Dear Canada, Letter #7 (Guns)
I lived with you for 39 years.
All of my time was spent in Vancouver or its suburbs, I was born and raised on the West Coast and still consider Vancouver to be my hometown. I did so much with you while I was there.
I drove across your huge country from coast to coast, I skated on frozen outdoor lakes, I celebrated a New Years Eve in Nova Scotia, I watched a passionate hockey game at the old Montreal Forum, I visited the trophy room at Wayne Gretzky's childhood home and I danced with other Canadians while The Hip played Courage.
I went to the Hockey Hall of Fame, I skied the slopes of Whistler, I played golf at Banff, I kayaked along the North Shore, and I watched a junior hockey game in Oshawa. That was pure Canadiana.
I did so much with you while I was there, and there's so much more I could have done. Maybe one day I'll be with you again, I imagine retiring to a nice rustic cottage in Nova Scotia where I'll spend my summers with you but my winters will be in North Carolina. Even though I love and miss you, you can still be kinda cold sometimes.
I still consider you one of my best friends, so I'd like to bend your ear for a minute and get some advice.
I was an adult for 21 of those 39 years while I was with you and throughout my travels never once did I feel unsafe. Never once did I wish I had a firearm for my protection.
When I moved to the USA back in 2010, I was bright-eyed and bushy tailed and felt like I could change peoples minds about gun ownership. I thought it was ludicrous that so many people carried guns! I remember I was sitting with some new work colleagues and they asked me if I had purchased a gun yet? I laughed and said I would NEVER own a gun.
So one of them asked what I would do if I came home and my wife or kids were being assaulted? Wouldn't I want a gun in that situation? The rest of them nodded their heads in agreement.
A few years later I was driving down a windy country road in North Carolina, the kind where it's easy to stray into the other lane around curves. A pickup truck scared me when I came around the bend and nearly had a head-on collision, the driver swerved as if it was no big deal and I did what any Canadian would do...I honked my horn and flipped him the bird.
I told that story to the same work colleagues and they said flipping the bird at someone will you get you shot down here. They weren't kidding.
And then there was the time a few years later I had a government job and a client started yelling at one my colleagues, he stood up and got into her face and screamed obscenities. So I got under my desk and hid while other co-workers and security neutralized the threat. Our government building didn't have metal detectors.
So what should I do? I've got a wife and kids I love and want to protect, we go to crowded malls and concerts, I routinely drive down country roads and even though I left the government job, my wife works in a facility with little or no protection for its workers.
So I'm asking you Canada...what do I do? I've never been in this predicament before. Do I purchase a gun to protect myself from other Americans?
I'm grateful I never felt the need to arm myself while I lived with you. It didn't feel like the Wild West where a road rage incident could easily escalate into a shootout at the OK Corral. I didn't feel like I needed a conceal and carry permit for when I go to the mall to buy sneakers and I'm pretty sure the argument to arm teachers will never be a thing with you.
What do I do? I think I already know what your answer will be.
Canada, thanks for always making me feel safe.