Monday, April 13, 2009

Captain Hook, Captain Feathersword, and Captain Phillips

Captain FeatherswordMy son loves pirates. Absolutely loves them. He loves The Wiggles, and was Captain Hook for Halloween. He plays with PlayMobil men all the time, and his favorite are the pirates. When he first heard the news of Captain Phillips being held hostage by Somali pirates, he said to his mommy, "Pirates aren't real."

Of course, the pirates he loves aren't real -- the variety of pirate that has a hook for a hand, a feather for a sword, and a patch over one eye -- no, those pirates aren't real. Those are the pirates as they have been romanticized by Hollywood. The pirates he plays with on the living room floor -- the plastic variety with removable beard and ear-ring -- those pirates aren't real, either. But I'm afraid that, as Captain Phillips can certainly tell us now, pirates are indeed very real. Too real, in fact, for us to sit idly by and allow them to deal their brand of terror across the seven seas.
Captain Hook
My son, who seems to remember everything forever, will hopefully learn a valuable lesson from his first "real" pirate experience. He will hopefully learn that the way Hollywood and Toys'R'Us portray things is in now way realistic, and that it is all designed to lure us in to give them more money for more entertainment. He will hopefully learn that much of what he thinks isn't real in this world really is real, and sadly so. He will hopefully learn that some day, but not today. Not today, because I'm not ready for my son's innocence to be lost just yet. I'm not ready for his world view to be tainted by scum sailing the seas taking advantage of others.

PirateNot that the sea-faring variety of scum is any worse than those that prey on their victims on land. The news today is cluttered with acts of violence, terror, and torture. Just last week a man was shot dead by police less than a football field's distance from where I park my car every day at work. He was shot dead by one of the good guys, an IMPD undercover narcotics officer who was investigating suspected drug dealers when the deal went bad. One man died that day, and two were arrested. And it could just as easily have happened in my own front yard as across the street. It could also easily have been the good guy pronounced dead at the hospital while the drug dealing immigrants escaped.

I was speaking with my father-in-law about these Somali pirates on Easter Sunday, and expressed the opinion that swift action had to be taken quickly to send a message to this sea-faring scum. These floating vermin had to be literally blown out of the water at any cost, in order to send the message that the United States -- once admired as the mightiest nation on Earth -- has no tolerance for such behavior. I argued that failure to respond swiftly and decisively would send an entirely different message -- one that any thug with a boat, a gun, and a couple of buddies could wreak havoc on the high seas, and no one could do anything about it.

Did America act swiftly enough? I read a post at OpinionHead that it wasn't Mr. Obama at all who gave the order to take out the pirates, but rather a Navy Admiral who ordered the SEAL team into the area and gave the order to take the shots. I have no way to verify or validate that story, and present it hear only as a possibility. It seems that Mr. Obama was wont to speak of the pirates when asked about it before the matter was settled. Maybe his teleprompter hadn't yet been briefed on the situation.

Either way, I thank God that Captain Phillips has been freed, and that at least three pirates will no longer be an influence on the high seas (and that there's at least one less drug pusher on the streets of Indianapolis). And I pray that my son will still enjoy his pirate toys and pirate movies -- for a few more years, at least.

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