The murder of nine Americans, most of whom were children, rattled many Americans to the core. At least, it rattled those of us who knew about the killings. It didn’t get a lot of play in the mainstream media, apparently, and that’s a problem. However, that problem is dwarfed by the fact that people are dying in Mexico, including a number of Americans.

On Tuesday, Sen. Ben Sasse offered up some thoughts about the country directly to our south, reported with some commentary by Townhall’s Katie Pavlich:

After the murder of nine American women and children in Mexico by vicious drug cartels yesterday, Republican Senator Ben Sasse is sending a warning about the state of the country and its government.

“Drug cartels ambushed an innocent family on their way to a wedding and massacred nine Americans, including babies. The hard truth is that Mexico is dangerously close to being a failed state. This is what happens when Mexico’s politicians look the other way and let drug cartels bribe their way to power. Enough,” Sasse released in a statement. “Mexico’s president hasn’t taken the threat seriously and innocent American lives have been lost again. The Mexican government must partner with U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies to wage a full-scale offensive against these butchers.”

A near failed state that shares a 2000-mile long border with the United States…quite the statement.

Yep. Quite the statement.

Sasse, however, is quite right. Mexico is dangerously close to a failed state.

The question is, though, is he right about how it got there? Well, in part.

Corruption has been rampant in Mexico for decades. Bribes to police were common and often the only determining factor of just whether or not a bribe would be taken was a matter of the amount rather than anything like personal integrity. It only stood to reason that the cartels, who have a lot of money, would buy off politicians and police.

However, there’s another layer here that cannot be overstated, and that’s Mexico’s attitude toward the right to keep and bear arms. While that particular phrasing originated here in the United States, the Mexican constitution supposedly preserves the right for Mexican citizens to also own guns. The problem, however, is that exercising that right is onerous to the extreme.

There’s precisely one licensed gun store in the country. It’s in Mexico City. If you live too far from there and can’t make the trip, no legal gun for you. You also have to fill out piles of paperwork before you’re even allowed in the door of the store. Then you can eventually purchase a firearm from that store’s limited stock.

Now, it’s a nice looking gun store, but it’s still just a single store.

All of that combines to create a situation where you have a disarmed populace, regardless of any supposed protection for the right to bear arms. So you have corrupt politicians, corrupt police, and a disarmed population. How long do you think it would take for a wealthy and violent criminal organization to take hold in a situation like that? Not long.

Had the people of Mexico been able to lawfully own firearms, though, they could have acted in self-defense from the start. They could have met violence with righteous violence and perhaps force the police’s hands in apprehending the cartels before things got out of control.

Today, there are militias trying to fight back against the cartels, of course, but they’re generally too little, too late. They’ve also had to adopt criminal means to acquire arms which means they may well end up adopting other criminal means for other things, thus becoming little different from the people they’re fighting.

Mexico is bordering on failed state status primarily because they felt that gun control was the answer, only to now find it as the problem they should have been worried about.