Killing Pirates on the High Seas Is Long Overdue

Hey, Europe: It’s time you tried the Chicago Way

Water is wet. The sky is blue. Europe is cowardly.

While all three are indisputable, only the last can change. But it will take sheer will and an enormous amount of courage to turn around a continent falling apart, not from outside invasion, but from within. Their death spiral is a direct result of leaders who prostrate themselves before the altar of political correctness — and a people too reluctant or scared to challenge them.

A perfect example is playing out right now. Despite brutal acts of piracy occurring off Eastern Africa on a daily basis — affecting European ships, and by extension, Europeans themselves — political and media elites have been demonizing 79-year old Norwegian shipping magnate Jacob Stolt-Nielsen. Why? Because in an op-ed, he had the guts to advocate the only realistic way to deal with these terrorists on the high seas: sink their ships with the pirates in them, or execute them on the spot.

So what’s the problem with that?


“You wanna know how to get Capone?” Sean Connery’s character asks Elliot Ness in The Untouchables. “They pull a knife, you pull a gun. He sends one of yours to the hospital, you send one of his to the morgue. That’s the Chicago way! And that’s how you get Capone.”

And you know what? They got Capone.

It’s expected that Europe doesn’t have the courage to do things The Chicago Way. That’s why they need America to bail them out time and again.

Unfortunately, that immutable lesson has now also been lost on America’s leaders, replaced by softness, complacency and the desire not to offend.

And our enemies have exploited that weakness, as al-Queda can proudly attest.

It’s also why we are routinely losing to pirates operating from the rogue nation of Somalia. Not content with the hundreds of millions they’ve already extorted, they violently hijack about one ship per day, and are currently holding 700 hostages and 30 ships for ransom.

And we’re not talking about just pleasure craft or fishing vessels, but huge ships supplying the world with cargo, food, oil — and weapons. Two years ago, a supertanker larger than an aircraft carrier was hijacked as it was transporting more than $100 million worth of crude oil. When that happens, we all pay for it at the pump.

And given the pirates’ cozy relationship with Islamic fundamentalists, some of that ransom money is making its way right into the hands of terrorists hell bent on destroying the West.

These barbarians turned it up a notch this week, killing four Americans after hijacking their private vessel. But here’s the most disturbing part: despite being closely monitored by four U.S. Navy warships, they executed the hostages anyway. That level of arrogance tells all we need to know: they don’t fear us.

And no wonder. Our “tough” response will be to haul the captured pirates into U.S. courts on the other side of the world, where they will receive first-class taxpayer-funded defense lawyers and free health care. How nice.

And that’s supposed to deter more attacks?

Manhattan prosecutors don’t make Somali-based pirates tremble, a fact not lost on Stolt-Nielsen. As one of the few who lives in the real world, he stated how to end the unchecked piracy:

“When (piracy) implies a great risk of being caught and hanged, and the cost of losing ships and weapons becomes too big, it will decrease and eventually disappear.”

To that point, he ridicules the American and European “solution” to dealing with problem. (We should) “…not arrest them and say, ‘naughty, naughty, shame on you,’ and release them again, but sink their boats with all hands…the pirates won’t be frightened by being placed before a civilian court.”

It is indisputable that the pirates aren’t frightened, evidenced by the fact that, despite one of their own being sentenced to 33 years in prison just last week, the pirates executed the Americans anyway.

Yet the response from those who bury their head in the sand? Killing pirates would be “barbaric,” with opponents arguing that, despite documented torture, abuse and murder of their captives, these rogues must be treated with basic human rights.

Kind of like the human rights given to the murdered Americans and tortured sailors? Of course not, since the real victims are always forsaken by bleeding hearts.

Pirates have those rights before they hijack ships. Once they cross the line, however, all bets are off. Ships should carry armed guards, who, upon attack, should exercise no restraint in vaporizing the marauders. The goal should not be to deter, but to destroy, for three reasons. First, it is now just as likely pirates will execute the crew once aboard; second, letting them go will only make another ship’s crew their victim; third, it will send a clear, unmistakable message that there is a new Law Of The Sea. It’s called The Chicago Way.

Let’s be very clear about what will happen. When 10 pirates go out, only to return as corpses floating up on the beach resorts of Somalia, there will be a paradigm shift in how the remaining pirates will conduct their business. Translation: they’ll find a different profession. Immediately.

Stolt-Nielsen said it best when he referenced why piracy declined over the last several hundred years. “Pirates captured in international waters have always been punished by death, often on the spot.”

There’s a direct correlation to the huge spike in piracy, now commonplace in vast swaths of the oceans, with the “basic human rights” that clueless leaders mandate must be afforded them.

Here’s standing with Stolt-Nielsen in dropping the empty threats, picking up the guns, sinking ships and killing the barbarians. They can have their day in court — in Davy Jones’ locker.

It’s the only language these people understand, so let’s speak it loud and clear, and relegate pirates to those in the Jack Sparrow movies.

Chris Freind is an independent columnist, television commentator, and investigative reporter who operates his own news bureau, Readers of his column, “Freindly Fire,” hail from six continents, thirty countries and all fifty states. His work has been referenced in numerous publications including
The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, foreign newspapers, and in Dick Morris’ recent bestseller “Catastrophe.” Freind, whose column appears regularly in Philadelphia Magazine and nationally in
Newsmax, also serves as a frequent guest commentator on talk radio and state/national television, most notably on FOX Philadelphia. He can be reached at


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  • Jack Sparrow

    Oh, I can’t wait too see the responses that disagree with this one. They will be the same people who, should they be on a hijacked cruise, would DEMAND why there were NOguns, guards and grenades on board to stop the pirates. America is wussing out more every day!

  • Aaaaarrrrgh!

    George Washington’s home, Mt. Vernon, is named for a British Admiral who mercilessly pursued pirates, including Blackbeard, from Caribbean and North american waters. We, and the rest of the supposedly civilized world, should do no less now. Hunt them and kill them wherever they eat, sleep, or sail. No mercy.

  • Dean M

    (Applause) That is freakin’ awesome, and yet so obvious and rational. But…we know it will never happen unless vessels out there start defending themselves by striking back. Arrest them? Why? KILL them where they stand, destroy their own boats, and let their lifeless bodies float.

  • Sam Feed

    What are the rules and regulations a pirate must follow? Oh, that’s right; there aren’t any! So why should we? Way to throw it out there Chris…

  • Mark Cofta

    Isn’t it ironic that we could spend thousands of lives and billions of dollars fighting an unnecessary war in Iraq, but when presented with this clearly military pirate situation we try to fix it with lawyers and negotiation? This is actually what the world’s largest and most expensive military force should be doing: protecting citizens and commerce on the high seas, not “nation building.”

  • Sam Feed


  • Floater

    Right you are, Sammy Feed!

  • Sterling Archer


    You criticize the Europeans because they are being overrun by Muslims and called them politically correct cowards. They are indeed cowards.

    We are no different from the Europeans. Everyday thousands of invaders from 3rd world countries cross our southern border and we do nothing. Why? Because we are politically correct cowards…just like the Europeans.

    My point is that we are just as weak willed and craven as Europe. We need to take a page from the Russians.

    Several months ago a Russian cargo ship was captured by Somali Pirates. A Russian cruiser was dispatched to free the captured ship. The Russians didn’t “shadow” their ship like impotent Democrats. They didn’t try to negotiate with the pirates like a spineless community organizer might. Instead they went along side the ship and released dozens of commandos who quickly captured all of the stunned pirates. Highly trained and motivated soldiers versus untrained thugs. What the Russians next did to the captured pirates can best be described as a “Teachable moment”. They Released the pirates!! By released I mean they threw them into the shark infested water to swim back to land. See the linked article:

    This is why they will never mess with a Russian flagged ship again. Russian has leaders. We have a community organizer. Looking at these pictures may make you laugh or vomit. It is a comparison of Vladimir Putin and Barack Obama. These pictures are why pirates kill Americans and don’t fear us.