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20 June 2006

Firearms on board - again?

20 June 2006
JeanneP
QUESTION:
You advise against firearms on board - why? I know chances are you won't need one, but chances are I won't sink but I still have safety flotation devices. I cruise and know a lot of people who cruise with a shotgun on board ...are you anti-gun?I cruise with the american flag proudly displayed and the way a lot of the rest of the world feels about the USA lately (jealousy) I think its prudent to have a gun on board. Have you ever heard of pirates? Check some stories online. I have something to add to my last e-mail - a shotgun can be a very versatile tool to have on board. Did you know you can use a shotgun to shoot lines to another boat also there's a whole array of less than lethal ammo available for those not wanting buckshot onboard. The people on this forum should know truth then decide what's best for them. I usually have children onboard so I have a lock on the trigger that takes a three digit code to open, it's safe and if need be I can get to my gun in a few seconds.


ANSWER:
Have you read Watermelon's cruising logs? We just never met those people who didn't like Americans - for whatever reason. Well, the Australians aren't particularly fond of Americans. The French think we're pretty bossy and slightly stupid. But in general, they just complain about the Americans that aren't us. In other words, they mildly dislike the stereotype of an American, not the Americans they meet.

I do not believe in carrying a gun because the only people we know who had a gun on board wound up being injured severely - two fellows dead, another shot with his own gun. I argue against guns because we have never had an occasion to even consider using a gun. I argue against guns for a simpler reason than that. I do not believe that anything we own is more precious than a human life. Are you prepared to shoot, to kill, the fellow in his canoe that approaches your boat? Or five VERY ugly, rough fellows who paddle to your boat? When do you go below to get your gun? (scroll down to The Russell Islands, http://www.cruiser.co.za/hostmelon46.asp )

I am not anti-gun (grew up in a hunting family, lots of guns), but I just don't see the point in having a gun on board. We have had local visitors come to our boat in every anchorage we've been in. In Anganiwai Harbor, also in the Solomons, we were the first yacht in living memory to visit there. Completely isolated, if there had been bad guys we would have been plumb out of luck. But instead we were welcomed graciously, and treated like honored guests. http://www.cruiser.co.za/hostmelon51.asp

17 years we cruised the other side of the world, and it wasn't enough time. And never did we feel the need to point a gun at anyone.

Rod and Becky on Mahdi (Noonsite report of piracy) are friends of ours, and I admit that I am so grateful that they had a shotgun on board and survived that horrible attack. A shotgun, used as Rod used it, is possibly the only circumstance when I would concede that a gun was worth having. Rod used it in self-defense when it was clear that bad guys were out to get them. What I worry about are those who lack the experience or judgment to refrain from showing a gun when it isn't appropriate.

If you want to carry a gun, that's your choice. May you never have to use it, may you never harm someone because you thought someone might do you harm. Carrying a gun imposes a very heavy responsibility on you. Bear it wisely.

Fair winds,
Jeanne
Comments
Vessel Make/Model: Jeanneau Sun Fizz
Hailing Port: THE TROPICS
About: Jeanne and Peter Pockel - Cruising in the Tropics
Extra: We left Boston in 1986 to go cruising for a few years. Sixteen years later we are still "cruising for a few years".
Home Page: http://www.sailblogs.com/member/melon/?xjMsgID=3624
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