Africa & Beyond

Americans: Descendants Of The Northern Cattle Rearers

“In one year, firearms killed no children in Japan, 19 in Great Britain, 57 in Germany, 109 in France, 153 in Canada, and 5,285 in the United States”.

As a young village boy in the early 80s anytime I was returning to the village from the farm I dreaded ever crossing the path of a Bororo man i.e. Buzuu, otherwise known as the hard core northern Nigerian cattle rearer who was noted for his sebaceous face and multiple gold plated hearings because he could have his dagger drawn on you at the slightest provocation.

Ever before my relocation to the village from Lagos for ‘further studies’ at the village missionary primary school I already heard stories of how the Bororos took away the tranquillity the village had. The villagers fear emanated from the Bororos’ indiscriminate use of dangerous guns and knives when challenged by farm owners for destroying their crops. The fear of these savage Bororos determined farmers’ choice of land as against the popular preference for fertile Meadow and tall Grass Prairie land that are notable for fat yam harvest.

The Bororos instead became earless and dogged as they intimidated and grazed farmlands with their cattle destroying villagers’ millet, maize, and yam in the process. If a villager was unlucky to be on the farm when his crop is flattened by the cattle he will have to put his temperament and adrenaline under control so as not to incur their owner’s wrath.

The best a farmer could do was to gently redirecting cattle away. While redirecting the cattle, they must not be whipped to surge aimlessly otherwise the farm owner might have to learn the hard way. Most of those who by natural human instinct threw caution to the wind to rescue their treasured crops and seasonal harvest s did not live to tell the story.

Those days, the whaling of a woman at the top of her voice on a warm afternoon meant just one thing – that the worst may have happened to her husband. So, every villager dreaded the Bororos and avoided them like a plague.

It is a known fact that a Bororo man would appreciate the company of his cattle more than the four walls of a class room for education yet would stroll round the village with his transistor radio not just hung to his bicycle but also permanently tuned to the BBC world service despite the fact that he cannot understand a word in English. I was told the story of a Bororro who claimed to be educated yet read newspapers turned upside down. He was popular for reading the newspaper upside down to break only news of tragic happenings in Lagos the capital city even when there was none.

The Bororo permanently had a companion (dagger) fastened to his upper left arm and the local hunting gun displayed on his shoulder each time the escorted his wives to the village to exchange ‘Fura de Nunu’ (cow milk) for tubers of yam and beans. I remember my grand Dad telling me once that Bororos’ ancestor carried guns those days to protect their cattle from wild animals but these days they proudly carry guns and knives to intimidate everyone everywhere even at the market square. I can still remember very well that carrying a weapon was so repulsive in the village that my 88 year’s old grandmother believed that depending on guns and knives is not only cowardly but also primitive.

I grew up using my fist to settle scores on the farm and play grounds among my mates those days as you are considered a coward if you use your teeth let alone a stick or brick, but in America of today you are not considered a man if you do not display your gun at the back of your pick up truck in a state like Oklahoma.

I have observed that if an American politician desires to excel at the polls he must never thread on the path of gun ban debates, especially if he’s seeking votes to the white house. I have not heard or read about Hilary, McCain or Obama threading on this dangerous path yet at their campaign rallies.

This disgraceful American gun culture cuts across all strata of their societies. The Americans become saddened and carry long faces every time an insane youth go on shooting rampage at shopping malls and colleges yet the subject of gun prohibition is never seriously debated. If a man’s security is in carrying a loaded fire arm the possibility of him being killed by one is most likely very high. I can’t stop wondering why a father would want to keep a loaded gun under the same roof with a toddler or teenager.

According to Children’s Defense Fund and National Center for Health Statistics, “In a single year, 3,012 children and teens were killed by gunfire in the United States, according to the national data released in 2002. That is one child every three hours; eight children every day; and more than 50 children every week. And every year, at least 4 to 5 times as many kids and teens suffer from non-fatal firearm injuries”.

Center for Disease Control also said “In one year, firearms killed no children in Japan, 19 in Great Britain, 57 in Germany, 109 in France, 153 in Canada, and 5,285 in the United States”. It’s an undisputable fact that every living man will die someday, but going by the CDC statistics it’s also certainly a fact that a resident in America has a 50% chance of dieing prematurely through bullet wounds.

I have heard and watched on the news how stray bullets kill innocent people who were going about their daily activities in America. Obviously, this is not the issue of avoiding trouble spots where guns are used indiscriminately but that you are only lucky not to have been a victim. As exposed by the Center for Disease Control statistics, more people die from gun shots in America than any other country in the world, it has become increasingly difficult to leave in America without the fear of gun. Should anyone who invested so much in himself risk everything by putting his life on the line for the sake of living in America, a country where everyone including the highly unpredictable teenagers own a gun for fashion, confidence, and security?

From the recent rampage school shootings by untamed evil youths that cut down promising university students in their prime, no sane adult will believe that owning and carrying a gun is less dangerous than banning it. We have seen more outrage by parents of soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan against the war in these countries than the clamour for legislation for gun ban. If a teenager can freely shop for a pistol like shopping for a pair of Levite jeans from Gap store then the objectivity of America’s law makers’ leaves a lot to be desired. It has become a common occurrence for a gun freak adult to snap over a driveway space argument to pull out a gun and kill a human being (not an animal) who’s been his next door neighbour for years. The Americans are so unpredictable that a neighbour who doesn’t like your face could pull a gun at you.

Just one among thousands of teenagers’ taken away tragically from their parents is 17-year-old Jamiel Shaw, a promising running back who was shot to death near his Arlington Heights LA home on March 2nd by two Latino gangsters.

Also in another senseless shooting is the unbelievable murder of one David Gallegos, who was disabled, and Rigoberto Vega, who was pushing his friend’s wheelchair, they were killed in what authorities see as a gang-related shooting.

Before completing my national service in Maiduguri a mallam stabbed another mallam to death with a dagger because he called him a bastsa-ard in the very centre of Maiduguri main market.

If nothing will separate even an educated cattle rearer from this dagger’s sheath that’s usually tied around his waste everywhere he goes what then is the difference between him and an American that displays his loaded gun in his Chevrolet Blazer or Dodge Durango for others to see?

Dele’s blog

http://enioluwaopalekunn.blogspot.com

Reference

http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-comptonshot22apr22,0,4016285.story

http://www.latimes.com/news/printedition/california/la-me-shot4mar04,1,2559719.story?ctrack=1&cset=true

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