Not only have Somali pirates highjacked a Ukrainian freighter laden with Russian tanks, they give interviews with The New York Times. They're bringing piracy into the 21st century. They have cell phones and rocket launchers. They employ modern media techniques. They even have charities and environmental causes: As one spokes-pirate told the Times, “to stop illegal fishing and dumping in our waters.”
Give these fellows jobs! Our own Seafair pirates are getting long in the tooth, a little out of touch with the times. Parrots, cutlasses peg-legs, tricorner hats, flintlock pistols, and sailing vessels--that's so Johnny Depp. Meanwhile, the Atlantic coast off Somalia is plagued with high-tech pirates in swift Zodiac-style watercraft. According to the Times, 25 ships have been captured and ransomed this year, yielding millions of dollars in blackmail. Talk about return on pirate investment! By contrast, how much have our Seafair pirates earned this year? How many ships have they captured on Elliott Bay or Lake Washington? Can they really frighten anyone beyond children? It's time for the pirate retirement home.
The answer is obvious: We secure international waterways near the already volatile Persian Gulf by bringing the Somali pirates here to Seattle. We give our new replacement Seafair pirates health insurance, benefits, and more AK-47s. Coming from one of the poorest nations on Earth, one without a central government (in part due to U.S. foreign policy, but that's another story), they'd work cheap--like Somali grocers, cab drivers, and parking lot attendants. We could give them a small commission from each vessel seized and ransomed. Think how fat and easy those Paul Allen and McCaw brother yachts will be to board and commandeer! And we, during the coming state and municipal budget crunch, would gain a valuable new pirate revenue stream.
Also: let the new pirates run Washington State Ferries. There are no burdensome pirate union regulations to deal with, and they have ways of getting replacement vessels cheap. Free, in fact. And no one would dare cut in line at the dock.
And lastly: Those tolls we're talking about collecting on the Evergreen Point and I-90 bridges? I know just the fellows to make commuter payments swift and compulsory. You can either hand over your money at sword-point, or get an EZ Pirate Pass for the express lanes. But, please, no gold doubloons. They're not primitives.