Why we are often caught napping by insecurity

We would be lying to ourselves if we waited for the government to give us all the protection we need

In Summary

• People often get caught unawares because they are lost in their cellphones or laptops

• Security expert warns there can never be a policeman for every home or property

Book cover
Book cover

While the government has a responsibility to secure her people, security expert John Lemerele believes security starts with the individual.

In his new book NOTE, The Secret Technique to Situation Awareness, Lemerele said safety can never be guaranteed if people don’t take steps to protect themselves first.

“I think we would be lying to ourselves if we waited for the government to give us all the protection we need. There can never be a policeman for every home or property,” he said.


Lemerele said the first and most critical step to ensuring our safety is to take note of the surroundings. “Whether you are an individual looking ready for anything that goes down around you, an employee looking to get on your boss’s good side or a businessman looking to get an edge over the competition,” he said.

He said the three main goals in life are comfort, safety and entertainment, which could be achieved by keeping a close eye on the surroundings.

“Even if you don’t do anything about it, just knowing can be enough some of the times. Acting comes later,” he said.

In the book, Lemerele said the 21st century brought with it numerous technological advancements, each asking for more attention from the user while looking to make their lives easier.

He gave an example of cell phones, which were originally made to make calls. “Today, people have become so engrossed in screens, forgetting what is going on in their surroundings. People only notice their surroundings if they have something worthy sharing,” he explained.

Lemerele added that people have become more inter-connected, knowing what is happening across the country or even the world at the expense of what is going on around themselves.

“This meant people get caught unawares more often than not. How often do you see people engrossed in their cellphones or laptops when you are on the beach, in a restaurant or on the bus?” he said.


He reiterated that to be self-aware, people need to be tuned in to their environment.

“It is good to know what country has an election next month, when NASA will launch their next probe or even when the next model of your favourite car will come out,” he said.

“We anxiously see a million things around us, while failing to look at what is blaring right in front of us.”

Lemerele said some of the criticism Kenyans give the government over security matters are uncalled for. “Think about it for a minute: Who is the government? Who is responsible for your security?” he said.

He said people should actively be securing their surroundings. “Very few of us are involved in neighbourhood watches or community policing. Many really do not know their neighbours because they are too busy minding their own businesses,” he said.

He asked Kenyans to remember what Catholic Archbishop John Cardinal Njue said in the fight against terror attacks and insecurity: That it will not be successful without the full input of every individual Kenyan.

Edited by T Jalio