Honor the Dead: Brisenia Flores

Brisenia Flores
I maintain that Arizona can go to hell.  From the illustrious Transgriot:
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.

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..

Arivaca, AZ also happens to be in Pima County as well.  Sheriff Clarence Dupnik earned the ire of the right wing when he said in the wake of the Giffords shooting:
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.
 Like I said...to hell.


  1. We need to stop blaming these types of things on "political rhetoric" Political rhetoric did not kill either of these little girls. A few people who decided to take the law into their own hands killed them. To blame political rhetoric is to negate their responsibility. But, as usual, when white folks are the criminals, there has to be some sort of scapegoat, some outside force that they were just forced to succumb to. If these were Black men who committed this crimes, the whole world would be nodding their heads, believing that the murders confirmed the inherent criminality of Black people. But, when the culprits are white, society is to blame.. politicians are to blame.. talk show hosts are to blame. We need to stop deflecting responsibility to outside forces in these cases. Everyone wanted Sarah Palin to apologize when that dude shot the congresswoman, but why should she? She is ALLOWED to express her opinion, as reprehensible as it is. The blame needs to be put squarely on the heads of those who actually commit the acts.

  2. However, political rhetoric also to blame. It's part of institutionalized racism; it incites white people to kill POC in particular because the rhetoric basically assures them they will go free - or at least receive leniency - if they do.

  3. Joanna,

    I agree that white people get a "free pass" whenever they commit crimes, and black people committing crimes confirm white folks racist beliefs that blacks are inherently criminal.

    However, to not blame outside sources in any crime is to ignore society's flaws, oppressive policies, and institutional racism. Yes, that man made a choice to commit a shooting. I agree, but what drove him to that?

    I think to ignore that society, including the media, plays a role in any crime is to allow them to continue without asking questions and making appropriate solutions.

  4. Ankhesen:

    Thank you so much for commenting on this tragedy. I am an Arizona resident and cannot keep my tears at bay for this precious child and her family. A NYTimes article that appeared today says that prosecutors allege the gunmen shot her point-blank in the face. There is a lot of hatred in this state. Period.

  5. @ Anonymous

    Thanks for stopping by. Leave a name next time.

  6. The piece of dung guilty of orchestrating the murders was found guilty today. At least the jury had an ounce of sense.


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