Visiting a Sikh Temple

Sean took a visit to a temple in North Carolina, and found some fellow gun nuts. I’m not an expert on the Sikh religion, but the way I understood their dedication to peace, among all peoples, was that it was backed up with a healthy, “but don’t f**k with us,” philosophy on the virtue of self-defense. That’s the kind of peace I can believe in.

13 thoughts on “Visiting a Sikh Temple”

  1. Sikhs (at least the ones i’m familiar with) are not pushovers. They will fight if backed into a corner.

  2. I have heard recently that Sikhs are required by their religion to be armed in some ways at all times. I don’t know if that is true, or if they obey it other than “symbolically.” But it brought to mind a recent experience of mine, that preceded the temple shooting incident.

    There is a gas station in New Jersey I frequently fill up at; always at least 20 cents cheaper per gallon than PA. It is manned by Sikhs. The last time I was filling up, another guy (who appeared to be a Pakistani) came along on foot and started to joke with the Sikh attendant. I did not pay much attention to their patter, even though it was in English. Suddenly the Sikh made a gesture I viewed from the rear as pulling his shirt aside, and the other guy said “Whoa!” and jumped back bringing his hands up to his shoulders in a “shielding” gesture. Then he said, “Do you have a license for that thing?” and the Sikh said “Yes I do!” Then they went back to laughing, sharing glances with me about their humor. I smiled.

    I did not want to pursue what had been going on, though I was curious. Given that someone whose ancestors came over on the Mayflower probably wouldn’t be able to get a license to carry, in NJ, I seriously doubted that the Sikh had a licensed firearm. But, the other guy’s reaction certainly was typical for seeing a serious weapon!

    It all came back to me with the commentary following the Sikh temple incident.

    1. In NJ, you can carry on property you own, including your business. Maybe this particular Sikh owned the gas station?

  3. It’s a religion that mandates the constant possession of a weapon specifically for self-defense or defense of others. Not all Sikhs mut carry a kirpan as such, but along with the other parts of the Five Ks, it’s both a common and important part of the religion for those who have gone through the equivalent of baptism. It’s not surprising to see gun owners among adherents.

  4. Ask anyone who’s served in Her Majesty’s Armed Forces in the subcontinent, and they’ll tell you the Gurhkas are number one when it comes to dead-nuts insanity, but the Sikhs match ’em for toughness and spirit.

    “The Battle of Saragarhi is considered one of the greatest battles in Sikh military history. On 12 September 1897 a contingent of twenty-one soldiers from the 36th Sikhs led by Havildar Ishar Singh held off an Afghan attack of 10,000 men for several hours. All 21 Sikh soldiers chose to fight to the death instead of surrendering. In recognition of their sacrifice, the British Parliament paid them respect, and each one of them was awarded the Indian Order of Merit (equivalent to the Victoria Cross).”

    Leonidas, eat your bloody heart out.

  5. Thanks for the link.

    Someone else said that, having listened to the Sikhs, that they were Americans before there was an America. He points out that the Sikhs already have the right beliefs, and so when they get here they fit right in. They just look a bit different is all.

    1. “America” has historically been a pretty popular and successful “idea”, or, say, set of ideas, and if you think about it, it’s unlikely that in all of human history no one else would have come up with some similar ideas and found success with them.

  6. The weekend after 9-11 when I was back in uniform I stopped for gas at a station owned by some Sikhs. I went inside to pay and get some coffee and some ignorant redneck asshole was giving the elder of the two (who looked like he was 90) crap about being a ‘mooslim’, and was getting pretty violent about it.

    I stepped in and stopped that BS, right then and there, and got the guy outside. He was calling me a traitor, since a ‘military man’ should be supporting HIM. Not hardly, I know what the Sikh religion is about.

    Anyway, when I was back in California a couple of months ago I stopped in for gas, and they still remember me. It’s kind of a family tradition, my father got involved in some activities that pissed off the Klan back in the early 1960’s in the deep south. The south seems a lot better than I remember, too bad California still has morons in it.

  7. “was that it was backed up with a healthy, ‘but don’t f**k with us,’ philosophy on the virtue of self-defense”

    Current events show otherwise.

    1. It’s likely that not all enclaves follow the traditional doctrine.

      This is the sort of reformist nonsense all too often seen among Jews: Those who are more ritually observant tend to lean to the right as a group, those who are moderately ritually observant tend to lean to the left as a group, and those who are barely observant of religious rituals tend to have fallen off the left end of the spectrum.

      Along with that goes stance on firearms; Orthodox Jews tend to understand reasons for ownership and carry of firearms, and generally be supportive of the practice, Conservative Jews tend to be split, and “reform Jews” tend to generally oppose the practice.

      The same is likely true here.

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