Saturday, April 11, 2009

Pirates of the day

I don't have any romantic Hollywood notions about the Somali pirates. They're clearly tough, desperate and dangerous people into high-risk international crime. But I do have an odd admiration for their enterprise and their sheer defiance of power and authority.

The crazy bastards arm themselves to the hilt, climb into fishing boats, head out into the ocean 200 or 300 miles and forcibly seize passing ships. Everything about it is dangerous – everything. By press accounts, the returns are damn good certainly by pirate standards.

There's something honest about this crime. The pirates are willing to risk their lives in a grim, brutal face-to-face confrontation with their victims. Contrast the crime of modern piracy to that of the pasty weasels seated at computer screens on Wall Street bilking the public out of billions.

Pirates attack a ship knowing full well the attack can go haywire and knowing full well that the response to the attack is likely to bring on more direct firepower than a gun lugging pirate will ever be able to survive. Criminals on Wall Street not only get away with the fraud, they get rewarded for it – all without having to break a sweat.

Until such time as I see a Navy destroyer “come about” and head into the mouth of the Hudson River, I think I'll just keep my odd sense of admiration for the pirates.

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