Here’s a question: The U.S. and most western governments generally have a policy of not negotiating with kidnappers, terrorists, and the like. The thinking is that you don’t want to reward criminal behavior, and you want to avoid setting a bad precedent so you don’t induce future incidents. That probably makes sense as a national policy. But it stinks if you happen to be one of the people kidnapped. Or related to them.
Let’s say Somali pirates take over a private vessel owned by Americans, and ask for a $1 million ransom for the safe return of the crew.
If they’re able to raise the money, should the family, friends, and/or corporation that owns the vessel be permitted to pay the ransom?
Or should we let the government step in and forbid them from paying it?
If you’re in the latter camp, what criteria would you apply in deciding when to let the government step in? Should the government be empowered to forbid paying a ransom in any kidnapping? Just kidnappings that have national security implications? Only overseas kidnappings?
Suppose the crew’s families somehow managed to pay the ransom, anyway. Should we put someone in prison for paying to remove a loved one from harm?