The words of the English philosopher Thomas Hobbes still hold true: for some, life remains "poor, nasty, brutish, and short". Prospects are so dim for many in Somalia that piracy remains an attractive option. As we report today, a pirate attempting to board a UAE-owned cargo ship off the Horn of Africa was shot and killed on Tuesday. Six other pirates were captured. The use of deadly force by the security aboard the MV Almezaan may appear to be less humane than agreeing to pay the pirates a ransom. But which tactic is more likely to perpetuate piracy's appeal?
The persistence of this group of pirates - their crew member was killed only after two attacks on the ship in the same day - shows how enticing piracy can be. Some of this is due to decades of lawlessness and instability in Somalia. The world has an obligation to help to address and contain these problems. Refusing to pay millions in ransom to that country's most thuggish elements is surely part of that effort.