Will Bunch has a truly heartbreaking, infuriating post up on the murder of nine-year-old Brisenia Flores and her father in Arizona in 2009. Brisenia’s mother survived by playing dead.
The killers were newly minted Tea Partiers and fledgling Minutemen, and I think it’s safe to say they were influenced by at least one Tea Party rally in Arizona before carrying out their murders. Shawna Forde, the mastermind of the operation, had apparently cooked up an idea to murder and rob drug dealers to fund her anti-immigrant activities. She and her accomplice, Jason Bush, broke into the Flores home on May 30, 2009.
[A warning (better late than never) this next bit is graphic and disturbing]
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.
People like Forde and Bush are life-long losers, criminals, racists. Forde has an erratic past and was described as unstable. Bush has ties to the Aryan Nation. These are scummy people, and they’d be scummy people without Glenn Beck or the Tea Party. But having a cause based on fear and hatred and bigotry just fuels these sorts of bigots. It gives them a moral edifice, however bizarre, to justify their actions. Murder and theft aren’t crimes – they’re part of the revolution! Gunning down a nine-year-old girl is part of the resistance, it’s patriotic! And Beck and others, including members of the Arizona government, who are fomenting fear and paranoia over immigration are at least partly to blame.
Maybe this is what Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik was talking about in the wake of the Giffords shootings. Maybe he was so quick to denounce heated rhetoric because he’d seen what it had already led to in his county, in his state and his country. It’s not just rhetoric, after all. It’s rallies and talk of revolution. It’s people up in arms, passing laws to get the Mexicans out, and when that fails, arming themselves and taking the vigilante route. And if Brisenia’s story doesn’t break your heart, nothing will.