up to you in a park, ask a question, and when rebuffed leave you alone. At what point was your life in any actual danger. The question I would love to hear Wawra answer is this: "If you had had a gun on you, would we now be reading a much more tragic story involving two dead men? With only the information available to you at the time, would you have pulled the trigger and if so would you still stand by your decision knowing now that the two men were willing to just let you walk away?] Why then should the expectation be lower for a citizen of Canada or a visitor? [Because a) police carry weapons because they are more likely to be intentionally walking into dangerous situations: that's their job; b) police are trained, not only to wield a firearm properly but also assess whether a situation requires the use or threat of deadly force (I can only assume Wawra missed this day in police school); or c) most people aren't walking around with a fucking gun in their pocket. Take your pick.] Wait, I know – it’s because in Canada, only the criminals and the police carry handguns. [There were 170 firearm related homicides in Canada in 2010[source]. In the US, that number was 8,775[source]. That’s 28.5 gun murders per million people in the US, or 5 gun murders per million people in Canada. You know, it’s almost as if not allowing people to carry guns around, and not constructing a society where guns are seen as “manly” or “an inalienable right” causes fewer gun deaths. Y’know, almost.]
And as a postscript to this story, there’s a possibility that the two “Nose Hill Gentlemen” were simply promoters for the Stampede handing out free passes.