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Aug-09-2012 16:00printcomments

Canadians are not unarmed Americans with health care

Despite using the same language, reading the same books and magazines and watching the same movies Canadians are, at bottom, fundamentally different.

(Calgary, Alberta) - Known primarily as the oil capital of Canada, every July Calgary hosts the “Stampede” which attracts more than a million visitors to the city—from all over the world. This year it attracted Walt Wawra and his wife—he a 20-year veteran of the Kalamazoo, MI police department.

They were walking in Nose Hill Park, a natural environment park that lies in the northwest part of the Calgary and is surrounded by 12 residential communities and covers 11 square kilometres. It has many hiking trails and dedicated off-leash areas.

After their Calgary visit, he posted a letter to the editor of the Calgary Herald:

”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 allowed 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, "Gentlemen, 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.

That letter generated a considerable amount of national coverage—and derision.

On Twitter, the letter was the butt of jokes even spawning its own hash tag: #NoseHillGentlemen.

Gawker called Wawra the “laughingstock of Canada.”

The Globe and Mail’s headline was: “Gun-loving U.S. cop draws Twitter jeers after 'aggressive' encounter with Canadians”

The National Post headline was: “American tourist who lamented lack of gun during encounter in Calgary park sparks online ridicule”

One twitter comment: “A clerk at London Drugs asked me if I was having a nice day. I think she might have wanted to stab me.”

The first comment on a CBC story was by “M. J. Coldwell” who wrote: “So much for an armed society being a polite society. You wish you had a gun to back up your ability to be a jerk? Tough, stay in the US where you belong.”

Sherry Halfyard, originally from Vancouver, now a business consultant in Tempe, Arizona, wrote that since moving to Arizona: “I’ve become more defensive, I don’t look closely at anyone while idling at an intersection, nor do I honk or flash my lights at a dangerous driver. In Canada, a friendly gesture, flashing lights to warn drivers of awaiting police, more than once has saved me a speeding ticket. Not here, who knows how this action will be interpreted and whether or not that person has a gun?

Naomi Lakritz is a columnist with the Calgary Herald. Born in Wisconsin, she concluded her column: As an American who is also a Canadian citizen, all I can say is, thank God I live in Canada.

Erin Crusch works in the Calgary Mayor’s office. On her blog she wrote:

In between guffaws at all of the jokes being made at Mr. Wawra's expense, I started to feel a bit sorry for the guy. Not because people were mocking his formal language or behaviour, but because I can't imagine what it must be like to live in a world where I'm suspicious of every stranger, every casual encounter, every uninvited interaction... I appreciate the levity of #NoseHillGentlemen, if for no other reason that it reaffirms how sensible the majority of us are about guns and gun control... To me, it says that we assume people have good intentions until they show us otherwise. Just one more reason to be thankful that I'm raising my kids here, in the True North Strong & Free.

Many Americans, particularly those on the political right, seem to carry around the belief (conscious or not) that America owns the world, or at least should own the world. Wawra seems to be one of those paranoids who resents that Canadians have the inexcusable effrontery to want to run their country their own way.

Wawra later wrote:

Many would say I have no need to carry (a handgun) in Canada, yet I have a unique perspective based on years of police experience. The perspective (is that) the police cannot protect everyone all the time. A man should be allowed to protect himself if the need arises... My perspective proved true a few days ago for my wife and I.”

His perspective is uniquely distorted. Sure, he had years of police experience—American experience.

There’s an old saying: Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Similarly, “very aggressive tone” is in the ears of the American.

An anonymous commenter at CBC wrote:

According to his letter, Mr. Wawra says:

"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."

If some celestial force had anything to do with the absence of firearms from the two punks, then why did this same celestial force not have the ability to simply avoid the confrontation?

Is it that "mysterious ways" argument?

Guns, Jesus and fear....what a glorious combination for a supposed "peace officer".

The National Post reports that “the “very aggressive” strangers he encountered may have just been representatives from an oil company giving out free passes to the Stampede.”

Calgary Cultural Ambassador Jenn Lutz said in a tweet that the two “very aggressive” men Wawra encountered were simply giving out free stampede passes.

If confirmed, this would explain why they looked “bewildered”. If they had had bad intentions and were thwarted, they would be more likely to look “angry”, “sullen” or “resentful” none of which applied to them, according to Wawra.



Globe and Mail

Naomi Lakritz’s column

Canadians in America

Guns are gifts

National Post

Five unarmed cyclists at Nose Hill Park

Born and raised in Calgary, Alberta, Daniel Johnson as a teenager aspired to be a writer. Always a voracious reader, he reads more books in a month than many people read in a lifetime. He also reads 100+ online articles per week. He knew early that in order to be a writer, you have to be a reader.

He has always been concerned about fairness in the world and the plight of the underprivileged/underdog.

As a professional writer he sold his first paid article in 1974 and, while employed at other jobs, started selling a few pieces in assorted places.

Over the next 15 years, Daniel eked out a living as a writer doing, among other things, national writing and both radio and TV broadcasting for the CBC, Maclean’s (the national newsmagazine) and a wide variety of smaller publications. Interweaved throughout this period was soul-killing corporate and public relations writing.

It was through the 1960s and 1970s that he got his university experience. In his first year at the University of Calgary, he majored in psychology/mathematics; in his second year he switched to physics/mathematics. He then learned of an independent study program at the University of Lethbridge where he attended the next two years, studying philosophy and economics. In the end he attended university over nine years (four full time) but never qualified for a degree because he didn't have the right number of courses in any particular field.

In 1990 he published his first (and so far, only) book: Practical History: A guide to Will and Ariel Durant’s “The Story of Civilization” (Polymath Press, Calgary)

Newly appointed as the Deputy Executive Editor in August 2011, he has been writing exclusively for since March 2009 and, as of summer 2011, has published more than 160 stories.

View articles written by Daniel Johnson

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November 10, 2012 6:21 pm (Pacific time)

Wow, you get full body MRI scans at $500 each?  Twice a month, huh?  Because I get 4-5 a year on my brain, and sometimes my thoracic and cervical spine  for my Multiple Sclerosis...the brain is about $3600 without insurance, and all three are over $10,000.  I am so lucky to have married a guy who has excellent insurance!  After I meet my deductible of $2,000 and co-pay of $1,500 for the year, it's all free!
Before we got married, I was on an individual plan for high-risk people through the state.  My yearly out -of-pocket?  About $20,000 between premiums ($900/month), deductibles, co-pays, prescriptions, specialists, etc., etc., etc.
I did nothing to bring on this disease. I visited the doctor yearly.  I exercised.  Ate healthy foods...
But through the American health system set-up, when I married someone who worked for a company that was large enough to offer it's employees pretty fantastic insurance options, even though I wasn't working there, I automatically had great coverage, too?  Now I'm not complaining for myself, I know how fortunate I am!  Where I am perplexed is at the marriage part.  Really?  Just because you get married you, too can now have coverage?  MESSED UP system.  Canadians got it right!  And waiting?  I waited 5 months for my first appointment with the neurologist I currently go to.  It took four and a half months to get an appointment with a dermatologist.  Another neurologist was just shy of a six month wait.
And I won't even bother mentioning the doctors and specialists who wouldn't see me because they were not accepting any new patients...
Very happy things will be changing a little soon!
As far as the gun issue, I again must agree with Canadians.  I have spent a considerable amount of time in the country, both for work and vacation, and have found the people to be friendly, warm, helpful, and their life pace to be just a tad slower and less stressful than ours.  I was pleasantly surprised to learn that if my eyes met with anyone else's, a smile was just a smile and a "hello" was just that.  
It embarrasses me when Americans feel the need to get defensive - and let's go there...oftentimes boorish - when they feel another country's different practices or approaches to issues suggest that maybe there are alternative or better options we should consider.  Well if that's the case, it means quite possibly we were wrong, which means "someone" offended us, which means we have to "save face," right?
I am guessing that might be what is happening?
Plus the US is very young in comparison to most nations, and I consider the USA to be world's teenager.
Teenager = Self-Centered, Impetuous, Emotional, Tempestuous, Demanding, Clicque-y, Rude, Loud

As soon as I moved into Chicago. I moved Into a very nice, exclusive area.  The next day, early in the morning,  a woman was found on the sidewalk, stabbed, raped, and shot to death.
My next move was to Wrigleyville, right by Wrigleyville Field.  One block away, over the course of two months, four men were shot and killed on the street - one was the result of a road rage (guy in car and guy crossing street in front of car) right outside of the ball park in front of major crowds of people, families, and  a number of police.
Moved again to Graceland West, up the street from Joan Cusack, and now it turned to armed robberies, which morphed into some weird and horrible (gang-related?) activity of singling out a man on the street or following him off of the el, and the group would just attack him for no reason, beating the crap out of him.  Some of these men were shot, some not.  No sense.
Moved to Uptown.  Five shootings in two weeks, four ending in death.  One was a "bike-by."  Like a "drive-by," but on a bike.  Seriously.
Guns are a MAJOR problem in our country.  I'm guessing many of you heard about the emotionally disturbed man who killed people in the movie theatre?  Or the numerous killings we've had in schools?  The guy who shot the four young Amish girls?  It goes on and on.  So many of these deaths were needless.
And there's a (propaganda) poster here that says, "GUNS DON'T KILL PEOPLE, PEOPLE KILL PEOPLE."
Right.  Sorry.  Not buying it.  Hmmm...the Columbine shootings...had there not been guns involved, would that many people have died?  The movie theatre...same question?  Any other of the college shootings?  Ricochet shots from drive-bys hitting children?
Don't get it.
Okay, done rambling!  :-)

Thanks for your comment. Sorry about the delay in approving it.  

notayank August 25, 2012 11:47 am (Pacific time)

I guess you forgot the war of 1812,where we kicked your sorry asses back to your capital.And that my friend is why we're CANADIANS and differ from US totally.And the remark about the MRI is so false iam still laughing.Remember we own the lands in which your camps are on here in CANADA, so pick your words wisely my friend.

Anonymous August 14, 2012 8:31 am (Pacific time)

To the writer of this article, as per the gifted actor who played Moses: “Every time our country stands in the path of danger, an instinct seems to summon her finest first — those who truly understand her. “When freedom shivers in the cold shadow of true peril, it's always the patriots who first hear the call.

“When loss of liberty is looming, as it is now, the siren sounds first in thehearts of freedom's vanguard. The smoke in the air of our Concord bridges and Pearl Harbors is always smelled first by the farmers, who come from their simple homes to find the fire, and fight, because they know that sacred stuff resides in that wooden stock and    blued steel — something that gives the most ommon man the most uncommon of freedoms.

“When ordinary hands can possess such an extraordinary instrument, that symbolizes the full measure of human dignity and liberty. That's why those five words issue an irresistible call to us all, and we muster. So — so, as, ah, we set out this year to defeat the divisive forces that would take freedom away, I want to say those fighting words for everyone within the sound of my voice to hear and to heed — and especially for you, (Insert Tyrannical official): From my cold dead hands!” See video from beginning to 1:32 - As far as the government attempting to take our firearms away, even incrementally, we tried disarming the VC, the Iraqis and the Afghans (including Russians' attempt in Afghanistan)-how’d that work out?

No doubt other governments in Europe and Canada could easily disarm their population, like all those other 3rd world governments around the world. So for example, look at gun murder rates in Mexico, South Africa, etc. . It's not like there is no history of bad people getting power and engaging in mass killings. Probably over 100 million were killed in the 20th century this way. For example Russia and China alone killed tens of millions, so this is not a fantasy or something created by some nut, but people who understand the past and human nature. It happened very quickly, and present conditions are not to be ignored. By the way it is the useful idiots who are put down first.

America is just one of many nations born in violence. America just never grew past that stage. 

Anonymous August 13, 2012 6:17 pm (Pacific time)

My family and friends go out to all those places the editor mentioned below, and none of us do so in fear. Certainly we are cautious and aware of our environment, that is how the human race survived. You do have those who expect others to take care of them in all aspects of living, and like children, they tell others what is wrong with them...until they need us people who can take care of harmful situations. I know Canada quite well, and they have some areas that can get pretty dangerous. Many of my Canadian friends are carrying concealed and are not worried about getting in trouble. Better safe than sorry. Let's face it, if we called law enforcement each time we brandished a firearm to stop a crime, we would be arrested for brandishing. Just the same that is not a felony charge, and literally millions of crimes are stopped that way around the world. I am also a combat veteran, and have served in countries where the population is literally in fear of their government. I never felt that way here, but if Obama is re-elected, and the dangerous people who control him, leads me to think: Peace through Superior Firepower Semper Fi 1st MAW

j+ August 13, 2012 12:45 pm (Pacific time)

TDJ, how do you define "gun nut?"
I consider myself nothing of the sort (only having purchased my first after a murder burglarized a neighboring home at 2AM) but I am having a hard time reconciling my desire to visit the neighborly North with firearm seperation-anxiety - not because I believe Canada to be a dangerous place, but because I am accustomed to always being in possession of a firearm for personal protection (absolutly necessary for where I live and work). Thankfully US law allows for such protection. I cannot imagine howe nice it must be to live in a part of North America where one need not be in fear of drug-induced violence. The rest of the continent (from Argentina to Alberta, we are all AMERICAN) does not share your sentiments.

It's like the old definition of pornography opined by Justice Potter Stewart: "I know it when I see it".  In general, I would say anyone who believes that it's a right given by God to Americans to have firearms (didn't God give the same rights to others in Canada, UK, Germany, etc.); anyone who feels unsafe if they are not armed (fellow citizens are, by definition, potential enemies or threats--what a cultural environment to live in!); anyone who believes that more guns around equates to a safer society; those are my general criteria to define a gun-nut.

It's sad and unfortunate that you live (by choice?) in  a place were people feel the need to be armed for self-protection. I can see the slippery slope getting steeper: people are not safe in movie theatres, schools, universities, houses of worship, the workplace,  almost anywhere out in public (DC sniper). A person who thinks that that is a normal way to live in society is a gun-nut. 

Anonymous August 13, 2012 9:35 am (Pacific time)

The FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting statistics table building tool doesn’t break down murder rates by type of weapon used. However, the FBI’s Crime in the United States appendix, “Supplementary Homicide Data,” includes Expanded Homicide Data tables for Murder Victims by Weapon (including “Total Firearms”) for 2001-2005 and 2006-2010. Combining this data with the U.S. Census Bureau’s population estimates for 2000-2009 and 2010, we can derive the murder rate (per 100,000 population) for murders by gun alone:

Now we can compare annual gun purchases (as measured by the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System with this murder rate by gun:

The result is that, while gun purchases increased more than 60 percent, the murder rate by guns declined even more than the overall murder rate: The overall murder rate declined some 14 percent, but the murder rate by gun declined more than 20 percent.

A simple linear regression analysis of these figures reveals a coefficient of correlation of about 0.97.

Of course, correlation is not causation, but a coefficient of 0.8 is considered “strong”; a coefficient of 1.0 is perfect correlation; this coefficient—0.97—is incredibly strong. Moreover, the coefficient of determination here is 0.94—meaning that 94 percent of the decline in the murder rate by gun is explained by the increase in gun purchases; only 6 percent is due to other causes.

Conclusion: The argument that increased gun ownership causes increased murders by guns is unfounded. The evidence very strongly shows that increased gun ownership causes murders by gun to fall. In the absence of countervailing evidence, the presumption must be in favor of increasing gun ownership: Restricting the Second Amendment rights of the citizenry means that innocent people will die. The burden of proof is on the proponents of gun control to show otherwise.

Canada 554 homicides; one tenth the size of US so that extrapolated the US should have about 5,540 homicides. Instead the US had 12,996, or a homicide rate 2.3 times greater than Canada.

Germany 690 homicides; About one fourth the size of US so that extrapolated the US should have about 2,760 homicides. Instead the US had 12,996, or a homicide rate 4.7 times greater than Germany.

UK 722 homicides; About one fifth the size of US so that extrapolated the US should have about 3,610 homicides. Instead the US had 12,996, or a homicide rate 3.6 times greater than UK.

We could go down the list of developed nations and see the same kind of results. In all these countries gun control is part of the national ethos. The belief that more guns means a safer society is a fantasy that only Americans entertain.

Anonymous August 12, 2012 6:11 pm (Pacific time)

Hey editor I read the link anon.@ 9:15a.m.supplied and I saw that his/her data was spot on in the link supplied. It is quite true that Canada, and you people in the Alberta Province have a pretty high criminal violence rate. Maybe you are the one who needs to see that cherry-picking and augmenting what you want does not change the violence data, regardless if there has been a lessening of crime. We have several hundred million firearms in the states, and they are not going away, regardless of those uninformed (and liars) out there skewing and making up data, and ditto for Canada. We have firearms for our own reasons and could care less about the opinions of anyone who does not like that. As far as this cop who wrote the letter, so what! You should see some of the "Letters to the Editor" in our dailies from people around the world. You guys in Canada have some serious censorship issues, so maybe dealing with that would be prudent. All of Europe, including Canada would be under the yoke of tyranny (at the very least) if not for us Americans. Seriously, do you think that outside of this article on this website, any other news group is publishing or discussing this? There are serious things going on in America, and at the same time we police and protect the world, including Canada. A thank you every now and then would be nice, but we do get that from Canadians quite liberally. Maybe you just don't understand how close Americans and Canadians Are? You are certainly a tiny minority, you really are, but pretty sure you know that. Maybe a personality profile and medical diagnosis would be of benefit to those in Canada and elsewhere who think we Americans have no idea what's going on. Enjoying our latest Martian expedition? What does the rest of the world supplY... Illegal aliens for us to care for? Peace and good will to my Canadian friends.

Unless you can refute my comments to anon, I stand by my conclusion that you're just a trolling, gun-nut, whacko! I won't even try to debate your fantasy.

Anonymous August 12, 2012 9:15 am (Pacific time)

Considering that in the Alberta Province you have violent crimes in excess of 1,000 per 100,000 per capita, the concern visitors have, and certainly citizens, is warranted. The violent rate there is staggering, and I certainly understand people being upset about this. Maybe what Americans should be doing,  because so many travel to this province to help you with your energy industry (and other business needs), is to work towards implementing a reciprocity for CCW there. Every day more crime victims add to the reality that those who are trying to disarm the population (then only criminals are armed) will lose their ability to convince them that is the way to proceed. Of course Canada has plenty of long-gun firearms, but the small hand-held firearm is much more practical to ward off the abundant violent criminals Canada has. In fact here in America, where we have high concentrations of firearm ownership, our crime stats are considerably lower than Alberta,and Europe. It is those large urban areas we have that skew up the data, fortunately most of America does not live in these violent areas. I of course do not expect to change the editor of this article's opinion on this matter, but here in America, we are doing just fine in our lawfully and well-armed communities.

Of course you won’t change this writer’s opinion because you just bolstered it with the link you supplied. It just demonstrates my increasing opinion that American gun nuts live in a fantasy world of their own creation.They're entitled to their own opinions, but not their own facts. I can’t imagine how you would come to your conclusions of Canadian violent crime after reading the link you supplied. Here are a few excerpts from that link:

National Picture — With only 6,145 incidents per 100,000 people in 2010, Canada's national crime rate reached its lowest level since the early 1970s. The rate of violent crime in Canada was 1,282 incidents per 100,000 people, its lowest level since 1998.

Homicide Rates — The homicide rate has generally been declining since 1975 (3.03 victims per 100,000 people), reaching, in 2010, its lowest level (1.62) since the mid-1960s. This rate was about one-third the United States' rate (4.80), but more than four times the Japanese rate (0.34).

Homicide rates for Canada are available from 1961 onwards. Between 1961 and 1975, the national homicide rate more than doubled, rising from 1.28 to 3.03 homicides per 100,000 people. Despite some annual fluctuations, Canada's homicide rate declined steadily in the 25 years after peaking in 1975, then attained a degree of stability over the past decade. In 2010, there were 554 homicides in Canada and the homicide rate reach its lowest level (1.62 homicides per 100,000 people) since 1966.

Canada's homicide rate in 2010 (1.62 victims per 100,000 people) was compared to the most recent rate available for various countries with an economic development level similar to Canada's. From that comparison, it appears that Canada's homicide rate was significantly below the United States' rate (4.80) and also below those of Finland (2.50) and New Zealand (1.76). Yet it was above the rate of Australia (1.12) and three other G7 countries: Japan (0.34), England and Wales (1.16) and France (1.07).

Out of your meds, perhaps?

BTW: Calgary, a city of 1.1 million has had four homicides so far this year (only one a shooting) and ten in 2011.

Ira August 11, 2012 8:48 pm (Pacific time)

Daniel: Your comment was accidentally deleted, but I wanted to reply to one thing I remember: I did not call Wawra a "religous nut". That was a comment made by a commenter to one of the stories from which I quoted. If you wanted to say more, please rewrite and I'll be more careful.

Anonymous August 11, 2012 4:22 pm (Pacific time)

I think we need to make allowances for Walt Wawra even though I'm sure he would vehemently deny this.

If we see someone on crutches or a person on the job despite a learning disability, we don't laugh at them or make them the butt of jokes. So it is with Walt.

He comes from a cultural environment based on fear. His reaction in Calgary is a clear demonstration that, without his gun, he's basically scared of his own shadow. He's imprinted (not just as a cop) with American emotional state that everyone is a potential enemy.

This is not a feeling normally held by citizens of Canada, much of Europe and Scandinavia. So Walt deserves sympathy from Canadians who have grown up and live in much more positive and nurturing environments.

And, don't forget the climate of fear in which he lives he considers to be *normal* and an extension of America's wonderful Constitution, etc. which means those poor Canadians are deprived and don't even know it.

Anonymous August 11, 2012 2:00 pm (Pacific time)

Editor, since you are using some data sources, maybe that American visitor knew the below info, afterall he is in law enforcement?:
"Many Albertans are concerned about the criminal
justice system’s ability to respond effectively to
violent crimes, especially because statistics tell us
that Alberta’s violent crime rate has been higher
than the Canadian average for the last 10 years.
Violent crimes include homicide, attempted
murder, assault, sexual assault, other sexual
offenses, abduction and robbery...In 2005:
- Alberta’s homicide rate was 3.3 per 100,000 people; 64 per cent higher than the Canadian average and third highest of all the provinces
- Close to half (44 per cent) of Alberta’s 109 homicides were committed outside of the major cities of Edmonton and Calgary.
- Edmonton recorded the highest
homicide rate of the nine largest cities
in Canada, at a rate of 4.3 per 100,000
people. This was its highest rate
since 1981..."
Note: Since this website is based in Oregon, let's compare some violence stats: Oregon homicide rate per 100,000 less than 2.4.
-Portland Oregon homicide rate (metro population over 2.5 million), and CHL's number in the tens of thousands in this urban area: 3.7 per 100,000 (4.3 per 100,000 in Edmonton). /

Wawra is just a fear-based paranoid, like most American gun-nuts (which most such Americans consider to be normal).. This is shown  by his behaviour in a more open society, like Alberta.. He couldn't survive mentally in most of Europe or all of Scandinavia. 

Ira August 11, 2012 11:29 am (Pacific time)

Jenn Lutz story (that the men were giving out free Stampede passes) is a hoax. And Lutz is NOT a 'Cultural Ambassador,' or employee of the City of Calgary, Stampede Board, or any corporate affiliate. Rather, Lutz is a self-employed progressive activist, with an axe to grind on the gun control issue.

As for safety in Calgary's parks, this may be of interest:

From the story you supplied: "Only 10 — roughly 4% — of the 243 sex assaults reported to police so far in 2012 were allegedly committed by strangers" Calgary is over a million people.

As for Lutz, I've never heard of her before this story which, I think, is still unfolding. Thanks for your comment. 

Anonymous August 11, 2012 8:08 am (Pacific time)

Yeah, everybody knows Canadians don't have guns, and no Americans have ever been assaulted and killed while visiting Canada. And naturally law enforcement personnel are trained to shoot first and ask later. Dexter you are a Brit, right? So tell me did you learn anything about American/British history in your school system? Or did you go to school? Most Brits that I interact with live here in America and are quite happy to be here because of the situation in England being quite inferior to us, but then you know that by living here, right? They also like to have guns around, just like us yanks. But if you do not like us, and our system of government, the type that saved England from complete destruction, tell us. Of course how about the increase in gun crimes in England? Oh well, sure your brief "socialist" rant will register with people in the diminished ows mob(s).Sorry about your deterorating national healthcare system...not a place to live if you are old and in need of certain meds/medical procedures. England is quickly decending from 2nd rate to who knows what?

Fred R August 11, 2012 12:20 am (Pacific time)

Good article, and your perspective is right on.

Anonymous August 10, 2012 6:41 pm (Pacific time)

I'm still waiting for the news to come out that the two were just handing out free passes. It will, I think, be very enlightening to hear *their side of the story.* I also wonder if Walt is going to be able to keep his job after all this.

Dexter August 10, 2012 5:17 pm (Pacific time)

"OUCH" . I still don't believe it though. I have heard nothing negative about the subject with the Canadians. No doubt you will be calling them Communists next , just like you did with like Britain (Socialists to America, seems to be the same as being a Communists). Oh wait hang on ..about 80 percent of the world are Socialists then !!! . Shock horror , you better (bring back George bush!!!) …SAAVVEEE THE WORLD . Actually no thanks , we don't want are lives being like Syria thank you very much .

Anonymous August 10, 2012 5:04 pm (Pacific time)

This story has many people upset all over the world. I have a few opinions of my own as well. I just recently returned from a trip to Canada to visit and spend time with my in-laws, and there were in fact some conversations about the differences between Citizens of the US and Canadians. In the US we are in fact taught to be proud and that our way is the best way of doing things. We do have that right.. or at least we do in our own country. Once I stepped off from the airplane, it was apparent that I was no longer in the US. Well obviously, there were no signs at the airport written in Spanish. My experience with the people in charge at the airport seemed different as well. Honestly, even the US customs people who were living and working in Edmonton just seemed to have a more friendly attitude. I have been fortunate, and I have traveled to many places and met many people. In some places people are far less uptight then in the US, and in some places they are worse. This even goes for traveling accross the US from one state to another. No matter where I have gone though I have remembered what my father taught me when he told me, I don't care what people do in their house, in this house it will be done my way. Now, don't get me wrong, my dad was not overly strict or controling, what he was teaching me is that people are different and that everyone has a way of making their home work so that the people who occupy it are comfortable. To Mr. Wawra I would have to say that since the "attackers" did not harm or even attempt to harm you, that it may in fact be your attitude toward those men that was the problem. As a fellow Michiganian and actually a person who lives fairly close to Kalamazoo I do understand that having someone come up to you in such a way is not normal for where we live. Honestly, where we live for someone to suddenly come up to you as described usually means it is someone who is in fact being agressive. I will give that to you as being true, I have knowledge of this, but it isn't always true. Now to try to put this all together. I too live in Michigan, and I don't find any need to carry a handgun. Why, for several reasons. First, if I am somewhere that I feel so compelled to carry a handgun, then I ought not be there, there are better places to be. Secondly, if there is a disturbance and or agressive behaviour, I have feet. If the agressive party does have a handgun he/she is probably going to get the first shot anyway and if he/she does not have a handgun, me carrying one introduces one to the equation and it may be taken away from me and used against me. Finally, when I am in someone elses house I go by their rules whether I agree with them or not, and I don't complain about their rules. There are a number of ways that one can be harmed every day. Any mechanical device malfunctioning or operated incorrectly could harm or kill you, and that includes a handgun. Honestly, if the gun had never been invented, there would always be people who thought they needed to carry a stick or a rock... it's human nature. However, I would like to thank you politely for checking your sticks and rocks at the door before entering my house as it is my feeling that without having those things inside my house there is a lower danger factor. Canada is not the US. I didn't happen to notice any "give us your opinon on how you think we are running our country" cards when I went through customs, and they never mailed me anything to ask my opinion on the way they run their country. Why, because I am a US Citizen and it is my job to be involved in trying to make MY COUNTRY a better place to live. We have not been doing a very good job of that lately, and have our noses in too many other peoples business as it is ( this is of course my own opinion, others may vary ). Mr. Wawra, I think you were mistaken for writing the letter to a Canadian newspaper. Had you wanted to write to an American newspaper you may have gotten a little more sympathy with your apparent distress, but still the bottom line dates back a long way, When in Rome, do as the Romans.

Anonymous August 10, 2012 3:51 pm (Pacific time)

A friend suggested to me that Wawra sounds like a "real loser". I disagreed. He sounds like a typical paranoid gun nut. What kind of cop is he I wonder if he can't tell the difference between an innocuous approach and a real threat? Glad I don't have any plans to ever go to Kalamazoo.

Anonymous August 10, 2012 3:06 pm (Pacific time)

Daniel, what is your point? Americans have no desire to be like Canadians, or like any other foreigner. Those that do, then may I suggest you go to those places to live. I have several Canadian friends who live near me, and they have secured waivers and have CHL's. In several states they do not need licenses. I carry in Canada each time I go there, and will deal with the fallout if it ever happens. My Canadian neighbors, though we live in an area where there is no record of a gun homicide going back at least 150 years, they like the ability to carry. Down the road, it's a bit different, but the homicide rate for that large urban area is less than 2 per 100,000. Just the same Daniel, what's your point? Our two countries were founded entirely differently, and thank God for that. Well, off to get my bi-monthly full body MRI for less than $500. I could bill my insurance, but I have the money. In time, as Canada switches more over to private medical insurance, you will also see a speedy turn around for this type of medical procedure. In the meantime, Canadians die waiting for medical referral appointments, and your citizens still are far more likely to be victims of violent crime than Americans. Sure we have a higher homicide rate in our urban areas, but factor that out, for it is tribal, we are pretty safe here.

What's my point? I'm just waiting for confirmation that the two alleged aggressors were, in fact, just giving away free Stampede passes. Once that's known for a certainty, it will confirm a lot of Canadian's opinions that American gun nuts really are nuts. 

More: The Australian news site writes that: "Subsequent to the furor, a tourism official said the two young men who encountered Mr Wawra were simply giving out free passes to the Calgary Stampede rodeo." Walt is looking more and more unstable.

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