By Dan Shea

September 19th every year is International Talk Like a Pirate Day, and occasionally people calling in to a business will be greeted with an “Arrgh, matey” or something similar. The popularity of movies like the “Pirates of the Caribbean” series, as well as other cultural landmarks glorifying pirates, proven how romanticized the notion of “Pirates” has become.

The truth is sadly different. Pirates are a nasty bunch, who prey on the innocent sea-farers who have nowhere to go, nowhere to run, nowhere to hide out on that open sea. The current problems with Somali based pirates attacking ships and taking hostages is only a small part of the problem and it is certainly nothing new in the modern world. During the “Boat People” events of the Mid-1970s, the pirating problems were horrific. As the chickens & American liberals managed to force a U.S. withdrawal from South Vietnam, the remaining population was facing an onslaught of vicious communists bent on revenge. They took their life savings and most prized possessions, and hundreds of thousands took to boats to try to reach anywhere but the clutches of the North Vietnamese. It was a disaster of epic proportions. Pirates in Southeast Asia figured out that there was gold, silver, cash, diamonds, and easy human victims to plunder and rape, all just floating in the flotsam of the South China Sea.

It was a brutal time, and many refugees were killed and tossed into the sea. The international community did its impotent best as usual, and pretty well waited out the storm of refugees until the balance were trapped and “re-educated” by Uncle Ho’s followers.

I am bringing this up because today there was a bit of justice and it impacted immediately on firearms ownership. A brave captain of a U.S. origin commercial vessel saw his unarmed vessel hijacked, and traded himself as a hostage to save his crew. He sat in a skiff for days while our intrepid Naval Forces waited for a permitted opportunity; then they saved the captain by Lead-waxing the three pirates on the boat with him and capturing the pirate “negotiator.” That negotiator came to the US involuntarily, waved and acted like a hero, and now has been charged with Piracy. From all accounts, our brave, fierce, tough guy pirate cried for his mommy and lied about how old he was in order to not face the music.

If found guilty, I hope they hang him in NY Harbor, and do it on YouTube.

What has this to do with firearms? With Rights?

Everything. Self defense is the essence of human rights, and the current situation denies that. The Somali coast is a microcosm of the big picture; a place where people are forced by law to be unarmed, and then left for the clean-up squad to pay ransom or insurance benefits to the grieving.

The United States Government needs to change our laws to allow our merchant vessels to be armed, to freely take their weapons M2HB, M60, M240, sniper rifles, etc. - offshore with them and to return unmolested by government regulation. Certainly there needs to be appropriate oversight of this from Customs and ATF, but the real Pirates of the Caribbean have preyed on small ships off the coast of the United States for many years, and it is high time that our government backed our sea-faring brethren in the need for self-defense.


This article first appeared in Small Arms Review V12N10 (July 2009)
and was posted online on June 15, 2012


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