Commentary: Violence in Mexico is a growing U.S. problem

This editorial appeared in The Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

Like the constant buzzing of an irritating mosquito that stays just out of swatting range, the problems of violence triggered by narco-trafficking along the nation's southern border have been background noise for most of the United States.

Until now.

The problems presented by violent Mexican drug cartels no longer are staying primarily on the south side of the border, nor are they directed only at rival gang members. And it's not just border towns like El Paso and San Diego that are reeling from the effects. Drug-related kidnappings and killings have been reported in Phoenix. Gangs with ties to Mexican organized crime have been located as far away as Maryland and Minneapolis.

A State Department travel advisory, gaining attention as the spring break ritual heats up at high school and college campuses nationwide, warns that visitors to Mexico have been injured and killed in public places, and "dozens of U.S. citizens have been kidnapped across Mexico."

The advisory specifically cautioned against excursions to Matamoros and Nuevo Progreso – "popular destinations for spring breakers to South Padre Island" – and to Tijuana and Rosarito Beach in Baja California.

Think the feds are overreacting? Consider that Tijuana is off limits to Marines based at Camp Pendleton, about 38 miles north of San Diego – and they don't scare worth a damn.

To read the complete editorial, visit The Fort Worth Star-Telegram.