I came about a piece of ambiguous news released by a mass media network NTV via their facebook page that said,
3 PEOPLE including two children injured after a policeman shoots at a matatu that defied orders to stop at a roadblock in Kisumu.
Reading this status made me wonder a couple of things at once which made my head hurt. What is with the uppercase ‘people’? What is with including children and not specifying who the 3rd person is? Would it have taken too much space to say, ‘2 Children and a woman were injured…’? By the way, injured how? Were they caught by a stray bullet? Did one bullet go through 3 people or did the cop shoot three times? Were the people injured running away from the gunshot[s] ? Were the 3 PEOPLE including two children passengers of the matatu or passers-by? Where in Kisumu? Man, my head hurt. There was no link to clarify this broad incidence so I decided, fuck it, I will join the 66 people that liked this and move on down the timeline to see if any of my friends had uploaded new baby pictures.
But then I noticed the status had gathered quite a bit of comments. I made the mistake of checking them out. Kenyans are something else. The comment thread included people that had jumped to conclusion, condemned those involved, insulted tribes among other hilariousness. From the way people were talking about the incidence you’d think that NTV was airing the event live on telly.
I mean, if I were to comment on such an ambiguous feed i would have to put an equally ambiguous comment. Like, ‘wow’ or ‘sad’ or ‘LINK! Or it didn’t happen’. A small number of people did this. Small. They were just saddened by the situation and mentioned God.
The rest of the comments were just a reminder of why Kenya is fucked up. Most were calling this cop criminal and compared this with the Baragoi incidence that saw 40+ cops killed by ‘cattle ruslers’. The general feeling was that the commenters were glad that cops were killed in Baragoi because of how they kill innocent civilians elsewhere in the country. There was a general consensus the best response to this situation was violence.
Notice how people have already concluded that the reason why the cop shot at the matatu because the driver didn’t leave a bribe. They are even sure it was a 50 bob bribe. This surety is what made me think that NTV was also airing this news. How did they know that?
A lot others did not read the whole thing correctly and ended up thinking that 3 PEOPLE including two children were KILLED! They also had ideas on what the police should have done instead, which mainly included movie stunts like shooting the tires.
But every 100 or so comments a critical person would come up.
And then there were there were those that saw no fault in the cops or the driver but in the passengers. We have this habit of praising matatus whenever they daringly break a traffic rule and this, they thought, encourages matatu drivers to be as they are. We enable them and the result is we get ourselves shot.
Then we went tribal. Don’t they always.
And then the comments just got weird.
This went on for a while. But no one seemed to deal with what was the main issue, to me. Which is. What is the whole story? NTV should be bombarded with questions of what of happened instead of being let off easy and start fighting among ourselves. We have become so used to believing everything we hear on the media that we don’t even think twice about verifying. We become molded to think they way they want for what I might only think is to control us. If what I think is correct then what we should expect is more insecurity/insecurity news intermixed with how you should forfeit your privacy for your own safety or something like that.
This may sound like a conspiracy theory so I will shut up for now until I have better backing.
UPDATE: I have found a link further explaining this incident. http://www.nation.co.ke/News/Three-injured-in-matatu-gun-drama/-/1056/1628090/-/hvkf97z/-/index.html