American Tragedy: Someone Asked Me For Directions, And I Didn't Have My Gun

Abby Zimet

This is a real story. Walt Wawra, a police officer from Kalamazoo, Michigan who had left his gun at home because he was told he wouldn't need it, was visiting Calgary's bucolic Nose Hill Park with his wife when he was approached by two young men in "an aggressive, disrespectful and menacing manner," who asked if the couple had visited Calgary's famed stampede yet, then celebrating its centennial. Wawra angrily ignored them and walked away. The men "looked bewildered." Unnerved, Wawra wrote a furious letter to the Calgary Herald describing his close encounter with friendly Canadians, thanking "the Lord Jesus Christ they did not pull a weapon of some sort," and musing, "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?" Much hilarity, of an aggrieved variety, ensued on Twitter: #NoseHillGentleman. We think Wawra should move to Philadephia, where police just arrested 22 people in a big illegal gun-selling operation that included semi-automatics and drive-up service. He, and the people in Kalamazoo, would probably be much happier.

Among the best Twitter comments: "Since when is (asking if you'd been to the Stampede) grounds to be dead?” and “I can see why they were frightened. If you rearrange the letters in ‘been to Stampede yet?’ you get “a beset potted enemy’.”

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