Jan Brewer has lost her head.
The Arizona governor, seemingly determined to repel every last tourist dollar from her pariah state, has sounded a new alarm about border violence. "Our law enforcement agencies have found bodies in the desert either buried or just lying out there that have been beheaded," she announced on local television.
I should point out that this isn't limited to Arizona; violent crime in the US has declined by about half since 1991, but outside New York -- where politicians have made sure people know -- nobody believes it. A majority of Americans continues to tell pollsters that crime is getting worse.
Ay, caramba! Those dark-skinned foreigners are now severing the heads of fair-haired Americans? Maybe they're also scalping them or shrinking them or putting them on a spike.
But those in fear of losing parts north of the neckline can relax. There's not a follicle of evidence to support Brewer's claim.
The Arizona Guardian Web site checked with medical examiners in Arizona's border counties, and the coroners said they had never seen an immigration-related beheading. I called and e-mailed Brewer's press office requesting documentation of decapitation; no reply. . . .
Two months ago, the Arizona Republic published an exhaustive report that found that, according to statistics from the FBI and Arizona police agencies, crime in Arizona border towns has been "essentially flat for the past decade." For example, "In 2000, there were 23 rapes, robberies and murders in Nogales, Ariz. Last year, despite nearly a decade of population growth, there were 19 such crimes." The Pima County sheriff reported that "the border has never been more secure."
FBI statistics show violent crime rates in all of the border states are lower than they were a decade ago -- yet Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) reports that the violence is "the worst I have ever seen." President Obama justifiably asserted last week that "the southern border is more secure today than any time in the past 20 years," yet Rush Limbaugh judged the president to be "fit for the psycho ward" on the basis of that remark.