We’ve heard the stories. The border with Mexico is out of control. Mayhem is spilling over into America’s cities. Recently, illegal immigrants murdered an Arizona rancher. What more evidence do you need?
The escalating violence is a big reason that most Americans support Arizona’s new anti-immigration law. However, perhaps they would not be so enthusiastic if it were better publicized that “law officers on the state’s border report that claims of epidemic drug violence in their jurisdictions are overblown.”
Yes, despite all the political posturing, some Arizona cops say “the fact of the matter is that the border has never been more secure” and that despite increased violence in Mexico, “there is remarkably little spillover” in Arizona, where overall violent crime has actually dropped in recent years.
And as tragic as the death of Robert Krentz is, the Border Patrol says, “the slain rancher is the only American suspected to have been killed by an illegal immigrant in the Tucson sector in at least a decade.”
Does this mean that we have nothing to fear from Mexico’s worsening crime situation? Well, that’s a shaky conclusion.
The better question, however, is whether cynical politicians are playing to their base, exaggerating threats, terrifying their constituents, and targeting an ethnic minority to serve as rallying cry and scapegoat… but come on, what are the odds of that farfetched scenario?
Regardless, the inability of Americans to distinguish real violence from horrifying anecdote has been pointed out before. For those who need a primer, however, director Robert Rodriguez has stepped in.
I’m a fan of Rodriguez’s films, which include “From Dusk Til Dawn,” “Sin City” and “Desperado.” His latest, “Machete” is unlikely to be confused with a Merchant-Ivory production. It answers the cinematic question “What happens when you fuck with the wrong Mexican?” To see the mythical “illegal” trailer, check this out. Otherwise, you can see the original below. Regardless of which version you watch, I think you’ll agree it’s unlikely that we’ll ever reach this level of cross-border violence.