The unfortunate truth of being a public figure is that the ‘public’ shall always preface your ‘figure’. Whatever you do or don’t do will always follow what the public says or thinks you have done; and that damage is irreversible.
But under the new constitution, it is punishable by law.
Enter the Deputy Chief Justice Nancy Baraza and this whole saga at the Village Market.
The Star paints a picture of an aggravated Baraza pulling a gun on an innocent security guard who went from trying to do her job to fighting for her life.
The Nation‘s online edition tells a different story of a mother who was buying medication for her hospitalized son when a security guard insisted she be subjected to a search(even though she was already past the security checkpoint). Nancy declined, a verbal exchange ensued and the next morning police reports were lodged and 2 days later, news articles were printed.
The Standard doesn’t seem to have any thoughts on the matter. Our writer, 3CB, however, did:
My first instinct was to question the validity of the story. As much as the media is compromised, I still believe The Nation over The Star as a rule. After all, it wouldn’t be the first time The Star had published a story that was slightly less than true. Plus, a woman who was smart enough and accomplished enough to be publicly vetted as a Deputy Chief Justice is no ordinary person. At the very least, she’s smart enough not to go brandishing a firearm in public.
Amen. I have a routine I pull when going through pointless security checks. While they’re busy going through my backpack and not running a metal detector on me, I tell them ‘Dude, the gun’s in my back pocket and the grenades are in my socks!’ or something of that nature. Normally they laugh it off, give me my bag and smile angrily. It’s no disrespect to their jobs but I’ve never been through an effective security check that wasn’t carried out in an airport. One time at Yaya Centre, I sat down on my penknife and then laughed because I had been joking about weapons in my backpocket on my way in. Earlier that month at an airport, I was relieved of a toothpick.
I say that to say this: even in my satirical social misfit nature, I wouldn’t have been silly or pretentious enough to pull out the knife(or toothpick) had I bypassed the security and then proceed to threaten a security guard. How exactly would that conversation go?
“Dude, don’t search me! I have a weapon and I’m not afraid to use it! Although I realize this is immensely ironic, seeing as this is the precise reason you would frisk me, DON’T FRISK ME OR I’LL CUT YOU! I’ll poke holes in your armpits! Do you know who I am? I run a blog!”
Nah, not likely. My lonely brain cell would commit elaborate suicide at the redundancy of such an action. So why would the DCJ do it? I know she has more braincells than I, and is sufficiently more mature. So when I saw the article in the morning, I yawned and let it slide. It couldn’t have been factual. Also I don’t blindly engage in hate-speech. *cough*
Yet somehow, a lot of people did. The slew of slander on social networks was almost non-stop. From people claiming she was a ‘Gunner'(Arsenal Fan) to other more serious, more flagrant claims of impunity. It was a collective slow motion insertion of feet into very large mouths. We at DR do not endorse oral pedicures so we waited until we had some facts or at least thought through opinions.
It didn’t help that so many versions of the story had popped up after the steamroller of hate and humor began doing donuts all over her reputation.
To quote CB yet again:
“The sad thing is that now every time we look at Nancy Baraza, we will think of Rebecca Morara on her knees with a gun. It doesn’t matter how many retractions will be issued or what Ms Morara’s intentions were – the damage has been done.”
Worse than that, those that chose to liberally defy truths and facts will also have their moment of reckoning. Be you a media house that deems itself reputable when it isn’t, or an online persona with more credibility than foresight, it would’ve been prudent not to get ahead of yourself in such a matter.
Always do the human arithmetic and factor all the people in play from the guard and the DCJ, to the police and those who operate the CCTV, to the lawyers they employ and the families they all have. What if the CCTV reveals that all that happened was that lollipops were exchanged the guard was displeased when she got the lemon flavored one? What if the DCJ had no more lollipops left? What if the guard then tried to extort more lollipops out of the lollipopless DCJ? What if none of this ever happened and your life went on as usual – as it should’ve?
When there are too many unknowns, opt to take a personal learning from the situation and await facts and figures.
The lesson I learned from this is simple: no longer shall I joke with security guards. If I maintain my routine, the Star may have a headline that reads “Buddying Blogger Brutalizes Security Guard with Poisonous Toothpick”.
And I would suffer a lifetime of hurt to my already shifty reputation.