April 11, 2009

More on Pirates of Somalia

Posted in Safety tagged , , , , , , , , , , , at 4:15 am by ledefensetech

Unarmed sailors take back their ship. This is incredible for several reasons. The only downside is that their captain, as fitting a man of his station, ransomed his safety for that of his crew.  It’s telling that he tried to escape, unfortunately he failed. Somali pirates might think twice before attacking a US flagged merchant ship.

What I have a problem with is the assertion that ships have little recourse against pirates. There’s plenty of options a crew has to secure their ship. It may take some retrofitting, but there are many things a crew can do. First is making it harder for pirates to board the ship. I’ve heard of electrified rails, barbed wire or water cannons washing pirates off the ship like vermin. Second would be covering the superstructure with cameras, probably hidden. In conjunction with this, a secure room to which the crew can view the cameras and the crew can take refuge in. While retreating to the panic room, the crew can lay booby traps with pepper discharge, irritants and other disabling methods.

It only makes sense to make things harder for these scumbags. The only reason the engage in piracy is because it’s easier than anything else they could do. Plus the rewards are amazing for people who live in Somalia. With millions being paid in ransom, one successful hijacking can set a Somali up for life. The international community has shown that they are unable or unwilling to do anything about the pirates, so it falls to the sailors and captains who ply the trade lanes to take measures to protect themselves, their ships and their cargo.

Again while criminals might have the advantage concerning initiative, a prepared defender can suck them in and drop them at a time and place of their choosing. All it takes is determination and action when something like this happens.

April 8, 2009

Fighting the last war.

Posted in Society tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 8:40 pm by ledefensetech

Two items stood out in the news today. First was a shooting in a Korean religious retreat in California. This will turn out to be, I think, another example of stress violence and a gust front in the coming storm of crime.  Politicians will, as usual, react badly and too late to stem this tide.  As an example I will use the current economic crisis.  Signs of the coming crisis were there for anyone to see as early as 2005, at least by then the writing was on the wall.  During the presidential campaign, nary a word was said about the economy until last fall.  By then, it was too late.

So too, will this fly under the radar until it’s too late.  While the masses are mesmerized by trillion dollar budgets, angered by bailouts and stunned by the antics of those in Washington, they ignore the signs of the coming tsunami in crime much like they did the economic collapse we’re seeing today.

The second item of interest today was this bit on the resurgence of Somali Piracy. I could go on and on about how we came to this pass, but it would seem a better use of our time to look closer and decide what this means in terms of safety.

As usual, it would seem that the Navy is asked to do a job covering too much of an area with too few assets with which to do the job. Plus it would seem that the tactics of the pirates are evolving. While not as dramatic as the tank laden Ukrainian ship seized by Somali pirates last fall, the ransoms paid to pirates has been substantial, especially in a nation as poor as Somalia. Paying those ransoms just encourages more piracy. People are more willing to roll the dice and take their chances. If they die, oh well, they live in a place where life is cheap anyway, so they might as well take the chance.

So what does all this mean? Why should you care? Well for one it seems that the world is getting more and more dangerous by day. Random shootings are increasing, once extinct criminal enterprises like piracy are on the rise and evidence mounts day by day that the world is becoming more and more unstable. Our “leaders”, as usual, are clueless about all of this and either can’t or won’t put the pieces together. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. You and only you can ensure your own safety. Waiting for someone else to save you is a fools errand.

At the very least you might want to consider learning some fighting techniques. At the very least you’ll develop the ability to scan your surroundings and identify places that you might not want to be. Rather than walk blithely through life oblivious to potential threats, you will learn how to stalk your stalkers. The choice of confrontation will no longer be with your attacker, but with you. You will have the initiative and that makes all the difference in the world.

Ideally, whatever system you choose it should be simple, easily mastered and, most importantly, allow you to quickly take down your opponent. Size doesn’t matter, nor does age. I’ve seen small guys take down large guys, women take down guys, old guys take down young guys. What matters is that you have the training and the confidence to overcome your attacker.

Speed is life during a fight.

Speed is life during a fight.

A system must be easy to learn.

A system must be quick to master. A system must be quick to master.

Remember, there is astorm coming. Will you be one of those who waits for help that will never arrive, or arrive too late; or will you take your destiny into your own hands and learn simple techniques to save yourself and your family?