>Federal Presence

>Typically while on patrol one has time to read and this patrol I have been reading Edward Gibbon’s “Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.” The history is fascinating, but it also drives home the importance of good government, law and order. Over the past few patrols in the Bering Sea I have attempted to put into words why we are out here and I find a lot of parallels in Gibbon’s work. Our ability to patrol this area at will is very important in keeping people safe as well as maintaining law and order. It is expensive to maintain a cutter in such a harsh environment, but how much more expensive if this bountiful sea were unguarded? For well over a hundred years the U.S. Coast Guard has had cutters patrolling the Bering Sea, so long that this area has no memory of lawlessness. Many parts of the Roman Empire knew nothing of disorder for well over 300 years until internal strife weakened the border legions and allowed marauding barbarians to sack peaceful cities whose populations had no means of fighting back. These things don’t happen overnight, but I know that if we were not here, the “Deadliest Catch” would become far more deadly and far less profitable in only a few years. It is easy to be tricked by the fallacy that ACUSHNET doesn’t pull enough people from the water, or make enough arrests to justify the cost of operating here. It is the Federal Presence that is invaluable, the benign protection that is the essence of our good government.

LT Erik Skow

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