In 2011, a Mexican newspaper editor named Maria Elizabeth Macías Castro was decapitated for using social media to spread news about the activities of the country's criminal groups.

So starts a new animated explainer created by I Shot Him, a San Francisco-based design studio, which used Castro's death and other anecdotes to explain the years-long Mexican drug war:

The video takes a bit of an advocacy bend, arguing that the United States plays a major role in the violence, both because our high levels of drug use fuel the narcotics trade and because our loose gun controls make it easy for cartels south of the border to arm themselves.

You can agree or disagree with that thesis, but the video is at least a refreshingly original way to learn about a conflict that can be hard to comprehend.