The dastardly murder of Arizona rancher Robert Krentz has sent the nativists into public paroxysms of jingoist ecstasy.
Tom Tancredo, J.D. Hayworth and others of that ilk are exploiting the killing to inflame hatred toward new arrivals of a brown hue. Even mainstream pols like Senator John McCain and Democratic Congresswoman Gabby Giffords are using the incident as an opportunity to bulk up their resumes with border-hawkishness.
This, though a suspect has yet to be identified. But never let that get in the way of exploiting a death. "More troops to the border!" they cry. "Pass state Senator Russell Pearce's apartheid-police state legislation!" they insist.
Along these lines, I just received the latest e-mailed edition of state GOP party chairman Randy Pullen's "Tusk Times" newsletter, with his commentary, "The Price of Border Insecurity."
In it, Pullen calls the Krentz killing, "a tragedy in the making for 10 years." He continues on to say, "Many of us who have been directly involved with attempting to bring illegal immigration under control along the southern border feared this day would come."
Really, Randy? Why then are you taking such obvious ideological relish in the Krentz shooting?
I'll tell you why. Because with it, nativist politicians such as Pullen can (inaccurately) point the finger at all undocumented persons from Mexico and Central America (the only ones Pullen cares about). In his diatribe, Pullen makes the "connection to the tens of millions of illegal aliens who have crossed our southern border in the recent past."
Never mind that the overwhelming majority of those in our federal and state prisons are American citizens. Or that numerous studies have shown that the undocumented are less likely to commit serious offenses. Or any offenses. Instead, they mostly keep their heads down as best they can, hoping to avoid the scrutiny of the authorities.
Blanket condemnations of an entire people, now that's what Pullen's about. That's what he's always been about. Indeed, it's the glue that keeps the state Republican party whole, despite the efforts of some GOPers with a lick of sense
But such hatred, xenophobia and immigrant-bashing has a price: a price paid last May by nine year-old Brisenia Flores and her father, Raul, allegedly murdered by minutewoman Shawna Forde and two of her cohorts, Albert Gaxiola and Jason "Gunny" Bush.
The murders took place as part of a home-invasion robbery in Arivaca, Arizona, about 11 miles north of the border. Forde was the leader of the aptly acronym-ed M.A.D., or Minuteman American Defense, and was well-known in wingnut and nativist circles.
Indeed, Forde was one of thousands of attendees at a Phoenix Tea Party last April 15 at the state Capitol. I don't know if Pullen was there, but I know J.D. Hayworth was around. In fact, he did his then afternoon KFYI radio show from the midst of tea-bagger central.
Forde's pal Bush, who has since confessed to his part in the Arivaca murders according to the Pima County Sheriff's Office, was also charged with the 1997 slaying of a Latino man in Wenatchee, Washington, after his arrest. The Wenatchee cops told the local paper that, "Bush has had long standing ties to Aryan Nations groups."
Bush is slated to go to trial October of this year. Forde and Gaxiola will be tried together in January of 2011, if all goes according to Hoyle.
They each face eight separate counts, including two counts of first degree murder, and a count of attempted murder for the wounded mom, Gina Marie Gonzalez, who shot back, and hit Bush in the leg. The cowardly attackers turned tail and skedaddled after that.
If Forde, Bush and Gaxiola are convicted, prosecutors have said they will seek the death penalty.
Pullen and his fellow nativists are quick to apportion blame and collective guilt, save for when the latter belongs to their tribe. I called the state GOP today and asked its flack if Pullen had ever denounced the Arivaca slayings. Still waiting to hear back on that one.
Regardless, Pullen has been one of the prime movers and shakers in Arizona's nativist movement. By spewing vitriol against those of Mexican descent who are in the country minus the proper paperwork, he has helped create a climate of hate that nurtures those committing crimes against Hispanics.
In condemning an entire class of persons for the Krentz homicide, Pullen, et al., keep the ovens of bigotry red hot.
But rather than just keep flaying Pullen with his own xenophobic statements, I'm thinking of sending him a present.
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This way, Pullen can always be reminded of the sort of human trash he inspires with his anti-illegal claptrap.
It's also a great place to stash his conscience and his sense of shame, since he's never had much use for either, judging from his career in Sand Land politics.