I've been pointing out how badly the media botched their coverage of spillover Mexican violence by ignoring the underlying story and criticizing Brewer for her comments. Now the national press is starting to take notice as well. (This is great example of how local blogs influence national stories.)
Eighteen months ago, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer was excoriated for warning of spillover from Mexico's war reaching our soil. Well, beheadings are becoming common now. Yet that war is still ignored.
Leading the charge in the summer of 2010, Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank blasted Republican Gov. Brewer for claiming that Arizona's "law enforcement agencies have found bodies in the desert either buried or just lying out there that have been beheaded."
Brewer did admit she was in error at the time, but that's not what really interested Milbank and his fellow media minions.
In his column, Milbank cast Brewer's claim as misinformation intended to scare people into thinking violence from illegal immigration is worse than it actually is.
"Border violence on the rise? Phoenix becoming the world's No. 2 kidnapping capital? Illegal immigrants responsible for most police killings? The majority of those crossing the border are drug mules? All wrong," Milbank wrote.
He wasn't the only one to pile on — CBS and the Guardian also jumped in.
Just one problem, though. Brewer may have jumped the gun months ago, but cartel beheadings have become a reality in Arizona — and are now jumping to other states.
Four months after the Arizona governor spoke, the first grisly cartel beheading occurred — in Arizona. Martin Alejandro Cota-Monroy's body was found Oct. 10, 2010 in Chandler, in what police believed had been a revenge attack for stealing cartel drugs.
A year later and 600 miles north in Oklahoma, the victim was not a person involved in the drug trade, but a 19-year-old human trafficking victim, Carina Saunders, who was killed by suspected cartel members to frighten another teenager into joining the cartel.
Three months later, in Tucson, another headless body was found on a desolate stretch of road.
Just this month, in Hollywood, Calif., the same sort of headless body was found in a canyon by some dog walkers. Police are saying they think the last two may be linked.
If so, it looks like the work of Mexico's cartels, says former Drug Enforcement Administration supervisor Phil Jordan. "It would lead me to believe the message wanted to be sent," he told KRGV television in Texas.
What's seen here is the very swift regularization of crime that, until recently, was thought to be Mexico's problem.
Brewer made her then-errant call for more vigilant border enforcement and was blasted by the media as if there wasn't an underlying problem.