A merchant ship cuts through the water off the coast of North Carolina in 1705. Behind them appears none other than Blackbeard himself! He’s quickly closing the gap between their ships and time is getting short. Only the actions of new captain Jebediah Rall, the great-great-great-great-uh-great-and a bunch more greats grandfather of Ted Rall, can save the crew now with his liberal leadership! Let’s look in….
First Mate: Captain, Blackbeard is gaining on us! Should we turn the cannon on him and fight? If we make a move now we’d have the advantage of surprise and we might be able to damage his ship enough to let us get away!
Jebediah Rall: Fire the cannons at him? We don’t even know if he’s hostile.
First Mate: He’s Blackbeard! He’s the worst pirate of em all. Murdering, raping, and pillaging is what he does for a living.
Jebediah Rall: Perhaps we should open up a dialogue with him…
First Mate: A dialogue?
Jebediah Rall: Hello, yes you, Blackbeard, hello! I am the honorable Jebediah Rall and I’d like to talk to you. It seems that we’ve had some miscommunication and are in some need of conflict resolution….
Blackbeard: Yarr! We’re going to swab the decks with your blood ya pansy landlubbers! (Cheers go up from the pirates)
Jebediah Rall: See? Now we’re talking, now we’re getting somewhere…
First Mate: Getting somewhere? He’s going to kill us. Let me order the men to fire the cannons.
Jebediah Rall: A preemptive strike? On my watch? Never!
First Mate: But captain (a huge ***boom*** is heard and there’s a massive splash off the port bow). He’s firing at us! We can’t outrun him and he doesn’t take prisoners! We better swing the ship around and start firing the cannons!
Jebediah Rall: Start firing? We don’t even know if he shot a cannonball at us. Did you see the cannonball?
First Mate: No captain, I was talking to you, but what else could it have been that sounds exactly like a cannon and makes a large splash out here in the ocean?
Jebediah Rall: Perhaps it was a large fish.
First Mate: A large fish?
Jebediah Rall: …Or some sort of previously unknown sea serpent. There are many mysteries of the deep my friend.
First Mate: Captain…
Jebediah Rall: There will be no cannonballs fired from Jebediah Rall’s ship unless we’re sure we’re being attacked. We’ll not risk and innocent lives…
First Mate: But captain, they’re not innocent, they’re pirates! They want to kill us, just listen to them!
Blackbeard: We’re going to cut them into chunks and feed em to the sharks ladeys! Har, har, har!
Jebediah Rall: Oh, I wish I understood what we’ve done to make them hate us so. We’re all culpable for their rage you know…
First Mate: Captain, we’ve got to fire or we’ll all be killed! Maybe we should mutiny and get a new captain who’ll defend us…
Crew Member: Yeah!
Jebediah Rall: All right, all right, I’ll talk to him….
Excuse me Mr. Blackbeard, I just want to make sure you understand — we are no threat to anyone who doesn’t threaten us. We don’t wish to fight you and we hope you’ll leave us in peace.
There, are you happy? I think that’ll deter him…
Blackbeard: FIRE! (a cannonball fires and almost hits the ship & another goes just over the bow of the ship).
First Mate: Ok, the captain warned him — let’s turn and hit him with everything we’ve got!
Jebediah Rall: Wait, let’s think this through. Don’t you think firing the cannons at him might make him angry?
First Mate: But he’s already trying to kill us…
Jebediah Rall: Yes, of course he is. But imagine how enraged they might become if we fired a cannonball, killed Blackbeard and made him a martyr?
First Mate: Captain, they’ve already said they’re going to swab the decks with our blood!
Jebediah Rall: It’s very easy for us to sneer at that sort of language isn’t it? But have we ever walked in Blackbeard’s shoes? Would our actions be so different?
First Mate: We’re merchants! We only defend ourselves if we’re attacked! We’ve already saved the crews of two sinking ships this year! We gave some of our supplies to a poor tribe of Indians we ran into on the coast last week…
Jebediah Rall: It’s all very well to talk about the good things we’ve done. But what if we ignored every good thing we’ve ever done and only considered all the things people complain about? I thought up a list of all the crimes against humanity we’ve committed. There are 943 items on it. Want to hear them? #1, we don’t pay the poor indians who make our nets enough money. #2, We don’t give enough of our profits to the poor. #3…
First Mate: Captain, we really don’t have time for this now… (Huge crash). Captain they just put a cannonball through the hull of the ship. We’re taking on water, but if we turn and fire just maybe…
Jebediah Rall: Aieeeeeee! Abandon ship, abandon ship!
(Two Days Later — Both Jebediah Rall & the First Mate are sitting on a deserted island).
Jebediah Rall: How fortunate we were to get away while the other men were being butchered! Those pirates were animals! Well I’ve learned my lesson!
First Mate: And what lesson is that sir?
Jebediah Rall: That violence never solves ANYTHING & when two parties fight, there’s no winner!
First Mate: Really sir? Is that why all our men are dead and we’re sitting on this island while Blackbeard is sailing away with our cargo?
Jebediah Rall: Yes, exactly. Had we found some way to appease Blackbeard short of a fight, everything would have worked out OK. I hope all those warmongers out there will learn from our experience to give peace a chance!