Wednesday, April 15, 2009


No editorial on the Somali pirates, except to say that they must stop or be stopped. Recently, thousands of dolphins assisted in the effort. According to China Radio International on Monday, the animals blocked suspected Somali pirate ships when they were trying to attack Chinese merchant ships passing the Gulf of Aden. Faced with their enormous numbers, the pirates stopped and turned away.
The fates of two of the most infamous pirates are illustrated below. Captain William Kidd (1645-1701) was convicted of piracy (although some historians believe he was unjustly vilified) and hanged at Execution Dock in London. The noose broke on the first attempt, but he was executed on the second attempt, after which his body was gibbeted and suspended over the Thames River for 20 years as a warning to would-be pirates. Edward Teach (c. 1680-1718), better known as Blackbeard, had retired from his notorious life of piracy, but the governor of Virginia sent a ship to eliminate the threat anyway. As it approached Blackbeard's vessel, it was attacked. During the ensuing battle, Teach was shot and stabbed, and bled to death. His head was cut off and hung from the ship's bowsprit as a trophy. After the reward was claimed, the head was placed on a pike on the shore of the Hampton River as a warning to other pirate wannabes.

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