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Gun Control

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A hilarious case in favour of gun control.

From Toronto Star:


A Michigan police officer vacationing in Calgary is at the centre of a social media storm after saying he wished he was allowed to carry a handgun to protect himself from people asking if he had been to the Stampede.

In a letter to the editor published in the Calgary Herald, Walt Wawra, a 20-year veteran of the Kalamazoo police service, laments the fact that he was not allowed to carry his off-duty handgun while walking through a Calgary park.

Wawra describes how he and his wife were recently taking a leisurely stroll through Nose Hill Park when they were approached by two young men “in broad daylight on a paved trail” who asked the couple if they had been to the Stampede yet.

“We ignored them,” Wawra writes in his letter. “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.”

Wawra writes that he suspects the two men “did not have good intentions” when they approached the couple “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.”

The shaken tourist then goes on to ask the newspaper — which insists the letter is not a hoax — why citizens are not allowed to protect themselves in “life-or-death” situations.

“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.”

Wawra did not respond to an interview request from the Star.

The Twittersphere erupted almost immediately following the publication of Wawra’s letter online Wednesday thanks in part to the hashtag #NoseHillGentlemen created by local writer Chris Turner.

Initial shock at Wawra’s letter gave way to humorous re-imaginings of the encounter and full-blown intellectual discussions on the differences between Canadian and American values.

“‘Are you watching the Canadian women play soccer?’ ‘Gentlemen, I prefer a different kind of shoot out, goodbye,’” wrote @musicbaum.

“‘Have you listened to CBC?’ ‘Gentlemen, I have no need to hear more stories by Stuart McLean, goodbye,’” joked @thegarypowers.

“‘Gentlemen, there is no sure way to confirm the Norwegian judge was wearing a Team USA jersey. Goodbye,’” wrote @Kikki Planet in reference to Christiana Pedersen, the Norwegian referee who became the subject of sharp criticism from Canada’s Olympic women’s soccer team captain Christine Sinclair.

Other Twitter users took a more serious tone.

“If the #NoseHillGentlemen story is not a great argument for gun control, I don’t know what is,” tweeted @junctionette.

“Think about it: the #NoseHill Gentlemen encounter could’ve ended with two dead young men because of a psychotically suspicious gun owner,” wrote @amirightfolks.

Turner says he believes his hashtag has proved popular partly because Nose Hill Park is a large, prairie-like suburban park considered safe by Calgarians.

“Part of the absurdity here is that Nose Hill is not a downtown park,” Turner told the Star Thursday. “It’s not like you’re in this dark forbidding place. The most dangerous thing I’ve seen in Nose Hill Park is a dog barking at someone.”

Turner says the letter also feeds into Canadians’ constant need to compare themselves to Americans — especially when it comes to health care and gun control.

“Because the letter was just so out of proportion with the situation and the response to it, something that absurd kind of taps a vein in the Canadian psyche — this is how we are not them,” he said.

The story has caught on south of the border, as well.

“Kalamazoo police officer bashed by Canadians on Twitter,” reads the headline on a story posted on Michigan website

“American becomes laughingstock of Canada after letter to editor lamenting lack of handgun during mild confrontation,” proclaims a headline on

Ottawa-based digital communications guru Mark Blevis says letters like Wawra’s would have historically sparked a few local letters or complaints, but thanks to Twitter, stories like this now have the potential to become international in scope.

“This is a very interesting example of how the digital world and the participatory web has made it so that . . . stories that wouldn’t have been considered or had much life to them before maybe have too much life to them now.”

Edited by Wannigan

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real question: why is there such a hullabaloo about keeping the specifics to a right the same now as they were in 1789? when the right to bear arms was written into the bill of rights, there weren't assault rifles around to complicate things.

if anything, the rules should be the same now as they were then, except that the only guns you could use would have to be built before the year 1800. better make that one shot count when you rob that 7-11, you'll only have 8 minutes to reload if you miss.

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How many shootings have there been this summer? This is ridiculous. My Facebook EXPLODES with gun debates on a weekly basis now. I almost wish everyone would go back to posting pictures of their food.

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Earlier this month, Wilson and a small group of friends who call themselves “Defense Distributed” launched an initiative they’ve dubbed the “ Wiki Weapon Project.” They’re seeking to raise $20,000 to design and release blueprints for a plastic gun anyone can create with an open-source 3D printer known as the RepRap that can be bought for less than $1,000. If all goes according to plan, the thousands of owners of those cheap 3D printers, which extrude thin threads of melted plastic into layers that add up to precisely-shaped three-dimensional objects, will be able to turn the project’s CAD designs into an operational gun capable of firing a standard .22 caliber bullet, all in the privacy of their own garage.

“We want to show this principle: That a handgun is printable,” says Wilson, a 24-year-old second-year law student at the University of Texas. “You don’t need to be able to put 200 rounds through it…It only has to fire once. But even if the design is a little unworkable, it doesn’t matter, as long as it has that guarantee of lethality.”

Forbes: ‘Wiki Weapon Project’ Aims To Create A Gun Anyone Can 3D-Print At Home

As the article notes, someone has already managed to print a working lower receiver (ie, the important part) for a rifle.

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