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Sukhmandir Khalsa

Shaster in the Gurdwara

By March 5, 2013

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Featured: Archer in the Gurdwara at Rain Sabaee Kirtan

Are we safer with weaponry in the gurdwara?

I attended a smagam for rain sabaee kirtan at San Jose Gurdwara and sat next to a very respected Singh holding a bow and wearing a quiver of arrows who sometimes gives archery demonstrations. Seeing him immediately reminded me of 10th Guru Gobind Singh and stories about the guru's expertise with the bow in battle.

A little later, I thought of the incident in 2012 of the Wisconsin gurdwara shooting and felt just a little comforted sitting next an armed Singh with skill in weaponry. It's very difficult for me to takes sides on the gun regulation issue. I support constitutional rights of citizens to bear arms and have no desire to give up any freedoms. At the same time I can't help but feel that education, better regulations and background checks, and certain restrictions of automatic weapons might help to reduce the kinds of tragic shootings our fellow Americans have suffered.

Sikhs have a martial history, and it's not at all uncommon to see gurdwara displays of shastar (weapons) historically used for self defense and to fight oppression and tyranny. I once heard a story of a kirpan stopping a bullet, but when automatic weapons intended for war can be fired at innocent children and unarmed people, in schools, churches, and other public places, something seems very out of kilter with our current gun laws.

I wonder what you think about proposed gun regulations. Should automatic weapons be banned?

Shaster - Weaponry
Gatka - Sword Dance
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March 5, 2013 at 5:25 pm
(1) caite@a lovely shore breeze says:

well, we certainly don’t want to get into an argument here…lol…but I can not help but think it is much more a mental health issue than a gun issue. Bad people, people who seek to do harm, will always get the weapons to do harm if they really want to.

March 5, 2013 at 7:05 pm
(2) sikhism says:

You certainly have a valid point Caite, only the mentally disturbed seek to harm innocents. Still it raises questions about back ground checks waiting periods, and availability of weapons and whether we the American people are really ready to address those questions in a viable way that changes the forseeable outcome.

March 6, 2013 at 3:15 am
(3) Reno, the Biggest Little City says:

Automatic weapons have no place among the civilian population of a civilized society (I like to think we are). Even though there are an estimated 300 million guns of all types already out there, that is no excuse not to start now trying to reverse the trend. I have just as much of a right not to be randomly mowed down as the person who wants to own a weapon of war.

March 6, 2013 at 8:55 am
(4) Indrani says:

In my opinion weapons of all kinds should be banned.

March 6, 2013 at 10:16 am
(5) Susan says:

I agree with my colleague from Reno. Now is the time to reverse the trend toward civilians owning ever-bigger and better killing machines. No civilian needs the kind of weaponry that made the tragedy at Sandy Hook possible.

March 6, 2013 at 10:44 am
(6) Harkirat Singh says:

Our mind is the most dangerous weapon in today’s greedy society. Some comments above recognise that, some don’t.

March 6, 2013 at 11:43 am
(7) aquariann says:

Banning guns won’t stop criminals, as they’re already not following the current gun control laws. I think having trained guards in schools and crowded events (like the one in your gurdwara) is smart.

March 6, 2013 at 11:44 am
(8) imaddy says:

Something that our society will never be on the same page. But hopeful that we can all come to something so that the children of Sandy Hook and others will not have died in vain.

March 6, 2013 at 1:19 pm
(9) ❤ Julie Maloney ❤ (@Momspective) says:

I was actually recently asked if I had to give up one right what would it be and this is the one I chose simply because I personally think guns should be left to hunters and the military.

March 6, 2013 at 8:47 pm
(10) Sue St Clair says:

Beautiful pics. I am a Canadian and I believe in peace. :) Happy WW and thank you for stopping by my blog :)

March 6, 2013 at 11:38 pm
(11) AVCr8teur says:

It is a very complex subject. I don’t think banning all guns will resolve the violence and there has been quite a lot lately in the bay area. But on the other hand, I always wondered why do ordinary citizens need assault rifles and such. Better regulation and background checks will help, but will not resolve everything. There is no easy answer, but it is a start.

March 7, 2013 at 12:55 am
(12) Gattina says:

A weapon shown in a traditional ceremony has nothing to do with a crazy guy who runs around and shoots everything he looks at .Killing other people has nothing to do with freedom either we don’t live in the Far West anymore where you had to defend your life. If nobody is allowed to own a gun, there is less killing too ! At least that is the experience we have made here in Europe. We had a 17 year old boy who entered a daycare with a knife, managed to kill 3 babies and one woman, several others were severely injured, imagine what would have happened if he had owned a gun !

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