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  • Political AIDS: the First Symptom is Pirates

    Posted by Shannon Love on April 26th, 2009 (All posts by )

    The thing that strikes me most about the Somali pirate problem is the shear trivial nature of the physical threat. Via Instantpundit comes this report which says:

    Separately Sunday, the captain of an Italian cruise ship said his security staff fought off a pirate attack in the region Saturday with pistols and a water hose. 

    Wow, who knew that the combination of pistols and water hoses created such a fearsome weapon! The navies of the world’s developed nations should look into obtaining this fearsome combination because apparently they cannot defeat these awesome pirates with the ships, aircraft, missiles, radar, satellites and all the other multi-billion dollar weapons they currently have. 

    I’ll say it again: Pirates have become a major problem again only because of the internal paralysis of the developed nations. We’ve decayed to the point where the Somali equivalent of a bunch of drunken rednecks in a bass boat can hijack a sea going vessel worth billions. The problem isn’t that they’ve grown strong, it’s that we’ve grown weak. We’ve grown so weak that we can’t even defend against sea going street gangs. 

    I think we have reached a situation analogous to that of a person afflicted with AIDS. AIDS doesn’t kill directly, it merely paralyzes the immune system. With the immune system paralyzed common microbes that the immune system normally keeps easily in check run riot and destroy the body. Just as a human body always has to contend with ever-present microbes, pirates have been around forever and, more importantly, poor people with light weapons and costal boats have been around forever. Just like doctors in the early days of the AIDS epidemic pondered why their patients died from infections that healthy people automatically fended off all of their lives, we have to ask why we suffer from major piracy only now, after we suppressed piracy easily for nearly 200 years.

    We know how to deal with pirates. Pirates are just criminals on the high seas or the coastal waters of failed states. The solution is the same one we’ve used for the last 500 years. You kill them when they attack and then you track them down to their lairs and kill them or take them prisoner. 

    We used to do this as a matter of course. Since the end of the Cold War, we’ve lost the ability to do this. This is the first symptom of a political AIDS which will progressively destroy our ability to fend off even trivial attacks. 

     

    17 Responses to “Political AIDS: the First Symptom is Pirates”

    1. Mitch Townsend Says:

      I told them it was a mistake to build ships without yardarms.

    2. tyouth Says:

      Remote locations, unscrupulous men, the restraint of civilization missing…. the parable of “Deliverance” comes to mind.

    3. fred lapides Says:

      …for sure water and pistols will also repel grenades launched from the pirates. Gun advoictes love to take one or two incidents to bolster their case for the importance of guns. And then ignore the many other cases in which superior weapons prevailed. There will be school shootings etc time after time but this will be ignored till the one case in which a small-store owner killed a would-be holdup guy by using a gun.

    4. router Says:

      There will be school shootings etc time after time

      i thought schools were gun free zones?

    5. Michael Kennedy Says:

      The cruise ship, like all cruise ships I’ve seen, probably has high freeboard making it much more difficult to reach the deck from a small boat. The ships that have been taken have low freeboard. Interestingly enough, there actually is a device that looks like a rail fence that can be rigged along a low freeboard making it much more difficult to climb over. In one account, there was a discussion of the device, sometimes used in port for security purposes, and why the ships are not being equipped with them. They fold down when in port to allow the usual loading and unloading activity. It would seem they would prevent many of the pirate attacks and could even be electrified or equipped with other technology to repel boarders.

    6. Shannon Love Says:

      Fred Lapides,

      Thanks once again for stooping to my expectations and going completely off topic. What the hell does gun control have to do with piracy? I mean, really, can’t you come up with some comment actually related piracy. After all I know that sometime next week, in a thread on a post on alternative energy or finance, you will make a comment on piracy. Why not just do it now, here on the actual thread on piracy?

      There will be school shootings etc time after time but this will be ignored till the one case in which a small-store owner killed a would-be holdup guy by using a gun.

      At the risk of feeding the trolls, I don’t suppose it has ever occurred to you that any time a citizen with a gun stops a would be mass shooter that they usually do so before they actually do much damage and therefore they never make much news? After all, “Muffle shop owner shoots assailant,” will only make the local news but, “Shooter kills eight at muffler shop,” goes national. Your actually just falling for observational bias. Your just like the people who say, “why do we have all this fire proofing, we never have any fires,” or people who don’t think vaccinations are needed because they’ve never known anybody who had a disease that vaccinations prevent.

      Really, before you respond, think pirate. Try saying “Arrrgh!” or “Me hearty!” a few times.

    7. Robert Schwartz Says:

      The whole thing reminds me of living in NY 1975-1985. I had the same arguments with the same liberals about street crime. After we left, Rudy came in and fixed the place by doing the things that the liberals said were impossible. I supported Rudy for president. I am still sorry he didn’t get nominated.

    8. Roger Williams Says:

      What ever happened to walking the plank? If too many pirates were actually making it back to shore, some keelhauling should increase the blood in the water enough to attract sharks. I thought that the captain of a ship at sea has his own jurisdiction.

    9. peter jackson Says:

      A pair of .50 caliber machine guns, mounted fore and aft.

      Really, what’s the problem?

    10. Shannon Love Says:

      Peter Jackson,

      The problem is that ship owners and their crews are more afraid they will be sued or imprisoned for defending themselves than they are of the pirates. Pirates can just kill you. Moralistic leftist can take your freedom and everything you’ve worked for and hope to leave behind.

      Honestly, can anyone really say that some spanish judge will not indict some ship captain for crimes against humanity if he defends his ship with lethal force?

    11. Shannon Love Says:

      Robert Schwartz,

      After we left, Rudy came in and fixed the place by doing the things that the liberals said were impossible.

      I don’t suppose Rudy has any naval experience by any chance?

    12. mishu Says:

      Meanwhile, Harvard graduate Matthew Yglesias suggests we shouldn’t chase pirates because “the Indian Ocean is an area too large for foreign navies to cover effectively”. $40 grand to go this school? What for? Forgive me for being anti-intellectual.

    13. Shannon Love Says:

      Mishu,

      Forgive me for being anti-intellectual.

      To be an intellectual, one has to have an intellect. I don’t think Yglesias qualifies. As for Harvard, well, you really just need the money or the connections to graduate don’t you?

    14. John Jay Says:

      My blog-partner CW has some thoughts on this.

    15. John Jay Says:

      Broken link. Link here.

    16. munro-ferguson Says:

      Kudos to Shannon Love for recognizing the largely trivial nature of the threat and not conflating Somali piracy with terrorism which seems to be all the rage these days.

      Interesting analogy, that AIDS bit. I hesitate at the “we” pronoun. Remember, the US dealings with it’s first piracy issue in two centuries ended with one free hostage, three rather dead pirates and one shackled, shambling and grinning his way into a New York City courthouse.

    17. Shannon Love Says:

      Munro-Ferguson,

      Remember, the US dealings with it’s first piracy issue in two centuries ended with one free hostage, three rather dead pirates and one shackled, shambling and grinning his way into a New York City courthouse.

      From what I’ve read that was only because a commander on the scene rather broadly interpreted his restrictive rules of engagement.