US Coast Guard Arms To Protect Pronto Pup From Terrorism

This really is from The New York Times, not The Onion:

But the United States Coast Guard has a new mission for the waters off of these quiet shores. For the first time, Coast Guard officials want to mount machine guns routinely on their cutters and small boats here and around all five of the Great Lakes as part of a program addressing the threats of terrorism after Sept. 11.

And, for the first time in memory, Coast Guard members plan to use a stretch of water at least five miles off this Michigan shore — and 33 other offshore spots near cities like Cleveland; Rochester; Milwaukee; Duluth, Minn.; and Gary, Ind. — as permanent, live fire shooting zones for training on their new 7.62 mm weapons, which can blast as many as 650 rounds a minute and send fire more than 4,000 yards.

Terrorism hasn’t been a big fear out here, and my neighbors in Grand Haven aren’t very fond of this idea:

Many here in Grand Haven, a town whose history is so lovingly intertwined with the Coast Guard that it holds an annual festival celebrating the service branch, say they think of Coast Guard members mainly as the rugged sailors who race off to search for and save troubled boaters. But even here, in a town that calls itself “Coast Guard City U.S.A.,” some say the thought of members firing machine guns anywhere near these waters strikes them as dangerous to ordinary boaters, potentially damaging to the Great Lakes’ ecosystem and, frankly, a somewhat surprising place to be bracing for terrorists.

“You know exactly what’s going to happen with this,” said Bob Foster, 58, who said he spends every chance he gets on the waters here. “Some boater is going to inadvertently drive through the live fire zone and get blown out of the water.”

Carole Loftis, the owner of Snug Harbor, a popular restaurant with windows on the water, said that although she certainly carried concerns, like most Americans, about terrorism, drunken boating seemed a more frequent threat around here. “This seems a little like overkill,” Ms. Loftis said of the shooting plans.

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2 Comments

  1. 1
    urstupid says:

    if some boater does go in that zone he will not be fired upon, they are much to careful for that to just be going on with no lookouts and warnings. even if his is “blown out of the water” it would be just for some one that stupid. this is not a first, the uscg has had cutters and small boats with guns for years. you know they are part of the us military-

  2. 2
    Ron Chusid says:

    They might be part of the US Military, and some Coast Guard boats may have had guns for years, but guns and these shooting zones is something new for these areas. That’s why the report calls it a “new mission” and says this is being done, “for the first time.”

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