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Go Back   SailNet Community > General Interest > General Discussion (sailing related)
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  #11  
Old 09-30-2003
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Firearms

It seems to me that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and a firearm, if cruising outside the US, specificly where they are illegal, (EG Mexico, etc) is a ton of cure, and it may just be the source of more problems than it fixes.

James Baldwin has a decent article on dealing with Piracy, on sailnet as a matter of fact:

http://www.sailnet.com/collections/articles/index.cfm?articleid=baldwi0011

Basicly, a gun may help get you away from pirates, but it''s not guaranteed. there is a chance you could make it through mexican waters without a gun, but a greater one that you''ll be spending a few months or more in a mexican prison. Myself, I''ll take my chance with out the gun, and just make sure pirates know that I''m not an easy target, and they should just move on to someone else, or at least leave me alone. Dont need a gun to do that.

Basicly, what seperates my home from my boat, is that my home wont be floating through areas where guns are strictly illegal, and the local LEO belive that the only reason someone would have a gun is to Shoot THEM with it. That makes for a less than hospitibal welcome.

-- James (Not Baldwin )
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  #12  
Old 09-30-2003
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Firearms

Thanks Duane, Your right it dosen`t seem right about criminals carring guns but that`s the fact of it. How ever if you say that "just before you were to be killed that if you had a gun that it still would`nt have mattered? Of course it would. At least you would have had a chance. It`s the willingness to survive that makes the difference. You have to be as mean as they are.
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  #13  
Old 09-30-2003
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Firearms

IslandChief60,

I''m not sure if you are addressing your comments to all of us who replied to your post, but it doesn''t really matter. I take exception to your comment, "... and you are not willing to defend yourself?"

It doesn''t seem to me to be just a simple question of: "Should I take a firearm and have the possibility of defending myself, OR, should I just forget it and hope for the best." I work with weapons all the time (I have designed experimental high rate-of-fire cannons for the US Navy and Army, BTW), so I have a healthy respect for the safety and responsibility aspects of firearms.

From all the cruising info I have read: if you take the gun(s) cruising, you will face the very real possibility every day that you will be boarded by authorities and that for one reason or another, you will wind up in jail for a long time, your boat will be confiscated, or something else very unpleasant. As I said in my last post, the rules favor the criminals.

In the US, citizens using deadly force often say, "better to be judged by 12, than carried by 6." [In case anyone doesn''t get that, it means it''s better to use your gun illegally if necessary and face a jury rather than being carried away in a coffin.]

Decide for yourself what you think the risks are on both sides and act accordingly.

Since I think you mentioned you are in the US military, allow me to thank you for your service to our country.

Regards,
Duane
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  #14  
Old 09-30-2003
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Firearms

It seem that there really isn`t a clear way to deal with piracy. It all falls on the shoulders of the victims and how they decide to deal with the event.I`m not sure that carring a shot gun on board is the right answer or not but it will be part of my defense program along with other preventive measures. Thanks guys for your opinion.
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  #15  
Old 09-30-2003
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Firearms

Hey, IslandChief60.

Whether we choose the same path or not, I still wish you good fortune and safe passages.

Duane
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  #16  
Old 09-30-2003
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Firearms

Thank you Duane for your contribution as well. I was a forward controller in the USAF before I cross trained and went into the Reserves. Ive spent a lot of time in the Banana Belt. Some of the officals are the very same ones who will inspect your boat one day and rob it the next. Or they supply the crinals with info for exchange of the cut. I liked your saying. Sadly it`s very true. I would really like to hear about some of your other Ideas on defending your boat of would be theives.
Thanks, Chuck
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  #17  
Old 09-30-2003
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Firearms

From what I''ve read, most international cruisers don''t recommend carrying a firearm onboard. Besides the very real possibility of being thrown in jail by not-so-nice local police, there is also the likelihood that by brandishing your weapon, you may encite an escalated response from perpetrator(s).

Also, if the weapon accidently discharges it could cause bodily harm to you or your crew, not to mention the fact that it may put a hole in the hull which will need immediate repair if it''s below the waterline. :^(

I think the movie "Bowling for Columbine" may provide further insite.

BTW, there are other legal ways of providing self protection while onboard. Some have already mentioned, knives and spearguns, but we should all carry a flare-gun too. Remeber the movie "Dead Calm"? Now that was scary!

~ Happy sails to you ~ _/) ~
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Old 09-30-2003
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Firearms

I must say this is a thoughtful discussion...quite unlike many threads on this subject.

I will throw in my $0.02. I am a former naval officer and small arms qualified. I have never owned any firearm of any sort and do not intend to.

I believe first and foremost in prevention...not looking like a target and not showing money or possessions. And avoiding areas where there might be trouble. Having been to some of the worst places on earth for violence...I have no interest in seeing them again.

I also believe in the numbers. Pirate attacks are rare, especially fatal ones. I am much more concerned with the sea and weather. I need to focus on making my boat a safe vessal for passagemaking and will not devote much if any time to pirates.

The issue of having a firearm aboard and dealing with the myriad of local authorities and their whim of the day is most significant. You are simply offering them probable cause to throw you in jail. And in third world countries, you do not have the rights we enjoy here. You could be there a long time, lose your boat etc.

Finally, being in a firefight would be your worst nightmare. If you are attacked by pirates, they get to chose the time and place, they have thought out their strategy and tactics in advance, they have experience in doing this and there will be more of them than you and they will have more firepower.

You can fight off prowlers and petty thieves without firearms.

You will not be able to fight off pirates with any firearm you could bring aboard.

One sad article I read on piracy was a story of a couple cruising. They were approached by a boat they thought to be pirates. The boat came along side and they were talking to the husband. While this was happening, his wife went to the forward hatch and came out with a gun. They shot her dead in an instant and simply left.

Respectfully,

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  #19  
Old 09-30-2003
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Firearms

about Peter Blake, I think the big issue his case brought up is the one we''re discussing here... namely that as the pirates boarded him, he ducked below to grab his gun and was shot to death. I think that the pirates ended up just stealing his watch.

A couple of additional thoughts... if there wasn''t a problem with legality, a rifle could be a good deterent. If someone is looking for an easy score, they''re less likely to go after someone that they know is armed. I''m thinking about Joshua Slocum discouraging Feugoen Indians from attacking him by brandishing his trusty rifle.

The Grisly Bear Pepper Spay is pretty impressive to watch... I think I saw it used on TV once...

I think it would be great to have some tear gas grenades on hand. Toss a couple up on deck or into the cockpit if someone boards you. Anyone know about the legality of something like this?
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  #20  
Old 09-30-2003
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Firearms

How about setting up a fire extinguisher system in your cockpit only its filled with Hi-strength pepper spray. Or motion sensors that turn on your flood lights. Mini cams are great for seeing whats going on outside while your locked inside your boat. Alarms that set off a loud air horn or sierin. If all of that fails, then break out the Big Whiskey. Then they deserve to have their asses blown off.
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