By Urban Anomie
It’s not uncommon for pop culture references to work their way into the real lives of everyday fans, but one meteorologist in Calgary, AB had apparently heard enough. Police have arrested and charged Dale Schneider for assault and uttering death threats in conjunction with an incident that took place this weekend.
On Sunday evening, Blair Christianson was enjoying a drink with friends on a popular restaurant balcony along 17th Ave. S.W., when he spotted Schneider—a meteorologist with CalgaryTV—walking down the sidewalk.
“He noticed me looking at him, smiled, and said, ‘Nice weather, eh?’” Christianson told Urban Anomie. That’s when things turned ugly.
“Yeah, ‘winter is coming,’ I replied,” referring to the motto made famous by the Stark family from the HBO series, A Game of Thrones, that forebodes of a prolonged, far-reaching cold spell.
Right then, Christianson swears he could see black storm clouds brewing directly over the meteorologist’s head. He stopped dead in his tracks, turned slowly, and allegedly lunged at Christianson.
Witnesses say Schneider grasped Christianson’s throat, reminiscent of Prime Minister Jean Chretien’s infamous Shawinigan Handshake, and strangled the man with both hands.
“I saw the whole thing,” said Shauna Bean, a server who was just finishing her shift at Donahue’s Pub.
“[Schneider] was saying, ‘winter is coming, do you think you’re funny? Winter is coming, winter is fucking coming – I’ve heard that 50 times already today you little shit.’”
Police promptly arrived and apprehended Schneider, while Christianson was treated on scene for minor injuries.
Duty Insp. Robin Barks with the Calgary Police Service’s Violent Crimes Unit says this is the second such incident to occur since A Game of Thrones first aired in 2011.
“People think they’re being clever when they throw out these popular phrases,” says Barks. “But what they don’t realize, is it’s not clever at all: everybody does it – and it gets repetitive. This appears to be a case of a man simply snapping.”
A spokesperson for CalgaryTV confirms that meteorologists with the station have voiced their displeasure at the constant use of the phrase “winter is coming,” and the network has even gone so far as to include a disclaimer at the end of newscasts advising Calgarians not to say it.
“This is Calgary – we all know winter is just around the corner,” said news producer, Justina White. “There’s no need to constantly remind everyone.”
Other overused pop culture references that have been connected to violent crimes in the city, include an employee with the City of Calgary Roads Department ramming his car into a man who referred to the Stoney Trail ring road as ‘the ring road to nowhere’ in 2011, and a stewardess with CalgaryJet Airlines punched-out a passenger who kept saying ‘there’s no place like home’ in 2005.
For now, CalgaryTV says they have placed Schneider on temporary stress leave.