'Just kidding, don't shoot me!': Canadians ridicule unarmed US tourist's fears

Canadians this week ridiculed a nervous American tourist over his criticisms of Canada's strict gun laws following what he said was "menacing" encounter with two young men in a Calgary park.

Walt Wawra of Kalamazoo, Michigan detailed his account of a chance meeting in Nose Hill Park in a letter to the editor of the Calgary Herald, during a recent visit to the city in western Canada.

Wawra said he and his wife were confronted in broad daylight on a paved trail by two men who asked "in a very aggressive tone" if the couple had "been to the Stampede yet?"

"They approached in such an aggressive, disrespectful and menacing manner," he wrote, that the off-duty cop instinctively reached for where his sidearm would have been had he been south of the border.

"I quickly moved between these two and my wife, replying, 'Gentlemen, I have no need to talk with you, goodbye,'" he said. "I thank the Lord Jesus Christ they did not pull a weapon of some sort."

"Many would say I have no need to carry (a gun) in Canada," Wawra added. "Yet the police cannot protect everyone all the time. A man should be allowed to protect himself if the need arises."

The letter sparked a flurry of ridicule.

A Calgary restaurant owner wrote on a sidewalk sandwich board, "Have you been to the Stampede yet? Just kidding, don't shoot me!"

"At the off leash (dog park) this morning when two terriers started to sniff my dog. If only Canada would allow my dog to pack heat," tweeted Connor Turner.


"Ice cream truck just sped past house. Sir, I have no need for your refreshing pseudo-milk product treats. Goodbye," said Kikki Planet in another Twitter message.

The daily National Post recounted the story alongside photos of gun-totting actor Clint Eastwood in the movie Dirty Harry and Charles Bronson as a vigilante in Death Wish.

The Huffington Post, meanwhile, ran the headline: "Fear and Loathing in Cowtown," referring to Calgary's cattle industry links.

Subsequent to the furor, a tourism official said the two young men who encountered Wawra were simply giving out free passes to the Calgary Stampede rodeo.