Common sense dictates that when something explodes or the earth starts to move under ones feet, when nature or man unleashes their unparalleled fury upon human kind we run in the opposite direction to the approaching or in some cases loud signs of danger and forthcoming and premature ejection from this thing we call life. Our innate and primary instinct would push most every person to walk or run as far away from the noise dust and flying debris as possible, to do anything to attain the simple goal of staying alive.
This is what any normal and sensible person would and should do in these rather extraordinary circumstances. Kenyans however seem to be an alien species to which the above is of no consequence and who is prone to rather non sensible and bone headed behaviour. Time and time again we as a people (not all of us- I hope) refuse to do the right thing instead, like you rookie reporters fresh out of university the whole country (one county at a time) troops en mass, eyes first into the disaster zones to look and bear witness to the impending and unfolding doom.
Seemingly there are three (or more) levels of stupidity the first is what I like to call the dumb stupid: which entails the daft practice of just not listening to all warning given out either on TV or by those in authority. We seem to hear the news through on ear and it –hopefully- circulates the walls of our brains, and then pops out the other ear almost as fast as we received the nuggets of essential advice. Under this kind of daft we can file those victims who went to Hells Gate in mid April when a group of youths went to Naivasha to visit the National Park. Naivasha is known for its heavy rainy season and flooding is more than a likely hood in the area. These people should have headed sign posts around the park and the metrological department (who are not always spot on with their prediction of the weather), but on occasion they do get it right and should not be taken lightly.
Those in the second tier of dumbness are buree stupid: those who want anything and everything for free and who don’t pay head to the danger they may be putting themselves in. Kenyans love anything that is either free or on sale, they love everything for cheap! This is true even in circumstances where Kenyans put their very lives at risk, the prime examples being Sachangwan and Sinai where people lost their lives and sustained third degree burns for the love of free fuel, and when they rather foolishly paid no heed to the warnings that petrol is dangerous and probably should not be siphoned from a fallen tanker with all manner of plastic or metal jerrycans and although the situation was a little different with those in Sinai getting their fuel from a leaking pipeline the result was the same= mass death and permanently disfigured people.
The third and perhaps the most common type of stupid is the stop & bear witness stupid: Those in this special and common group of ordinary people with daft behaviours can be seen country wide and although they do not wear signs or t-shirts to show off this stupidity they show up every time there’s an accident, natural or man- made disaster. They rush like hurdling athletes, dashing at the speeds of Usain Bolt to be the first to arrive at the scene –because is just not good enough. Earlier this week what is suspected to be a bomb made with fertilizer exploded in Nairobi’s CBD and within minutes of the loud bangs ringing out in the busy city streets hundreds upon hundreds had converged upon the scene as though to witness it with their own two eyes. There are others whose only aim is to steal; everything they can get their eager hands on when everyone is distracted.
We would do well and be safer to remember that the only people who need to or should be anywhere near an unfolding disaster are those whose job it is to be there: police, first responders/ambulances/Red Cross, journalists (the real ones with press passes) and firemen and women. No one else should be heading into the proverbial burning building!
What Kenyan’s should instead learn is that as in the case of 9/11, terrorists -who heed their inner calls to common sense- may just decide to strike twice or even do the unthinkable and wait for people to gather around the scene and cause maximum casualties and damage by striking again!