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Fear the Nose Hill Gentlemen

2012/08/09

Walt Wawra, a U.S. police officer, is encountering ridicule online after writing a letter lamenting not having his gun during a visit to Calgary.

In a message to the Calgary Herald, Wawra, of Kalamazoo, Mich., describes what he felt was a dangerous confrontation with two men in Calgary’s Nose Hill Park — for which he wished he had had his firearm.

Walking with his wife, the men approached Wawra and asked if the couple had been to the Stampede. After receiving no response, they asked Wawra again. He told them “Gentle-men, I have no need to talk with you, goodbye.” The men looked “bewildered,” he writes in the letter and likely had bad intentions indicated by their “aggressive, disrespectful and menacing manner.”

While small talk is still legal in Canada, tourists aren’t allowed to bring guns across the border.

Plenty of Canadians would argue that’s because you don’t need one and many readers found the story hard to believe, writing in to ask if it was a hoax. It’s not.

Despite all the negative attention, including at least one threatening phone call to his home, Wawra told CBC he doesn’t regret writing it.

The story has sparked the creation of a new Twitter hashtag, #NoseHillGentlemen. Gawker’s headline captured the sentiments of most users: “American Becomes Laughing Stock of Canada.

The letter comes at a time when gun law debates are heating up across the U.S. and Canada, after shootings in Colorado, at Toronto’s Eaton Centre and earlier this week at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin.

Undoubtedly, Wawra’s letter will become a part of that discussion.

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