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Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Joe Cool Mystery

Today's wires are following a story out of Miami Beach about four missing crew members from the charter boat, Joe Cool, shown above. The four missing crew are the captain and his wife and two young men, first and second mates. The boat, in disarray but apparently not damaged, was found adrift 100 miles off the coast of Cuba; the two young men who chartered her, the only other two on the boat, were pulled from one of the vessel's two life raft, found about twelve miles from where the Joe Cool was found. FBI and other investigators are questioning the two men recovered from the life raft. One of the charterers, a US Army deserter, is also a fugitive and a suspect in a $92,000 Wal-Mart heist.

The captain of the vessel supposedly had both a shotgun and a pistol on the boat. Add to this the fact that he had with him his wife and the two male crew members, all experienced big game charter fishermen, and you have to consider them as not your typical victims. How can two ocean going neophytes, one of them 19 years old, get the better of four experienced, able bodied and armed mariners? One thing we know for sure is that nobody in their right mind leaves a perfectly good boat to get into a tiny inflatable life raft, or worse.

Unfortunately, the most likely story is that these two charterers did something criminal to the crew, after which they climbed into the life raft in hopes of covering their actions with an alibi or just escaping the scene of the crime. (Not sure if they took the boat and it broke down on them or they left the boat and tried to make it to Cuba in the raft.)

In fact, as of 17:00 EST, it's looking more and more like a criminal act on the part of these two scumbags. All the more reason for the Coast Guard and FBI to show them no mercy. If I was interrogating them, I'd chum up some sharks and dangle their sorry asses in the water until they talked. I suppose that's not the American way. However, it's plainly obvious they know more than they're saying. If the crew of the Joe Cool are in the water somewhere in the Florida Straights, treading water, waiting and praying for a rescue, and these two assholes know where they are, then someone should make them talk, by whatever means necessary. Sounds uncivilized, unless it's your father or your mother or one of your own boys you're trying to save.

This tragic crime is shaping up in a way that reminds us of just how difficult it is to fight the war on terror. We're up against people (and I use that term loosely) who have no moral or ethical standards, who will say and do anything to achieve their goal, whether it's pirating a 47' sport fishermen or instilling Allah's will on the so-called heretics of the world.

It's also a lesson to charter boat owners and captains everywhere. Never take anything for granted. Be prepared to defend your boat, crew and passengers by any and all means necessary, including acts of violence.

I knocked out a passenger and tied him in a bunk once, and I have threatened other unruly passengers with the same. I also know one captain who had to lock himself in the wheelhouse with a shotgun in order to keep his rowdy charter party from taking over the boat.


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