Honor the Dead: Brisenia Flores
By now everyone has heard the story about 9 year old Christina Taylor Green, who died along with five other people in the attempted assassination of congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.Like I said...to hell.
President Obama mentions the born on 9-11 girl in his Tucson speech during the memorial service. Pleas for national civility followed in her name and an overflow crowd complete with the 9-11 flag waving in the breeze attended her funeral that got national television coverage..
But for 9 year old Brisenia Flores of Arivaca, AZ, there wasn't any overflow crowd at her funeral. There was no national news coverage of her funeral, continuing cable coverage or national outrage over her murder.
On May 30, 2009 Brisenia's home 11 miles north of the border was invaded by a group led by Shawna Forde of racist anti-immigration Minutemen.
The right wing extremist Minutemen had been on a mission to jack up drug dealers to fund their 'patriotic' activities of unsolicited vigilante patrols of the Mexican border. Forde also has ties to FAIR, the Federation for American Immigration Reform which was declared a hate group in 2007 by the Southern Poverty Law Center. She appeared as their spokeperson in a 2006 PBS show about immigration issues and had formed her own Minuteman group called the Minuteman American Defense.
Forde and friends had been given inaccurate information that the Flores home had drugs and cash inside it. In the early morning hours of May 30 Forde and her accomplices forced their way into the house claiming they were law enforcement personnel looking for fugitives. They killed Brisenia's father Raul and shot her mother Gina Gonzalez three times, who survived the shooting by playing dead.
In Terry Green Sterling's story posted to The Daily Beast, according to prosecutors, when Brisenia asked the gunman "Why did you shoot my mom?" the man put a gun to her head and fired the two bullets that killed her. The Flores family's other daughter fortunately was staying with her grandmother at the time.
The trial of Forde, Jason Bush and Albert Gaxiola is taking place in Tucson and ironically was postponed in the wake of the Tuscon shootings. Forde and friends are facing the death penalty if convicted and one of the witnesses will be Gina Gonzalez..
The anger, the hatred, the bigotry that goes on in this country is getting to be outrageous. And, unfortunately, Arizona, I think, has become sort of the capital. We have become the Mecca for prejudice and bigotry.Sheriff Dupnik was not shy about expressing himself in the wake of the Flores tragedy either. He called the murder of Brisenia at the time 'one of the most despicable acts I'd heard of.'
I have the same questions as the Crooks and Liars blog story does. Why hasn't the rest of America heard about it? Is it because it happened to a Latino family? Is it because it rips the so called patriotic 'were not racist' neighborhood watch mask off the Minutemen vigilantes running around in the desert playing with automatic weapons and hatin' on Latinos?
Or is it because once again it points out the connection between right wing political rhetoric, talk show hate speech and the violence it leads to that cost a 9 year old Latina girl and her family their lives?
It also sadly points out the Grand Canyon sized chasm in terms of the level of attention that's garnered by two Arizona nine year olds and the value placed on their lives.