Somali pirates attacked a cargo ship the Maersk Alabama
today, a ship that was flying the US flag. The crew of these ships are not armed and the pirates know it. So 4 pirates in a little boat can take a massive 500 foot cargo ship hostage and crews have little they can do - and are actually instructed not to - defend themselves. The Americans aboard did defend themselves and took the ship back after capturing one of the Somali pirates.
The pirates held Captain Richard Phillips of the Alabama hostage and in a trade of pirate for captain the pirates got their comrade back and didn't return the captain in exchange as they promised.
There are several things that can be learned from this episode.
First of all, even Somali pirates now see the United States as a weak nation. Weak enough that they do not dear repercussions for attacking a US ship. They know that our government - and this administration in particular - are weak willed when it comes to defending themselves in fear of hurting someone's feelings. Every despot on Earth knows this right now and are going around disregarding any warnings or spineless threats that are made.North Korea launches missiles with no fear of repercussions, Russia invade Georgia with no fear, etc, etc...
Second, these crew are unarmed and it is announced that they are. That is the most ridiculous form of security I can imagine and the main example of why people need guns. It's almost as if the company that hires them are more fearful of them shooting themselves, than them actually using weapons to defend themselves in a crisis. This si just utter stupidity and these brave souls willing to float through waters known to have pirates should be allowed to have every form of defense at hand.
Third, every politician is coming out and making statements about piracy now. I'm just waiting for the bleeding hearts to emerge and call for the release of all pirates because they had no choice with such hardship in their country. That is the way they work and these people have no sympathy for the victims or any concern for upholding the rule of law.
Fourth, and this one should be obvious to the crew of the Alabama, but expecting pirates to keep their word in a hostage exchange? Really? I don't want to be too hard on them because I admire their actions of fighting back, but didn't one of them think that the pirates - who boarded their ship with Kalashnikovs with intent to harm if necessary - weren't exactly trustworthy?
This one story exposes so much about America all in one story. The brave individual, the absurdity of what people consider security through lack of defense and the spineless weakness and empty talk America has been making so much over the recent pass that even Somali pirates can see.
My hope is that Captain Phillips is eventually freed and that the Somali pirates realize that that is their best course of action since right now they will be charged with piracy and/or weapons charges as opposed to adding murder to the list. Godspeed sir.
[Shane Murphy first mate of the U.S.-flagged freighter Maersk Alabama] told the Massachusetts Maritime Academy students [weeks earlier] he thought the pirates "knew better than to go against the American ships," one recalled.
Murphy's father, Joseph, who teaches at the Massachusetts academy, told Boston station WBZ he learned that the attackers had chased the Maersk Alabama for three to five hours, periodically opening fire with automatic weapons, before the assailants—said to be four in number—managed to board.
Any help was distant; the Navy said its closest warship was 345 miles away. But the crew—believed to be unarmed except for fire hoses—somehow fended them off, and themselves grabbed one of the pirates.
The ship's second mate, Ken Quinn, later told CNN that the crew thought it had negotiated an exchange—Phillips for the captured pirate. But when the Americans released their captive after 12 hours, the Somalis failed to release the captain, he said. The pirates and Phillips were now in one of the freighter's lifeboats off the side, he said, while the American crew sought to free their captain with offers of food—without success.