Going on the Account: More “No Traspasando” Than “Prepárese Para Ser Aborador”

The AP filed a report about pirates on Falcon Lake, an artificial body of water between Texas and Mexico created by a dam on the Rio Grande.  The report from the San Antonio Express-News states that the gunmen may have been drug runners, though by the time Gawker got to sharing this with everyone they were pirates again, with hysterical hyperbole cranked high.

OK, let’s take a second here:  Pirates are by definition thieves that prey on commerce over the water, not thugs that kill for their own end.  Yes, pirates that kill first and then take whet’s left from the bodies do count as such, but according to the reports here it’s hard to imagine that these two jet skiers had that much booty on them that could be seen from the distances that they opened fire from.  If there’re no cries of “Your money or your life,” or in this case “Su dinero o su vida,” then we can’t make assumptions.

And if they’re drug runners, as assumed on the ground down there, then it would be a damned silly business decision to branch out into piracy on an inland lake.  The costs-to-revenue ratio is always pretty dicey for anyone going on the account, which is why pirates throughout time have always been committed to this as their sole line of support, often because there’s no other way available to make a run of it, and once a new income line with less risks and surer profits comes along it’s often time to move the operations.  Somehow, I can’t see Mexican drug cartels seeing much hope in inland piracy, sorry…

More likely, the thugs in question were providing cover for another operation, and they had orders to keep anyone away.  These were probably not pirates, just watchmen; would that the facts could occasionally be given some thought before they were relayed wildly…


Speaking of relaying the facts, a few developments among real pirates:

  • Kenya is no longer hosting pirate trials.  This is going to make it a lot harder to prosecute crimes on the high seas and could set back the effort to bring order off the coast of Africa.
  • There’s news of privateers being hired now to escort vessels through the Red Sea and northern Indian Ocean.  Try to ignore the tone of the author in this one for the facts presented, about JLT Group now providing mercenaries.  While they claim that the forces sent along will follow the rules of engagement as set by the navies operating in the theater, it’s too easy to imagine a moment when an engagement where “things just happened,” which could be quite tragic.
  • We’re coming up fast on the first anniversary of the seizing of Paul and Rachel Chandler off the coast of Somalia.  This is one of the saddest episodes of the Modern Age of Piracy, and one that I wish more attention were paid to; this couple in their 60s should not have been held this long and should be released if for no other reason than on humanitarian grounds.

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