Americans traveling in Mexico always knew they were in a very different place, although the experience generally was enjoyable. More recently, cartel violence has resulted in many deaths, but they were often attributed to criminals killing each other. Now the situation has reached a new level, with Americans becoming the victims and apparently targeted.
While a group of Mexican women have persisted in searching for bodies near Rocky Point, Sonora, and faced danger in doing so, two cases this week have grabbed headlines. A businessman was kidnapped in Eloy and taken to Sonora amid a ransom demand, although he was rescued by authorities there at the request of the FBI. Then on Monday, nine women and child members of a family were ambushed on the way to a wedding in the state of Chihuahua. They have relatives living in Queen Creek. Wounded children waited all day to be rescued.
Some communities in Mexico have roots many years back to when The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints abandoned its practice of polygamy. Some families went to Mexico because they did not want to be broken up. Since then, some family members have moved back and forth and have dual citizenship. Many other Americans also have relatives in Mexico, and people like visiting for tourism, although that is being damaged.
Three vehicles were attacked by gunfire, and one of them exploded. The dead from the horrible crime included young children.
Meanwhile, Gov. Doug Ducey already had issued a warning about travel in Mexico. President Trump called on Mexico to fight harder against the cartels and offered help.
The saddest part of this whole mess is that smuggling of drugs and humans into the United States has made the cartels what they are — a very strong, dangerous part of life in Mexico, which long had a history of corruption. Efforts to curtail drug abuse have been encouraging but still have a long way to go. And the United States needs new laws to stop smuggling. Trump has made that a priority, and Congress should get serious about real reform that works.