Once again, Arizona remains ignorant and silent about the violence brimming within our state. I’m referring to the 2009 home invasion and murders of 29 year-old Raul Junior Flores and his daughter, 9 year-old, Brisenia Flores (the mother survived by playing dead). Can you imagine the horrors of having to play dead and listen to your loved ones being shot? Just the thought of it makes me ill, but perhaps it doesn’t faze the rest of the state that has become “blood simple”.*
Who committed the crime? Ironically, two individuals from a Minute Men organization were charged. The purported mastermind, Shawna Forde, is on trial. Opening statements were delivered on Jan. 25th.
I remember hearing about the incident when it occurred but I hadn’t heard anything else since. So I was curious as to why. A quick search in Google reveals plenty of links to find information. The most recent and detailed coming from the LA Times. Looking through the search results, I tried to find anything from the State’s largest paper. I wasn’t able to find anything in the first few pages of search results. At that point, I was getting irked because I realized just how little attention was being paid to this trial within the state of Arizona.
I did find one link, close to the top of the search results from the Tucson Citizen, a citizen run blog (what do you know, regular Joe’s doing the work that real journalists should be doing). I found a recent blog entry from E.D. Kain at one of my favorite daily reads at Balloon-Juice.com. And I found an entry from back in 2009 on our local free paper, The Phoenix New Times (the only publication or media outlet in the state actually engaging in true investigative journalism, check them out). But again, nothing from The Arizona Republic.
So I went to their website and found only 3 articles on the facts of the case with the last one dated Jun 13, 2009. There has been nothing since. Note how they make sure that you know that Shawna and her lackeys were from the State of Washington and how they visiting us when they were patrolling the Arizona border and hatching their murderous scheme. That’s a great out for us isn’t it? We don’t have take responsibility at all for their behavior, do we Arizona? They’re not from here.
At first I thought, ‘well there must be a gag order preventing local press from covering the case’ but research for that order failed to uncover anything. In fact, the only gag order to be issued in the case came on the same day that the trial opening statements were delivered AND it only applied to witnesses talking to the media. So the state’s media has no excuse whatsoever for ignoring this case and its larger implications.
Which brings me to the heart of the problem. Why aren’t we having a discussion about what happened? Why isn’t it a part of the larger discussion about “civility” that came to the forefront after the Tucson shooting? This is the perfect example of what progressives have been talking about–that conservative pundits and tea party angry rallies foster an environment that is dangerous. Perhaps, as E.D. Kain pointed out in his blog post, this was the kind of thing Sheriff Dupnik had in mind when he railed against the violent rhetoric in our media and how it affects the unhinged and the unscrupulous.
I understand how this kind of thing can get lost in the midst of all the national news noise, but within the state itself? C’mon Arizona, we can do better than this. We have GOT to do a better job of self-introspection, because the ability to look at our warts unflinchingly plays a crucial role in solving the very real problems the state faces today. If we ignore the blood on our hands, how can we clean it up?
*Blood Simple: “the addled, fearful mindset of people after a prolonged immersion in violent situations”