Katie Kieffer
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Out of sight is out of mind. Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano can give the impression she’s doing her job and keeping Americans safe when Americans are unaware of the dangers lurking next door.

Napolitano can’t stop natural oppressors like tropical storms, hurricanes or earthquakes but she can impede the drug cartel violence on the U.S.-Mexico border. Nevertheless, Napolitano refuses to publicly acknowledge the extent of border violence from drug cartels. She also refrains from pressuring the media to cover the preventable destruction and bloodshed on the border as much as it covers natural disasters.

Between 35,000 and 40,000 people were killed in Mexico since President Felipe Calderón launched his war against drugs in 2006, reports the Associated Press.

I think Americans deserve to know about the drug cartel violence spilling onto our border. It should be printed on the front page of every major newspaper and discussed nightly on prime time television. We’re not talking about violence occurring across the ocean in Libya. We’re talking about brutal gangs operating out of our next-door neighbor, Mexico.

Let’s say you look outside and catch your next-door neighbor decapitating, scalping and removing the skin from the faces of a family that lives across town. Then, you watch him stuff the skin from the faces and scalps into a woman’s purse and showcase the purse as a bloody “trophy” (this happened last month outside a Sam’s Club store in Acapulco).

Assuming you can’t move, what would you do? Close your blinds, grab a beer and turn on the football game? Or, would you build a 21-foot-high wall around your house?

On March 24, Commissioner of the Texas Department of Agriculture Todd Staples wrote a letter to Napolitano asking her to “recognize the threat of Mexican drug cartels as being a clear and present danger to our citizens and to the safe production of the United States food supply.”

Staples asked Napolitano to visit the site ProtectYourTexasBorder.com where Texas farmers and ranchers explain how drug cartels drive them to “abandon their land, leaving it vulnerable to criminal occupation, while retreating from farming and ranching and jeopardizing the food supply upon which we’ve all come to rely.”

Perhaps Napolitano was too busy fine-tuning her “If You See Something, Say Something” Walmart infomercials to bother replying. She delegated the Assistant Secretary for the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs, Betsy Markey, to respond to Staples on her behalf.

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Katie Kieffer

Katie Kieffer is a columnist and political commentator. She runs KatieKieffer.com. Kieffer is the author of the forthcoming book "LET ME BE CLEAR."