Gun grabbers exploit 2012 Sikh slaughter, but Sikhs don’t heed them

(AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

I have been to several Sikh temples, known as Gurdwaras, during my lifetime. I have always found them to be places where I can find solace. It is Sikh tradition to feed everyone at their temples. Go to any Gurdwara anywhere in the world, and you will find a langar, a community kitchen/dining hall run by volunteers. Sikhs see service to the needy as service to God, and the poor are always welcome there.


Because of religious persecution at the hands of Muslim rulers, Sikhism evolved and developed a tradition of the defensive use of force, and baptized Sikhs have a mandate to carry a dagger known as the Kirpan, to be used in defense of the oppressed and to ensure their own free exercise of religion.

Unfortunately, Sikhs have been on the receiving end of hate around the world. Their attire, long hair with turbans, and beards make them easy to identify and target. One such incident, which shook me to my core, was the 2012 white supremacist attack at the Sikh Gurdwara in Oak Creek, Wisconsin. A loser with alcohol issues and delusions of racial war took the lives of six innocent human beings who were preparing a langar meal to serve others. The loser also shot a responding police officer 15 times, who miraculously survived, before killing himself like a typical coward.

I still think about it on and off. It bothers me at a subconscious level, along with the 2008 Mumbai attack, the killing of Daniel Pearl, Sandy Hook, and the shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes. Some things you just can’t shake off. So, it infuriated me when I saw gun grab organizations cheaply exploiting the tragedy to push their agenda:




First, let’s note the inherent hypocrisy of all these groups. If the victims had been stabbed, bludgeoned, or burned to death, they would not have said a single word. It’s not the hate they care about, not the violence, but only disarming us.

There’s a little detail in the attack the grabbers missed, and it’s that the Gurdwara was a gun-free zone, and one of the defenders used a butter knife to try to fight back.

Temple massacre has some Sikhs mulling gun ownership

The Sikh temple massacre prompted calls for stricter gun control, but some members of the India-based faith — who carry ceremonial knives — are considering taking up firearms in light of the tragedy.

Sikhs are rattled after the horrific Aug. 5 shooting in Oak Creek, Wis., in which Wade Michael Page opened fire for no apparent reason before a police officer gunned him down. Although the religion teaches tolerance and good deeds, some believe arming themselves could be the best protection against hate crimes that have too frequently been perpetrated by assailants who mistake them for Muslims. […]

“I think that being able to legally obtain and carry a gun is the best thing any Sikh can do, especially after 9/11 where there have been over 800 documented cases of harassment and violence against us,” Sim J. Singh, a practicing Sikh and Florida-based law clerk who carries a concealed handgun for protection, told


The Sikh religion requires males to carry a dagger — known as a “Kirpan” — for the protection of themselves and others, at all times.

“Our prophet said we should protect ourselves, and protect those who cannot defend themselves. He made sure that every [Sikh man] should carry a weapon,” Rajwinder Singh said.

He added that in the U.S., most Sikhs carry miniature Kirpans so as not to run afoul of state and local ordinances against knives. Where the laws are less strict, they often carry real weapons.

“In India, you see people carrying 10- inch, 11-inch Kirpans,” Singh said. “That really can protect you if something happens.


The president of the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin had only a butter knife on hand, which he used to fight the gunman. He was killed, but his heroic actions were credited for slowing the shooter. Guns were not allowed in the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin.


Sim Singh, however, said that he personally carries a gun because he cannot rely on police arriving soon enough.

“Sometimes the police are not able to arrive in time,” Sim Singh said.

“I do not believe stronger gun control is the right solution, as it ends up hurting the law-abiding citizens from having the option to defend themselves with guns when necessary.”


Handguns are modern kirpans, much like the AR-15 is a modern musket. Sikhs know that intuitively. They’re embracing guns. The Storefront Sikhs during the 2020 riots were an example.

Gun control groups keep for calling for disarmament, but as I’ve written before, the solution is to #ArmLove because you’ll never #DisarmHate.

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