Last week in Up Front we ran several letters from readers responding to our commentary the previous week on whether or not it is a good idea to carry guns aboard a cruising boat that is going foreign. The consensus among readers was that guns can cause more trouble than they are worth. But it was not unanimous as we had one reader who prefers to carry weapons for self defense and is adamant about it. Following CC’s publication last week, we got this thoughtful letter from Dick Stevenson that we want to share with you.
Pertaining to the question of whether to have guns aboard: the question that first needs addressing is (with very little information or time to consider) “Are you prepared to shoot to kill first and find out later if you’re right?”
As amateurs, if you are serious about self-defense, you shoot to kill, center mass.
The debate, aside from its sensational aspects, worries me as I suspect the insecure and anxious will take this as a serious question (like wearing life vests) and be more inclined to say to themselves, “I need every safety device.” Then there are the sensational aspects which, to my casual observation, is designed to sell copy and not promote safe cruising practices.
Those who know how to handle guns and are wise in their management will not respond to your inquiry and will never talk about their having firearms on board to anybody except their closest confidants.
Finally, the thought that there might be guns aboard, is a large enticement to many household break-ins and I would hate the notion that American-flagged boats have a good chance of having guns aboard gaining traction around the world.
A prudent editorial position you could consider might be: If unlucky, you could be mugged/robbed almost anywhere, almost anytime. And that, if a particular cruising ground worries you enough to consider carrying a gun, don’t go there.
My thoughts, Dick Stevenson, s/v Alchemy, St. Margaret’s Bay, Nova Scotia, Canada