Why Don’t We Hang Pirates Anymore? – WSJ.com.
Ok, I’ve fought hard to *not* mix modern pirates and their current crimes with the romance, history, and – dare I say it – fantasy in which we emmerse ourselves while wearing tricorn hats and jamming to Bogg&Salty. But that said, the current parallels are just mind-boggling, and this article does a fine job of blending the history with the present situation.
An interesting read, no doubt.
Yaar I understand why ye don’t want to mix modern with past but this is what we do. We really shouldn’t bury our heads in sand and act like we don’t portray murdering, hijacking, cutthroat outlaws that steal, rape (yes I said the worst pirate act that many refuse to say) and pillage.
I don’t buy much into the romance of Pirates because I didn’t grow up reading novels about heaving chests and thrusting ships. They all resemble too much of what a horny drunk guy (pirate) says to a drunk girl (governor’s daughter) at a dark bar. =)
I’m off track already. My point being, hang them. Why? Is that not the purpose of being a pirate? Live fast, live hard and die in battle before the crippling realities of pneumonia, typhoid and malnutrition, as well as countless other types of death, set it?
These pirates live the way that we pirates say we want to live (but without the repercussions). Imagine if you will, 300 years in the future, people re-enact Gangs in a sort of “shoot em up” or “romantic” way. It’s basically the same thing since we remove the bad and incorporate whatever we like.
An interesting read, non the less, except for the writer is about as baffled as the U.N. in this situation. Too bad the world is so caught up in how they look then to actually deal with the situation.
One last thing for me to say. Criminals thrive on the tolerance of society. If you can’t end their lives then don’t hope to end their behavior. It’s not like pirates have rehab. They make it clear it’s not the cargo they are after, just a reward for releasing it. What are they trying to fund if not money to live or for their families which is why you would steal cargo in the first place. Ships may not have yardarms anymore but I think a billion dollar warship can come up with something.
The parallels ARE striking, which begs the question: is the new “Golden Age” for modern pirates?
The GAOP of the 18th century thrived on corruption and international apathy as well. It took almost a century for the world to all but eliminate piracy on the high seas. Hopefully, it won’t take that long this time around.
But I have a very selfish reason for wanting modern piracy squelched: if the public starts to reflect on what pirates truly are — those of us who wear tricorn hats and jam to Capt Bogg & Salty (and attend festivals to entertain children) may no longer be as welcome as we currently are.
And that would be a real crime.
The thing people seem to keep missing is that, while these pirates are certainly nasty, cutthroat, criminal individuals, they’re also being driven to acts of piracy by intolerable economic pressures in their home country, as well as a complete and total breakdown of local government. If they had any chance of making an honest living, no doubt they wouldn’t risk hijackings and gunfights on the high seas. Desperate times, as they say, call for desperate measures, and it’s no wonder these corsairs have established a reputation as modern day Robin Hoods.
Not that I particularly condone any of the things they have done, but there is a certain satisfaction to the idea that someone out there is “sticking it to the Man,” as it were. In this case, mostly big oil companies, for whom I admittedly hold no great affection.
To me, the individual people being captured is much more disturbing than the ships or cargo. But I believe I read somewhere that there have so far only been two deaths associated with these raids (a staggeringly small number, in my opinion, given the nature of the crimes), and that the pirates have been known to treat their prisoners humanely, even hiring caterers to prepare Western dishes for them to eat. This seems to prove that these people aren’t out there bent on destruction and murder, but instead to do something, anything, to save their families and neighbors from squalor and starvation.
The fact is, so long as these people have such strong motives for taking to sea-robbery in the first place, threatening to hang them (or anything else) isn’t going to help. It certainly didn’t stop pirates of the 18th Century.
The only thing that’s going to do any good is for Somalia to get its government and economy back together so these people can find legitimate ways to make a living. But who knows how long that might take? Maybe the world needs to focus more on the root of the problem than the symptoms.
But say the economic problem is completely solved and there are still some stubborn (and/or greedy) pirates out there. If that’s the case, sure, go ahead. Round them up and eliminate them. Show them that piracy doesn’t pay. But first, let’s make sure they have ample opportunity to succeed in earnest. Until then, these raids are not going to stop, and they may very well give all of us tricorn-wearing, Bogg&Salty listening goofballs a bad name.
Them’s by two dubloons.
Just think in two hundred years there will be little Somilians reading about pirates who went out on little motor boats and attacked monster tankers and won. They will read about people making millions in a time when the average person made less then a thousand dollars a year. Then there will be people who dress up and hold festivals in honor of those who went a pirating.
We are no different then our past or our future, just faster boats.
I think you’re on to something Big T. I hear they are planning “Somalian Pirates In Paradise 2009”.