So, the ebola patients in Atlanta are cured and walkin' around, as free as lepers; the Missouri Mishandling continues to run its inevitable course (if I lived there, I'd be leaving, several days ago; as used to be the case with ebola, it will just have to burn all the way through. Like leprosy before modern medicine came up with a treatment, it's going to be disfiguring.) The news is, as ever, bad trending to worse ("So be sure to tune in next time and remember, kids, that's Borax Powder®™ and Bleach®™ for effective treatment -- but not mixed together!"), so let us turn our attention back to a simpler, happier time, when beat cops occasionally handed out impromptu street justice and Federal Agents hunted down alcohol distributors with tommyguns and Coast Guard cutters.
Meet William Frederick McCoy (bootlegger), as Wikipedia calls him; he called himself "an honest lawbreaker" and looked to John Hancock as a model. An innovative entrepreneur, McCoy is credited with the notion of smuggling vessels parked just outside the three-mile limit as well as the handy prism-shaped package of six bottles, padded, stacked 3-2-1 and sacked.
His criminal career came to an end when government enforcers dug out and dusted off the Maritime Act of 1790, which extended the territorial limit from three miles to twelve in cases of vessels engaged in fraudulent pursuits. This was the beginning of the present twelve-mile limit, blessed by international agreement in 1982, and the end for Bill McCoy, who was stopped and boarded by the United States Coast Guard. The Coasties found a good stock of booze belowdecks and that was that.
No mobster, McCoy plead guilty, admitting, "I have no tale of woe to tell you. I was outside the three-mile limit,
selling whisky, and good whisky, to anyone and everyone who wanted to
buy." He served less than a year, invested in real estate and boat-building upon release, and returned to the sea he loved, this time without a cargo deemed contraband by Constitutional amendment. He lived well past Repeal and died at sea aboard his private yacht in 1948, the last of the honest pirates.
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