Perry mentioned at that induction: "As the drug cartels have turned up the heat on the other side of that border over the past few years, we have invested significant state resources to secure our border, looking to local police departments, county sheriffs, game wardens and even Texas Military Forces. However, when it was time to take the fight to the bad guys, there was only one choice to lead our efforts, so we formed our Ranger recon teams. It is reassuring to know that our Rangers are on the job, especially in light of ongoing reports of deteriorating conditions, with kidnappings, assassinations and terroristic acts just miles from Texas communities."
Only weeks later, on Jan. 31, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano asked public officials to stop exaggerating claims of violence on the U.S. side of the border and "be honest with the people we serve." She added: "Let's stick with the facts. We need to be upfront and clear about what's really happening along our borders."
The latest statistics show that 34,000 people have been killed in Mexico because of organized crime and drug trafficking during the past five years alone, and officials expect that number to rise. Yet we don't expect that escalating violence to increasingly spill over into the U.S.?
Consider just a few recent tragedies in my own state of Texas:
--In April 2010, on a street in Fort Hancock, Texas, four Hudspeth County employees were working on a remote unpaved road, when an unknown gunman fired from across the Rio Grande. (In a January 2011 letter to the U.S. House of Representatives' Judiciary and Homeland Security committees, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott described the shooting as "yet another incident involving cartel-related gunfire.")
--In June 2010, El Paso's City Hall was struck by at least seven shots fired from across the border in Ciudad Juarez, the epicenter of Mexico's ongoing drug war.
--In August 2010, at least one stray bullet from Mexico hit a building at the University of Texas at El Paso.
--In October 2010, U.S. tourist David Hartley reportedly was shot by a Mexican gunman.
--In November, the University of Texas at Brownsville temporarily canceled classes because of ongoing gunfire across the border in Matamoros, Mexico.
And what about violence in other border states? Exaggerating border violence?