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Coast Guard plumage

Apr 12, 2007
 
There is something sad and awkward with this picture. A peaceful recreational marina seems an unlikely setting for the slow meanderings of a high-speed U.S. Coast Guard vessel decked-out with a machine gun turret. The scene is reassuring and yet at the same time unsettling. Do a bunch of sailboats and small powerboats warrant protection with so much firepower? On the other hand, is it just another unavoidable sign of the times?

Several years ago, a similar high-speed Coast Guard craft, minus the machine gun, pulled up alongside my sailboat in the Gulf of Mexico just outside the entrance to Tampa Bay. The crew gave me a passing grade on the safety inspection and then proceeded to search the large cockpit lockers filled with fenders, raft, mooring lines, spare anchor, and so forth. I asked the leader what they were looking for.

With a barely concealed smile, he said, “Canadians.”

It felt good to hear some humor in an increasingly difficult situation. I tell myself that we are no different from other species showing off manes, quills, puffed-up fur, and gaudy feathers to establish our superior “manliness” (excuse the chauvinism) in a hostile and competitive world.

Chris on 04/13/2007 08:51

While I have great regard for the Guard, we should be concerned that they get the proper training with these weapons. The recent NIMBY response to training areas doesn't bode well for this.

JT on 04/19/2007 02:36

The caption should read, "Look Ma! - Big Gun!"

Sorry sight. Lets hope they don't know how to use that!

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