Jan Brewer, Neo-Nazi J.T. Ready, Joe Arpaio, Russell Pearce, All Star in Dennis Gilman's Latest Video
Above is videographer Dennis Gilman's latest on the neo-Nazi patrol of the Vekol Valley, which I wrote up recently for this blog. Gilman weaves in snippets from Governor Jan Brewer, state Senator Russell Pearce, and Sheriff Joe Arpaio to make the point that the rhetoric used by these politicians helps create an atmosphere that emboldens extremists like National Socialist Movement member J.T. Ready and others of his white supremacist ilk.
Seen in the context of such recent statements, say, by Brewer alleging that the majority of border crossers are drug runners -- an assertion countered by Border Patrol union head T.J. Bonner -- Ready's patrols in the desert are the symptoms of a widespread and insidious mental disease: the scapegoating of Arizona's undocumented population as a criminal element on par with the "narco-terrorists" Ready was supposedly hunting.
Gilman's mini-documentary also clearly lays out Ready's past racist blatherings, undercutting Ready's attempt to sanitize the neo-Nazi affiliations of many of the patrol's participants. You would think such exposition would be unnecessary, but when news outlets such as ABC 15 whitewash Ready's vigilantes as a "citizens group," then others of us have to drive home the obvious again and again.
I liked the comedic touch where Gilman uses the theme from Hogan's Heroes as "Ready's Rangers" secure an abandoned building that sometimes is a sightseeing spot for families venturing through the area. But for the most part Gilman is deadly serious.
Ready, his token non-white Jess Boggs, and all the rest might look and act like some real jokers. But they did take at least one migrant into custody during the weekend. They also discovered a corpse, and they were heavily armed and looking for trouble. Dismissing neo-Nazis patrolling the desert with AR-15s, alas, is not an option that we have.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Phoenix New Times' biggest stories.