Gunless in Calgary: American policeman jeered for letter

Thu Aug 9, 2012 6:58pm EDT
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CALGARY, Alberta (Reuters) - An American police officer who complained in a letter to a Canadian newspaper about not being able to carry a gun during a trip to Calgary has become the target of another kind of weapon: the tweet.

Twitter users have let loose a barrage of jokes over Walt Wawra's August 7 letter to the Calgary Herald complaining that he could not pull a gun in Canada, a country that, unlike the United States, stringently restricts firearms.

Wawra, a veteran of the Kalamazoo, Michigan, police department, wrote that he felt threatened by two men who approached him and his wife at Nose Hill Park and asked, "in a very aggressive tone", if they had been to the Stampede yet, referring to the city's rodeo and Western heritage festival.

"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.'"

Wawra said the recent mass shooting in a theater in Aurora, Colorado, and also incidents in Canada, showed why "a man should be able to protect himself if the need arises."

The letter sparked a frenzy on Twitter, where many ridiculed the reaction to what appeared to be a mild encounter, spawning the hashtag #NoseHillGentlemen.

Jenn Prosser tweeted: "Drove through Kalamazoo, MI., yesterday. Didn't stop to chat."

"Someone just asked me if I am watching any of the Olympics. I wanted to reach for my gun," wrote a University of Toronto grad student with the Twitter handle Margs_I.   Continued...