Five reasons why David Hartley's disappearance on Falcon Lake is not a big story in Mexico

The story of David Hartley, who was allegedly shot by Mexican drug traffickers Sept. 30 while jet-skiing on a lake that straddles Texas and Mexico, has received continuous coverage in American news.

In Mexico, however, mention the Falcon Lake killing and you might very well get a blank stare.

While American deaths in Mexico usually generate an equal amount of coverage from both nations, the lack of local coverage of his case has revealed a stark disconnect in perspectives on opposite sides of the border. Here are five reasons why.

American intrigue

Eric Gay/AP
Tiffany Hartley, right, and family members, take part in a news conference with Zapata County sheriff Sigifredo Gonzalez, Jr., on Oct. 6 in Zapata, Texas. Ms. Hartley's husband, David, was allegedly shot by Mexican pirates on Falcon Lake as they were returning to the US on Jet Skis.

Tiffany Hartley's testimony offers compelling details about a couple who mistakenly wandered into Mexico's drug war, while the seeming failure of Mexican investigators to solve the case provides a critique of Mexico's inefficient police and judiciary. Who are these so-called Mexican "pirates" that roam the waters of Falcon Lake?

For Americans, who do not usually come into contact with the border, with its desert outposts and giant border fence – especially not when on vacation – there is an extra level of intrigue for the fluidity of the border that Falcon Lake represents. Falcon Lake “feels different, it feels less protected,” says Dan Lund, a political analyst in Mexico City and the president of The MUND Group. “It suggests vulnerability that the normal border does not.”

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