Recently I’ve been fascinated with THIS story – I highly recommend you read it, but just to recap, an American police officer and his wife went on vacation in Calgary, and were approached by 2 men in a park asking them if they had “been to Stampede” yet. The American man felt threatened, and he lamented the fact that he did not have his off-duty firearm on hand due to Canada’s restrictive gun laws. He ‘thanked the Lord Jesus Christ’ that the 2 men did not pull out a weapon, as he would not have been able to defend himself should he have needed to.

Now, I have a good many American friends (and family members) who are intelligent, humourous, and chock-full of common sense. However, it is reactionary, pseudo-militia men like these that reinforce negative American stereotypes, and make it difficult for the rest of the world to see past the fear-fueled buffoonery that characterizes those living under the Stars and Stripes.

How terribly sad that this gentleman’s immediate thought when approached by 2 men was, “they’re going to hurt and/or kill me and my wife”. What kind of a life must that be to live? It truly makes my heart ache that an act of politeness was misconstrued as a sinister plot.

Sure, knowing Canadians, knowing Calgarians, and knowing Stampede, you can almost BET that the 2 men in question were drunk. I would expect nothing less, really… but generally we drunken Canadians are more effervescent than evil. And intoxicated or not, we’re going to ask how you are, especially if we can see that you’re a tourist. In fact, I make it a point to stop and help anyone I see with a map out, staring blankly at the sky in my city, and I know a great many others who do the same. We Canadians are known as nice people, and the lot of us take pride in that, and tend to want to live up to, or exceed, a tourist’s expectations. Even when we’re drunk.

Sure, I can understand that a slurring, “Hey how ya’ll doooooin’, eh? *hic* Been to Staaaampeeeeede yet?” could be unsettling and uncomfortable. Dangerous? I’m not sure. But then again, I’m biased, and I don’t know what it’s like to live a life of fear in my own city, or even my own country (perpetuated by my own government… but that’s for another post).

But these two guys could very well have been killed for asking this husband and wife if they had been to the biggest event happening in Calgary at the time. Killed. Do you get that? At the very least they would have had a gun pulled on them. That may not seem like a big deal, but I can bet that if someone pulled a gun on me after I asked how they were doing, I’d most likely pee my pants and/or puke. And if I *did* have a gun on me (and was comfortable using it), I may certainly be inclined to pull it out after being threatened by someone else with a gun. But perhaps that’s just silly hyperbole. But then again, maybe it’s not.

The whole thing just really makes me sad. And you want to know the worst part of it all?

The 2 guys who approached this man and his wife… the two men who were menacing and confrontational… they were giving away free tickets to Stampede.

Thank the Lord Jesus Christ that the cop didn’t pull a weapon.

Happy Thursday everyone – hug a tourist today*.


*Please don’t hug a tourist.