Monday, October 31, 2005

Planes, Trains, and Automatic Weapons

Or in this case... a sword. In the Ottawa Citizen newspaper this week, there was an argument going back and forth over the terrible infringement on religious freedom when a Sikh was forced off of a train for wearing a sword on his person. This religious, ceremonial sword or "kirpan" (see above photo) was argued to be no threat because it is not a weapon, but a sacred symbol.
I am thoroughly amazed that people will defend the right to carry swords onto trains because it is not supposedly a weapon but a ceremonial symbol. I seem to remember that on Sept. 11 the Muslim terrorists also did not use weapons but box cutters from Home Depot. If thousands can die from utility knives (that aren't weapons) on airplanes, then surely "swords" (that aren't weapons) should be banned from trains. What do we say to the pious man who wants to carry a sacred pistol with ceremonial bullets onto a plane? As a religious person myself I believe in individual freedoms. But I also know that sometimes, in order to retain one's religious rights, in this case to carry a kirpan, one has to suffer to walk or drive a car and stay off
of public transportation... if indeed they are truly faithful followers of their religion. Please do not try to compare this Sikh on the train to a Rosa Parks-like victim; Ms. Parks wasn't wielding a sword, whether it be a symbol or a weapon.

I sent the above response to the Citizen and they called to tell me it was being considered for publication, but it wasn't in this morning's paper...