BY CASSANDRA MERCY
One of the most rewarding stories I have ever read was about a man who was on his way to work one morning at about 5am and was waylaid by carjackers. Holding him at gun point, they asked him to relieve himself of everything in his pockets. Reaching into his back pocket to do as ordered, he instead pulled out a gun and shot both thugs.
It turns out the “victim” was a CID officer on his way to work and these two really picked the wrong target.
I love that story.
The first thing we need to shoot down is the logic that “guns kill”. If you believe that, then pencils fail exams and cars cause accidents. Guns do not kill people, people do.
Fact: There are over 10,000 guns in Kenya. Nightmare: I should have mentioned 10,000 illegal guns. It appalls me that it is virtually impossible for me to get a gun legally yet if I was to ignore the law in order to protect myself, all I had to do was take a ride into a well known area of Nairobi teaming with lesser known warlords and I can get a MP5 no questions asked. Criminals, who care nothing for the law or me, can and easily obtain guns which they have been using with increasing frequency of late. What’s even more retarded is that they apparently get guns from the very police supposed to insure my armless state.
I believe I have a right to be free in my own country. And the fact that my tax return form makes me weep should mean that if the government fails to protect me, I should be empowered to protect myself.
I am a small woman, barely five feet in height, I’d feel much safer with a gun, trust me. I keep asking the question, if you were a rapist (sic) and you knew that there was a possibility I have .38, would you ever dare? The chance that I may have a gun in my handbag transforms me from an easy victim to a much tougher proposition. I call that “practical sex equality”.
Here’s the thing, the sort of gun law we have right now hasn’t contributed to a lower crime rate, has it? You have pretty much outlawed guns and ego, only outlaws have them. They don’t care about gun control laws, yet you are punishing me because I do. Studies in the US, Australia and England have showed that the more restrictive the gun laws, the higher the rate of armed crime goes. Criminals feel safer and more powerful in an otherwise “gun less” state and at the rate Kenya is going; traffic police will soon need grenade launchers.
The picture I get here is that I am not allowed to arm myself because I cannot be trusted with a weapon. This is laughable because the people that are trusted with these weapons nearly brought the country to a stand still sometime back with their “at will” shooting.
What trained person fires a live bullet into air above a crowd? I am supposed to trust my safety with policemen who can hardly shoot, sell their guns to criminals and to be honest, are actually scarier than the very criminals I am to be protected from? I think not. To be fair to policemen, I too wouldn’t bee too committed to citizen safety for Sh5,000 a month, it’s not worth it.
The other thought is that there is a secret conspiracy by the government to ensure that it has a monopoly on the use force. If the latter were the case, then you need to be scared.
Not being heard is the most frustrating of human conditions. As Kenyans, we perhaps know this better than most having being ignored most of our cognitive lives. I have a government that handles my country like a dinner party for selected guests only (no flash photography please). I strongly believe that only a dictatorial government would need to keep revolution at bay by disarming its citizenry. I am armless and after the disbandment of ECK I have no vote either. How in the world is this government ever to know from whom it derives its power? The mere knowing that the population could be armed, has a calming effect on the government, just as knowing that they aren’t, has an effect of making criminals that much more aggressive.
Gun control should not be about depriving lawful abiding citizens of the right to scare criminals; it should be about hitting your target.
(The writer is a producer with Capital FM)