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Monday, July 11, 2011

tucked in their suit pockets

Sometimes I worry about insanity, not mine that's for others to worry about,I worry about the insanity of others and its effect on me. Who in Kenya hasn't run into some person in a random corner of the country wielding a machete? maybe he was using it for work; to cut off some tree branches and we all have a panga in the house for just such an occasion if not the one in Nairobi at least the one in ushago. People walk around with these things I have seen it in Parklands near former school and once I saw a guy with one. He was a pretty normal looking guy, well-worn work clothes, he looked like he was used to hard labour, like he fed his family from the sweat of his brow and understood in every callous on his hand that curse god put on the earth so long ago when Adam chose an apple over a deity. The clothes were old but clean and when someone is carrying a machete you want him to look like he knows how to use it. Some people may disagree with that statement, maybe you think it's better if he can't use the machete and looks it because if that's true he can't really hurt you, you can’t really have anything to fear from a man who can't wield the panga in his hand. But I invite you to consider a man in a three piece suit cut to fit, custom made to the last thread and on his hand he wears one of those watches that doesn't scream money but just whispers it because real money doesn't announce its presence to all, I want you to imagine that his shoes are gleaming that kind of guy who could walk through a desert and still have shoes that would put a mirror to shame, not a hair out of place and now to this imaginary man add a machete. Put it in his hand and imagine meeting him on the street with this weapon. Let's go further and say this is the kind of guy with hand texture so soft women comment on it. Why oh why is he carrying a machete, this is a crazy man, this is a guy who means business he won't let his lack of ignorance stop him from executing whoever he so pleases. I would rather not meet this guy because he may have snapped and all that keeps you alive when you are around a man with a machete is sanity. At any moment he could whip out his panga and slash you, if he wasn't sane that's it, no thought to consequences, so what if he goes to jail? He's a crazy person and he doesn't care he could just whip you and you may lose a limb or gain a scar or you may die. If this guy wasn't sane that's it for you. So am scared of insanity and the loosening of the bonds of restraint put on all.

Last week I heard a report about this businessman who was in accident at 3 am at the junction of Kenyatta avenue and kimathi street. The details were fuzzy as they always are when Kenyan news involves a prominent anyone, the press tiptoes around libel charges so carefully you never really know what’s going on. Once this prominent businessman was in an accident the first thing he did was he took out his gun and shot 6 times in the air.

He took out his gun and shot 6 times in the air.

The thing is in that one week this was the second such incident the first involved another prominent businessman who had taken out a gun and shot it in the air too, the second story was much more fuzzy. Here's the clincher these guys have private firearm licences. Yes in Kenya this kind of thing exists. There are a thousand laws nobody knows about, for example medical marijuana is a legal thing in Kenya or so i was told by a friend who did the course where they learnt such things. I started thinking about what it takes to get a private firearm license in this country, first of all you have to know that kind of thing exists which means you need a good lawyer, or to have heard that story on the news or to have read this blog. But that's not enough is it? Ask anyone who tried to get a license to distribute fliers in town, or to cut down a tree or to hold a party. It's not a simple thing to do is it? In fact you have to be a prominent person. And not just any degree of prominence can get you a firearms license. A prominent lecturer isn't going to get one, a prominent musician? Not likely, a prominent banker? Perhaps. A prominent CEO? Not all of them, maybe a few. The types of prominence you need are either that shadowed in the world of deals and generalities a prominent businessman for example, nobody ever knows what these guys do, they could be in the Mafia and the Mafia wouldn't know. They sound rich because they have the tag prominent attached to their title, never their name, it is never their name. The only other kind of prominence that could get you this is if you decided to become the only kind of real celebrity we have in Kenya, a prominent politician, that phrase even has alliteration in it. These are the guys who could get a private firearms license for their drivers if they so pleased because they run the country and make no secret about it, in fact every five years they ask the citizens of the country for a chance to run it for another five, they don't do this only in back rooms they do it on TV and in newspapers and billboards and the internet, those guys can get a private firearms license.

Remember the rich guy with the three piece suit from the beginning with the machete in his hand, the grimy, rusted machete in his hand that he could just snap and use on you with no warning? Well he has a machete in his suit pocket, the kind you can't run from. In order to make it in business, to really make it you have to be prone to risk. You have to love risk and live for it. Adrenaline must be your drug of choice and the thrill of the next deal must me your main motivation. It’s not about the money, its about the making of the money. And this is crazy. This really is crazy, why does bill gates still go to work every day, if I had his money I would go on a never ending cruise around the world, sampling their wine, women, wares and weed. The same goes for probably the thousand richest men in every country, probably even more than that. By the time the press is so scared of you they only refer to you as a prominent businessman you can do this. You can chuck in a life of stress for a life on the move, for the fantasy to live the dream of anybody. But most don't because you have to be a little crazy to make that much money and crazy people do not do sane things like take a long, never ending holiday.

Into the hands of these people who are a little off their rocker firearms, legal guns go. These people have even less to worry about when it comes to consequences than the normal crazy person. If a country locks up its wealth how can they possibly hope to survive? So I worry about sanity a lot. I don't want to be mowed down in a fit of anger and I could, this world is a random, scary, strange place and if it happened the prominent businessman would probably just walk away and that scares me.