Let's start by clearing up two things you may be wondering based on the headline: No one's reproducing the guns from Star Wars, and we're not talking about Johnny Depp.
The pirate ships are those sea vessels manned by thugs who are busy marauding, looting, hijacking and killing those on the open sea. According to New Scientist, the International Maritime Bureau recorded 430 pirate attacks in 2010—a 5.6 percent increase from 2009. (While, yes, there were certainly a handful of attacks in the Caribbean, the vast majority occurred in the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Aden.)
The lasers are a new innovation from BAE Systems designed to leave targeted pirates temporarily blind by firing a meter-wide green laser beam into their eyes. The system will automatically adjust its intensity (depending on distance from target and atmospheric conditions) to ensure that there is no permanent eye damage. Even with the reduction in power, "from as far away as 1500 metres the effect of looking at the beam is like accidentally looking at the sun" ("New Laser to Dazzle Pirates on the High Seas," New Scientist).
The (forgotten) terrors of the sea
Many assume that modern-day piracy is limited to the people who illegally spread movies, TV shows, music, etc., across the Internet, but as the above statistics show, literal pirates still exist—although they've since traded in their sails for motors and their cutlasses for AK-47s and rocket-propelled grenades. At the time of this writing, Somali pirates alone hold 30 vessels and 680 hostages (see "Piracy News and Figures").
If it weren't for news reports on the subject, most of us would remain entirely unaware of the threat posed by pirates. Even knowing, it's easy news to forget about. The same is true about a lot of things in life—if we're not immediately affected by or interested in it, our inclination is often to resign the story to our mind's attic.
That doesn't make the problem go away. Whether or not you and I are thinking about the myriad problems that wrack this planet (be they starvation, homelessness, corruption, broken families or just crime in general), they still exist. They still affect people every day. And despite the valiant efforts of a few dedicated charities and humanitarian efforts concerned with reversing the damage humankind has caused, the problems are not going away.
A different kind of sea
So, what then? Is that it? There are problems and we can't fix them, so let's throw our hands in the air and see if there's anything good on TV?
Not quite. Humankind may not be able to repair the damage it has caused by itself, but there is a plan in place. God is in the process of calling and training a people who will, upon Jesus Christ's return to earth, aid Him in restoring our planet to the paradise He intended it to be from the beginning.
It's the sad fact of the matter that, right now, lawless and shameless pirates hold sway over certain parts of the world's oceans. Even the brute force of armed navies have been unable to eradicate the blight. But the Bible speaks of a time when, after God's rule has been established over the earth, "They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain, for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea" (Isaiah 11:9).
A preparation for peace
The sea, which at present is a home to criminals and natural disasters, will one day serve as an analogy for the peace brought to the earth by God and His followers. It's not here yet, but the preparation for such a time has already begun. As Jesus Christ noted almost 2,000 years ago, "The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few" (Matthew 9:37).
The harvest is plentiful. The laborers are willing, but few. The Lord of the harvest is calling.
Will you answer?
For more information on this harvest and the sea of peace it will usher in and how you can be a part of it, read "Life in God's Family" from our free booklet What Is Your Destiny?