I am a bit of a cynic when it comes to Arizona justice or any justice in any state that prides itself on stupidity, but living in such states seems to be my lot in life. Indiana and Arizona have both had more than is any one state’s right to stupid judicial actions. Indiana rounded off pi in in a House Committee, but fortunately did not allow it to become law. Both states kill people for killing people though they both are “Christian” run states that I’m sure subscribe to the Ten Commandments including the one that goes, “Thou shall not kill.”
I grew up in Indiana and remember getting in my first politically charged “discussion” on a school bus in November 1964 the morning after Johnson won the election over Goldwater. I had to be all of 7 years old, but I remember it clearly. The oldest sister, who had to be all of 9 or 10 years old, of a family on my bus route looked as though a family member had died when I brought up the election. I later came to understand that the parents in the family were ultra conservative and attended The Church of the Nazarene in the town that was the county seat just south of the township grade school we attended.
I was never a 9 year old in Arizona. I’ve only lived here for a few decades. I am however the mother of a native Arizonan, and she was a nine year old here, once upon a time. I was a Girl Scout Leader to a group of 9 year old girls. I was a Sunday School Teacher to a class with 9 year old girls in it.
The faces of these girls I have known and in several cases come to love are the ones who flash before me when I also pull up the class photo mental image of Brisenia Flores. I still cry every time I think of her asking Shawna Forde, Jason Eugene Bush, and Albert Robert Gaxiola why they shot her parents and of her then begging for her own life. Things like this are not supposed to happen to 9 year old girls. Tucson knows all too well that 9 year-olds can die from the heinous actions of deranged people. But the facts of this case push even this understanding beyond what a saddened Tucson can believe. This falls into the same league as sexual predators who torture and kill children. This falls into the category of pure evil.
How could we as a community have allowed such vile predators to reside in and do such harm to our community? I will never understand this. I know people were talking about connections between Minutemen militias and the extremely violent right wing rhetoric that routinely, at least weekly from my understanding, came to our streets in the last 10 years. Recruiters were connected to drug traffickers. Police refused to come to respond to calls for assistance when there were assaults at demonstrations. Individuals burned flags and tried to bait surrounding crowds into violence. The weaving of fringe groups into the daily life of our community must have numbed our outrage when groups of people from outside of our community descended upon our area to create a police state mentality in our backyards. Why did and do we tolerate people who have no business here who supposedly guard a border from people who are for the most part guilty only of not looking like them.
Could we have done more? Of course we could have. The portent of violence was there. Suspected serial killers and mentally unstable individuals were allowed to play soldier with real guns where I live and where so many of the nine year old girls I have loved, lived.
This isn’t right.
I’m not sure that killing individuals who are disturbed enough to carry out such atrocities is any better than what the accused and convicted did. But I am in the minority, supposedly, just as I was when I expressed concern years ago about the influx of militia types into our county. So two of the three people on trial for the murders of Bresenia Flores and her young papa, Raul Flores, have been convicted of murder and sentenced to die by lethal injection. One trial remains.
Killing these people will not ease my conscience of the persistent doubt that perhaps there was more that we could have done, that I should have tried to do more to wake people up to what was and is happening at the edges of our community. The deaths from our ignorance seem destined to climb and include Shawna Forde, Jason Eugene Bush and probably Albert Robert Gaxiola, also accused in the murders, who goes on trial June 1st.
I’m sure I will write more then.
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