On May 30th, a group of armed men and one woman shot and killed Brisenia Flores and her father in Arivaca, AZ. They kicked in the door to the family’s home and murdered the 9-year old and her father Raul Flores, injuring Brisenia’s mother. Though media has reported that the motivation behind the crime “is not clear”, what is glaringly clear is the hate behind it.
Jason Bush, Shawna Forde, and Albert Gaxiola have all been charged with two counts of first-degree murder. Each of the accused belongs to the MinuteMen American Defense, a group of vigilante anti-immigrants who have dehumanized immigrants (and Latinos) to the point that they have no trouble shooting a 9-year old in cold blood.
Even more damning (though not shocking) is the video that has surfaced which links Shawna Forde, the ringleader of the operation, to the anti-immigration hate group FAIR. Check out the video below, to see Shawna Forde speaking at a Town Hall in Yakima, Washington as an “activist” for FAIR. (h/t to America’s Voice for breaking this.)
I’ve written extensively on FAIR – classified as a Hate Group by the Southern Poverty Law Center – which claims to be a mainstream “think tank” in favor of “immigration reform”, though it has been made apparent that their agenda is far more extreme. Hopefully this type of exposure will help mainstream media outlets apply stricter rules about who quote as “reliable sources” on immigration.
While some might see this as an isolated and tragic incident, those of us who track the broader narrative of hate and violence in this country know that Brisenia’s family is only the latest in a long, bloody history of anti-immigrant fervor that has seeped from the extreme fringes into the mainstream of America.
Jill Garvey, from Imagine 2050 writes:
This is part of a larger increase in violence by individuals associated with racist groups; a direct result of the acceptance of racist, anti-immigrant rhetoric used in mainstream media.
Jill also does a great job of connecting the dots between groups like the MinuteMen and groups like NumbersUSA, who are quoted on the Minutemen’s website and mainstream media personalities like Glenn Beck and Lou Dobbs (also cited on Minutemen’s webpage). While most anti-immigrant groups will do their best to distance themselves from Shawna Forde and her gang of vigilante child-killers, the truth is, they are all connected.
I have to say, I’ve seen a lot about this heinous crime on the blogosphere today and have yet to see anybody tie it into the recent Holocaust shootings here in DC. While, obviously, the contexts and the players are different, I think that both point to examples of how extremist views work to make certain groups less than human, and therefore, disposable. The Department of Homeland Security warned about this recently, but too many anti’s on the Right wanted to use the moment to bash Janet Napolitano and the report was swept under the rug.
It is now our work to make sure the Brisenia and her father, and the countless others who have died as a result of ignorance, bigotry and misguided fear, have not suffered in vain. We must continue to speak out about how hate speech, of any kind, feeds the fuel for crimes like these. We must continue to deconstruct the connection between brown, criminal, illegal and immigrant. And, most importantly, we must continue to raise up the stories that the mainstream media refuses to cover – in order to show the American public exactly what we are fighting against – hate.
Below is a roundup of coverage on the murder of Brisenia and Raul Flores. As always, the pro-migrant blogosphere is fighting the good fight.