Let’s go pirate hunting

If I weren’t a thoroughly beaten and lifeless husk of my former self, I’d be out at the Old Miami tonight watching Quintron.

If I had HBO, I’d be watching Drew Barrymore’s retelling of Grey Gardens.

But, as I’m old, lazy, and cheap, I’m sitting here on my couch, reading about how Ron Paul wants to issue letters of marque, giving private citizens like you and me permission to head out into international waters and go pirate hunting… It’s an absolutely ridiculous idea, but, as it’s got potential for huge entertainment value, I’m all for it. In fact, I’m thinking that we could field a pretty damned good crew right here in Ypsi, starting with Big Bad D and Black Jake. And, as an ancestor of mine hunted down and killed Blackbeard, I think I’d be a natural as Captain… I can’t say that we’d kill a bunch of pirates, but I know for certain that reality television would never be the same.

Here, for those of you who don’t believe me about Ron Paul and his desire to privatize pirate hunting, is a clip from Slate:

Give this much, at least, for those who advocate privatizing government function after government function: They sure are consistent. Of course, Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, is one of the most prominent supporters of such actions, and he calls for them regularly — in the wake of 9/11, he introduced a bill that authorized President Bush to allow private citizens to hunt down Osama bin Laden and other terrorists responsible for the attacks. Now, he’s calling for a similar response to a new security threat.

In a new YouTube video, Paul advocates a return to the days when Congress issued letters of marque, which give privateers government permission to hunt down pirates. The letters are authorized by the Constitution, and were used frequently in the country’s early days. Not so much since, however.

The congressman believes this would be cheaper than using the U.S. military, and that it would have a deterrent effect as well. “I think if every potential pirate knew this would be the case, they would have second thoughts because they could probably be blown out of the water rather easily if those were the conditions,” Paul said in the video…

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16 Comments

  1. Brackinald Achery
    Posted April 15, 2009 at 9:55 pm | Permalink

    I can’t believe I’m the only Ron Paul type guy here. Why can’t somebody else answer for our side of things for once? Can’t I get a moment’s peace???

    Letters of Marque and Reprisal are perfectly legal for Congress to grant under the Constitution, and maybe would have been a better, cheaper, quicker solution to fight Al Qaeda (another stateless entity, like pirates) than invading two countries and shooting missiles into a third (Pakistan). Countries commonly issued them to fight pirates back in the heyday of fancy-pants piracy.

    What’s crazy about it?

  2. Posted April 15, 2009 at 11:04 pm | Permalink

    I have a cutlass.

  3. kristin
    Posted April 16, 2009 at 5:08 am | Permalink

    I think Greay gardens premiers Saturday night, at least Ms. Barrymore’s version. I have it on demand after that, you all should come over and watch it. I think I saw the first one at your house, it’s only fair.

  4. kjc
    Posted April 16, 2009 at 7:18 am | Permalink

    yeah, about those pirates…

    http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/johann-hari/johann-hari-you-are-being-lied-to-about-pirates-1225817.html

  5. Kris
    Posted April 16, 2009 at 7:20 am | Permalink

    You’re just mad, Brackinald Achery, because Mark chose Black Jake instead of you to hunt pirates with.

  6. Brackinald Achery
    Posted April 16, 2009 at 7:47 am | Permalink

    Why do you think I’ve been going on about guns lately? I saw this pirate hysteria brewing headline by headline, and knew it was just a matter of time before Cap’n Maynard’s genes kicked in. Of course he’d pick the gun nut who’d do everyone a favor by getting in a boat and sailing his crazy away to put to good use, I thought. But no.

  7. Robert
    Posted April 16, 2009 at 11:47 am | Permalink

    There is nothing stopping anybody from going out and hunting pirates NOW, except that the US taxpayer isn’t going to foot the bill automatically. So now the anti-big-government Republicans are pushing for the US to police the world’s seas? Why don’t these shipping companies just hire Xe (formerly Blackwater) to provide security like every other fucking business has to?

  8. Brackinald Achery
    Posted April 16, 2009 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

    Once again I pretty much agree with you, Robert. I personally don’t think the government should pay them. That’s not necessarily a part of a letter of marque. It used to be that the pay was whatever you captured from the pirates or whoever your letter specified. And contrary to the movies, most pirates didn’t have huge chests of gold ans silver coins. They had commodoties that they’d resell on the black market (sugar, cotton, slaves, etc.), plus their boats and weaponry. A letter of marque was more along the lines of an official sanction of private pirating-of-pirates.

  9. Thomas
    Posted April 16, 2009 at 8:44 pm | Permalink

    Really, someone just needs to pitch this as a reality tv series.

    I have a sinking feeling it’s probably already happening, actually….

  10. Posted April 16, 2009 at 8:46 pm | Permalink

    OK, you can be on the pirate ship too, Thomas.

  11. Posted April 16, 2009 at 9:23 pm | Permalink

    I couldn’t help but notice that no one seems impressed with my having a cutlass.

    I must say I’m disappointed.

  12. Posted April 16, 2009 at 9:37 pm | Permalink

    We’re jaded.

  13. Brackinald Achery
    Posted April 27, 2009 at 9:04 pm | Permalink

    Wow, private people using their own guns to protect themselves from pirates actually works. Who could have possibly guessed at this obvious common sensical outcome???

  14. Brackinald Achery
    Posted April 27, 2009 at 10:17 pm | Permalink

    A U.S. sailor from a hijacked ship seems to agree that their not being allowed to have their own guns or guys with guns to defend themselves is putting the crew at unecessary risk.

    Private keeping and bearing of arms is the solution to violent armed criminals.

  15. Posted April 28, 2009 at 6:24 am | Permalink

    If only every company was allowed to operate its own military, what a paradise this planet would become… On cold, rainy days like this, I like to close my eyes and dream about it.

  16. Brackinald Achery
    Posted April 28, 2009 at 9:24 am | Permalink

    Riiiiiight. Slippery slope logical fallacy much? That’s like saying that if I’m allowed to carry a gun in my own defense or hire an armed bodyguard (both of which I can already do), that I will create my own private army and ravage the countryside, forcing all the poor peasants to buy my pet rocks and shooting the Lorax in the back of the head. I’m sure Oprah has an armed bodyguard, and she’s rich enough to hire a whole lot of guys with guns, yet she doesn’t have a private army forcing people to watch her crappy show or buying into her book club. Your fallacious line of thinking on this subject is ridiculous, akin to the Domino Theory of the spread of Communism. The point is to allow private sailors to carry arms to defend themselves and/or have armed private security, like many people/companies already do.

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