Give Them a Medal


Ok I should have felt bad. Or maybe I should be feeling bad. My first reaction to being told by our security manager at the estate gate that thugs had been shot dead on Langata Road was. “Man I hope they’re not on the road, I have a 10 o’clock.” Then the traffic then the postponement of the meeting to 2PM, then the Nation on Thursday morning. I’m normally too cheap to buy my own paper, I normally borrow one and try and not get caught cutting out interesting articles. But “Executing point-blank” was too good a headline. My neighborhood is finally the national focal point.
To be perfectly honest I should be embarrassed about myself. Embarrassed that I didn’t lose a wink of sleep thinking about those men who got killed. Embarrassed that I am on the side of the executioner and not the executed. I was a card carrying member of Amnesty International, even a Chapter official at one time. Not anymore. I have finally crossed to the ‘tough on crime’ grouping on Facebook. I’ve read the story and I’ll admit that I think those officers need a commendation. It can’t be easy shooting an unarmed man in cold blood in front of gawking Kenyans. It can’t be easy taking another human beings life. But we the public need to feel safe. We need to feel like someone is looking out of us from those men who come into homes, our banks, our offices; carjack us. Someone has to step into the breach. Today’s Nation had comments from Kenyans like me. I was prepared to stand alone to defend our police officers and chase away the circling, snipping human rights activists trying to earn they daily donor. But everyone – except two people – sided with the police. Are we fed up with crime or does a human life come too cheaply in this country. I’ll admit I was carjacked, I every time I hear a thug is dead I do a little victory dance. I love it when they put their pictures in the paper; I stare trying to see if I remember him from that day. I want to look into his cold dead eyes and have that final laugh. Wave my finger triumphantly and say “the wages of sin….” I’d leave out the part of redemption, because secretly I hope he’s burning in hell. There’s dark place in my heart reserved for all the criminals in Kenya.
The reality of the real war between the thugs and the cops in Kenya is much more complex than my own personal vendetta against crime. If the roles where flipped if the gun was in the other man’s hand, the one in the striped shirt, would he have pulled the trigger? Probably. Would we have cared about how difficult, unappreciated and dangerous it s to be a police officer in Kenya? Probably not. I really don’t have anything profound to say, but I’ll say this. Should the police have shot those three men? Probably not. But I do understand why they did it.

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