Peter Leeson, pirate economist, reports:
Only one sailor has lost his life at Somali pirate hands. This represents less than two-tenths of one percent of crewmembers taken hostage by Somali pirates between January and October and an even smaller percentage of the total number of sailors these pirates have attempted to capture.
Even a single death is a tragedy. But the number of confirmed, Somali pirate killings is surprisingly small–especially for a band of Kalashnikov-toting criminals. This hardly comports with our image of pirates as fiendish, blood-lusting curs.
Leeson gives good economic reasons why pirates wouldn’t be killing their captives — and says that in this respect they’re actually entirely in line with their 18th-century forebears such as Blackbeard and Calico Jack Rackham. But do they light slow-burning fuse matches in their dreadlocks?