This article on how armed security are helping fight piracy off the coast of Somalia hits on many themes, such as the police (or navy, in this case) can’t be everywhere at once, and how difficult it is to distinguish between fisherman and pirates (the ones shooting at you are the pirates, but by then you’re already under attack):
That means the warships can only react to attempted hijackings, racing to interveneÂ afterÂ the sea bandits attack. It isnâ€™t enough. Apparently harmless vessels can turn hostile in mere minutes. With more than 2 million square miles of ocean to patrol and 25,000 commercial ships a year to protect, the 30 warships are spread thin â€” and are usually too far away to respond in time. No wonder successful hijackings of large vessels held steady at around 50 per year for three years, despite the escalating naval patrols. â€œThese guys [pirates] are making more money, weâ€™re spending more money,â€ lamentedÂ piracy expert Martin Murphy.
In addition to pursuing a doomed military strategy, the worldâ€™s governments dragged their heels on what seemed like the common-sense approach to beating pirates. A few armed guards should be sufficient to defeat a pirate attack, but allowing weapons on board civilian ships requires new regulations, which governments were slow to write.
And surprise, surprise, it’s worked. Read the whole thing, as the article is quite good. The problem is most world governments are more concerned about the pirates human rights than they are about stopping them. Ships under attack can actually start making piracy hazardous for the pirates, by killing them in self-defense. Piracy was stamped out in the 19th Century, as it previously was Royal Navy practice to hang pirates. As the article concludes “Self-defense succeeded where the worldâ€™s navies failed.”
The evidence continues to pile up that our opponents are completely wrong about the utility of armed self-defense as a deterrent to crime.
Hat tip to Chris from AKÂ for the story.