I’ll Sleep With My Machine Gun If You Let It On The Train

Sikh student banned from train for wearing kirpan

Sorry to break from my up-to-the-moment health status, but I want to lay something out there about religious tolerance. I love Canada. I love that we are a mixture of cultures. I love that this allows me to travel around the world and have most people like me because they’ve got family in my country or know someone who has. I like that I get to meet people that are not white, were not born in Canada and aren’t Baptist Christians. I also love that there are 2nd or 3rd generation Canadians that still practice their traditional rituals and beliefs. It all just makes the place that much more damn interesting.

However, lines need to be drawn. If you read the news article above you’ll see this man’s argument, and indeed a common argument among Sikh men, is that Sikh tradition has it that they should carry this ceremonial small dagger-like sword.

A typical Sikh Kirpan
Now I admit, multi-cultural country or not, most people in Canada are pretty ignorant about other religions and cultures. This isn’t a phenomenon limited to the white, Christian majority. The truth of it is, most Canadians just stick to their own. However, now freshly educated on the cultural importance of the Kirpan (thanks to The Kirpan in Sikhism by Santbir Singh) I can confidently say that I’m sorry, but it’s time to change the tradition.

I mean, we grasp at tradition like it’s this unchanging rock holding us to our past and our roots. But it’s not. Tradition is created, changed and destroyed as dictated by the culture. That’s how we evolve as residents of the planet.

There’s no getting around the fact that the Kirpan is a weapon, and as this quote shows, one that is to be used to maintain the sovereignty of Sikhs.

The Kirpan is our way of showing to the world that we as Sikhs will never bow down to any state authority. The Sikhs of the Guru recognize only one authority, and that is God. We recognize only one throne, and that is the Eternal Throne of the Timeless one, the Takht Akal Bunga Sahib. Our Kirpans are our passports of freedom.

Americans, with the 2nd amendment to the US Constitution, have a similar Right vs. Reality situation. The simple fact is that should you have a number of people armed at all times you create a state of violence and fear. Humankind has proven countless times that their responsibility with things that can kill is pretty much akin to children not putting things in their mouths.

Now, I’m not attempting to say that Sikhs are going to go out on a wild stabbing spree, and very likely there has never been any incidences of violence occuring in Canada with Sikhs using their Kirpan as a weapon. However, it opens the door to allowing all people to argue “What’s fair for one person is fair for all people.”

So, just as the government, and overwelming majority of the population, in the US has decreed that the ‘right to bear arms’ does not include caring a Glock hand cannon to 4th period history, so should Canada’s ‘freedom of religion’ not override everyone else’s basic freedom of not fearing those carrying large weapons.

Times change, religions and cultures adjust. Get with it. Or perhaps we should also allow Muslims their religious freedom to stone women adulterers to death. Some traditions remind us of the diversity and greatness of our roots, but some have no place in the modern world and there is little need to carry a small sword on a train or into a classroom.

In other news… I’m feeling better, and despite the words of Richard Ashcroft, the drugs do indeed work. The pain in my foot is all but gone and the one in my throat has faded to a dull ache.

7 Responses

  1. Well as for the dagger being a symbol of a certain religion, I’d say don’t show off as taking it under your pants otherwise you would be considered as a potential attacker in a common sense, now that it’s a common sense, why still take it that would there be anyone who would think of you inferior without it? Probably they do think like that. But anyways I would be definitely freaked out sitting or travelling with one who’s equipped with a dagger, well, if I knew it.

    By the way, I wonder if you made it going to the party tonight (Sunday) with your recovering foot and sore throat.My mission was aborted unfortunately for something [email protected]!


  2. just read your post on kirpans, and i’m doing a public service corse at college. anyway over here in England meany Sikhs carry a small rubber representation of a kirpan. just a thought.

    • Thats a crock of crap.
      I’m a Sikh who wears a Kirpan, my entire family inc Mother, auntie and grandmother all wear Kirpans and have been doing so their entire life while living in England. I wear my Kirpan to work (office) and i never part from my sword. My mother who works with county courts also wears her Kirpan to court and is allowed by LAW!

      So to say that Sikhs carry a small rubber Kirpan as symbolism is nothing but disinformation.
      Over a Million Sikhs fort for the British in the WWII and in WWI. We are owed by the British government to be allowed as free citizens to follow our religion.
      The Kirpan is not a knife that we can pick and choose when to wear it. It is out religious commandment given to us by our 10th Guru, Guru Gobind Singh.

      Just as Moses gave the Jews their 10 commandments we Sikhs have ours.

  3. I used to live in Canada. I loved Canada. Then it got taken over by intolerant, left-wing pansies.

    I love the logic here:
    “Sure, you have religious freedom, but only for acts that don’t SCARE ME!!!”

    I suppose you also agree with free speech, but not speech that offends you?

    For the record, btw, the US has a lower rate of violent crime than Canada. See the International Crime Victims’ Survey by Leyden U. Canada is #3. The US isn’t even in the top 20.

    Doubtless you’ll deny it. But the study has been done for several years with peer review.

    I recall dreading walking to school in Mississauga, getting repeatedly beaten by gangs of thugs from the subsidized apartments next to us. I never had that problem in the US.

    If you can conflate a 3″ dagger with a machine gun, I wonder how you manage to step foot in your kitchen, doubtless filled with “swords” and “beheading knives” in the same context.

    Here’s an idea: If you have aichmophobia (an irrational fear of sharp things)(and since most Kirpans are not sharpened, your form is extreme) or hoplophobia (an irrational fear of weapons)(and since a Kirpan is somewhat less impressive than a steak knife, your form is extreme), why not take advantage of Canada’s allegedly wonderful medical system for some free psychotherapy?

  4. Wow, I’ve had a lot of whack jobs comment on this site, but you, THE Michael Z. Williamson, take the cake. Mostly because you’re well armed and no one is going to tell you not to take it.

    You obviously haven’t read much past this post if you believe I want to sanitize free speech.

    My point, as you so ignorantly seemed to have missed, is that religious freedoms do not supersede the laws of the nation and the freedoms of all. If I can bring a kirpan to school, my neighbor should also be able to bring a knife to school.

    If it truly is simply a representation of a past ritual (the 5Ks), and it must be, as no one is going to protect the weak and uphold virtue with a 3.5″ kirpan, then Paul’s thought is a good one.

    Now I’ve re-read my post and double checked the weapons in my house and I just can’t figure this one out: where the fuck do you get the idea that I’m scared of knives?

    I like weapons as much as the next 12-year-old. I just don’t think arming public school students is such a hot idea.

    I love the logic here:
    “Sure, you have religious freedom, but only for acts that don’t SCARE ME!!!”

    It’s apparent that you write science fiction, and are no journalist. Dude, you can’t make up quotes to support your stupid argument.

    Ditto goes for stats.

    I looked up the International Crime Victims’ Survey, and the only reference I could figure out giving you a showing of Canada as #3 and the US not in the top 20 was when you looked at the list as it was presented – in alphabetical order. Additionally, I couldn’t find statistics that were more recent than 1994/5.

    The United Nation Office on Drug and Crime (UNODC) survey (also somewhat dated, as they didn’t have more recent US figures) seemed to concur with you, that the US has lower crime rates.

    However, when you take out non-violent crimes (car theft, burglaries, etc.), you get the following stats.

    The number of people affected by violent crime (homicide and major assault) per 100,000:

    US: 337.15
    England/Wales: 31.71
    Canada: 11.65

    And if I lived in Canada, I’d love to take advantage of the “allegedly wonderful medical system”, unfortunately the “intolerant left-wing pansies” aren’t helming the country anymore, and things are quickly privatizing.

    Honestly, are you truly trying to criticize a socialized medical system? You really are a dick.

  5. Guys im a British Sikh, i carry a Kirpan and personally i find that if you are a human being you should be able to defend yourself. Sikh culture stands out against oppression of the lower classes and elimination of class divides and because of this it has always been under attack. In 18th century india the head of a Sikh could fetch you a 2 gold coins. This was the reason for the Kirpan and it is still as valid today as it was then. All people who do not conform to society have need to bear arms as there are many who would see them convert or destroyed whether that be Islamic Extremist back in the day or even now, or modern governments who wish to make their people unarmed sheep.

    Basically all human beings men and women have the right to bear arms to defend themselves.

    The final human master of the Sikhs made it mandatory for all true practising Sikhs to be military and carry weapons, however 99% of self proclaimed Sikhs don’t even follow the basic rules such as uncut hair let alone take up the highest responsibility of bearing arms.

    Just as a trained martial artist will avoid fighting because he knows the devastation conflict can bring, a true Sikh Saint Soldier will avoid combat and in the words of the 10th Guru; Guru Gobind Singh – only when ALL peaceful means of solving a dispute have been exhausted, is it righteous to draw the sword.

    Only as recent as the 1980’s Sikh freedom movement did Sikhs use their sacred weapons to destroy the tyrants of India including dictator Indira Gandhi.

    There will always be crazed loons who go on killing sprees in every community, and any move to remove the Kirpans from the system will only mean that the individual homicidal maniac will pick up a kitchen knife instead.

    Knives do not kill people, People kill people!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *