Way down Rio Grande way, the “border troubles” with our friends in Mexico are spilling out over our border. Haven’t gotten the memo? Think it’s just a couple of uppity ranchers on the border gettin’ into a little dustup with some over-zealous economically challenged Mexicans running some pot to pay the bills? Think again. Check out this story from Fox News: Pirates Threaten Boaters on U.S. – Mexico Border Lake. Seems the Mexican drug gangs have turned to the second-oldest profession. With guns. And everything.
Since I grew up on the water, and my dad was a bigwig in the U.S. Power Squadron and the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, I feel eminently qualified to dispense advice on the topic of fending off pirates. And it’s free advice, so it’s worth at least what you’ll pay for it.
- Go in heavy. I’d recommend a shotgun, just because of the sound it makes when you rack it. But that’s only good for close-up work. If they’re in shotgun range, you have to expect that the baddies might be sportin’ an AK or AR. Or two. Or three. What’s a poor pleasure boater to do?
- Go long. Get some kind of carbine. My personal choice would be an AR-15 or M-4-style rifle. Nothing says “Don’t screw with me” than a black gun. I’d lean towards the larger calibers, too. Never know if Juan and his Buddies are sportin’ flak vests.
- AIm high. If your vessel is approached by a boat full of armed and dangerous thugs bent on mayhem, a nice message might be your proverbial “shot across the bow.” But don’t count on it. If these hoods are willing to attack, they’re willing to escalate. And they strike me as the kind that don’t follow the Marquis of Queensbury rules, if you know what I mean. If you wanna waste a warning round, make sure they can hear it. Like right past their ears. This has the added advantage that if you miss, you might just blow one of their heads off. THAT will get their attention.
- Shoot to Kill. But only if you mean it. Remember, never point a gun at anyone you don’t intend to shoot and don’t shoot unless you intend to kill. If these guys are gonna shoot you, the only way to survive is to shoot them first. This is the MOTHER of all “discretion” calls, but the important thing here is restraint. You really don’t wanna have to answer questions as to why you took out some innocent vacationers who were asking for directions, just because you have an itchy trigger finger. On the other hand, if a boat heads your way with guys brandishing AK-47s, you should probably think about responding aggressively.
- Shoot for the Memories. If you’re worried about those messy consequences of being armed and dangerous, a useful accessory would be to have a video camera on board, should you have someone else available to record the event for posterity. If you have a video of what the bad guys did, you’ll have proof you need to justify your actions. Or if you over-react, proof that you went too far. Act as if someone is watching.
- Stay on Your Side of the Lake. Wanna make sure you don’t go overboard, figuratively speaking? Don’t cross over the U.S./Mexican border. Period. If you drift over Mexico-way with a boat that’s got weapons on board, you’d best expect to be exploring the finer points of the Mexican prison system from a first-person perspective. While it’s perfectly legal to own/carry weapons in the USA, things are muy differente South of the border.
- Check your Local Laws. My recommendations above are based on common sense. If you’re on a lake that is a Federal or State waterway, then Federal and/or State laws WILL apply. Do they allow guns? If they do, great. If not, you might want to rethink your plans, if aquatic banditos are a problemo.
- Think things through. How badly do you wanna go boating? Is it worth your life? Those of your loved ones? I mean, seriously . . . if these idiots are attacking boats, do you really wanna find yourself on the front lines of the coming U.S.-Mexico border wars? It’s up to you, but at least think things through, first. This applies to you bass fishermen, too.
If you think that this border problem is just gonna solve itself or go away on it’s own (like every Presidential administration and Congress stretching back past Reagan) you’re dreamin.’ I got a bad feelin’ about this, Sundance.