How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

'I'm torn:' A death penalty opponent reacts to the sentencing of Brisenia Flores' convicted killer

Screen shot from Presente.org

As Arizona state senators yesterday prepared to hear some of the strictest anti-illegal immigration legislation to come out of the state since SB 1070, a convicted murderer whose crime was rooted in one of the darker corners of the immigration debate was sentenced to death in Tucson.

Shawna Forde, a radical anti-illegal immigration activist who led a Minuteman splinter group, has joined two other women on Arizona's death row; she was convicted last week in the brutal 2009 home invasion murder of 9-year-old Brisenia Flores and her father, Raul, in the Arizona border town of Arivaca.

Forde was also convicted of robbery, the believed motive, and was not convicted of a hate crime. But it has been difficult to separate the crime from the beliefs she espoused. Among the reactions today is this post on Slate by blogger Amanda Marcotte:

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What really led to Brisenia Flores' murder?

Since the conviction last week of Shawna Forde for murder in the 2009 home invasion slaying of a Latino father and his 9-year-old daughter in rural Arivaca, Arizona, there have been sighs of relief among those who had called for justice, but also bitter questions about how the murder and trial were covered by media, in particular the degree of attention paid to Forde's radical nativism.

Forde, the ringleader of a trio accused of carrying out the killings, was also the leader of a Minuteman splinter group known as Minuteman American Defense, or MAD. She had been pushed out of the more mainstream Minuteman Civil Defense Corps for what members described to CNN as "unstable behavior."

Forde was not convicted of a hate crime. The motive for the home invasion that left Brisenia Flores and her father Raul dead was ostensibly robbery, for which Forde was also convicted. But there has been much criticism that mainstream media not only arrived late to the story, but in its coverage failed to sufficiently address the beliefs espoused by Forde as relevant to the crime.

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