At some point insurers and shipping companies evidently had enough. After years of brazen piracy on the high seas, ship owners have finally started to arm their crews. Most likely, the cost of having people and vessels held in Somali hell holes – and making ransom payments to spring them – became greater than any potential liability costs of putting rifles in the crews’ hands. The latest weekly report of pirate activity off the horn of Africa shows two ships successfully defending themselves against marauders. Some lessons seem to hold true no matter where they’re applied . . .
For the longest time, ships plying the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Aden were easy pickings. Why? Thanks to ship owners, their insurers and the laws of countries under whose flags they sailed, the high seas were one big wet gun-free zone. Only one problem with that: opportunistic Somali thugs knew it, too.
It’s hard to believe there was even much of a debate over giving crews the ability to fight off boatjackers, but there it is. When the number of hijackings approached an intolerable (read: too expensive) level, though, the no-guns policy was, well, re-examined. Hence, last week’s activity that will only give pause to future attackers.
Just like college campuses or big, machine-controlled cities, gun free zones don’t work. Somehow the bad guys never seem to comply with all the no-guns-allowed laws. And knowing that their potential victim pool is highly unlikely to be able to fight back only gives them the freedom to operate with impunity.
But give the chickens (or the ducks) the ability to bite back and the fox will start to think twice about jumping into the hen house. Of course, this lesson is consistently lost on those in power for whom the time honored calculus of more guns=less crime just doesn’t add up. The fact that blood never actually runs in the streets in other cities doesn’t seem to matter. But if things can change on the Sea of Arabia, we suppose there’s a chance they can change in Chicago and on college campuses, too.