April 13, 5:46 PM · 6 comments
On Wednesday, April 8, 2009, Somalian pirates attempted to hijack the merchant ship Maersk Alabama. Its crew repelled the invaders, but their captain was captured and held hostage until rescued yesterday by the U.S. Navy. These are the basic facts of the story. But as usual, there were many facts lurking beneath the surface which were ignored by Old Media in their rush to titillate us with drama on the high seas. These missing facts teach an extremely important truth.
Fact #1: The government has no obligation to protect you.
A bit of history first: In 1999, Jessica Gonzales had obtained a temporary restraining order (TRO) against her husband during their divorce proceedings. Mr. Gonzales picked up their three girls as they played in the front yard, in violation of the TRO. He then drove to the police station, where he opened fire. Police returned fire and killed him, and then found the girls’ bodies in his truck. Jessica sued the town of Castle Rock, Colorado in a lower court, claiming that police, knowing about her unstable husband and also knowing about her TRO, didn’t do enough to protect her children. The lower court agreed with her. Castle Rock appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, which reversed the ruling:
· A temporary restraining order “imposed no duty on police…”
· “It does not follow that respondent had ‘a legitimate claim of [police] entitlement.’ ”
Fast forward to a November 20, 2008 interview with National Public Radio:
Vice Adm. Bill Gortney, commander of the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet, says even one of the most powerful conglomerations of ships in the world [the U.S. Navy] isn't enough to combat the pirates.
"We can't be everywhere," Gortney says…
"Where we are not is where you have these maritime criminals that we call pirates, [who] will eventually find a merchant ship that is taking no action, or ineffective actions, to prevent pirates from getting onboard their vessels," he says.
The admiral says the shipping companies have to take responsibility for their own ships. He says they are taking some measures — increasing their speed, making sure their ladders are up, posting lookouts. But that's not enough, Gortney says.
"What I am pushing, what we are pushing with the shipping industry, is that they need to put security detachments on these vessels," he says. [Emphasis added]
Just like the police with Jessica Gonzales’s children, the U.S. Navy has no obligation to keep a ship safe. Instead, Admiral Gortney clearly states that just like a private citizen, ships are responsible to be their own first line of defense.
Fact #2: Giving the government more power will not make you safer.
Furthermore, evidence exists that surrendering your civil right of self-defense only makes government less accountable.
In 1997, the British government banned guns in order to reduce crime. In early 2005, the British government enacted the Criminal Justice Act of 2003, which allows a previously acquitted person to be retried if “new and compelling” evidence is produced. A Home Office spokesperson said, “It is important the public should have full confidence in the ability of the criminal justice system to deliver justice.” The Act also allows hearsay evidence, including situations where the witness is unavailable to appear in court or has fears about appearing. Thus, the accuser is no longer required to face the accused, diminishing defense attorneys’ ability to cross-examine and create reasonable doubt about the witness’s testimony.
Bottom line: As with gun control, in order to fight crime, the British government banned the centuries-old legal principle of double jeopardy: prohibiting the government from retrying you for the same crime after being acquitted.
Meanwhile, the violent crime rate in Britain increased 29.2% between 1995 and 2006: Britain is now more violent than America.*
Less guns, less civil rights, less safety.
There are more vital facts missing from Old Media reports, to be addressed next.
Crime rates compiled from UK Home Office and U.S FBI data. Email request for Excel spreadsheet.