Thursday, January 27, 2011

Follow-up to "Border vigilantes arrested for murder"

About a year and a half ago I posted a couple items about a Minuteklan leader, Shawna Forde, with Tea Party ties who murdered a 9-year-old girl in the process of robbing a family in what initially seemed like a drug-related crime, but which turned out to be a politically motivated crime. Well, Forde's trial is apparently underway. Here's a bit of a reminder of what motivated Forde, and a reminder of who gets hurt by politically motivated violence:
Why did Forde, said to be the "mastermind," and the other alleged killer, Jason Bush, carry out this heinous crime? Prosecutors allege that Forde cooked up a scheme to rob and murder drug dealers, all to raise money for the fledgling, anti-immigrant border patrolling group called Minutemen American Defense, or MAD.

I wrote about Forde and her warped "politics" in my recent book, The Backlash. I noted that in April 2009 -- as first reported by Stephen Lemons of the Phoenix New Times, an authority on nativist, right-wing groups in Arizona -- Forde was amped up after attending her first Tea Party on the steps of the state capitol in Phoenix.
"This is the time for all Americans to join organizations and REVOLT!!!," she wrote in a blog post that was retrieved from the Google cache by Lemons. "Refuse to be part of a system only designed to enslave you and your children. Times will be worse before they get worse. *Say no to illegal immigration* Lock and Load, Shawna Forde."
It was this same month that Forde and her ragtag Minutemen band allegedly approached drug dealers in southern Arizona with a scheme to kill and rob their rivals for cash. One of Forde's goals, allegedly, was to buy a 40-acre property near the border that she intended for her group to use as a base for raids -- which she called "Delta One Operations" -- on undocumented Mexicans crossing the border.

Forde and her co-conspirator Bush -- who reportedly has ties to the white supremacist Aryan Nation -- broke into the home of 29-year-old Raul Flores, Brisenia's dad, on May 30, 2009, or just six weeks after Forde's online call for a political revolt. As related this week at Forde's ongoing murder trial:
According to testimony, Bush shot Flores, then Gonzalez. Gonzalez was hit in the shoulder and leg and slumped to the floor. She testified that she played dead as she heard Bush pump more bullets into her husband as Brisenia woke up.

"Why did you shoot my dad?" the girl asked, sobbing, according to Gonzalez's testimony. "Why did you shoot my mom?"

Gonzalez said she heard Bush slowly reload his gun and that he then ignored Brisenia's pleas and fired.

In the wake of the Tucson shootings earlier this month, there was a lot of talk about hateful rhetoric and violent imagery in American politics, and there was a lot of pushback when it emerged that the gunman in that case, Loughner, didn't follow mainstream politics, just some extreme crackpot theories on the Internet. But what happened to Brisenia Flores is different. She lost her life because a couple of unhinged crackpots absorbed all that "lock and load" blather in our atmosphere and actually did something about it. We should not be shocked. But we do need to figure out how to make sure that never again will the life of innocent girl end because of this political madness.

And just as we will never forget Christina Green, America needs to always remember Brisenia Flores.
Let us not forget Brisenia Flores.

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