Even with our society's notoriously short attention span, one would hope that not many have forgotten the hijacking, by Somali pirates, of the Maersk Alabama last April. In that hijacking, you will remember, Captain Richard Phillips was taken hostage, and held for several days--until a SEAL team rescued him, killing all but one of the pirates in the process. A happy ending, certainly, but one reached only after a great deal of danger and discomfort. It certainly would have been nice if there had just been some way to stop the attack right from the beginning.
Sure, that would be great, but what would that idea be?
Well, the Maersk Alabama was recently attacked again, and as it turns out, someone has apparently thought of a good way to stop a pirate attack in its tracks--because that's what happened this time.
The MV Maersk Alabama has thwarted another attack by Somali pirates, according to European Union and U.S. Navy officials.Oh . . . so that's what worked--having armed good guys on board, to shoot back. Now why didn't I think of that?
American-crewed container ship Maersk Alabama is hijacked by Somali pirates
"Pirates fired automatic weapons on MV Maersk Alabama who responded with fire," said an EU Naval Command Statement, "The crew managed to repel the attack and no casualties were reported."
Granted, the citizen disarmament advocates will doubtless seize on the fact that the armed good guys were dedicated security types, rather than "just" sailors with guns. And we know of course, that effective armed security can only be provided by the "Only Ones" professional enough (like Lee Paige) to carry weapons.
The thing is, sometimes the "Only Ones" aren't all that much more professional than everyone else (and sometimes notably less so), and paying a full time security team (and feeding them, and housing them, etc.), who will spend the vast majority of their time battling their greatest enemy--boredom--is an expense I doubt many shipping companies will take on.
An armed crew would not have to be trained to SEAL standards (or anywhere near them)--they would need only be good enough with a rifle to make attacking ships too dangerous to be an attractive career choice for the young worthies of Somalia.