On May 30 three members of the Minutemen American Defense (an anti-immigrant group) broke into the home of the Flores family and killed them. They murdered Raul Junior Flores, his 9 year old daughter, Brisenia, and injured her mother. Jason Bush, Shawna Forde, and Albert Gaxiola have been charged with two counts each of first-degree murder and other charges. The suspects believed that there would be large amounts of cash and possibly drugs in the home. They shot the family because they did not want to leave witnesses. The suspects allegedly believed that two little girls would be at the home and looked for the second girl so they could also kill her. The other daughter was not at home.
The three people involved have a history of using anti-immigrant sentiments as an excuse to act violently against Latinos. The group that they belong to, Minutemen American Defense, and other groups like it, such as the Minutemen Civil Defense Corps, Minutemen Project, and ALIPAC are dangerous vigilante groups who believe they have the right to take the law into their own hands.
They killed a young girl in cold blood. This is not an isolated incident; it was a sinister plan to target and steal from Latinos who they have branded as “criminals” outside of any court of law.
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. The mastermind behind this deadly shooting, Shawna Forde, has a history of criminal activity and has continuously lied about being attacked by Latino gang members. The anti-immigrant movement at-large has either been supporting her dangerous behavior or merely ignoring it for some time. When I checked the Minutemen Project’s website this morning, a group that has supported Shawna Forde, these are the headlines they had posted:
I find it incredibly troubling that in light of such a gruesome crime, these groups still feel justified in posting articles by incendiary anti-immigrant figures such as Glenn Beck and NumbersUSA’s Roy Beck. Also posted was the official statement of the Minutemen American Defense (MAD) of which Shawna is the leader. While offering condolences to the Flores family, the statement went on to say,
MAD will continue to plan and activate border operations against illegal immigration and drug smuggling into the boundaries of the United States.
MAD will not participate in, condone or support any smear campaigns against it’s members such as those that are already started by others.
MAD will continue to observe, document and report any and all illegal immigration or smuggling activity that we observe on our properly committed border operations.
Jason Bush’s chilling statement says,
Hate speech and its infiltration into mainstream media has been documented by groups like NCLR, who initiated a campaign last year in an attempt to prevent tragedies like the Flores murders.
The National Council of La Raza (NCLR) launched the Wave of Hope campaign to stem the surge of hate and violence that has surrounded the immigration debate. The rhetoric of hate groups, nativists, and vigilantes—once limited to the fringe of American politics—has gained a strong foothold in the public debate. Their policy positions frame the country’s political discourse, and their members have penetrated the mainstream media.
This video on NCLR’s website demonstrates just how rampant and dangerous the language has become:
There continues to be a rise in hate crimes and anti-immigrant activity as documented by civil rights groups such as Southern Poverty Law Center and Center for New Community. Yet only a few mainstream media outlets are willing to report extensively on the rise of racially-motivated violence. Networks such as FOX and CNN continue to air programs that encourage bigoted viewpoints and refuse to report on hate crimes.