Skull and Crossbones Mentality

It is difficult to comprehend the piracy issues we are currently facing on the high seas.

I am even more amazed the world powers have continued to allow such behavior.

I believe most efforts to control piracy up until this point have been “band-aid type stuff”.  We need a cure.

Everyone has turned a blind eye to these buccaneers who work in bands while going after different targets.  Private boats, yachts and cruise ships are not safe.  Some will hijack ships simply for the cargo while other groups attack boats to kidnap innocent crew, hoping for large ransoms.  Boats have become easy targets off the coast of lawless Somalia, where maritime security continues to be very weak or nonexistent.

When or will it end?

I read an article in the Wall Street Journal suggesting maybe it’s time for convoys to be implemented in areas where piracy is popular.  It’s not a bad idea but will most likely not be a favorable option for most  shipping companies.

I often wonder why these businesses continue to send their ships into harms way?  Is it necessity…is it greed?

Whatever it is…it all needs to stop.

And from here on out I will no longer use the romanticized term “pirate” to categorize these jerks.  They are thieves, terrorists and thugs.  It’s time we start calling them who they really are. 

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  1. deeba 1

    I’m amazed at the high incidence as well, & cannot imagine that a sea route cannot be secured. i thought we navigate with modern day instruments & a safe corridor on sea was quite possible. Yes Cathy, ‘pirates’ aren’t a fun word any more.

  2. Diane 2

    I have been watching the stories on these pirates for some time and I’m amazed that no one is really doing anything about the problem. They are targeting ships from all countries, some with million dollar cargos in their holds. How is it that the whole world can simply turn a blind eye to this? I’m simply confounded.

  3. Harry 3

    In the old days, pirates were hanged from the yard-arm. It did the trick!

  4. It seems that lots of crimes of old have resurfaced … such as piracy and bank robberies. Your terms are very accurate. Only Johnny Depp and people dressed in costumes for parties and Halloween have been romantic “pirate.” The original pirates were anything but. If you are ever in Key West, check out the Pirates’ Museum. It shares their real stories. Let’s hope the nations finally have enough and do band together and put a stop to it.


  5. Shawn 5

    Yeah, Johnny Depp they aren’t!

    Thieves and murderers…those Navy Seals were just awesome!

  6. WKF 6

    You can’t call them anything. They are socially disgruntled individuals……
    AAAAUUUUGGGGHHHH!!! What have we become and where are we headed?????

  7. ntsc 7

    I’m with Harry. And so would it seem are Obama and the Navy.

    That said they are nothing compared to the dreaded Pirates of Penznace.

  8. Debbie 8

    I agree with Harry also….tough times call for tough measures….and tough consequences!

  9. Hilary 9

    Hi I agree with you all .. however the pirates as such are probably the poorest of the poor .. well supplied and well stocked by background thugs – those are the people we should be after .. the same will be happening on land soon as more and more people will turn to desperation ..

    We are in difficult times ..

    Hilary Melton-Butcher
    Positive Letters

  10. Donna 10

    My sentiments are those of yours and Harrys, stop romaticizing the whole thing, and punish them the hard way.. its so awful .. life is already hard enough.

  11. The whole thing is just crazy, isn’t it? Every time the news says the word pirates, the only thing I can think is Johnny Depp, Black Beard and a skull and cross bones.

    I agree with you…something needs to be done about this. It’s absolutely nuts that people cannot get in a boat in that area without the fear of being attacked.

  12. Any seagoing vessel should file a plan to use those shipping lanes–just like planes must do–any other ship not registered or not pinging an ID should be dealt with accordingly. The end.

  13. Melynda 13

    Johnny Depp they are not! Sometimes it takes too long to do the right thing against bad. I think this qualifies.

  14. Sheila 14

    I agree it would be nice to have piracy end. But it would be extremely difficult for this to happen since the area it is happening in is so large, larger than the United States! I think the ending to this latest situation went as well as could be expected; the captain was a wise man and knew if he kept getting off the boat that eventually the boat would be a target. Also, pirate may be a romantic term in children’s books but it means one who goes about stealing and murdering those who get in their way; not very nice. They are certainly thieves and evil people.

  15. imom 15

    I agree Cathy and I love what MPM wrote. I never thought too much about it, but assumed ships filed travel plans. That might help somewhat if they did. There might still be attempts at thievery, but at least it could be more easily monitored and taken care of.

  16. The whole business is very scary! I didn’t even realize this was going on until recently.

  17. Yeah this isn’t all that romantic is it? What a real mess it is, hopefully it can be fixed some how. Not good to be a merchant marine right now.

  18. Melanie 18

    I’m just a bleeding heart liberal, but there are underlying causes for what is happening over there – and yes – most of them are thugs but I thought this an interesting article:

    link to

  19. Katrina 19

    Ditto that, Cathy!

  20. Leslie 20

    I agree, I think Pirate is way too cute of a word for these asses!

  21. I’ve never understood the fascination with pirates of any kind. Why do we glamourize a life of killing, robbing, and rape? I don’t care if it’s Somalian terrorists or Carribean buccaneers. It’s all bad. It’s romanticizing crime. It’s not fun. It’s not cute. It’s not that I don’t think these people shouldn’t be called pirates, but I think that “pirates” are not happy fun good things to begin with!

  22. LilSis 22

    I, too, am so sick of hearing these people called pirates! I say that to my husband every time we hear about them on the news. They are TERRORISTS!

  23. Marjie 23

    I’ve not heard of another ship escaping from these “pirates”, save an American crew. So the rest of the world should just pipe down about our country’s “cowboy mentality”. That’s what saved our people. Personally, I think we should just bomb the parts of Somalia where the pirates are headquartered, and not be bothered about either “collateral damage” or the outcry from the rest of the world. The hijackings won’t stop until the land based funding organizations in that lawless, ungoverned area is wiped out. I also noted a huge article in the Wall Street Journal, which stated that Maersk is moving their empty ships back to Asia by sailing around Africa at 10 MPH instead of the full speed of 26MPS. While it adds time to the journey, so a ship can only make 5 round trips per year instead of 6, it actually saves money on fuel, insurance, and the $600K per journey fee to travel through the Suez canal. At that price tag – $600,000 is enormous – I’d think Egypt would want to bomb Somalia and stop these hijackings, to protect their business. Ah, well, I’m considered way too harsh, so no one will agree with me, anyway.

  24. dawn 24

    I agree with you.

  25. dawn 25

    Brilliant idea.

  26. Mary 26

    I understand your frustration, but the larger problem is that failed state, Somalia, where they find safe harbor.

  27. Trisha 27

    Sadly, there was a show of American arrogance in this whole thing. Yes, it is horrible that an American was kidnapped but I heard a woman on the news asking some guy (don’t you love the specifics?) Why the other countries weren’t jumping in to help the U.S. What? This whole piracy thing has been going on for a LONG time and when did America jump in to help the other countries who have faced the same thing in the past? Suddenly, when an American is involved, it is horrible? We are arrogant, sometimes.

    I think the piracy is sad. These people think that this is the only way that they can survive, by terrorizing others. I do think it is time to do something and convoys seem to be common sense. Than again . . . if the economic problems of developing nations in Africa were solved . . . maybe the pirates wouldn’t need to continue their “work.”

    I am just saying . . .

  28. leftfoot 28

    I agree something HAS to be done, and soon. But herein lies the problem – do you think the US as a whole (or even majority) would actually be on board for us to attack and essentially take over another country? People still fight over Afghanistan and Iraq. Somalia is one of the poorest countries in the world. It would be like military rape. Another set of bombings in another poverty-stricken country with tons more innocent casualties would be a political mess not only within our own borders, but across the world as well.

    Don’t get me wrong.. I’m not saying I disagree with the “hang ’em high” attitude. The Terrorists with Boats need to be taken care of and punished, btu besides another coup, what answers are there?

  29. dawn 29

    The whole idea that this has gone on so long is mind-boggling. Why has everyone let them get away with it. Is everyone waiting for the US to save them? Other countries need to get involved. It is beyond frustrating.

  30. jean 30

    Calling them pirates is misleading. They are terrorists plain and simple.

  31. Betty 31

    I agree with you Harry & Dawn, but you know what? Some goody 2 shoes-bleeding heart (ACLU) will come along & say “Oh that’s inhumane, we can’t do/act like that.” I could site other instances of recent times but that would make this message too long. Gitmo comes to mind though. So Cowboy up people, it’s time!!

  32. Tracy 32

    Are you referring to the comic opera? by Gilbert and Sullivan.

  33. CJ 33

    It’s not so hard to comprehend.

    The Somali people are starving and dying from disease. Any source of income, even a criminal one, is seized upon and taken in these situations. Organized crime has always been the protectors, as well as the exploiters, of the downtrodden.

    The Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean encompass a vast swatch of water that is part of the Suez Canal shipping route leading to and from the Indian Ocean, Red Sea and the Mediterranean. It is necessary to ship through there. No country’s navy has the bandwidth to escort every ship through the Gulf of Aden.

    Piracy has always been around and will continue to be around forever, but dealing with Somalia’s problems would be a good start to take it down to manageable levels.

  34. Bob 34

    Yeah, I’ve been wondering why something hasn’t been done about it myself. It’s not like they are armed that well, one or two small navy ships off the coast would probably keep them all at home.

  35. Pam 35

    Very well put. I was shocked to hear that the companies are paying the ransom because it’s easier and cheaper than not doing so. Hello – what are they thinking????

  36. Liz C. 36

    I’m with Harry! I say hang ’em high!

    Guess we won’t be taking a cruise any time soon…

  37. Laurie 37

    I agree “pirate” is too romantic of a word (for some ODD reason). They are terrorists – and it must be stopped!

  38. Lori E 38

    When I think of pirates I think of Johnny Depp. I don’t think of murderous thugs. This is no different then a gang of thieves carjacking people. I don’t care how poor you are this is untolerable. They don’t go back and share with everyone, the booty is spread between the thieves. Strike them swift and hard.

  39. tipper 39

    The way the issue has been handled so far-is crazy. It will take brute force to stop them.

  40. Lo! 40

    Am with you on aborting the use of “pirate” to describe these fiends.
    Fun things like “talk like a pirate day” will be ruined otherwise :)

    And I don’t mean to be glib at all. I’m appalled by the situation as it currently stands, and (like you) I wonder if there’s any good solutions.

  41. Alisa 41

    The biggest problem in dealing with any criminal in this day and age is the “need” to be sensitive to everyone’s feelings. Whatever happened to “Off with their heads”? Well, maybe we don’t need to go quite that far.

  42. You are so right, I’m can’t believe what they do. That upsets me so much that they are free to do whatever they want.

  43. Lara 43

    I know! It’s so nuts!

    Similar to your decision to stop calling them pirates…you might enjoy this ecard: link to

  44. melissa 44

    I have to agree with you! I’m sick and tired of tiptoeing around these things. Get rid of them. Some liberals cry that they are human and deserve a chance, but will go have an abortion. What’s up with that? These people murder without thought and care. Do you want them in your hometown? Probably not…..

  45. Send Jack Sparrow over there to straighten them out!

  46. Laura 46

    I think broadening the term terrorist to include pirates, who have historically always been murderers, thieves and rapists, will only make it too easy for radical right wing media figures to get on Obama for being weak on terrorists if he doesnt catch every pirate that captures a US vessel. Perhaps a large part of the media’s fascination with these pirates is just the fact that the audience can understand pirates as opposed to the complex financial mess we’re in.

  47. Laura 47

    Did you ever see a movie called “Black Hawk Down” or read anything about U.S military intervention into Somalia? Pirates are headquarted near homes and buildings that have nothing to do with criminal activity. Think about how you would feel if someone you loved was killed in a bombing by a foreign military. Please show some empathy for people who maybe dont live where you live or look like you, their lives matter too.

  48. Laura 48

    I just want to clarify that I was emphasizing empathy for people who might be innocent bystanders killed in these proposed bombing attacks on the pirate headquarters. But I`m sure someone will get it twisted anyway and tell me to go have some more abortions, because God knows us liberals just love them.

  49. DS 49

    Oh please. These people are inhumane and disgusting individuals. They prey on the weak to extort ships who are bringing humanitarian aid to the area. You need to wake up. This is the problem..the world has been to soft and people like you proliferate it. We don’t need individuals in the world who feel they can rob, murder and steal from others. Trust me they aren’t sharing with the poor of their country.

  50. Laura 50

    Bye saying that I don’t support a mass bombing of Somalia I`m being to soft? I mean too soft, because unlike you, I can spell. I never said they were sharing with the poor of Somalia. You’re very creative you made up a comment for me that sympathized with pirates and then responded to it. So here is the recap, you can’t read, you can’t spell, and you want me to trust you? Good luck with that.

  51. DS 51

    Like I was saying…you are pathetic. Thank you for proving that.

  52. The piracy thing is quite frightening. What is the world coming to? Makes me really appreciate the same world in which I reside.

  53. Goldie 53

    If it’s foaming at the mouth, ya gotta shoot it.

  54. I could not agree more! They are high-seas terrorists and it’s time we took the threat they represent, seriously.

  55. giz 55

    What’s really concerning is what’s going to happen to the others now in captivity. One heroic save can cost many other lives. You’re right – it has to stop.

  56. that girl down south 56

    It is incredibly expensive to “go around”.

    Also on a related note, the pirates are here because of the constant raping and pillaging of an entire continent by the more “advanced and civilized” countries. We tear them down to maintain control of their natural resources with puppet govt. This results in terrible civil unrest in countries like Somalia creates such poverty and strife that the people have taken action. I’m not saying that this is right. Just that it is not a cause but a symptom.

  57. I’m with you. I like my pirates with with an eye patch and a bottle of rum!

  58. Bunny 58

    My hubby and I were talking about this earlier tonight, he said bomb them I say stop the the ships, no more food until Somalia takes care of business. Why reward them for kidnapping and seizing ships!

  59. Dragon 59

    Amen, my friend.

  60. Cheryl 60

    Can we add “jackasses” to the possible synonyms? And NO Jolly Rogers for them…NONE! Bastards.

  61. Betty 61

    —- yes! Bomb the livin’ crap out of them! Do you think for 1 teeny tiny moment that if things were reversed that they wouldn’t bomb us? Come on! Get a grip! It’s time to take back our stance in the world.

  62. Harry 62

    Off with their heads! The Pirates of Penzance were cool and had an excuse, all being orphans, often.

  63. ntsc 63

    And didn’t they get what they deserved, too.

  64. ntsc 64

    And you said it only once!

  65. Here’s what I’ve been wondering: what are the “pirates” doing with all the ransom money? Millions & millions of dollars – pesos – francs? Are they all paid in US dollars? It’s not like there’s anything to buy in Somalia. I haven’t seen pics of Mercedes dealers or Saks 5th Avenue stores. So who precisely is benefiting from the payments – follow the money, find those responsible for this money-making venture!

  66. Flea 66

    That’s actually what pirates are. I’m not a big fan of the word pirate being romanticized. There’s nothing glamorous or dashing about them.

    When I was in high school our family knew a family from Cambodia who’d been on a ship stopped and vandalized by pirates. Horrible. Horrible. Unspeakable acts.

  67. wkf 67

    check your spelling. “Bye” means farewell.

  68. Tilly 68

    One thing that makes it even more unsafe is the fact that merchant ships are not allowed to be armed in order to protect themselves. Of course the pirate thieves know this. That is why THEY have rocket launchers and automatic machine guns.

    Let the merchant ships arm themselves and some of the piracy/thievery/kidnapping would stop.

    Some might call me a ‘hawk’. No, I’m just upset.


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